The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson ~ Although she's not one of my all-time favourites, she was probably my favourite of 2011. It wasn't so much who she was as how she came across on paper; I thoroughly enjoyed her narration of this thought-provoking story.
Room by Emma Donoghue ~ Who would've thought a five-year-old narrator would take my top spot for male characters? This book was unlike anything I'd read before, and Jack's telling of the story was unforgettable.
Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury ~ A lot of young adult romantic couples are overly saccharine and not very realistic. I really enjoyed the interplay between Agnes and Caedmon, and even if they were mainly just friends, I was rooting for them to get together by the end.
God Went to Beauty School by Cynthia Rylant ~ This is not the vengeance-seeking deity that inspires fear. Rylant's God is a kinder, gentler sort of character with a likeable hint of vulnerability. He'd be awfully fun to hang out with.
I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder ~ I don't know if I'd say I completely fell in love with him, but he was one of the least objectionable love interests that I came across this year. Sensitive, kind, and smart... what's not to like?
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi ~ This guy was just plain scary. You never knew where or when he'd turn up next... but you knew that when he inevitably did, he would cause trouble.
Ice by Sarah Beth Durst ~ I didn't start out loving this character; in fact, I was pretty indifferent. But by the end of the book, I couldn't stand her. I guess I couldn't get over the fact that she let her "husband" (whom she initially married only to secure her mother's freedom) off the hook for tampering with her birth control and impregnating her against her will. Ew.
Naked Heat by Richard Castle ~ Nikki Heat is the very definition of "kick-arse"... especially in some of the scenes in this book.
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson ~ Peter was pretty much a normal boy... until he started being able to fly. Then he was a force to be reckoned with!
The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder ~ I have to be honest: I still don't fully understand (or agree with) Amber's decision in this book. The whole situation was pretty heartbreaking.
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein ~ If I'm being honest, Enzo could probably tie with Jack for my favourite male character (see above). I loved his storytelling.
Eli the Good by Silas House ~ I picked these two not so much because they were perfect, but because they were real. As an added bonus, they're actually an integral part of the main character's life (something that seems to be all too rare in today's crop of YA titles).
The Lost Crown by Sarah Miller ~ The author really captured the relationship between these four girls (and, to a lesser extent, their brother). After reading this one, I kind of wished I had a few more sisters!
Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer ~ These two almost had a sibling-type relationship, but since they weren't actually related, I've chosen them for the friendship category. Like siblings, they had their arguments and their ups and downs... but the dynamic was really interesting and made the most of the story's unusual circumstances.
15. best/worst character names - best: Count Jonty Um from A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine ~ A lot of the names in this book were fun (hint: say them out loud); worst: Dek from The Always War by Margaret Peterson Haddix ~ It sounds too harsh and negative... like "dreck". Her full name was Dekaterina, which is much nicer.