VOYA’s Perfect Tens 2011

With over 1,100 reviews in VOYA in print and online in 2011, our reviewers awarded only twenty-four titles the Perfect Ten: a 5Q for quality (hard to imagine it better written) and 5P for popularity (every young adult who reads was dying to read it yesterday). VOYA’s reviewers considered these titles to be the best of the best in 2011. Excerpts from their reviews tell us why.

Ashton, Brodi. Everneath. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2012. 384p. $17.99. 978-0062071132. VOYA December 2011. 5Q 5P J S

“The author brings a fresh, innovative concept to young adult fiction with well-developed characters and a fantastic plot line. Everlivings feed on emotions.” “Mythology is skillfully interwoven with current culture as Nikki’s experience parallels the story of Persephone. This exceptional love story has no happy ending: Jack sacrifices his own life for Nikki to survive. Libraries are advised to buy multiple copies—this one will fly off the shelves!”

Bick, Ilsa. Ashes. Egmont, 2011. 480p. $17.99. 978-1606841754. VOYA October 2011. 5Q 5P M J S A/YA

“Bick takes the best of post-apocalyptic, zombie fiction, and adds . . . the exact thing that has been sorely lacking from those genres: girl power, and in a heaping dose . . . her heroine faces situations that make the Hunger Games look like a tea party.”  “Bick tugs at heartstrings while gearing up for the next dreadful thing waiting around the corner.”

Bogdan, D.L. Rivals in the Tudor Court. Kensington, 2011. 384p. $15. Trade pb. 978-0758242006. VOYA Online July 2011. 5P 5Q S

“In the time of Henry VIII of England, . . . this gripping tale looks into the lives of the people in the thick of Henry’s court, and takes you deep inside the minds of these major players to explore what truly motivated the deaths of several English queens.” “The first-person narrative gives the reader insight into a time very far removed from today’s modern world.”

Clare, Cassandra. Clockwork Prince: The Infernal Devices, Book Two. Margaret K. McElderry/Simon & Schuster, 2011. 528p. $19.99. 978-1416975885. VOYA December 2011. 5Q 5P J S

“From the first page, readers are in the grip of an almost Shakespearean rollercoaster ride with a curse, a betrayal, a death, a secret marriage, a proposal, an impending birth, a long-lost relative, magic, and love—both given and unrequited—and behind the scenes are the Magister and all his clockwork machines and machinations.” “Clare’s books never disappoint, and this one will have readers clamoring for its sequel.”

Dessen, Sarah. What Happened to Goodbye. Viking, 2011. 402p. $19.99.  978-0670012947. VOYA June 2011. 5Q 5P J S

“Dessen scores a three-pointer with this skillfully written novel about family and starting over. Dessen’s prose is clean and focused, the characters are developed and real, and the plot is believable. Mclean’s journey through the healing process after her parents’ divorce provides bibliotherapy for any teen dealing with family issues, and the secondary plot of tentative steps toward trust and friendship is beautiful. . . . This is a must-have for any young adult collection.”

Evanovich, Janet and Alex Evanovich. Troublemaker, Book 1. Dark Horse Books, 2010. 112p. $17.99. 978-1595824882.

Evanovich, Janet and Alex Evanovich. Troublemaker, Book 2. Dark Horse Books, 2010. 112p. $17.99. 978-1595825735. VOYA February 2011. 5Q 5P A/YA [Graphic Format]

The Troublemaker stories feature Barnaby and Hooker from Evanovich’s previous books, Metro Girl (HarperTorch, 2004) and Motor Mouth (HarperCollins, 2006). “The colorful, engaging art compliments the text and adds depth and humor to the story. For teens not familiar with Evanovich’s work, these will be a great introduction to her novels.”

Forman, Gayle. Where She Went. Dutton/Penguin, 2011. 208p. $16.99.  978-0525422945. VOYA June 2011. 5Q 5P S

Forman’s sequel begins three years after her fine novel If I Stay (Dutton/Penguin, 2009/VOYA February 2009) concludes. “Told from Adam’s point of view—one laced with cynicism, desperation, and exhaustion—Forman’s tale is pitch-perfect.” “The set is greater than the sum of its parts—an absolute must-buy for collections serving teens.”

Frost, Helen. Hidden. Farrar, Straus, Giroux/Macmillan, 2011. 160p. $16.99. 978-0374382216. VOYA June 2011. 5Q 5P J

A combination of poetry and prose tells the story of Wren, who, when eight years old, was accidentally kidnapped while she was in the back of her parent’s minivan at a gas station. “Frost is a master at letting each girl’s feelings unfold from when they were eight and when they meet again.” “Teen readers will be intrigued by the kidnapping that opens the story, which is told at a fast pace through straightforward poems.”

Gordon Smith, Alexander. Death Sentence: Escape from Furnace 3. Farrar, Straus, Giroux/Macmillan, 2011. 272p. $15.99. 978-0374324940. VOYA June 2011. 5Q 5P J S

“In this third installment of the Furnace series, Gordon-Smith has pulled out all the stops. It is a tour de force of action and adventure.” “Honestly, this reviewer could not put this book down, having thoroughly enjoyed all of the novels in this series, and will anxiously await the release of Fugitives: Escape from Furnace 4, due winter 2012.”

Grant, Michael. Fear: A Gone Novel. Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins, 2012. 576p. $17.99. 978-0061449154. VOYA October 2011. 5Q 5P J S

In the fifth entry in a series of six books, a few of the original puzzles are solved, and new queries are ready to take their place. Readers discover what has been happening outside the dome, but it raises deeper questions about life before the FAYZ. “Fans can count on more excellent storytelling, multidimensional characters who continue to develop in unexpected ways, and some mighty fine eye-popping moments.”

Harrington, Hannah. Saving June. Harlequin Teen, 2011. 376p. $18.99. 978-0373210244. VOYA June 2011. 5Q 5P S A/YA

Harper embarks on a road trip to California with her friends, Laney and Tyler, to scatter her older sister’s ashes into the Pacific Ocean. Along the way, they encounter adventure among their far-flung friends and acquaintances. Just when you discover Tyler’s connection to Harper’s sister, the climax takes the reader on a gigantic twist. “Saving June should become a movie someday—it even includes a soundtrack.”

Hopkins, Ellen. Perfect. Margaret K. McElderry/Simon & Schuster, 2011. 640p. $18.99. 978-1-4169-8324-8. VOYA October 2011. 5Q 5P S

In a companion to Impulse (Simon & Schuster, 2007/VOYA February 2007), parents, siblings, love interests, and outliers all thrust frank judgment on the characters. “Her writing conveys teenage quandaries with all of the intended consequences, as the verse style only serves to shock as the events unfold. The ill-fated conclusion continues to establish Hopkins as a realist, someone with vested concern for the challenges teens face daily from cyberbullying, to dating violence, sexual orientation, prejudice, and fractured families.”

Lu, Marie. Legend. Putnam/Penguin, 2011. 336p. $17.99. 978-0399256752. October 5Q 5P J S

“Day is just fifteen years old, but he is the Republic’s most wanted criminal. . . . The themes of Legend—fairness and rebellion—will resonate with a broad range of teens and tweens, providing them a well-written, emotionally satisfying read. A fast-paced blend of action and science fiction (with only a hint of potential romance) means that this one will likely appeal to male and female readers alike.”

Meloy, Colin. Wildwood. Illus. by Carson Ellis. Balzer & Bray, 2011. 560p. $17.99. 978-0062024688. VOYA August 2011. 5Q 5P M J S

A murder of crows descends and carries infant Mac off into the Impassable Wilderness and his sister Prue bicycles off to find him. “Fantasy lovers of all ages will be enthralled by fast-moving plot lines, evocative descriptions, and smart, snappy dialogue.” “Meloy smartly weaves realism and the otherworldly, building suspense and adding elements of surprise as the novel comes to a satisfying conclusion. . . . Ellis’s trademark detailed ink–and-gouache illustrations draw the reader deeper into this fully realized world.”

Meyer, Marissa. Cinder: The Lunar Chronicles. Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, 2012. 400p. $17.99. 978-0312641894. VOYA December 2011. 5Q 5P J S

“Readers know the elements of the story before they open the book. What they do not know until they begin turning the pages of this fable-turned-dystopian-science-fiction novel, is that Meyer’s embellishments create a spellbinding story of their own.” “The book will appeal to fans of twisted fairy tales, techno-thrillers, romance novels, and well-plotted suspense. Although the happy ending beckons, the story does not end with the final pages, a welcome promise that Cinder will return with more unimagined chapters in a story as old as time.”

Palma, Felix J. The Map of Time. Atria/Simon & Schuster. 624p. $26. 978-1439167397. VOYA Online August 2011. 5Q 5P S

“Felix J. Palma has created a gripping historical fantasy that mingles fictional characters with real ones in Victorian London, and has created a real sense of time travel for 21st-century readers. . . . a thrilling page-turner—from Victorian England to Jack the Ripper to missing moments by mere seconds, teens (and adults alike) will be intrigued by the lyrical storytelling and the extreme attention to detail that glues together this intense thriller which asks the question: What happens if we change history?”

Riggs, Ransom. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Quirk, 2011. 352p. $17.99.  978-1594744761. VOYA June 2011. 5Q 5P M J S

A mysterious death, cryptic clues, and unseen monsters haunt Jacob after the brutal death of his grandfather. “Riggs delves into an edge-of-your-seat adventure exploring a world just below the surface of our own, only frozen in time to save the children from the dangers that surround them. With real vintage photos of the ‘peculiar’ children and action-packed text, this is sure to get even your most reluctant reader to whiz through the pages.”

Scott, Kieran. He’s So Not Worth It. Simon & Schuster, 2011. 368p. $16.99.  978-1416999539. VOYA June 2011. 5Q 5P J S

“Readers looking for something with just the right blend of old-fashioned angst, tangled relationships, and romantic troubles for the teens and their parents, will do cartwheels while enjoying every page of this book.” Following She’s So Dead to Us (Simon & Schuster, 2010), this entry realistically adds underage drinking and evidence of sexual activity to help create another layer of drama. “The repercussions, both large and small, are hinted at but not fully revealed, making for a slam-dunk, cliffhanger ending.”

Slater, Adam. The Shadowing: Hunted. Egmont, 2011. 208p. $16.99. 978-1606842614. VOYA October 2011. 5Q 5P M J S

Callum has always been able to see ghosts, and also has what he refers to as “the Luck,” a sixth sense that warns him about trouble. “There is almost nonstop action from the first page and the tension builds steadily to the last. Fans of the paranormal will scoop this up and be clamoring for the sequel, including the most reluctant readers.”

Wallace, Jason. Out of Shadows. Holiday House, 2011. 282p. $17.95. 978-0823423422. VOYA August 2011. 5Q 5P M J S A/YA

Racial tensions are simmering as thirteen-year-old Robert Jacklin arrives at a prestigious boarding school in Zimbabwe in the 1980s. “Wallace’s book is devastatingly stunning. . .  The book never fades or lets up, even when it threatens to boil over into a political thriller. It is an unflinching look at hatred and the human damage it leaves in its wake.”

Yep, Laurence.  City of Ice. Starscape/Tor/Forge, 2011. 384p. $17.99. 978-0765319258. VOYA Online July 2011. 5Q 5P M J S

“For those who loved City of Fire (Tor, 2009/VOYA December 2009), book one of Yep’s City Trilogy, this second volume will not disappoint.”  “. . . fast-moving fantasy adventure . . . The reader becomes immersed in the elaborately complex saga complete with its intriguing narrative and intricate characters. . . . Yep has displayed his considerable skill in building a magnificent adventure, mixing both history and fantasy.”

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  1. […] of over 1100 reviews of books for teens in 2011, VOYA reviewers only awarded 24 books perfect tens.  That means they scored a perfect 5 in both quality and popularity.  A rare thing […]

  2. VOYA’s Perfect Tens 2010 | Vancouver Island Regional Library | BiblioCommons « Teens @ Vancouver Island Regional Library says:

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