Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Top Five Reads of 2011

Being a writer has kinda ruined me for being a reader.  I've become hypercritical when I read, and that kinda sucks for me when I'm trying to lose myself in a book.  But once in a while a book comes along that just sweeps me away because it is so well done.  There were a bunch of books like that this year, but these five were the ones that stood out.

ARC cover - thecozyreader.com
1. DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver
I was fortunate enough to get an ARC of this book months before it came out because Lauren Oliver and I share a publishing house.  I was swept into this dystopian tale of a world where love is a disease, and girls and boys are "cured" at age 18.  Of course, the protagonist falls in love two weeks before she's supposed to have the cure.  The lushness of Oliver's writing and the way she gets inside her characters is magical.  I'm currently begging my editor for an ARC of the second book in the trilogy PANDEMONIUM (due to be released in February 2012).

2. POSSESS by Gretchen McNeil
Gretchen is a friend and a fellow Apocalypsie, but if I didn't know her from Eve this book would still be in my top five.  POSSESS is a taut, fast-paced thriller that grips you from page one and doesn't let go.  This book really has everything a YA paranormal story should have - a fierce but vulnerable heroine, a well-developed (and hot!) romantic lead, and a scene set in a doll shop that will scare the bejesus out of you.  Fingers crossed for a sequel!

3. BEAUTY QUEENS by Libba Bray
I've never been shy in my adoration of Libba Bray, and BEAUTY QUEENS is just one more reason to fall in love with her.  It's funny and satirical and full of strong heroines who each have their own journey and character arc.  It's set on a desert island.  It has hot pirates.  It makes fun of reality television.  Seriously, what more could you want?

4. BOSSYPANTS by Tina Fey
Yes, I do actually read outside of YA!  Though rarely.  Still, when Tina Fey's book came out, I knew I had to read it.  What's so wonderful about BOSSYPANTS is that although it is very very funny, it is also vulnerable and honest.  Not to mention endlessly entertaining.  And as the mother of a daughter, the chapter titled A MOTHER'S PRAYER FOR HER DAUGHTER is so dead-on that I was laughing and crying at the same time.

5. ONCE UPON A RIVER by Bonnie Jo Campbell
Although the protagonist is a teenager in this book, I don't think you can call it YA.  At times bleak and desolate, this is the story of a lonely girl trying to find where she belongs.  It's beautifully written.  And what's wonderful about it is that the main character is deeply flawed and difficult to understand at times, but throughout the entire novel you are rooting for her.  It takes a certain kind of mastery to write a character like that, and Campbell has that in spades.

Nicole Maggi lives in Los Angeles, CA with her amazingly supportive husband and beautiful daughter Emilia.  She graduated from Emerson College with a BFA, and worked as an actress for many years in New York before the lure of sunshine and avocados enticed her to the West Coast.  Though she still acts, her focus now is on her writing.  In her very limited spare time, Nicole enjoys yoga, hiking, baking...and eating what she bakes!  Her novel SHIFT will be out in early 2013 from HarperTeen.  Follow her on Twitter so she can reach her goal of 1000 followers by her book's release!


  1. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed BOSSYPANTS, and like you said, by how honest and emotional it was at times. And I'm still waiting to get my hands on POSSESS! Great choices!

  2. I LOVED Beauty Queens and Possess and Delirium are on my TBR pile. Great list!

  3. I'm reading Possess right now! Great read!