By Jordyn Turney, 21, reporting from San Diego on her five favorite books of the year
Choosing some of the best teen books is never easy—and 2011 was a year with some stiff competition. Even in this post-Hunger Games era, there were serious contenders, both as parts of series or one-off titles. But these five books take the title for me. They offer a mix of great stories, emotions and characters. For any reader looking for some great picks to end the year (or start the next!), here's your list.
Imaginary Girls, by Nova Ren Suma - This story of an underwater town, a drowned girl, and two sisters with an unbreakable bond is creepy good. While the writing and characters are beautiful, the setting and the plot are both weird and thought-provoking. Walking the fine line between realistic and paranormal YA, this imaginative novel is the best of both worlds.
Where She Went, by Gayle Forman - Picking up three years after the events of If I Stay (which, if you haven't read yet, you totally should), this is the story of What Happens After, told from the viewpoint of Mia's boyfriend, Adam. Like the first book, it's incredibly emotional; read with a box of tissues handy.
Rival, by Sara Bennett Wealer - This debut novel is about best-friends-turned-enemies competing against each other in a high-stakes singing competition. It's told from both sides of the rivalry, from popular Brooke's and quiet Kathryn's viewpoints. (And I honestly can't tell you who you end up rooting for.) In addition to being a great story of girls pursuing their dreams, this is also one of the best, most honest tales of friendship gone wrong I've come across.
We'll Always Have Summer, by Jenny Han - Consider this a recommendation for Han's entire Summer trilogy, books that follow Isabel (Belly) and the only boys—yes, plural, boys— she's ever loved. This awesome series about summer love is one that deserves to be read beginning to end, back-to-back.
Sequins, Secrets, and Silver Linings, by Sophia Bennett - Okay, I'm not a fashion buff, so no one's more surprised than me to find that this style-heavy book is one of my favorites and most original reads of the year. The story of a young Ugandan refugee turned fashion designer mixes heavier elements with an overall upbeat, fun feeling. I seriously love it and can't wait for the sequels to be published here in the US.