You may notice a few books kind of take over this list, but that's okay -- it's only because they're brilliant.
1. Favorite Book Read So Far in 2011 Where She Went by Gayle Forman. As much as I absolutely adore a few other books out there (most notably Anna & the French Kiss), there's just nothing like the love and angst and heartbreak and hope and just plain brilliance of the continuing story of Mia and Adam. Gayle Forman is a powerhouse.
2. Most Powerful Book: Without a doubt, Leverage, by Joshua C. Cohen. There's something incredible about a book that I'm still thinking about months (and dozens of books) later. Even the cover is powerful and that's only a fraction of the raw story inside.
3. Brilliantly Funny: Flirt Club by Cathleen Daly. OH. MY GOODNESS. You guys, there's no way to actually explain in words how great and funny and sunshiney and hilario this book is. It's just... just brilliant. And it helps, of course, that the characters are completely and hopelessly geeky. Love. It.
4. Best Ache-y, Heart-Breaking, Tear-Jerker Read: Again I have to go with Where She Went. There's something so agonizing about Adam's pain and the lost love that this story revolves around. That, compounded with all the pain we already know from Mia's story in If I Stay makes this category no contest.
5. Most Beautiful Story: Where She Went, again. Now, I get the feeling it's starting to seem like Where She Went has an unfair advantage here, and maybe it does. But only because the book is so brilliant, so perfect, so wonderful, so sad and hopeful and redemptive all at once, and because I love it so completely.
6. Delicious Rainy Day Comfort Read: Anna & the French Kiss. This book is almost too perfect for words and part of its perfection comes from the fact that it's just so cozy, like sinking into the absolute best pile of pillows or hiding in a blanket fort drinking hot chocolate on a rainy day. Adorable and sweet.
7. Adrenaline-Fueled, Unputdownable Award: Glow, by Amy Kathleen Ryan. Maybe because I had a bound MS with no cover and no description, but this story really struck me as being incredible and complicated and intensely interesting. I meant to read a couple pages on the trolley and ended up unable to stop reading.
8. The Most Beautiful Prose Award: Imaginary Girls, by Nova Ren Suma. Nova has talked a bit about her more "literary" style of writing, and this book definitely fits the bill but in the best possible way. Unpretentious but beautiful with prose that begs to be read and reread, the writing here is just... astonishing.
9. Most Atmospheric and Vivid Setting: Anna & the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins. For a total settings-junkie like me, Anna was a gift. The setting is just... just... THERE ARE NO WORDS.
10. I-So-Want-To-Go-There Award: Again, Anna & the French Kiss. I just want to pull a blue-skidoo and jump into the book and live there forever.
11. Most Original and Imaginative: Popular, by Alissa Grosso. Maybe you saw the twist coming, but I definitely didn't and thought it was incredibly imaginative. I want to re-read it knowing what happens and see how different the story seems, but I just haven't had time yet.
12. Best Under-Appreciated, Hidden-Gem Award: Rival, by Sara Bennett Wealer. I have a feeling that people are probably reading this one as your standard story of lost friendship or high school competition, but man, it is just so much more than that. So much better than anything "standard." There's a depth to this novel, a real heart that sets it heads and shoulders above so many other similar novels. It's smart and true and wonderful and I want you all to read it, okay?
13. I-Had-No-Idea-I-Would-Love-This-So Award: Anna & the French Kiss, which I was seriously planning to be disappointed by. SPOILER ALERT: I was totally wrong.
14. Most Haunting Story: Leverage, again. Haunting in that scary, heading-to-your-car-at-night-and-looking-over-your-shoulder sort of way. I mean, obviously the characters here are fictional, but they're so real that I was a little freaked out what if they were following me?
15. Outside My Comfort Zone but Gosh How I Loved It: Imaginary Girls. I am so not a fan of fantasy or paranormal or anything supernatural, but this book actually pulled off a fantastical twist in a way that didn't creep me out too much and I could still read it and I actually ended up loving the book.
16. Series That I'm Loving: I haven't read many series books this year, but I did read a few starts of trilogies and the one I'm most looking forward to being continued is Across the Universe, by Beth Revis. There's such a great world and story set-up here that I'll definitely definitely be reading the second book.
17. Most Memorable Voice Award: Where She Went, yet again. I just... it's so... I love it, okay?
18. Completely Awesome Premise Award: The only nonfiction book on here, Odd Girl Out, by Rachel Simmons. I love love love that it's set up around girl bullying and that it tackles the subject so head on. I really should have read it around age fifteen, but whatever. READ IT, GIRLS.
19. Would Make the Best Movie: Ugh, I suck at knowing what books would make good movies because I'm not good at actually watching movies, but that said I really think it would be awesome to see The Last Little Blue Envelope, by Maureen Johnson, as a movie. It has the right blend of heart and funny and sadness and kookyness, I think.
20. Want to re-Read Already: OMG SO MANY, but mostly probably Anna & the French Kiss just because it's so great, you know? Like, just happy-making to the extreme.
Parts 2 and 3 will be up in the next couple weeks and I'm really looking forward to them. Thanks to Nomes for creating this awesome idea. :)