It seems like “best of” lists are popping up everywhere when it comes to books published in 2011. Salon has one. The New York Times has one. And Goodreads members voted on one. A lot of the same books appear on all of these lists. Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 seems to appear on just about all of them. I definitely want to get around to reading it.
My bone to pick? That’s with the Goodreads members who chose Veronica Roth’s Divergent as the best book at 2011. Cut to me with my eyes bugging out. An entertaining book, maybe. Shows a lot of promise? Yup. But the best book anyone could have read in 2011? Hellz no.
Here’s my review that I posted on Shelfari:
Divergent started out strong. I liked that it was set in a city that I knew. It set recognizable landmarks into a dystopian future. In this future society is divided by personality trait to avoid violent tendencies (this is becoming a theme; we need to change humanity to avoid warfare and violence). Our protagonist, Tris, chooses the hardest and toughest group thus going against her family. Then the entire book is about her training process. It hardly explores what it means to be Divergent (which Tris is – she tested into multiple groups). And in the end one society goes to war against another all of a sudden. The end is kind of a mess. There’s a bit of sloppy writing going on with the middle being really slow. None of the characters are totally compelling enough for me to give this a four star rating. It was good enough to keep reading, but it really needed another re-write.
I gave it 3 (generous) stars. I want to say it’s good YA fic, but that sounds like I’m downgrading that readership. I’m not, there’s a lot of really great and well written books for the YA demographic. But Divergent really seemed to lose it’s point after a while.
Definitely not the best book published this year. I gave 5 stars to three books in the past year. Bossypants by Tina Fey was published in 2011 and The Thirteenth Tale was published in 2006. The other is the Eye of the World graphic novel. I gave plenty of books a 4 star rating, but it looks like Bossypants takes the cake for best book published in 2011 that I read.