Best Book of 2011Friday, December 30, 2011
My big discovery of 2011 is Stacey Jay, a writer who spins tales infused with humor and palpable atmosphere; you won’t be able to put her books down. She creates totally sexy love interests, too—fantasy-worthy-yet-somehow-believable men who pretty much leap off the page. I instantly adored her. I started with the first book in her Megan Berry, Zombie Settler series, You Are So Undead to Me. Technically this isn’t a 2011 release, but I read it this year, so I’m throwing it in. Loved this light, humorous take on the zombie genre—totally fresh and fun. Megan Berry has a voice that’s completely believable and I bonded with her from page one. Next I read Dead on the Delta (out this year, with a sequel out in 2012, Blood on the Bayou). This incredibly strange and original novel mixes killer fairies and a strong yet endearingly human heroine. Add not one but two steamy love interests and a swampy Louisiana setting, you get a super-charged recipe for reading-all-night. Her latest YA, Juliet Immortal, proves once again her knack for dreaming up delicious male characters. The guy in that, Ben, totally stole my heart; he made poor old Romeo look like a pathetic loser! So yeah, check out Stacey Jay. She’s fun, eclectic, and definitely a writer to watch.-Jody Gehrman, author of Babe in Boyland
I read so many great books this year that it's hard to pick one as a favorite, so how about I highlight three, each of which represents a genre? OK, then! In paranormal, I really loved Randy Russell's DEAD RULES - so dark and funny and romantic and disturbing! For contemporary realistic fiction I thought THE IMPLOSION OF AGGIE WINCHESTER by Lara Zielin was really, really well done, especially since its heroine is a would-be goth who enjoys bass fishing. And in fantasy, I have to spotlight my friend and agency mate Rae Carson, whose GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS has been winning awards and rave reviews left and right. It's such a fresh take on fantasy and the world building is amazing. If I had more time and space I could highlight a dozen other favorite 2011 books, but those top my list!-Sara Bennett Wealer, author of Rival
Oh, it's so hard to pick just one book for a whole year! :) I LOVED Rae Carson's Girl of Fire and Thorns. I really liked Elisa, such a different heroine. It was so much fun to see her grow and change through the course of the story. Kristen Tracy's Sharks & Boys kept me riveted--I wasn't sure who would survive, if anyone!-Stacey Kade, author of Queen of the Dead
But my absolute favorite this year was Kendare Blake's Anna Dressed in Blood. Any book that can scare me AND make me laugh is definitely at the top of my list!
As an American who has lived in Japan for many years, I especially like books that take me to different cultural landscapes, and introduce me to points around the globe, so my favorite adult novel this year was The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht, with its Balkan setting and blend of history, family, and legend. In young adult books, the novel that has resonated most is My Name is Not Easy, by Debby Dahl Edwardson, about an Inupiaq boy and other native Alaskan teens at a Catholic boarding school in the 1960s. Edwardson bravely portray these kids finding their voices amid tough repressive circumstances. The story closes with an earthquake and tsunami…and for those of us in Japan, earthquakes and tsunami waves have certainly been a major part of 2011.-Holly Thompson, author of Orchards
I can never pick favorites. It is so difficult trying to pick just one, so I am just going to take the easy way out and say I loved most of all the books I read this year. Haha. What were some of your favorite books of the year?