2011 End of Year Book Survey

Posted December 29, 2011 by Jana in Uncategorized / 6 Comments


1. Best Book You Read In 2011?
I’d have to say that Anna and the French Kiss was my favorite book this year. It was really the book that turned me on to not only young adult contemporary, but contemporary fiction in general. I’ve always thought of reading as an escape from my life, so I’d read a dystopia, historical, paranormal, etc. Reading about the impossible or the “once upon a time” made me leave my own life and become immersed in another. Because of that, I’d never been interested in reading anything that took place right now. Then it wasn’t an escape, and I’d be reading about someone like my next door neighbors, or my students. Contemporary is an escape, though! I’d like to thank Stephanie Perkins for showing me that.

2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?
Halo, by Alexandra Adornetto disappointed me beyond anything I could have imagined. If you head over to The Broke and The Bookish, you will find all the reasons why I disliked this book so much.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?
Delirium surprised me the most! The hype that surrounded this book had me worried I’d be extremely disappointed. I was also pretty leery of reading a dystopian that marked love as a disease. I worried it would be really sad, or really dumb. Or both. Oliver’s writing is amazing, though, and I ended up really loving it! And, when you think about it, love really can be a disease. Breaking up sucks and leaves you depressed for a LONG time, and sometimes being in love makes you do really weird things. It’s pretty awesome, though, once you’ve found it. Just like Oliver’s characters, I think the positives of love outweigh the negatives. :)

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?
Haha. I have been singing praises for Anna and the French Kiss for months now. I really can’t be quiet about it. But hey. It did get me started on a whole new genre, which made my TBR list grow exponentially in a matter of weeks.

5. Best series you discovered in 2011?
Lauren Oliver’s Delirium series… Ally Condie’s Matched Series… Lauren DeStefano’s Wither series… Sophie Jordan’s Firelight series… It was a good year for series! Or, trilogies, rather. I’d love more stand-alones for 2012!

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?
Stephanie Perkins, Lauren Oliver, Rachel Cohn, David Levithan, Maureen Johnson, John Green. I made so many discoveries this year!!

7.  Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
Someday My Prince Will Come, by Jerramy Fine. It was my very first memoir, and while it was cute, I had a hard time supporting some of her decisions. I did decide, though, that memoirs are worth paying attention to, and I have my eye on several more!

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?
OH MAN. This is really hard. Haha. Learning to Swim, by Sara J. Henry was intense, and I was dying to know what happened! Picture this… you’re on a ferry, it’s crispy cold outside, and in the distance you see a bundle thrown off the back of another ferry at the exact moment you pass it. It could have been trash, right? Or a hoodie that blew off the deck. But no, you just can’t shake the feeling that it is so much worse than that. Without thinking you, not even a very good swimmer, jump into the frigid Lake Champlain and make a beeline for the diminishing ripples in the water where the mysterious bundle hit moments before. As you frantically search the murky waters around you, your eyes meet the eyes of a scared, drowning little boy. You grab him, swim a grueling one-mile swim, hoping to avoid the hypothermia creeping into your very bones, and pull him to the rocky shore. He’s not breathing, so you try to remember the CPR lesson you had a LONG time ago. You succeed. He’s breathing. As his eyes open, he looks at you, lets out a little sigh, rests his sleepy head on your arm, and murmurs, “Merci.”Ahhhh! This is what happened to the main girl, and from here on out the craziness happens, and it was this really intriguing mystery with some suspense. LOVED IT. And I SO did not expect it. I’d never heard about this book, so when I was asked to read it, I was worried. It was pretty amazing, though.

9. Book you most anticipated in 2011?
I was really excited for the end of the Hourglass Door series, by Lisa Mangum. It’s called The Forgotten Locket. Books one and two in the trilogy ended in major cliffhangers, and I was so excited to see how everything was wrapped up.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011? .
Forever, by Maggie Stiefvater, has such awesome vector images. Wither, by Lauren DeStefano, has really great typography. Halo, by Alexandra Adornetto has the most beautiful cover, though, which is sad because of how disappointed in the book I was.

11. Most memorable character in 2011?
It’s really hard to pick just one. My characters are my friends! There’s Lily, from Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares. She is absolutely hilarious, not to mention smart and bookish. And then there was Jubilee from Let it Snow. She’s also really quirky and completely adorable. Jacinda from Firelight was a dragon! That’s pretty groundbreaking. I’ll never forget Anna, and her life that I seriously wish I had. Carrie, from Carrie Goes Off the Map is also pretty awesome. She got back at her ex-fiance by crashing his wedding and destroying a really expensive floral arrangement with a hose! Loved her for that. Marian from Marian’s Christmas Wish got this amazing fairytale. Man, if only I could pick one of these people and live their life for a day! I read a lot of strong female characters, which I think I TOTALLY needed.

12. Most beautifully written book in 2011?
I have always loved Maggie Stiefvater’s writing, so Forever would be my choice. Although… Syrie James’s writing is also amazing. Nocturne is a close tie, but I think Forever pulls ahead just a bit.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011?
This might sound a little weird, but it was a book I read with one of my reading students. It’s called The Kid Who Ran for President. The book is not what had such an impact on me, but the experience I had while reading it. When I started working with this student, she was timid and didn’t like reading much at all. As we read this book together, we had so many awesome conversations. She’s from Mexico, where things are so much different. I learned a lot about the tough life she had led, her family issues, and how at 11, she was almost the mother of her younger siblings. We really bonded, and I grew to love her a lot. She moved on to junior high, and I’m not sure she’ll remember this experience. I hope she does, though, because I watched this book change her life. She became a better reader, and we became great friends. She grew more self-confident, and she smiled so much more. This was one of those times that I re-discovered how important books are, and how I had taken advantage of the fact that I could read with ease.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read?
Pretty much every book I read this year was published either this year or last year. Or else it wasn’t particularly noteworthy. I did read Dance Through Time, by Lynn Kurland. It’s almost 12 years old, and I loved it! I’m working my way through Pride and Prejudice right now, but it’s taking me some time. I’m really surprised that it has taken me this long to begin it, considering how long it’s been around, and how long it’s been on my TBR list. Loving it so far!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011?
Ok, so funny story time! I found a quote from Dash and Lily that I absolutely loved. I loved it so much that I posted it to Facebook as my status. Here it is:

“You think fairy tales are only for girls? Here’s a hint—ask yourself who wrote them. I assure you, it wasn’t just the women. It’s the great male fantasy—all it takes is one dance to know that she’s the one. All it takes is the sound of her song from the tower, or a look at her sleeping face. And right away you know—this is the girl in your head, sleeping or dancing or singing in front of you. Yes, girls want their princes, but boys want their princesses just as much. And they don’t want a very long courtship. They want to know immediately.”

The girls were all like, “Oh my gosh, I love this! Where is it from?” And the boys were like, “Not true. This is so wrong. I don’t want a snobby, stuck up, selfish princess. I am not looking for a girl who wants me to worship the ground she walks on.” The girls saw the symbolism, and the boys just didn’t get it at all, hence the reason they are boys. I loved this so much because it is SO true! So many of the guys I know want exactly what this quote says. It was nice to see that we girls are not blinded by some illusion of perfection. Guys are too.

16. Book That You Read In 2011 That Would Be Most Likely To Reread In 2012?
Let it Snow, by Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Lauren Myracle. It’s such a sweet Christmas read, and those are hard to come by. I know I will want to read it again next December.

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
Oooo… Tricky. Haha. At the end of Nightshade (Book #2 in the Poison Diaries series), by Maryrose Wood, I just wanted to die of frustration and eagerness to find out what happened next. One of the worst cliffhangers ever. Same with Delirium. I wanted to die at the end of that also. The problem with Nightshade, though, was that I know nobody who has read it! So I couldn’t vent to anyone, or I would have spoiled it entirely. So I had to suffer in silence. I ended up venting to the publicist for the series, and she felt exactly the same way. It felt good to get it out. lol.

Book Blogging Life in 2011

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2011?
I am limiting myself to only one favorite, or I know I would go on and on and on with this answer. I have met so many new bloggers and found awesome new blogs to follow since I started this blog a month and a half ago. I love Magan and Estelle’s blog, Rather be Reading. I just recently discovered it, but I absolutely love it! Magan and I actually discussed on Twitter how we’re pretty much the same ages and have the same taste in books, which equals perfection. So we either agree with whatever the other posted, or we put the book on our to-read list. They are definitely at the top of my list of blogs to visit everyday. Estelle and I kept reading the same books all December, so it has been really fun hearing her thoughts on the books I’ve been reading too! It’s like a buddy read, but BETTER.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2011?
Halo, by Alexandra Adornetto. This sounds so sad, but because I disliked it so much, my review was really fueled by that passion. I said exactly what I wanted to say in the exact way I wanted to say it. I also had a lot of people who agreed with me, which made me feel better about having a hard time loving it. I also really enjoyed my review of Nocturne, by Syrie James because I had a bit of a Q&A session with her, so I incorporated her answers to my questions within the review. It made for an awesome post!

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
My blog is such a little baby, that I haven’t really had any discussions on here yet. This is a goal for 2012. I did recently discuss Bookish Bad Habits, which was fun. I got quite a few responses on here and on Twitter. Earlier in the year, over at The Broke and The Bookish, I posted something on my job as a reading teacher, and how so many people are unable to read these days because of language problems, technology, etc. It spurred a really cool conversation about illiteracy, and how to prevent it. It loved it, and had no idea it would get so much attention!

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
Over at The Perpetual Page-Turner, Jamie posted a letter to her young blogging self. She posted it around the same time I began this blog, and I enjoyed reading the advice she had for me. It helped me set some of my fears and concerns aside, and just enjoy blogging.

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
Well… it wasn’t an event really… but I got the very first ARC of Forbidden, by Syrie and Ryan James. I loved that I was one of the very first people to read Forbidden for the purpose of enjoyment (rather than editing, etc.) My review is right here.

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2011?
When I started my own blog here! I was so excited! My blog is not even a month old yet (as I write this), and I have already met so many amazing people! AND… Shortly after I started this blog, I read Carrie Goes Off the Map by Philippa Ashley. I’m quoted on her website!! (See it? I’m the first comment under the picture of Carrie Goes Off the Map!) I was SO EXCITED!! I took a screen shot of it. lol.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
My Top Ten Books on My To-Read List for Winter. I got 25 comments! That was pretty exciting for me. :)

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Probably my review of Marian’s Christmas Wish. I really loved that book, and wish that more people had expressed interest in it!

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Hmmm… I’d have to say my discovery of NetGalley has proven to be extremely amazing. I’ve gotten to read and review so many books that aren’t out yet… plus, they are free! Oh, Kindle. That was also an amazing bookish discovery. I love mine, especially since I can read with gloves now! Kindle + NetGalley = best things ever.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I’m still working on the Goodreads College Students Fall/Winter 2011 challenge. It ends in February, and I’m loving it so much! Here’s my list of challenge reads. I’m going to do more challenges in the future. I did, however, reach my goal of 35+ books for the year on the Goodreads 2011 reading challenge, which surpassed last year’s goal.

Looking Ahead…

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2011 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2012?
The Watchtower, by Lee Carroll. I read the first book, Black Swan Rising, last year, and I loved it. I was SO wanting a sequel. When I found out they were releasing one, I pre-ordered it immediately. I thought for sure I would have had time to read it by now! I bought it in August!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2012?
PANDEMONIUM!!!! Seriously, I hardly had to think about that one. Oh, but Isla… Oh, this question just got trickier.

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2012?
Well, I want to surpass my number of books read in 2011, for sure! I want to read 50 or 60 in 2012. I also want to really get this blog going. I’m SO excited for the reviews that will be going up in January and February. I want to reach over 100 followers, and start hosting giveaways and events. I love book blogging, and can’t wait to love it even more!

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6 responses to “2011 End of Year Book Survey

  1. Clearly I share your love for Stephanie Perkins. We couldn’t be friends if that weren’t true. (kidding) I did not, however, love Delirium. I wish I did, and seriously think I should re-read. I read it RIGHT AFTER my favorite two dystopias – the Hunger games trilogy and the first book in the Divergent series. I think I should have allowed for a break in that genre and I would have loved Delirium more. I loved the concept and was so excited to read it; the writing was simply what dragged for me. Maybe I’ll re-read it in 2012?

    I concur with all of your favorite authors. Most of those were brand new to me in 2011, and they made a huge impact on my reading year. I just pre-ordered John Green’s new January 2012 release and I’m so anxious to receive it. His books are so good that I know I’ll want a hard copy instead of the kindle/e-book version.

    As someone who just finished Dash and Lily a few days ago, I absolutely loved that passage in the book as well. The whole book had me laughing out loud, which made my husband ask if I was laughing at him. I practically read all of the first chapter so he’d understand the synopsis and style of the book. I read him several passages throughout the whole thing. Gosh, I loved the book!

    I’m super flattered that you mentioned us. I feel like a little kid with wide-eyes openly gawking at all the shiny book blogs there are out there. Most days I’m trying to figure out how to type a review and effectively communicate how I feel. I’m so, so glad that we’ve become friends and we can continue to bounce books (and life things) back and forth. It really means a lot to have made a great friend through this. What we’re doing is not for nothing because we’ve made great friendships. :)

    Ok, so to hit your 50 or 60 books in 2012, I’ll be passing along any GREAT books that I come across. Hopefully it will keep the momentum going and you, E, and I can see our baby blogs grow.


    (and please excuse the novel I’ve now left in your comments)

  2. I do think Delirium deserves a second chance. The Hunger Games is hard to follow, and I have not read Divergent yet, but based on the reviews I’ve read I bet it’s hard to follow as well! The writing was part of what made Delirium so great for me. You might change your mind, but if not that’s ok! :)

    I’m very intrigued by John Green’s other books. I’ll be excited to see what you think of his latest! I’ve heard all the buzz, and gather that it’s highly anticipated!

    I’m so glad you loved Dash and Lily! I laughed out loud a lot as well. It was so simple, but so sweet. And I think it’s awesome that you had to read parts to your husband. I’m that way with a lot of books. Sometimes I love something so much, that I have to read passages to my mom or a friend, even though they might not care. Haha.

    I know how you feel about all the book blogs out there! There are SO many of them, that it’s always amazing to me to find a new follower or a new friend. It makes me feel special to know that someone cares enough about my opinions, with all the other opinions out there too! I love that we’ve become friends, and it’s been so much fun to get book recommendations and life advice from you! The friendships I’ve found through book blogging are definitely an added bonus that I was not expecting.

    I think our theme for 2012 is GREAT books! I’ll be sure to pass along all my awesome finds to you as well. It’ll be so fun to see our little babies grow up together!

    (And thanks for the novel! I love these kinds of discussions!)

  3. First of all, I think you, Magan, and probably Estelle too, can all agree that Stephanie Perkins is fabulous. The characters she comes up with and the stories she writes for them are made out of sheer awesome. Both Anna and Lola induced a varied range of emotions in my heart – happiness, sadness, confusion, anger, annoyance, satisfaction…. And I could gush about either book all day (especially if you get me started talking about the boys!)

    Delirium is a book that many, many people (both book bloggers and just people I know in real life) have been recommending for me to read. I really did want to, but as I’ve mentioned, I have the condition of sticking to a genre when I find a book that’s utterly fascinating in it. Though I did hit a dystopian phase sometime mid-year, I switched gears to fantasy before I could start Delirium. But I’m remedying that soon, I promise!

    As for the titles you may have suggested that I haven’t read, you can be assured that they’re probably on my books to check out/read/buy/borrow list. I tend to read a lot of the same kinds of books you do, so it’s a safe bet that I’ll enjoy something you liked! Carrie Goes Off the Map is a great example, as I actually finished that one around the time your post went up :)

    Also, hooray for reading Pride & Prejudice! I finally read it in 2010 and, not surprisingly, I enjoyed it. For all that I’m a YA fan and support all these great new books coming out, I still love going back to the classics sometimes.

    And we are definitely officially friends because of our mutual love for Maggie Stiefvater and her writing. I think her writing style is amazing – and she’s also such a character. She’s quirky and funny and really nice in real life!

    As for blogging, well, I love your blog! Even though you just started, I think you’ve got a great thing going for you with your well-written reviews! I’m sure that, come this time in 2012, you’ll have definitely grown your baby blog into something bigger :)

  4. Alexa, I adore you! Thank you for your words of encouragement, and thanks for being such a great friend! :) You were one of the bloggers I was thinking of when I wrote that I had to limit myself to one blogger mention, or I’d be going on and on. You’re so sweet! We do read a lot of the same books, which is way fun! Let me know when you review Carrie! It was such a refreshing read. And FOR SURE, let me know when you get to Delirium. I must know what you think. I think it’s awesome you’ve met Maggie! Based on her blog entries, I can tell she’s quite a character. :)

  5. I really, need to read Anna and the French Kiss. I keep seeing it everywhere and I’ve never read a bad review yet. It’s not my usual type of thing so I was a bit put off until I saw it as an answer for that question on nearly every blog I’ve come across! Does that even make sense? :s

    I have Delirium on my TBR though! I’m looking forward to reading it, but apprehensive at the same time! I read brilliant things about Matched by Ally Condie, but then I didn’t like it all that much so I’m worried Delirium will be the same.

    I’ve never heard of The Kid Who Ran For President, but it’s amazing that it could have such an impact. You’re so lucky to be able to influence children with books and I’m sure she’ll look back and remember it for years to come.