Hi! Today we have here Inês, who is telling what amazing books she read in 2011...I hope you enjoy and get some new books to add to your TBR pile!
Five YA Books that Blew My Mind in 2011
Buying a Kindle was either the most brilliant purchase I have ever made or the one most likely to bankrupt me sometime in a near future. Maybe it was both. But my awesome Kindle of awesomeness did allow me to read some great books last year. Looking back at the list I found a (not) surprisingly large number of YA. My excuse is it keeps me young at heart ;) Here are some of the great YA books I read last year!
Zoe's Tale - John Scalzi
I would give an arm and a leg to be able to write like John Scalzi. To the best of my knowledge, this is the only one of his books that falls into the YA category, and it is such a brilliant read. Written in first person, it tells the story of Zoe, a normal fourteen year-old girl whose parents happen to be a former space marine well over 80 years of age (though you wouldn't know it by looking at him), and a genetically engineered former space soldier who has just recently stopped being green and whose age is probably still not in the double digits. Also, Zoe is worshipped as a deity by an entire alien race. Zoe's Tale is clever, funny, and incredibly touching at times. Not a lot of books about space colonization and intergalactic war make me burst out crying in the middle of the subway, but this one managed to!
Divergent - Veronica Roth
I absolutely loved this book. Due to all the hype around The Hunger Games, a lot of YA dystopias have sprung up like mushrooms all over the place, often of varying quality, but this is definitely a novel I'd recommend. In Divergent's world, people belong to five different factions: Abnegation, Candour, Amity, Dauntless and Erudite. When someone turns 16, they must then choose a faction, which determines where they will live, what skills they will learn and the place they will occupy in society. More than a portrait of a society - though it was that too - Divergent deals mostly with growing up, the bonds that connect us to other people and the nature of courage. Tris is a brilliant character, both likable and well-rounded. She's deeply flawed in many ways, but that's part of what makes her incredibly relatable.
Enclave - Ann Aguirre
I'm not usually someone who cares too much about worldbuilding in a book. For me it's simply there, in the background, not drawing much attention to itself. But in the case of Ann Aguirre's Enclave, it was the worldbuilding that really drew me in. In this post-apocalyptic novel, most surviving human beings were driven underground and now live in abandoned subway tunnels. We follow the journey of Deuce, the heroine, out of the tunnels and into the surface where, together with her companion Fade, she must find shelter and a surviving human colony. The journey through the ruins of New York reminded me a lot of Fallout, with glimpses into a past that the audience recognizes, even if Deuce does not. The ending of the book felt a bit rushed and anti-climatic, but despite that it is still a great novel and one I highly recommend.
Unwind - Neal Shusterman
Imagine if abortions were illegal but people had the choice of having their kids "unwound" during their teens and their parts used by other human beings. The logic behind this is that since the entirety of these teenagers still exists (albeit chopped off and their body parts used for transplants), they aren't actually dead. This is the premise of Unwind, a book that follows three kids on the run from the government after their parents or guardians signed the unwind order. The world of the book is close enough to our own that it creates a chilling effect - yeah, it hasn't happened here, but it could. Unwind also includes one of the most claustrophobic, disturbing and yet well-executed scenes I've ever read, where the author describes, from the point of view of a kid being unwound, the entire process.
A Clockwork Prince - Cassandra Clare
To be completely honest, I prefer Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments books to A Clockwork Prince, but I suspect that may be simply due to the fact that in the TMI series I knew from the start who the heroine would end up with. In a Clockwork Prince, it's anyone's guess what will happen in the end and it is driving me crazy! I hate love triangles, this one might just be the death of me! On the plus side, Will and Jem have the loveliest, most awesome relationship ever (I have yet to see a book not greatly enhanced by the addition of a little bromance). The best thing about A Clockwork Prince: more Magnus Bane. The worst thing about A Clockwork Prince: not nearly enough Magnus Bane.
Inês Simão is an online copywriter for Auto Europe UK. In her free time she enjoys readings books with magic, explosions, a combination of the two, or books where everyone talks like a Jane Austen character. She's also been known to spend far too much time online and is largely ruled by the whims of the two felines she shares a house with. Check out her Twitter or Facebook.