Here we go. And please do share with me YOUR favourite reads of the year so far, whether they were published in 2011 or not.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - I'd heard such things about Anna and the French Kiss around Christmas of last year and I became absolutely MADLY excited about reading it. When I won a gift voucher in another blogger's giveaway, there was absolutely NO question about what I would spend it on. Even holding the book in my hands when it arrived sent little thrills of excitement through me. Of course I was worried that this book wouldn't live up to the hype and my huge expectations, but I dove straight in and wasn't at all disappointed.
I found Anna and the French Kiss to be absolutely sweet and romantic. It was heartbreaking and awkward and so very close to absolute perfection. Stephanie Perkins wrote her characters so well. I loved both Anna and Etienne and I am now DYING to visit Paris and to be swept away into all the sights and sounds that Anna and Etienne shared. Whenever I think of this book, it just makes me smile. This book makes my heart happy.
Wood Angel by Erin Bow - What an absolutely MAGICAL book Wood Angel is. I wrote about this book earlier in the year as a book that I just couldn't stop thinking about. I still can't. I love it so much and I struggle sometimes to describe just how much and for what reason I love this book so much. I think it's just something about Erin Bow's beautiful writing style together with fabulously crafted characters and how conflicted and complex they are.
I love the fantasy world that is created, and especially ESPECIALLY the absolutely fantastic talking cat, Taggle. Taggle just stole my heart and ran away with it. I sobbed messy tears reading the end to Wood Angel as so much of this book is about loneliness and friendship and love and sacrifice. Such a beautiful book this one, well-deserved addition to my favourite books so far list!
Where She Went by Gayle Forman - There's something so absolutely heartbreaking about Where She Went. I was so worried that nothing could come close to the emotional impact that If I Stay had on me, but Gayle Forman really surpassed herself with this sequel. I loved being inside Adam's head as he dealt with the events of If I Stay. I loved the awkward relationship he had with Mia and the huge, gaping holes between them as their lives grew apart. That scene on the bridge, after a night spent in each other's company pretending that nothing had happened between them but each still carrying around so many feelings left unsaid, was absolute perfection.
Returning to these fantastic characters, with Gayle Forman's beautiful writing style, set in New York and with so much heartbreak and pain made Where She Went an easy, easy choice for my top 10. Once I began this book, nothing would have gotten in my way until I'd finished it.
Rockoholic by CJ Skuse - This one took me completely by surprise. I really didn't think that I'd love Rockoholic as much as I did, but as soon as I started reading it I was utterly gripped by the characters and the terrible mistakes and the emotion of this book. (How does one accidentally kidnap a rock star?!) I love the feeling of grief and how lost that Jody feels after the death of her grandfather. Jody absolutely tugged at my heartstrings all the way through. Everything about her felt so realistic and believable, from her obsession with her favourite singer to her friendship with Mac, her best friend.
What's wonderful about Rockoholic and why this book makes it on my top 10 books I've read this year is because of the absolutely memorable and fantastic characters we come across, from Jody and Mac. To Jackson, drugged out rock star and especially, especially Cree. So lifelike, all of these characters. And such a fun and interesting story.
Divergent by Veronica Roth - This is a hard one to talk about. My love for Divergent knows no limits, and yet, I still haven't written my review of the book months after reading it. Sometimes I find it hard to put into words how blown away I am by a story and that is certainly true for this book.
There was so much hype surrounding this book that I almost didn't want to read straight away. But I remember reading the first page just to test the waters and I was instantly hooked. I took the book on the train with me that day on my way to a book event. And despite it being incredibly late when that had finished, I remember thinking 'phew, now I can back to my book' and I stayed up the rest of the night reading it. I was a wreck the following morning but it was so worth it.
Divergent is so exciting and emotional. There's heart-stopping action and romance and I love it to absolute bits. I'm not normally a re-reader, but I'm holding onto my copy of this because already I have that itch to come back to Tris and Four and read their stories all over again.
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini - Oh man, I didn't see this one coming. I hadn't really heard much about Starcrossed before I was lucky enough to swap for it on a bookswapping website I use. I just loved the sound of the premise and figured that it'd be exciting and romantic. It turned out to be both those things and so much more.
I really do love the books that I intended to just pick up and read a few pages, killing time. And instead I get entirely swept away into the characters and the story. It seems to be a theme amongst this list of favourites of the year so far. And why not? A story so thrilling that I want to put my entire daily routine on hold? Yes please.
And Starcrossed is so utterly heartbreaking and epic in scope. I love the Greek myths, I love the superpowers, I love the mystery and the action. In short, I loved everything about it except the fact that it ended and I'm left waiting desperately for the next book in the series!
Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott - Here's a book that just has everything. Zoe Marriott blew me away with the beautiful retelling of Cinderella. If I were to list the many things I loved about Shadows on the Moon, I might never finish this post!
In short, I loved the setting. A fantasy Japan? How utterly perfect. A retelling of a classic story but with a strong female character who doesn't need anyone to save her but herself? I'm so behind that. A complex relationship between a mother and daughter? Rip my heart out, why don't you, but yes. A wonderful, heartfelt story about grief and identity and self-harm? I could cry at how perfect this book is for me. And to top it all off, there's a romance that made me *swoon* and secondary characters that made me giddy with excitement.
I love this book so much. There almost aren't enough words for me to describe it.
Going Bovine by Libba Bray - As you can probably tell from this list so far, most of this list contains very newly published books. Aside from Anna and the French Kiss which was only published (I believe?) December of last year, the rest of my selections have been published in 2011. I think my reading habits have severely changed since book blogging and since I review for so many different publishers now. I think I often believe I don't have as much time to read my OWN books and that just isn't true. Or if it is, it shouldn't be.
Because then otherwise I might have missed out on the utter brilliance and genius that is Going Bovine by Libba Bray. Never have I come across a book so utterly bizarre but also emotional, sweet and intelligent as this book. I am in awe of Libba Bray over this book. How on earth did she do it? She brought together the most fun characters ever and puts them all in the craziest of situations and talks about love and death and friendship in such a way that will make me think about Going Bovine in the most unlikeliest of moments for many, many years to come. This book will stay with me.
Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck - This is one of the most recent books that I've read this year that has made it on the list. I think that most of what I love about the book was already mentioned in my review, but here are the main bits: I love setting. Writing this list has really made me become a bit more aware of how much an awesome setting affects how I feel about a book. For a lot of the story, we're in India and I love learning more about a different culture than the one I'm in at the moment. I loved hearing the different Indian myths and some of the goddesses of the Hindu religion.
And aside from India, that Kelsey lives in Oregon. How *homesick* I felt reading about my old home state. There are some really great characters - I loved Mr Kadam and especially Ren and Kishan and both of their complicated relationships with Kelsey. The action and the romance are both balanced nicely within the story and oh my god, it is such addictive reading that I put everything on hold until I'd finished the book. And rushed immediately into the sequel, Tiger's Voyage which is just as amazing as this book.
I'm in love.
Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson - I feel that including this book in my Top Ten so far list is slightly cheating as the book will not be published until next month, but I've read it, so I'm going to include it! The thing with this book is that I knew that I would love it. I'd read a super early review of it and everything that was mentioned just made me think 'OOOH' and also *excited* So when I did recieve my copy of Hunting Lila, I made time for it right away. And I wasn't at all disappointed.
I really loved how reading about how much Lila struggled. With her telekinesis and the morality of using it. I loved how she struggled in terms of her overwhelming feelings for her brother's best friend, Alex, and how she tried not to be that girl who falls over herself over a boy. But she also tries to figure things out for herself and in the process of solving this mystery of who killed her mother, Lila gets herself into some sticky situations. The twists and the turns in the plot surprised me each and every time. This felt like such a rollercoaster ride of a story and I was left breathless and excited at each one of them!
And that's it for me! What have been YOUR favourite reads of the year so far?