RS (rainbowstevie) wrote,
RS
rainbowstevie

211 in 2011: A Retrospective (part 1 of 2)

Traditionally I've been doing this in February, and this February I was too busy so I thought maybe I'd skip it, but the year's not over yet so here we go! Because I was scrolling through my "books" tag, and realized how much I missed this game, where I look back at my reading list 10 years later and offer a short comment about each title. I've been struggling with Top Ten Tuesday lately (though next week's is currently queued and ready to go), so this gives me a different way to talk about books.


Setting The Stage
As implied by the title, this year was by far the most epic of all the years to date. Working part time and with no homework (...technically) or offline friends or boyfriend, that meant I had plenty of time to consume media. And having just come off a year where I had largely starved myself of books from January to August, CONSUME IT I DID. I just kept unintentionally hitting target number after target number, until I realized that "211 in 2011" not only sounded awesome, but was a feasible goal.

It was also the last full year I lived without Goodreads or Interlibrary Loan, i.e. reliant entirely upon secondhand finds and shelf browsing at the local library instead of researching titles specifically tailored to my interests, so this was a year with a LOT of average/forgettable reads. I feel like I honestly remember my blurbs more than a lot of the books at this point (not least becaue I look back at old reading posts a lot when seeking TTT options!), but I'll give it my best shot.

Because of its excessive length, I'm going to split this into two parts because otherwise it WILL exceed the character limit for an LJ post.

THE LIST
Copied from the original here, so links still go to Amazon, though if you prefer Goodreads like I do, here's a quick link to my 2011 Year In Books. The bold/italic/strikethrough formatting in this list is kind of irrelevant given that I also gave star ratings, but I'm too lazy to change it now. NF = nonfiction, since I didn't used to record the subtitles of those.

Age: 25 (for 75% of the year anyway)

January (17)
1. A Certain Strain of Peculiar -- Gigi Amateau. 261 pg/2009. **** [1/4]
Definitely not as good as Amateau's horse books -- I shifted it down to 3 stars upon addition to Goodreads a year and a half later because I already couldn't remember it -- but this was at least a positive way to start the year out.

2. X Isle -- Steve Augarde. 475 pg/2009. **  [1/7]
"That was a little like Lord of the Flies, but thrice as long and boring. Ugh, boy books." I have no memory of this, but the review gives me a good idea why.

3. Jake Riley: Irreparably Damaged -- Rebecca Fjelland Davis. 265 pg/2003. * [1/9]
I don't remember much of this but I love Past Me's dunk on the stupid girl's failure to accept that Jake is as the title suggests: "What's your excuse, Lainey? Are you an irreparable moron?" "Irreparable moron" remains a favorite phrase of mine to this day.

4. The Clearing - Heather Davis. 215 pg/2010. **** [1/9]
I eventually bought a copy of this timeslip YA romance at a library sale, and twice now I have tried to let it go because I don't remember it that strongly, but then I'll flip through it and dreamily sigh at the writing style and remember how much this romance does, in fact, own my heart.

5. After the Moment - Garret Freymann-Weyr. 328 pg/2009. ***** [1/10]
Five-star opinion unchanged! I have yet to reread this book, but one day I will. It just seemed very sophisticated for a YA book. Leigh still owns my heart, and that heart still aches for the inevitable failure of his relationship with also-beloved Maia.

6. Big Fat Manifesto - Susan Vaught. 308 pg/2008. **½ [1/11]
Ahead of her time with an Angry Fat-Positive MC, and not one I remember fondly. Surprised it managed that extra half star, tbh.

7. Stalker Girl - Rosemary Graham. 296 pg/2010. *** [1/15]
I don't remember this beyond my review (i.e. that starting in media res made it way less exciting than its premise).

8. Palace Beautiful - Sarah DeFord Williams. 232 pg/2010. **** [1/16]
I own a copy of this that I appreciate a lot, though I barely remember anything about it. However, per Goodreads it's about sisters who find the journal of a former resident in the attic of their new house (!!) and also...that journal is from THE FLU PANDEMIC OF 1918! Now would be a great time to reread this.

P.S. I'm dying that their neighbor friend apparently calls herself Belladonna Desolation. Clearly we got ourselves a fan of Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way.

9. Liar - Justine Larbalestier. 376 pg/2009. *** [1/17]
Unreliable narrator, THE WORST! Surprised it isn't 2 stars; writing quality must have saved it.

10. Invisible Girl - Mary Hanlon Stone. 279 pg/2010. *** [1/17]
The premise was good (poor girl moves across the country to live with rich relatives), but a quick scan of Goodreads reviews makes me think my calling it "average" and "substance free" was on point. Apparently this is the only novel she ever published, but for once I don't think publishing lost out on much.

11. To Be Mona - Kelly Easton. 218 pg/2008. ** [1/20]
Tragically simplistic.

12. Hate List - Jennifer Brown. 407 pg/2009. ****½ [1/23]
I have read a lot of Brown's books, and they're uniformly very good, but this is still my favorite. I haven't been able to bring myself to reread it since, but I do know that no other school-shooting book I've read has been this intense.

13. Audrey, Wait! - Robin Benway. 313 pg/2008. ***½ [1/23]
I should bump this one up to 4 stars; when I read it I had NO idea this was gonna turn into such a widely read and fondly remembered YA read!

14. Ghost of Spirit Bear - Ben Mikaelsen. 154 pg/2008. *** [1/24]
Way worse than the original, despite its incredible cover (which I ended up declaring one of my top 3 favorite covers read in 2011).

15. War Horse - Michael Morpurgo. 165 pg/1982. ***** [1/28]
Remember when the movie came out, and I was like 'omgwtfbbq, I remember this book from my high school library shelves!!" (the original edition), but I never read it there because I was not interested in war and also incorrectly assumed it would be more about war than the horse? And then I read it immediately, and it only made me more pumped for the movie? Good times. I never reread it though, because it's so sad. Super good! But sad.

(On a related note, I DID love the movie as much as the book and I'm glad I saw it in theaters.)

16. Beachmont Letters - Cathleen Twomey. 223 pg/2003. *** [1/30]
I remembered this was about WWII, but somehow forgot the title premise was a teenage girl involved in a pen-pal program with soldiers fighting overseas. I wouldn't mind a second look at this one... also huh, the author apparently only ever published two books.

17. Megan's Beat - Lou Willet Stanek. 201 pg/1983. *** [1/30]
I bought this when the library discarded it because I felt sorry for the poor unloved 80s book, but I might send it on its way soon. Mainly because every year I come across more unloved 80s (and 90s) book discards and this really doesn't even make the top half.

February (16)
18. Wintergirls - Laurie Halse Anderson. 278 pg/2009. ***½ [2/1]
One of the few books I looked forward to reading when it was new -- I think I saw an actual print ad for it in a teen magazine! -- but it did not live up to my hopes.(Also, iirc, the author got Big Mad that people used parts of her book as "thinspo" when she literally wrote it to show the dangers of anorexia, and I just think her frustration about the ~disrespect to her craft~ is funny. How did you not expect that to happen.)

19. Exposed - Susan Vaught. 330 pg/2008. **** [2/6]
I don't know if this is really 4-star-staying power, but it is definitely better than her other book.

20. Hit and Run - Lurlene McDaniel. 180 pg/2007. [2/8]
The book that opened a door I'd shut on this author nearly a decade earlier, and opened my eyes to the prospects of Lurlene in the era of slightly higher standards for teen books.

21. Wish You Were Here - Catherine Clarke. 212 pg/2007. *** [2/12]
Wish I could remember anything that happens in this book. I bought a copy at a dollar store once later on, but ultimately decided I didn't want to keep it. To be fair, I definitely think it's in that "cute but average" zone I don't read much of anymore.

22. Half Brother - Kenneth Oppel. 375 pg/2010. *** [2/13]
Straight average. With that length + a male protagonist + a primate, I would never pick up a book like this now.

23. The Devil's Paintbox - Victoria McKernan. 354 pg/2009. ***½ [2/15]
I bumped this to 4 stars on Goodreads with good cause. I still remember it as one of the best Oregon Trail/modern Western books I've ever read, one that was pretty mature (not in a gross way) for YA to boot.

24. Recipe for Disaster - Maureen Fergus. 252 pg/2009. **** [2/19]
I remember this one and its band-kid main character very fondly as well, though my memory is dim.

25. Ruby - Francesca Lia Block & Carmen Staton. 209 pg/2006. ***½ [2/19]
This may have been a book I wanted to like more than I did, relying on my author love to carry me into the big scary world of Grown Up Fiction that at the time I was still struggling to find avenues into, but I don't at all regret reading it when I did. I don't know if I'd get as much out of it now, honestly, having somewhat drifed away from her and this writing style...then again, maybe I would actually get more out of it now that I'm cool with adult fiction? I mentally cast Orlando Bloom as the love interest in this book and 2006 Orlando Bloom still holds up.

26. Looks - Madeline George. 240 pg/2008. ***½ [2/19]
Limited plot, but very beautiful writing. Need to find a copy just so I can pick out favorite quotes from it.

27. After the Rain -- Norma Fox Mazer. 290 pg/1987. **** [2/19]
I think this is the best of hers I've ever read -- I have attempted many, and usually they're not as good as I hope. I picked up a library discard of it somewhere along the way, so I could reread it, maybe.

28. Rose By Any Other Name - Maureen McCarthy. 336 pg/2006. **½ [2/20]
Was this the weird one where a teen hooks up with her friend's father? Not a good look for Australian rep, McCarthy!

29. The Beef Princess of Practical County - Michelle Houts. 226 pg/2009. *** [2/20]
Good writing, sad inevitable conclusion. I'm slightly less upset about the concept of 4-H livestock these days, but I still don't want to actually think about it.

30. Tenderness - Robert Cormier. 229 pg/1997. *** [2/20]
Still the only Cormier book I've ever read. On a related note, here's my excuse to marvel at how incredibly popular Cormier was just a few decades ago and yet how completely obscure he is now.

31. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins. 374 pg/2008. ** [2/21]
Me in 2011: well that was as stupid as expected; I'm never going to read another one of these OR watch the movies.
2021 Me (proudly): And then I didn't!

32. The Chosen One - Carol Lynch Williams. 213 pg/2009. *** [2/28]
How does this 2000s book have 15,000 ratings on Goodreads; who is this author and/or what was so special about this book I don't remember any details from as to warrant the attention?? (That said, after a quick glance at the reviews I do think this might have been one of the better cult books I've read)

33. The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption [NF] - Jim Gorant.279 pg/2010. *** [2/28]
A fairly dry read, pit bulls being among the least cute of all dog breeds, but not a bad one.

March (13)
34. Unseen Companion - Denise Goslinger Orenstein. 349 pg/2003. **** [3/5]
I was so impressed with this, and yet somehow I don't even remember what the premise was?? Still surprised it has such a low average rating on Goodreads though. Speaking of GR, time to read her middle grade animal books ASAP.

35. Holding Up the Earth - Dianne E. Gray. 210 pg/2000. ****½ [3/6]
I do wish I could remember why I loved this one so much...but I loved it enough to buy a copy, so when I find it, I'll give it a reread. I do know I'm all about multiple generations of a family growing up on one property, but am not sure how the foster-care girl fits in.

36. Somebody Everybody Listens To - Suzanne Supplee. 248 pg/2010. ***** [3/6]
100% one of the best books I read that year, about a recent high school grad trying to break into the country music business. I have a copy of this now, too, and I treasure it, as evidenced by the fact that I both know where it is and it's accessible.

37. Safe - Susan Shaw. 168 pg/2007. **½ [3/9]
Don't remember this at all. I think it was about a rape victim? And also meh.

38. The Dog Who Healed a Family [NF] - Jo Coudert. 182 pg/2010. *** [3/10]
Chicken-Soup-for-the-Soul-esque animal stories. I remember nothing, but I was excited years later to discover that Seven Cats and the Art of Living was not my first read by this author. Which reminds me, I still need to read her house-rehab memoir Gowell.

39. The Nature of Jade - Deb Caletti. 288 pg/2007. ***** [3/11]
Still 100% my favorite Caletti book. I can't remember if I own a copy, but this is one of the few from her I genuinely want to reread someday.

40. Walking Ollie [NF] - Stephen Foster. 177 pg/2006. *** [3/12]
41. Fetching Dylan [NF] - Stephen Foster. 288 pg/2009. *** [3/13]
I really used to read every dog memoir the library got, huh? At least this guy had dogs of an interesting breed (Lurchers), even if the dogs themselves were...pretty horribly misbehaved and Ollie in particular made Marley look like a treasure.

42. The Girl Next Door - Selene Castrovilla. 237 pg/2010. [3/20]
The book I managed to read THREE TIMES in five years because of its peak hurt/comfort nature (while truly not holding back on the ugliness of cancer). And I'll read it again the next time I've got a young fictional pairing I love enough to run through the wringer.

43. Stranded - J.T. Dutton. 246 pg/2010. **½ [3/21]
So dumb. I am delighted to learn Dutton only ever published two books and they both have an average rating of less than 3.25 stars (the other one doesn't sound any better).

44. Very LeFreak - Rachel Cohn. 303 pg/2010. ****½ [3/26]
I haven't read any Rachel Cohn since, but I still remember this SO fondly. It was the first book with a non-heterosexual main character I ever read, and I definitely read it in spite of that fact rather than because, but even though it wasn't so much about "overcoming a technology addiction" as I expected, I fell in love with Very on the first page, snapped up an ex-library copy as soon as I found it for sale, and still love it. I actually wrote whole blog entry about it from before Goodreads, when I almost never wrote about the books I read (but it's friends-locked and I don't feel comfortable sharing it).

45. A Girl Named Sooner - Suzanne Clauser. 254 pg/1972. ***½ [3/27]
I would never have heard of or read this if I hadn't tripped over it at a book sale, but it was a slender paperback so again, I made a valiant effort to enjoy adult fiction. I had fun picturing Mac Taylor (as played by Gary Sinise on CSI: NY) as the father in this novel.

46. Bad Girls Don't Die - Katie Alender. 346 pg/2009. **** [3/31]
First and still favorite Alender book! I had not read many ghost stories in 21st century YA at this point, despite eating them up as a kid, and this one impressed me SO much.

April (13)
47. Heart of Fire - Victoria Holmes. 340 pg/2006. ***½ [4/1]
Historical horse book, my 2nd by this author, that I wanted to love more than I did.

48. Compromised - Heidi Ayarbe. 452 pg/2010. ** [4/2]
All I remember is that a) I hated everyone in it so much I never read one of her books again, and b) I keep confusing her with Holly Black and consequently have never read Holly Black at all.

49. The Georges and the Jewels - Jane Smiley. 232 pg/2009. **** [4/11]
I was so surprised when this turned into a full-fledged series! I never made it past book 2, and I've never read Smiley's adult work (nor wanted to), but the main character is darling and it's full of horses; I'd like to get back to it someday.

50. Carpe Diem - Autumn Cornwell. 360 pg/2007. [4/11]
I still think this book wasted its potential to hell and back (loved Vassar as she was introduced, hated Grandma Gerd/the setting/the"perfectionist learns to be less rigid" premise), but I was always bummed she never published anything else because I thought she had serious writing talent, and FINALLY!! in 2018 she released a middle grade novel. Haven't read it yet due to lack of easy access, but still want to.

51. Chasing Down the Dawn [NF] - Jewel Kilcher. 142 pg/2000. ***** [4/11]
This is a beautiful book, and it was the best memoir we had on hand until she published Never Broken (which is equally amazing). I own a copy now and cherish it.

52. A Walk Across America [NF] - Peter Jenkins. 320 pg/1979. **** [4/13]
I never did read the sequel (which doesn't sound as cool anyway), and I don't know if I'd love this as much if I reread it, but it was a really fascinating account when I read it then because my dad's around the same age and he did a lot of traveling in that era too. Still have my copy just in case.

53. I Had Brain Surgery, What's Your Excuse? [NF] - Suzy Becker. 282 pg/2004. *** [4/17]
I think this was on display at the library, otherwise I never would have heard of it -- but it was my introduction to illustrated memoirs, and I still think fondly about the incredible art design and the tidbits I learned about brain surgery and recovery from it, even though the author herself didn't interest me.

54. Blindsided - Priscilla Cummings. 226 pg/2010. *** [4/18]
I always confuse this with Blind Spot -- but I really need to remember this is the only one of the four books I've read about blind girls that isn't a thriller! Also, wow, until this moment I didn't realize I've somehow read 4 of her books. (Three stars across the board. This was my life before Goodreads, plucking offerings from "reliable" authors more often than titles I was really excited about.)

55. In a Heartbeat - Loretta Ellsworth. 214 pg/2010. *** [4/19]
I read this because of my obsession with the TV show Off The Map and desire to read stories about heart-transplant patients like Ryan; I did not enjoy this one and it only got the third star because at least it gave me some detail about the health care aspect.

56. Massive - Julia Bell. 261 pg/2002. *** [4/22]
Originally bought at a library sale because I was into anorexia stories at the time, eventually got rid of it because the characters in this one were bland.

57. Wild Roses - Deb Caletti. 296 pg/2005. ***½ [4/24]
Now that I've read a lot more Caletti, I can safely place this as my 4th favorite of the 9 I've read (which includes everything through The Last Forever, except her debut), and odds look good on it staying there even if I read more. I didn't love it at the time, but I don't remember anything that specifically annoyed me except the format of present day vs. flashbacks, and now that I know what to expect I wonder if a reread at the right time would be effective. "Cute violin student" definitely tingles my brain...

58. Last Dog on the Hill [NF] - Steve Duno. 323 pg/2010. **** [4/27]
The dog in this book looked a lot like my dog, and because he's old and dies at the end, I'm frankly not sure I can ever read this one again until I have a new dog (my dog passed in 2013; at least when this made me bawl the first time I could cry into her fur).

59. Dewey's Nine Lives [NF] - Vicki Myron w/ Brett Winter. 300 pg/2010. **½ [4/29]
Sucks when publishers try to capitalize on a best-selling memoir that does not have the content for a sequel by scraping together enough loosely-related material until they have a new book they can sell under the original brand.

May (7)
60. Home is Beyond the Mountains - Celia Barker Lottridge. 224 pg/2010. *** [5/6]
"A good little [children's] story featuring an obscure bit of history." Do I still remember what that history is? I do not! Thankfully Goodread says it's about when "the Turkish army invaded northwestern Persia in 1918," and my curiosity in looking that up is when I learned that the Ottoman Empire of what I assumed was from the middle ages actually existed until roughly a hundred years ago.

61. The Westing Game - Ellen Raskin. 182 pg/1978. ***** [5/8]
I was SO IMPRESSED with this when I read it, probably riding high on a wave of hype, but every time I think about reading it now I just feel like...meh? What could possibly have been that great?

62. Donkey: The Mystique of Equus Asinus [NF] - Michael Tobias & Jane Morrison. 193 pg/2007. *** [5/21]
Donkey facts! Forgettable but glad I read it.

63. The Sweetness of Salt - Cecilia Galante. 311 pg/2010. **** [5/22]
This got to 4 stars on the strength of its writing alone, because both sisters annoyed me even though I don't quite remember why, but I think if I were to reread it it might stay that way. This is a YA novel with some substance to it.

64. Losing Forever - Gayle Friesen. 247 pg/2002. **½ [5/22]
Part of me wonders if I was unduly harsh to this little book in calling it "meh" and "boring," because it seems no worse than most of the 3-star books on this page and it was clearly always written for the younger end of YA, but I have always been fairly judicious with my 2-stars and since I can't remember this at all, I can't bring myself to change it on Goodreads.

65. The Egg and I [NF] - Betty MacDonald. 287 pg/1945. ***** [5/31]
I remember this reading experience well: after randomly finding it at the library, I read it at the hospital I had to drive my dad to for some testing, in the summer where he had a lot of health problems that ultimately resulted in him needing surgery for an abdominal aortic aneurysm (he came through fine, quit smoking as a result, and is still in great shape).

I then recommended it to both parents and they liked it so much that I painstakingly tracked down each subsequent memoir on eBay for them as birthday/holiday gifts -- expensively; they were out of print and all cost me between $15 and $35 apiece -- and they enjoyed them all, but someow I myself never read any of the others! I will...one day. Just gotta reread this one first, because while I remember finding it even more hilarious than the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books I once loved, I don't remember many details.

66. An Acquaintance with Darkness - Ann Rinaldi. 370 pg/1997. *** [5/31]
Also read that day at the hospital -- the last time I ever read a Rinaldi book (she who made my list of Ten Most Read [non-series] Authors).

June (17)
67. Torn to Pieces - Margot McDonnell. 258 pg/2008. *** [6/4]
I remember this being a pretty decent mystery/thriller, actually -- maybe I just didn't appreciate the genre as much then as I do now? Certainly on par with April Henry's brand.

68. Red Kayak - Priscilla Cummings. 208 pg/2004. *** [6/5]
I was surprised to learn, later on, how often this is taught in schools. Poor kids. It's not bad, but it's also in no way, what's the word...exciting. Also it apparently has 2 sequels?? WHO IS CHECKING FOR THIS STORY. (...Cheating for the Chicken Man actually looks kinda good though)

69. The Secret Life of Prince Charming - Deb Caletti. 336 pg/2009. **½ [6/7]
So jaded that it's definitely in my bottom 2 of hers (with The Story of Us). I recommend it only if you follow tags like "misandry4life" or you've recently been dumped/cheated on and are ready to declare war on men.

70. My Lost and Found Life - Melodie Bowsher. 312 pg/2006. *** [6/10]
I mentioned this recently on the "top ten authors I wish would release a second novel" post. Still waiting!! It's funny how a book I thought was very 3-star average then could remain so memorable, but I really think that most of my aversion to this one was the casual sex, and I'm (slightly) more forgiving of that now if the writing is good enough. If I ever run across a cheap copy I'm buying it.

71. The Snowball Effect - Holly Nicole Hoxter. 2010. ***  [6/14]
I wouldn't mind revisiting this one either. Stories where teenagers are orphaned young, but old enough to live on their own -- especially if they have a younger sibling -- really fascinate me, and I remember really loving the boyfriend in this one.

72. Five Minutes More - Darlene Ryan. 212 pg/2009. ** [6/19]
This character was SUCH a brat. I will not empathize with her grief-based acting out. (though I do still love the titular concept of getting through anything for just "five minutes more.")

73. Hazel - Julie Hearn. 389 pg/2007. *** [6/22]
One day I will reread this and appreciate the fact that I get to see Ivy's daughter grow up instead of just being bored by said daughter's Furious Feminist personality -- HOW often am I always imagining the stories between generations at estate sales, hm? -- but it is not this year.

74. Porcupine - Meg Tilly. 232 pg/2007. **** [6/24]
I didn't know Meg Tilly was an actress when I read this -- another one, incidentally, that I read while visiting Dad at the hospital post-surgery; Mom was the one who noticed and commented on it -- but I think that's so cool. Wish I could remember what I liked about it besides the fact that it's cute and compact.

75. And Then Everything Unraveled - Jennifer Sturman. 244 pg/2009. **** [6/24]
Part 1 of what is SUCH A GOOD CONTEMPORARY MYSTERY DUOLOGY. I still think fondly about how it exceeded my expectations.

76. Out of Focus - Margaret Buffie.  239 pg/2006. ***½ [6/24]
I keep forgetting this is the book is the one that involves a family inheriting a near-abandoned lodge and getting it back in shape. I forgot everything else and honestly, if I revisit it odds are only like 50/50 I will see the Writer Dude as a creep vs. shippin' it. Depends how interested he is in her body vs. her personality.

77. When the Black Girl Sings - Bil Wright. 266 pg/2008. **½ [6/25]
Sometimes my early attempts to read diverse books went well. This was not one of those times.

78. Pounding Hooves - Dorothy Grunbock Johnston. 254 pg/1976. **** [6/25]
Despite the clumsily Christian angle, I can't ever quite bring myself to get rid of this garage sale find because it is still very much a vintage horse book.

79. Saving Maddie - Varian Jonson. 231 pg/2010. *** [6/27]
Josh >>>>>>>>> Maddie

80. Book of a Thousand Days - Shannon Hale. 306 pg/2007. *** [6/27]
My third Shannon Hale book, though I'm not sure I realized it at the time. Forgot it immediately and it remains my 3rd favorite of 4 Hale books I've read, but still enjoyed it.

81. My Invisible Boyfriend - Susie Day. 275 pg/2009. *** [6/28]
Memo to myself, this is what an average 3-star YA novel looks like; stop feeling bad about possible star inflation on Goodreads. Most of the books you read are light years better than this!

82. Chasing Tail Lights - Patrick Jones. 294 pg/2007. *½ [6/30]
This put Patrick Jones 0 for 2 (or 2 for 2 on earning 1 star, to look at it another way), and earned him a spot on my Author Blacklist. Regrettably, I constantly confuse him with Patrick Ness, which is part of why I have never read the Chaos Walking trilogy.

83. Solace of the Road - Siobhan Dowd. 261 pg/2009. ***½ [6/30]
Need to reread. I think I might enjoy the setting and writing style more as a more mature reader.

July (24)
84. In Search of Mockingbird - Loretta Ellsworth. 181 pg/2007. **** [7/2]
Surprisingly good despite containing one of my bookish pet peeves! (teens who are obsessed with the super-average To Kill a Mockingbird)

85. And Then I Found Out the Truth - Jennifer Sturman. 262 pg/2010. **** [7/3]
THE EVEN BETTER CONCLUSION (to the mystery duology).

86. Living Dead Girl - Elizabeth Scott. 170 pg/2008. **** [7/3]
This is a good 'un. Tied with Stealing Heaven as my favorite of her books, which are also the only ones I actually like and/or am interested in reading as of 2011. The newer ones actually pique my interest -- but wow, just learned that it doesn't look like Scott will be writing anything else anytime soon, if ever. Related: can you believe an author Tumblr (albeit an inactive one) still exists in this day and age??

87. The Half Life of Planets - Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin. 247 pg/2010. **** [7/4]
I don't know if I'd still love this one, but on the heels of watching the movie Adam, it really hit the spot.

88. The Twin's Daughter - Lauren Baratz-Logsted. 390 pg/2010. **** [7/5]
I've read 5 or 6 of her books, but this is still my favorite. So much more serious and engrossing than the cartoonish cover implied! Forgot almost all of it so a reread could be fun.

89. Take Me There - Susane Colasanti. 290 pg/2008. ***½ [7/7]
I am honestly baffled to realize I read this. I always think I've never read any Colasanti, especially this one, yet here she is.

90. Rosie and Skate - Beth Ann Bauman. 224 pg/2009. *** [7/8]
Me: OMG I wanna read this again and cast Kensi & Nell as the sisters!!
Past Me: This is exactly why I wrote a warning about teen hookups into the review. It looks great and isn't awful but it WILL disappoint!
(Also, I just realized I randomly bought this author's collection of essays for adults at a book sale in January. SHOULD I TRUST??)

91. An Off Year - Claire Zulkey. 213 pg/2009. ****½ [7/9]
THE BOOK ABOUT ME!!! (Except I made it 2.5 years before I temporarily dropped out. Definitely wanted to quit before I started, though.) I love this with all of my heart forevermore.

92. The Wreckers - Iain Lawrence. 196 pg/1998. *** [7/10]
Solid historical about a community salvaging from shipwrecks (that, in this case, they also cause). *tips hat* This could possibly bump up to 4 stars in a reread. Never did continue on with the trilogy though.

93. Deadly - Julie Chibbarro. 293 pg/2011. *** [7/12]
Honestly, the best part of reading this was my ability to identify it twice so far on lost-book forums when no one else could. Also because it means I know another novel with a yellow cover.

94. Teenage Waistland - Lynn Biederman & Lisa Pazer. 317 pg/2010. **½ [7/14]
What WAS my interest in books about obese teenagers that year?

95. Anything But Ordinary - Valerie Hobbs. 168 pg/2007. ****½ [7/16]
This and An Off Year were two basically-perfect books to me at the time (and both of which I later snatched ex-library copies of), and perfection to me they remain. This love story hurts so good -- and now that I think about it, it's a little like Finn and Rachel in season 4 of Glee (after graduation, "Bernie [becomes] an ordinary guy working away in a tire shop, while Winifred goes about as far from [home] as a girl can go" ZING to the heart strings!)

96. Vulture's Wake - Kirsty Murray. 267 pg/2009. ** [7/16]
I truly remember none of this and I've never heard anyone mention it. I bet I could move it up to at least 3 stars this time, now that I know I'm getting into a dystopia.

97. Would You - Marthe Jocelyn. 165 pg/2008. ***½ [7/16]
Remind me about this next time I need a hospital scenario that will make me cry for an hour straight.

98. Upstream - Melissa Lion. 160 pg/2009. *** [7/17]
Forgot it was so short; could make for a nice reread when I want to sink into a contemporary Alaskan setting. WAY better than her debut (Swollen). And aw, just made myself sad because her Goodreads author bio says "her third novel is expected out next year," but obviously it never arrived.

99. Alis - Naomi Rich. 274 pg/2009. *** [7/17]
"So this 16-year-old is arranged-married off to a 40-year-old, even though neither really wants it, and I start shipping it. Stupid inconveniently-not-dead Luke. Stupid everything."
I don't really remember this book, but honestly, my ability to distill the essence of a) why I wanna reread it and b) why I definitely should not reread it down to a single sentence is kind of amazing.

100. The September Sisters - Jillian Cantor. 361 pg/2009. *** [7/18]
This cover is so pretty, too bad the annoying characters do not hold up. It's okay but WAY too long.

101. Tell Me a Secret - Holly Cupala. 292 pg/2010. **½ [7/23]
I HATE EVERYBODY IN THIS BAR.

102. Trapped - Michael Northrop. 232 pg/2011. **** [7/24]
I think I might have actually star-inflated this one -- from the moment I saw it, I wanted SO BADLY for it to be good that I might have upsold myself -- but still. Great survival scenario either way.

103. The Other Sister - S.T. Underdahl. 248 pg/2007.  ***½ [7/24]
I was mostly impressed by how clean this read was for modern YA, but it's also a great premise (teens gave up their baby for adoption, but ended up staying together and raising other children in adulthood; now the firstborn is getting in contact with them).

104. Spotting for Nellie - Pamela Lowell. 296 pg/2010. **½ [7/24]
See number 101. So! Much! Unsympathetic! Stupid! I can't believe this is the same author who wrote my beloved Returnable Girl.

105. The Uninvited - Tim Wynne-Jones. 353 pg/2009. ***½ [7/28]
Another one of those books that makes me understand how people can wonder if a book is YA or not. Honestly, this is pretty mature and probably should not have been classed as YA, but it was a fairly intense read with a cool setting.

106. Stealing Heaven - Elizabeth Scott. 207 pg/2008. **** [7/29]
As mentioned earlier -- I like this one a whole bunch. Probably my actual favorite of hers, though Living Dead Girl has more evocative writing.

107. The Deadly Sister - Eliot Schrefer. 310 pg/2010. **** [7/30]
I see a dude writing girls and immediately narrow my eyes, but Schrefer constantly surprises me with how engaging his books are. Soild mystery.

Part 2 coming at you soon now!
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