2011 Top Ten

Please note that there has been absolutely no attempt to balance this list by age, gender or genre. These are just my “from-the-gut” favorites of the books I read this year. (While I love all my Top Ten books the same, I just might love WHERE THINGS COME BACK a tiny bit more:) Click on the title to go right to the review.

Bray, Libba. Beauty Queens.

Griffin, Adele. Tighter.

King, A.S. Everybody Sees the Ants.

Oppel, Kenneth. This Dark Endeavor.

Reeve, Philip. A Web of Air.

Scieszka, Casey & Steven Weinberg. To Timbuktu: Nine Countries, Two People, One True Story.

Stiefvater, Maggie. The Scorpio Races.

Taylor, Laini. Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

Whaley, John Corey. Where Things Come Back.

Yancey, Rick. The Monstrumologist: Isle of Blood.

White Crow by Marcus Sedgwick

Rebecca’s summer is sucking–hard. She and her police officer dad have rented a vacation house in an attempt to escape the crowds of London and her father’s work troubles. Except the gloomy little village of Winterfold is full of suspicious locals and is itself in danger of disappearing as more and more of it falls into the sea that is slowly washing it away. Bored, Rebecca spends most of her time reading the same shabby paperbacks over and over or dialing her ex-boyfriend and hanging up. Then one day she meets reckless goth girl Ferelith who introduces Rebecca to all of  Winterfold’s dark secrets–including the strange chair with manacled armrests in the basement of abandoned Winterfold Hall. Who knows what horrors occurred there? The title, which refers to a quote by psychologist and philosopher William James about the possibility of an after life, gives some clue: “If you wish to upset the law that all crows are black, you mustn’t seek to show that no crows are; it is enough if you prove one single crow to be white.”  No one has ever returned from the dead to tell us if there is an afterlife or not, so logic says there probably isn’t. But what if there was one soul, one “white crow” that could prove that logic wrong? Rebecca’s about to find out–because Ferelith has some dark secrets of her own. Told in three distinct voices (Rebecca’s, Ferelith’s and that of a shady church rector who witnessed the basement atrocities back in 1798) this gruesome page turner will keep you up way past your bedtime. I read it all on one gulp one rainy afternoon and had a case of creepies all evening.