The Great Review Catch-Up of 2011

I’ve never reviewed every book I read in a year. For whatever reason, today, I got the idea that this should be the year! There’s a small hitch in my plan though. I think I reviewed half of the books I’ve read this year and there’s only one week left in the year! Whatever shall I do?

Why, I know! Review them all in one post at once.


Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan: Technically I sort of reviewed this at BookRiot, but I didn’t really feel like I had much to add to the conversation about this book back in January. It was great! You will like it.

The Dirty Girl’s Social Club by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez: This is so not what I usually read, so I didn’t really have a lot to say about it. It was cute; I enjoyed it!


The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood: I have read 3 Margaret Atwood books since I started this blog and I have reviewed none of them. I loved this book so much, but I didn’t have a lot to say about it at the time.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: Ditto.


The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore by Benjamin Hale: This book was pretty good. I had this whole post planned about how Kyle XY and The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore are basically the same story, but I never got around to writing it.

Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea: Another one I totally loved! Read it, it’s good.

The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry: I gushed about this one on Twitter. Loved the food, loved that the main character was Autistic, loved a lot about it, but it wasn’t perfect.

The Birth of Love by Joanna Kavenna: Meh. This was interesting, but I just really didn’t care about it.


Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan: Guys! I totally should have reviewed this one. I adored it.


The Immortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare: Sure, this was good. I won’t be recommending it on Crossover Appeal anytime soon, but I enjoyed reading it for the most part. It’s definitely problematic, but it was perfect for the beach.

The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright: I thought this book was beautiful. You should read it.

My American Unhappiness by Dean Bakopolous: This was just… okay. I liked it, but nothing about it screamed REVIEW ME!


The Magicians by Lev Grossman: I liked this one, but I haven’t really found the energy to pick up the sequel. I didn’t love it, didn’t hate it, just liked it.

The Illumination by Kevin Brokmeier: I adored the beginning and felt so-so on the end. I was disappointed, because this was almost a favorite of the year.


Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind: Good lord, this book was long. It was good, though. Epic fantasy at its epickiest.

Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan: This was good, but didn’t hold a candle to Maine. Seemed like it was trying too hard most of the time. The ending also left me angry. Really angry.

The Marriage Plot by Jeffery Eugenides: YAWN. I really was not a fan of this book. Most everyone loved it and I couldn’t articulately express why I disliked this so, so I just left it. Maybe I’ll revisit it.


Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman: I continue to not get Neil Gaiman.

Divergent by Veronica Roth: Loved the plot! Hated the stupid writing mistakes that easily could have been fixed with some editing.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe: I like to call this PhD fan fiction. Mary Sues all over the dang place. However – I did not stop reading it.

Habibi by Craig Thompson: Yes! Beautiful!

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver: No, we don’t. This was the worst-written book I read in 2011.

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brogsol: This was cute! I liked it.


America Pacifica by Anna North: Meh.

And those, my friends, are the books I read and never reviewed. There are still more books read in November and December that I plan on reviewing soon. I promise I’ll do a better job of reviewing than I did in October. That’s just sad! Though I do kind of like the two sentence (or one word) reviews. That was fun! Coming up next week: my favorite reads of 2011!

30 thoughts on “The Great Review Catch-Up of 2011

  1. I enjoyed Gaiman’s Neverwhere. But yeah, he can be kinda out there.
    I look forward to Habibi as I’ve read several positive things about it lately. I thought Blankets was so beautiful – loved it – sounds like Habibi might be on par with that.

    1. I don’t even know if it’s that he’s “out there”, though he is, but I just don’t connect with his writing style – at all. Like a couple people mention below, I think it works when he is writing children’s books, but not so much when he is writing for adults. I liked Habibi… it had its problems, but I still think it’s some of the most beautiful artwork I’ve ever seen.

  2. I wish I’d liked Habibi but I just really disliked it. 😦 It was so disappointing.

    I”m with you on Gaiman, though. I like his children’s and YA stuff, but the adult stuff, not at all.

    1. I can see why you were disappointed, Amanda. There were definitely things I struggled with and going back to Blankets, I saw many of the same problems. But I think Habibi was a beautiful book and took a lot of research.

  3. I like this idea a lot! I have a few books from the year, maybe 5 to 10, that I never wrote reviews on. I was just going to skip them, but I like the idea of doing super short reviews.

    I have Oryx and Crake planned for reading early in the year, and then The Year of the Flood right after. I’m glad the second one is good (and I hope the first is too!)

    1. I saw your link! I’ll add it to the bottom of the post. I think I might make this a tradition. I think you’ll love Oryx & Crake!

  4. I agree with much of your comments, especially “Marriage Plot” and “Kevin.” As a blogger of Hispanic books, I also loved that you read the books by Valdes and Urrea.

  5. Love your response to Kevin! That is a book that I liked in spite of the writing, because you are not wrong that the writing poses some massive problems.

    Oh, and I also don’t really get Gaiman. I think I am with Amanda, in that I think his kids stuff is fine, but the stuff aimed at older audiences does absolutely nothing for me.

  6. I was pretty “meh” about America Pacifica, too, which was too bad — the story was so interesting, and I even accidentally met the author in New York last spring. Still, just . . . I don’t know. Bland. Totally lacking something.

    As an aside, I’m digging the one- or two-sentence reviews. I tease my sister all the time that I need her “one-sentence thoughts” on books, because the way she describes books to me is hilarious. Sometimes it’s good to just get to the root of the issue. Did it suck or was it awesome?

    1. America Pacifica was totally missing something, but it was hard to pinpoint exactly what that was. I just never connected to the story or really believed it, to be honest. I’m thinking about doing the one-sentence reviews at the end of the month, summing everything up.

  7. You have the same sentiments about many of the books that I did: Loved The Forgotten Waltz, still don’t get Neil Gaiman, either, and I strongly suspect I’d yawn through The Marriage Plot as well. Much like I did for Middlesex. I don’t know, there’s something appealing about many books in one long post; it gives me a wonderful overview of all you’ve read.

    1. I loved Middlesex, but The Marriage Plot just wasn’t for me. Sometimes I wonder how I’d feel if I read it again now. I’m glad you enjoyed this post!

  8. Oh this was good! I didn’t agree with you on some of the books but that’s OK, right? But it makes me worried about a book I bought cuz you told me to. (don’t worry, I won’t hold you responsible – in fact I’m even more curious about it now) Of course I was supposed to read it in 2011… 🙂

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