Like last year, this list is not in preference order. Also, it's books I read in 2011, not necessarily books published in 2011.
I read 253 books this year. That's 20 more than last year, but I think the difference comes down to my discovery of Buffy comic books.
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
I am pretty sure this is on everyone's list, but I judge books I love by whether or not I just want to sit there and hug them after I read them, and this book definitely gave me that squealy, I love you forever feeling.
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
I know some people take issue with the snarkiness of Dash, one of the narrators of this book, but to me he is the perfect literary love. He's a bookish boy, not afraid to love someone a little whimsical. The two have intellectual conversations via a red moleskine hidden at The Strand. This book has awesome best friends named Boomer, Great Aunt Ida and Muppets. WHAT MORE IS THERE?
Paper Towns by John Green
I adore John Green, and can't wait for The Fault in Our Stars, but Paper Towns was the book that finally converted me to LOVING ALL THINGS JOHN GREEN FOREVER. The insightfulness, the quirk, the road trip in graduation gowns... I love it. Full review here.
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
London! Jack the Ripper! A Torchwood-esque organization that deals with ghosts. ALL THE AWESOME.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I know most people discovered this bok a long time ago, but I didn't, and I'm glad. The themes of isolation, acceptance and connection faced by Charlie, the main character, really spoke to me at the time I read it. Also, it's set in 1991, which is a time I identify with for some reason, and it has a soundtrack that is incredible. Read it before the movie comes out, on the off chance they ruin it....
The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore
This is one of those books I can't believe I read only ten months ago. It's ingrained itself on me in ways I don't get and RCM has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I reviewed it here, so I'll leave it at that.
Where She Went by Gayle Foreman
I read If I Stay this year too, but connected to WSW more. (What is it with me an angsty adolescent male narrators?) Full review here, but essentially it's about a rock star and the love of his former live gallivanting around New York over one night. I think there's a New York theme to this year's list....
Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci
Especially as my Buffy obsession has increased my nerd-cred over the year, the short stories in this book really opened my eyes to the amount of quirk that happily exists in the YA world, a world I'm happy to be a part of. It deals intelligently and humorously with all areas of Nerdishness from gaming, to Rocky Horror, to fandom. Any nerd will find at least one story they totally relate to.
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
I put off buying this book, partially because it's pricey and also because I loved The Invention of Hugo Cabret and worried Selznick would try to use the same techniques without textual justification, because that's so important to Hugo. I was wrong. I won't go into details and ruin the twist of the book, but the drawing-and-text structure makes even more sense than in Hugo, which I didn't think was possible.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Another book I can't believe I hadn't read a year ago. I contend you're either a CitR person, or you're not. Holden Caufield's voice is caustic and seems whiney to many people. I find it scary that I TOTALLY GET HIM. But I do. See above: Angsty teen narrators.
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
I read this from NetGalley in September. It is amazing, but will not be pubbed until March, so I will say no more here. Go pre-order it. Now.