Best of 2011: Books

January 9, 2012 Books, Reading 4

2011 has come and gone, and now that it’s 2012, the fangirls here at TDF are feeling nostalgic. This week, a few of us will be talking about what we think was the best that 2011 had to offer. First up? Books!

TDF Pamela’s Picks

Late Eclipses and One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire

Late Eclipses & One Salt Sea

Late Eclipses & One Salt Sea

It’s no secret that I adore the October Daye series. I think they’re the best urban fantasy books out right now, and lucky for me, they just keep getting better. Late Eclipses and One Salt Sea were 2011’s installations, and they were both fantastic. Both books delve deeper into Toby as a character, but they also do something amazing: they focus on the kind of supporting characters that would be incidental in other series. I love the supporting cast as much as I love Toby, and I can’t wait until the next book comes out in fall of 2012. It’ll be tough waiting that long for more Toby and Tybalt and Quentin and the Luideag.
Reviewed here and here.

Buy Late Eclipses and One Salt Sea at Amazon

Naamah’s Blessing by Jacqueline Carey

Naamah's Blessing

Naamah's Blessing

The end of a good series is always a little sad. Even though I can go back and read it again, I can’t help wanting more. I devoured Naamah’s Blessing, soaking up Carey’s rich world and fascinating characters. The thing I love most about this series and particularly the final book is its far-flung adventures and beautifully-described places and cultures. I loved how Moirin comes full-circle and atones for her past errors, growing as a character from the naive girl of the Maghuinn Dhonn into the wise young woman who returns to her ancestral home.
Reviewed here.

Buy Naamah’s Blessing at Amazon

Runners Up

Deadline by Mira Grant (Newsflesh #2)
Broken by Susan Jane Bigelow (reviewed here)
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (reviewed here)

Jess’s Picks

(Say hello to our newest reviewer, Jess! -Ed.)

Best Release of 2011: Deadline by Mira Grant

Deadline by Mira Grant

Deadline by Mira Grant

I am a huge fan of Seanan McGuire, who writes the fantastic October Daye series. But I found out about her because of the books she writes under her pen name, Mira Grant. I read the first book in her Newsflesh trilogy, Feed, in 2010 and was immediately hooked. The series is about how society copes in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse, and how bloggers become an integral part of how the world receives news. It is about relationships and love and death and fear and hope and it is AMAZING. Deadline was so good I actually snuck pages on my phone during the workday because I couldn’t stop reading after my lunch break was over. The final installment in the trilogy, Blackout, is due out May 2012. I’m counting the days.

Buy Deadline (Newsflesh, Book 2) at Amazon

Best Debut Novel of 2011: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Blood Red Road is a book with a very unique voice. It was a bit off-putting at first, because there is no punctuation for dialog and the narrative is written in weird dialect. I will be honest, for the first couple of chapters I was convinced it would end up in my Did Not Finish pile. But I pushed through the weirdness and suddenly I couldn’t put it down. It is the first book in a trilogy called The Dustlands, set in a post-apocalyptic dystopian world. I was really into the dystopian fiction in 2011… I blame The Hunger Games. The heroine, Saba, is strong yet flawed, and the world building is very well-done. I highly recommend this stellar debut. The sequel, Rebel Heart, comes out in October 2012.

Buy Blood Red Road at Amazon

Amanda’s Pick

I am J by Cris Beam

This is the first book that I’ve read that deals with trans issues. Beam’s writing style is engaging as well as informative – the reader learns as J learns about the process of transitioning his body from female to male. At the heart of this story is the idea of being true to yourself and loving yourself, which is something that any reader can appreciate. Other issues, such as first relationships, cultural differences (J comes from a Jewish-Hispanic background), self-harm, and just the pain in the ass that is being a teenager, are also addressed in this book. It’s a very engaging read and has a cast of realistic and sympathetic characters that bring life to the story. I would highly recommend it to any teen who may be in the same situation, who knows someone who is trans, or simply who does not understand what it means to be transgender.

Buy I Am J at Amazon

Now we want to know, what were your favorite books from 2011? Tell us in the comments. :)