These books didn't necessarily come out in 2011, but these are my favorites of the books I read this year.
Robopocalypse is a story that captures the part of your imagination that is always wondering, what if technology surpassed our intelligence? If you ever find yourself thinking about the future of technology, and if we really have any idea what we are creating, check this one out. (Read my full review here.)
The Leviathan Trilogy really caught my attention. I hadn't looked at the release dates when I started reading, and I was absolutely heartbroken to learn I would have to wait several months for Goliath to come out. These books are fiercely imaginative, and the characters are very strong. (Read my reviews of Leviathan, Behemoth and Goliath to find out more.)
A good friend insisted I read The Hunger Games back in January. Once I started reading, I could not stop. I read all three books in less than a week; I read Mockingjay straight through. There is something strangely fascinating about this series, and the portrayal of a society that forces its children to murder each other with grand fanfare. I also really love how flawed Katniss is. Though she continually goes beyond what many believe she is capable of, there are consequences for her. Unlike many other stories, Katniss is never whole again after the events of this series. I am really looking forward to experiencing the transition to the big screen this coming March. The raw emotion in The Hunger Games is quite powerful. I don't think you will view reality TV in the same way after reading this series.
A Discovery of Witches is the witch and vampire story you've been waiting for. The genre is oversaturated with trite and overused ideas, where every plot point is expected. A Discovery of Witches tweaks the mythology enough to provide a story you can sink your teeth into. (Read my full review here.)
I read Thirteen Reasons Why because it was controversial. Once I saw three headlines claiming this story would inspire teens everywhere to commit suicide, I knew I had to see for myself. These critics couldn't be more wrong. Thirteen Reasons Why shows the aftermath of suicide on those who are left behind. It also shows that some cries for help aren't as loud as they seem in our own heads. That's not to say it is an uplifting tale: there is no happy ending to this story, and the events that transpire are difficult to read at times. If you are looking for an emotional journey, read Thirteen Reasons Why.
The Chaos Walking Trilogy is some of the best YA I've read. I have to admit, at first the stylization of the text was a little off-putting. The further the story develops, the more necessary it becomes. In this colony on an alien world, all men broadcast their thoughts as "noise" and have no way to stop it. Animals are also included, as well as all the native species. Though the men have no secrets, the women remain silent. The extremist reactions and resulting terrorism are truly horrific, but not unimaginable. This is a series that I find myself thinking about quite often. Sometimes I imagine my cats telling me "Submit!" like the horses in the story do. Or, I think about how much time we spend trying to disguise what we are thinking, and how monumental it would be to have that change in an instant. This is a series that will stay with you, and is absolutely worthy of your time. (For those of you that have already read it, I hope you didn't miss the bonus prequel that is available on Amazon:"The New World (FREE short story)" (Patrick Ness).)