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The Best Books of the Year

December 23rd, 2011 · No Comments · Books

fireworksThe year is just about over, can you believe it? A lot of excellent books were published in 2011, but the teen staff at the library has whittled down the field to what we consider “the best of the year.” Check out the list below, or pick up a paper copy in the teen library. You can also find book recommendations on our LibraryThing. Behold, our best of the year! (Psst…click on the titles to see if it’s checked in and place a hold.)


Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

A plane carrying 50 contestants to the Miss Teen Dream pageant crashes on a deserted island. The surviving girls must decide whether to continue practicing for the pageant or turn their attention to more pressing matters, such as how to collect rainwater with leftover evening gowns and survive the devious traps in store for them. A hilarious read for anyone and everyone who has questioned who they really are meant to be.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Rory, fresh from Louisiana, is spending a year in London at boarding school. Unfortunately, she arrives just as a serial killer starts killing women in much the same way as Jack the Ripper did in the 1800s. One night, Rory sees a man that no one else can see, and suddenly, her life and view of the world change drastically. Who was that invisible man? This book has a great climax and will be part of a series.

Trapped by Michael Northrop

Snow begins falling softly one afternoon, and school is dismissed early. Scotty, Pete, and Jason stay behind, along with four other kids. They have no way of knowing that the snow won’t let up for a week and they are trapped in their high school. They have to keep warm, scavenge for food, and– hopefully– survive.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Jacob grew up with bizarre tales and photographs from his grandfather. Once Jacob sees something unnatural and terrifying attack his grandfather in the woods, he knows he must go to Wales to find the orphanage where his grandfather grew up– Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Will Jacob find the endings to his grandfather’s fantastic stories? The book is peppered with photographs of the peculiar children, borrowed from vintage photograph collectors to illustrate the story.

Matched by Ally Condie

Cassia has always trusted the decisions made for her by the Society, so she is happy to see her best friend Xander’s face on the Matching screen. But for a split second, she sees the face of another boy– could he be her real Match? Now Cassia must choose to follow what’s expected or to follow her heart and defy the Society. Can she choose for herself, or will Society dictate what happens to her? This book is first in a dystopian series.

The Watch That Ends the Night by Allan Wolf

On April 15, 1912, the RMS Titanic sank after colliding with an iceberg. In this book, Allan Wolf interprets the facts into vignettes told from the point of view of passengers, crew, and even the iceberg itself. Chilling, fascinating, and heartbreaking, this is an excellent book to read as we approach the 100th year anniversary of the ship’s sinking. The back matter has a lot of great resources for those seeking additional information.

Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard

Alex, a junior at boarding school, feels guilty for not saving his friend Thomas from drowning. He and friend Glenn, who was also there, lie about their involvement in order to escape expulsion. Alex takes refuge in the library, writing in a journal he keeps hidden there. At the same time, the boys’ young English teacher Miss Dovecott, near the river on the day of the drowning, thinks she knows what really happened, and Glenn insists that she must be stopped at all costs. Will Alex confess, or will Miss Dovecott pay the price?

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

After her parents’ divorce, McLean and her dad move around from town to town. McLean takes the chance to try out different personas in each new place she goes. But this time, McLean really wants to stay in one place, make friends, and be herself. Can she forgive her mother and convince her father to put down roots?

A Monster Calls: inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd by Patrick Ness

Conor O’Malley’s nightmares are real—a terrifying monster constructed from a yew tree visits each night with evidence left behind in the morning. These nightmares begin as big changes happen in his life, including a new school, a distant father, and a mom who has just started cancer treatment. As Conor shoulders these burdens, he becomes more invisible and grief-stricken. Will he be able to deal with all the pain and fear, or will he be crushed by the monster? This book is illustrated with haunting images, making Conor’s situation more real.