Back to the Bookshelf!

Reviews of books, movies, and more

Top 10 of ’11: Best Books I’ve Read This Year

Happy New Year!

Although my published book reviews are few (after all, I’ve only been blogging for a few weeks!), the number of books I’ve read this year is nothing to sneeze at: 68 since January 2011. I’ve gone through the list of books read to find my favorites – not necessarily published this year, just ones I have read.

And the winners are… *drumroll please*…

(in the order I read them):

Matched by Ally Condie

A dystopia in the tradition of The Giver with the addition of a sweet romance, Matched captured me with its poetic story. I can’t wait to read and review the sequel, Crossed, but I’m still #8 on the library waitlist so…




Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund

I was attracted by the pretty cover, but once I got to the mention of spaceships on the first page, I was hooked. It’s so rare to find YA sci-fi that isn’t dystopian or post-apocolyptic. Still, the focus is firmly on the characters. Ms. Osterlund switches back and forth between Aerin and Dane’s perspective with ease, gradually revealing details about their tortured pasts. Sequels plz?



The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Proof that not everything I read is YA, this book was recommended to me by a friend. It’s a novel told entirely in letters, diary entries, etc., and centers around the denizens of a little-known British island occupied by the Germans in World War II. Well worth the read!



Everlasting by Angie Frazier

To say I adored this book is an understatement. I didn’t want it to end…but read it far too quickly. I couldn’t help myself. Everlasting is an adventurous blend of historical detail and the supernatural in the tradition of Pirates of the Caribbean or Indiana Jones. In the 1840s, Camille journeys to Australia in search of a mystical object said to resurrect the dead. Along the way she develops feelings for a young sailor, despite the fact that she has an arranged marriage waiting for her back home. Sadly, I found the sequel rather lackluster.


Entwined by Heather Dixon

I’ve read many retellings of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and this has to be among my favorites. The sisters have never felt so individualized, or the villain so menacing. It’s also set in an interesting 19th-century environment.




Wings by Aprilynne Pike

It’s like Twilight with fairies, but better than I made that sound. I loved the way the book unfolded, so I don’t want to give a more detailed description. I didn’t like the sequels quite as much, but it’s still a good series.




Exile by Anne Osterlund

Congrats, Ms. Osterlund – you have two books on my list. Exile is actually the sequel to Aurelia. Aurelia left me feeling rather “meh” Β but a friend urged me to read the second book, saying that it was much better. It was. The adventures of Aurelia-the-ever-feisty and Robert-of-the-kind-blue-eyes held me to the last page.



Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

It’s a complicated time travel adventure involving ghosts, tangled family trees, witty humor, and multiple costume changes. My biggest complaint is the abrupt ending…still waiting for the two sequels to be translated from German to English and published across the pond!



River of Time: Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergen

This book took a rather long time to grab me, in part due to my own reluctance, but in the end, I loved it. Gabi and her sister fall back in time to medieval Italy. She gets involved the politics and warfare, falls in love…and she still has to find her sister and get back home to the 21st century, if she even wants to. The two sequels are fantastic, too. I bought this book for $8 on Kindle, but now it’s only a dollar on Amazon, meaning there is absolutely no reason not to read this book!


Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn

This is a beautifully-written fantasy and coming-of-age story in which Corie finds that not everything in her world is as it seems. I’ll definitely check out more by this author in the future.




6 of these books were borrowed from the library.

4 of these books were read on Kindle.

1 of these books I bought from a physical bookstore.

I’m nothing if not cheap…

Have a Happy New Year!


9 comments on “Top 10 of ’11: Best Books I’ve Read This Year

  1. ameliaclaire92
    December 30, 2011

    I read The Guersney Literary and Potato Peel Society a few months back. Such a great read! πŸ™‚

  2. Lizzy
    January 31, 2012

    I actually thought Academy 7 and Entwined were sort of mediocre. They were fun to read, but they were not my favorites. Summers at Castle Auburn, however, was fantastic, and you should definitely check out her other books. If you want a stand alone I recommend Troubled Waters

    • backtothebookshelf
      January 31, 2012

      Thanks! Sharon Shinn’s published a lot so it’s nice to have a recommendation. I’ll look for Troubled Waters.

  3. beckyday6
    May 6, 2012

    Hmmmm…interesting you put Matched on here. I have to say I was fairly underwhelmed. When I first started it I was captured by the story and I thought I was onto a winner, but as it went on I found myself less interested and I got a little bored. I’m not too sure whether I will be reading the next book in the series yet…
    It is of course, all down to personal taste though! πŸ™‚

    • backtothebookshelf
      May 6, 2012

      I did really enjoy Matched, although I agree it’s not perfect. It’s been a while since I’ve read it, but I do plan on re-reading it and then finishing the series. πŸ™‚

  4. Pingback: Review: Crossed by Ally Condie « Back to the Bookshelf!

  5. Pingback: Top 10 of ’12: Best Books I’ve Read This Year « Back to the Bookshelf!

  6. Pingback: Top 7 of ’13: Best Books I’ve Read This Year | Back to the Bookshelf!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on December 30, 2011 by in 5 Stars, Best Read This Year, Books, Young Adult.
%d bloggers like this: