Today’s post is brought to you by Rida, a new blogger friend of mine whose blog will yield the full force of her enthusiasm and unquenchable thirst for life and books. Okay, Rida, take it away:
When Nafiza asked me to guest post, I was a little nervous, because have you seen this girl’s writing? (Thanks Rida, you are way too nice.) And the vast amount of books she’s read? And me: I only started reading YA this year. But considering the fact that we’ve had some of the best books EVER come out (I’m looking at you, Chime) and, lucky me, the Twilight style tortured-rude-boy-meets-supposedly-plain-girl-forever-love-ensues-OMG type books are receding and there are actual, good paranormals coming out- I couldn’t be happier.
So I told myself I could do it. Nafiza is one of my favourite bloggers, and I really wanted to do this for her. Anyways, I managed to narrow my choices down to a top 5, from Surprising to, er, Most Surprising. I cheated a teeny tiny little bit, as in, there is ONE book that was released in 2010 but I HAD to include it, because dude, this post wouldn’t be a post without including that one book. (Have I created enough suspense? No?)
Okay. *clears throat* Here goes.
5. Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard
I can’t put my finger on what exactly it is I like about this book. The writing, lush and descriptive and engaging? The setting? The characters? Heck, the characters’ names? (I mean, come on. I’d name myself Mandarin if I wasn’t afraid I’d get an identity crisis.) But I can tell you exactly what surprised me: just how much I liked the book.
Like Mandarin is different. It’s unexpected. And it’s unlike anything I’ve read before (and after). I hadn’t expected so much from it.
4. Divergent by Veronica Roth
Yes, there are major plot holes in this one, but there was something about this book. The writing was clean and spare; the action was well-executed, and although I can see Nafiza shaking her head right now, I liked Four. Although I don’t like either of his names.
What surprised me? The honesty. Something about Veronica Roth’s writing voice is so honest that I felt that I just had to keep reading. I may be weird (for more proof, see my tweets. You’ll have enough weirdness to last a lifetime) but that’s the feeling I get whenever I think about Divergent. I didn’t LOVE LOVE LOVE it, but I didn’t hate it, either. I just really liked it, plot holes, weird names and all.
3. The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
See, I love Greek mythology. The gods are so twisted and not-innocent and the myths are so interesting that I was hoping that a YA book would have more room to talk about those grown-up things in a candid way. But what did I get from this book? A chicken-ified, CHASTE Hades named Henry. Hades is NOT innocent and nice, peeps. I mean, HELLO, he’s the god of the effing Underworld.
It wasn’t just Hades Henry that became an I-want-to-talk-about-my-feelings type guy, which I can tell you write now is not something Hades would ever be. ALL the other gods were like that. Thus, I didn’t get what I was looking for in The Goddess Test. Not at all. And well, that’s a surprise, no? I expected so much, and then we’re introduced to this Henry person I can’t even recognize, and my expectations deflate like a balloon. Dang.
2. Chime by Franny Billingsley
I was SO happy when Nafiza named this one the book of the year. Because honestly? It is. I truly believe it’s probably the best book of the year. The writing was so beautiful that I’d look up and be surprised to find myself sitting in my bed, in my world, instead of the one Franny Billinsgley so masterfully created. This is the book I’d push into people’s hands to show them the power of words.
And this is the book that surprised me the most this year, because I thought I was reading some book about witches or… something paranormal. Uh, no. That cover and that summary combined don’t do it justice. I doubt any book and any summary can, actually. Yes, it’s just that awesome.
1. Plain Kate by Erin Bow
You may have noticed that I already told you which book of 2011 surprised me most of all. And you might just be thinking: this Rida girl obviously doesn’t know how to count, because uh, the book that surprised her most of all has already been revealed. So why does this one get the #1 spot? Well, hold on to your horses (or keyboards, rather) you lovely people, because guess what? *jazz hands* This book was released in 2010! Gotcha!
Technically it doesn’t count then, but WHATEVER! Who needs technicalities? Not me! Nuh-uh! Moving on…
I loved everything about this book. Taggle the talking cat, the writing, the setting, the Roamers, the cover, Linay… just, everything. And what surprised me is that I, being ridiculously silly (that is, even sillier than usual) didn’t think I’d love this book. I went into it thinking, MEH. And then I got blown away.
Serves me right for judging a book by the title. Because peeps, this book is NOT plain at all.
So there you have it. A list! Now, please do run off and do some reading and then tell me what you think of these books!