Tuesday 27 December 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Books Read in 2011 (Sort of)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Okay, having done my YA Oscars recently, I wasn't going to bother with this as it would be a very similar list - however there's so many fabulous books I've read recently that it seems a shame not to plug some more of them! So I've taken out the YA Oscar winners and come up with this list of 10, all of which are superb in their own right. Also, the YA Oscars were fixed on stuff that actually came out this year - in this, I've gone for anything I've read since January 1st, so includes books published in previous years. Oh, they're in no order.

Links go to reviews either here or on the Bookbag.

Firebrand by Gillian Philip - Just shades the sequel Bloodstone, if only because this one has perhasp the best opening scene of the year, as narrator Seth prepares to shoot his brother to give him a merciful death instead of watching him be executed for witchcraft. This is NOT your average fairy story by a long way.

Lottie Biggs is (Not) Mad by Hayley Long - Described initially by me as "Brilliantly, staggeringly, life-affirmingly superb.", and I still think that's a pretty fair summary of what starts off as a fun light read and quickly becomes both darker and far more unique as Lottie finds she's suffering from a mental disorder. Two more outings for Lottie since then, both of which are very enjoyable - but this is still my favourite.

Ondine: The Summer of Shambles by Ebony McKenna - The tale of a young girl, a witch, and a ferret who used to be a handsome Scotsman. Light, frothy, and altogether absolutely marvellous. I don't think I actually reviewed this, but it's a massive recommendation.

Don't Ask by Hilary Freeman - Freeman is another author who was completely off my radar prior to this year but have read two brilliant books by her, this and Lifted. The premise of this one - girl creates fake social networking profile to befriend her boyfriend's ex and dig into his past - is stunning, and Freeman handles it brilliantly. Central character Lily, who isn't really easy to like but is very easy to understand, is fabulous.

Bang Bang You're Dead by Narinder Dhami - Stunning novel which is extremely thought-provoking. Without getting too spoilery, what seems like a book about a school shooting quickly turns into a look at the effect mental illness can have on the family of the sufferer.

Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski - Super fun, but also thought provoking, Devi finds a way to communicate with herself three years ago. Giving her younger self advice on what to do, she desperately tries to change her life to make it perfect - and things go about as well as you'd imagine. I'd never heard of Mlynowski before this year but read both this one and her recent Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have.) Both were absolutely superb but this one shades it for me as the 'changing future' aspect was handled perfectly. I don't think I ever got round to reviewing it properly, but definite recommendation.

Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy by Andy Briggs - Briggs plunges the famous lord of the jungle into modern day Africa with an incredible reboot here. Massively exciting.

Six Words and a Wish by Karen McCombie - This stand alone is McCombie at her most typical. We have a likeable narrator, a sweet friend, a bizarre family (dad's a clown, it's always Christmas at home, and older sister went missing a while ago) and an ultra cute boy. In McCombie's hands, stuff that would normally seem trite or samey just WORKS. I read this one with a massive smile on my face from start to finish.

Ostrich Boys by Keith Gray - A road trip with a real difference, as three boys steal their friend's ashes and take them up to Scotland to fulfil his dream. On the way, they face pursuit, questions, and the suggestion that the 'accident' in which he died may have been welcomed by him. As touching and powerful as you'd expect given the subject matter, this is also extremely funny.

Shadowfall and Shadowblood by Tracy Revels - Can't split these two 'Holmes as a faerie' stories. Shadowblood is perhaps slightly better but you HAVE to read the original first. Crazy, insane, and totally mind boggling, but somehow Holmes and Watson's characters are PERFECT amidst all the bizarre stuff going on. (Adult not YA, although nothing making them massive unsuitable for teens.)

EDIT: We're now up to eleven, as I realise that SOMEHOW I forgot We Can Be Heroes by Catherine Bruton, which if I didn't have the memory of a goldfish and a short attention span when checking what reviews I've written this year would have been one of the first on my list. Dealing with terrorism, honour killings, and a boy who lost his father in 9/11, this is an absolute must read.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Great list - you have some of my favourites there! (Apologies for the deletion - I meant to comment from this account.)

  3. Thank you very much for the 'massive recommendation', I'm thrilled to bits.
    May 2012 be full of great reads for you.