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The Top Ten Swooniest Books of 2011

FYA lists their top ten swooniest books of 2011!

The Top Ten Swooniest Books of 2011

While the rest of the world is spending the week composing Best Dystopian Trilogy or Most Hotly Anticipated Blockbuster Film Franchise lists, we've chosen to wrap up 2011 with what we love best -- swoon (you thought I'd say champ can, didn't you? We wouldn't turn one down). We all know a good swoon goes with everything, from that ugly sweater you got from your great-aunt Mildred to yet another vampire book, and these swoons are guaranteed to light a few panty fires.

So in order of swoonworthiness (and then letter-by-letter alphabetical order -- we're particular around here), we present FYA's Top Ten Swoons of 2011. I hope you have a fire extinguisher ready!

Hidden by Tomas Mournian
Swoonworthy Scale: 10

The Deal:

Ahmed's a young, gay teen who has just been released from the evil, torturous, "Scared Straight" prison that his hypocritical father and heinous stepmother have sentenced him to. Instead of going home with his parents, a sedated, hallucinatory Ahmed sees his chance for escape and takes it.

Soon, he's on the run and taken in by no-nonsense Marci, left to fend for himself in a one-room safe house with seven other gay teenagers hiding out from their parents. The majority of the teens are trapped in that house until they come of age, and they have to deal with bounties placed on their heads, turning tricks to make the ends meet, hiding out from cops and their evil parents, gender identity, HIV, PTSD and, oh yeah, love.

Ahmed has to figure out who he can trust and how he can stay alive, cause not only does he have parents who he's pretty sure want to burn him to death, he also happened to witness the rape and murder of a young male sex worker by a dead-eyed psycho . . . whohas now turned his cold, dead eyes on Ahmed.

Can he stay alive? Can he learn to trust anyone ever again? Will the memories of the trauma he endured at the "correction facility" ever fade? Will he win the heart of J.D.? I really hope you guys all pick up this book to find out, but, fair warning, it ain't for the faint of heart.

Why It's So Swoony:

Can I have a swoonworthy scale of 10 just for Hammer's abs and ass? Even though he's like 16? I mean, I just want to get that out of the way. Hammer, I know I'm not your type but please do a web show for me.

Moving on to the actual relationship here! Ahmed and J.D. the Pirate's relationship is STEAMY TO THE EXTREME. You guys, Mournian is NOT fucking around here. No little hints about tingly feelings and swoony cartoon hearts, this. We're talking full-on descriptions oft he sexola.* But, even though Ahmed and J.D.'s relationship is HOT HOT HOT, I just kept cringing and thinking, "No, baby! He's gonna break your heart! He can't give you what you need! Why can't you date that nice boy from down the street? Oh, sure, he doesn't look like a gorgeous Adonis, but I'm sure his braces will be off soon and then his smile will be just lovely!" Because, J.D.? Is 100% smoking hot T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Not to mention that Kidd, one of the other house residents, is also warm for J.D.'s form, and is NOT the kind of dude you want to piss off.

Still. Very hot. So, so very hot.

*Nothing more explict than you'd read in a slash fanfic featuring the Salvatores from The Vampire Diaries. Um. Not that I have ever read any of those.

-- Erin

Overbite by Meg Cabot
Swoonworthy Scale: 9

The Deal:

When we last saw Meena Harper, her vampire boyfriend, Lucien Antonescu, had almost sort of kind of maaaaaybe turnedintoadragonandburneddownhalfofStGeorge'sCathedral, killing hundreds of his own vampire followers and a few innocent bystanders. This could totally happen to anyone! But it is sort of a boner killer, mostly because you don't want to have sex with someone who could turn into a DRAGON in the sack. Well, maybe you do. I don't presume to know you and your life choices.

So that, combined with the fact that Meena Harper has been hired by the Palatine, the Vatican's super-secret guard of demon hunters, due to her unique ability to tell how people can die, AND the fact that Lucien totally wants to turn Meena into a vampire so that they can live together forever, having dragon sex daily, sort of means that Meena and Lucien had to break up. I mean, it wasn't awkward and it's totally fine . . . except for how now Lucien never tries to contact Meena and Meena is technically working with someone who wants to kill him.

But just when Meena is getting on with her life and maybe finally showing an interest in dating again, all of her past relationships come crashing down on her. Literally.

Now Meena has to balance one dead ex-boyfriend, one undead ex-boyfriend who seems to be meaner and more abusive every day and a potential boyfriend (Alaric, obvs) while trying to figure out who exactly at the Palatine is trying to get her killed. Oh, and she has to save the world. Again.

Why It's So Swoony:

Never before (I think) have I given any Meg Cabot book less than a 10 on the swoonworthy scale. This is because Meg Cabot knows how to deliver exactly the type of swoon I love, which means fluttery feelings and unsure bumbling, but also sexy, sexy second base action.

However, I had to knock a point off because I couldn't believe Meena was still carrying any sort of torch for Lucien when Alaric was around. I mean, I get that Lucien is gorgeous and wonderful and can turn into a dragon and have sex with you, but Alaric is panty-meltingly hot and wears Armani suits and drives fast cars and has a sword. NO CONTEST.

-- Erin

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Swoonworthy scale: 9

The Deal:

Lola really only wants three things to happen in her teen life in order for her to be completely happy: to go to her winter formal dressed as Marie Antoinette, for her parents to accept her boyfriend, and to never see the Bell twins (Calliope and Cricket) again. Unfortunately, the Bells have just moved back into their house --- right next door. You see, Lola and Cricket Bell used to kind of be best friends. And then they almost became more-than best friends --- before Cricket did something really mean and then moved away.

Why It's So Swoony:

From holding up signs in bedroom windows to talking to the moon, to finding your one true love only to lose them to a misunderstanding -- this book felt like encyclopedia of classic romantic tropes. It left me with happy tears in my eyes, staring at its ridiculous cover, feeling that what I had just read was a story that would be cherished for many years to come.

--Jenny

Saving June by Hannah Harrington
Swoonworthy Scale: 9

The Deal:

A few days before graduation, Harper's older sister June killed herself. June was the perfect one --- perfect hair, perfect grades, perfect attitude --- and Harper spent her whole life trying to be Not June. After the suicide, she questions just how perfect June's life really was, especially after finding out how much it hurt June to crush her dreams of going to California just to make her parents happy, and finding a mix CD full of music June would never listen to from a boy she can't imagine June ever meeting. Her mother is slowly drinking herself to death, despite the best efforts of her Bible-thumping aunt to Save her Soul, and before Harper can talk herself out of it, she is on a mission to take June's ashes to California. Joined by her best friend Laney and mix-CD boy (also known as Jake), Harper hopes the road trip will help her learn more about June. She ends up learning a lot about herself.

Why It's So Swoony:

For the first bit of this book, I was worried it was going to be a Sneaky Jesus book, with the totally authentic philosophical "Is there a god" talk -- coupled with Harper's obnoxious Bible-thumping aunt, I could see it veering into "And then I found the Lord and was saved!" territory. Lucky for all of us, it ended up being a SMOKING HOT book instead! The relationship between Harper and Jake is full of tension, since their only connection is June and they both are working through their grief and guilt over her death, and we all know tension is the best way into a lady's panties. Jake's the quintessential MLD/bad boy, all secretly sensitive and hot, and the only reason I deducted a point from the scale is because he thinks the Doors' Soft Parade is good sexin' music. Everyone knows if you're going for "ironic", cheeky mood music, stay away from Marvin Gaye and Jim Morrison's "Touch Me" and go with LL Cool J.

--Meghan

Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Swoonworthy Scale: 9

Meghan reviewed this one, but I had to steal it for my list because ADAAAAAM! Also, if you haven't read the prequel, If I Stay, please please please skip to the next book on this list so you can avoid some major (and I mean MAJOR) spoilers.

The Deal:

Over three years have passed since the car accident that killed Mia's family and left her in a coma, forced to choose between life and death. Her boyfriend, Adam, basically devoted his life to her recovery, but when Mia left for Julliard and never contacted him again, his heart shattered beyond repair. Of course, we all know that depression makes for great music, and Adam's band (name omitted due to its highly embarrassing nature) is now insanely famous. In spite of his rock star riches, Adam's life is empty without Mia, and when he runs into her one night in New York City, they set out to find the hidden gems of the city... and maybe, just maybe, their love for each other.

Why It's So Swoony:

LE SIGH. LE SIGH. LE SIGH. Is there anything more romantic than two soul mates who have one night in New York City to discover if they can rekindle their relationship? Sure, that might sound like the plot of a really bad rom com, but in the expert hands of Gayle Forman, it becomes an epic love story. Adam's heartbreak combined with his empty rock star lifestyle infuses him with an intense desperation that I found unbelievable sexy. And since the book is written from his perspective, we don't really know how Mia feels about him, which would have driven me insane had I not been busy dumping ice into my panties. The chemistry sizzles, the tension is smokin', and the uncertainty is as delicious as it is painful. Adam and Mia, I hope you have a speech prepared, because you have officially been inducted into my Top Swoonworthy YA Couples List. CONGRATS, KIDS.

--Poshdeluxe

The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle
Swoonworthy Scale: 8

The Deal:

(Speaking of Gayle Forman, here's a book that might sound like If I Stay but is totally and completely different. I promise! Also, what is up with me and all of this swoon via tragedy? I think I have a problem, you guys.)

You know how, in Home Alone, Kevin wishes his entire family would disappear, and then it's like totally awesome, at least for the first few days of sundaes and stair sledding? Well, I have the feeling that sixteen-year-old Laurel will never know the joy of Home Alone again, because her family really did disappear. On a night after dinner with their neighbors, the Kaufmans, Laurel heads home to finish homework, and her mom, dad and brother get in the car with Mr. Kaufman behind the wheel for an ice cream run. On the way, the car is involved in a tragic accident, killing everyone except for Mr. Kaufman, who lands in a coma. In an instant, Laurel's whole life changes in a way that no one could understand-- no one, that is, except David Kaufman, who also ditched his family that night and lost his mother in the accident. Unlike Laurel, whose grandmother immediately moves in, David has no one except his vegetable father, and he constantly disappears. In spite of his flickering presence, Laurel finds herself drawn to him as she struggles to figure out how exactly life goes on.

Why It's So Swoony:

Oh, believe me, I'm surprised as you are to find a book about a family's death on the top of my swoon list. But you should never underestimate the power of the MLD, especially under such emotionally intense circumstances.

David Kaufman, panties off to you, sir!!! You sure know how to set tragedy on fire with your hotness. Especially since you were kind of a jerk before the accident, what with your bad boy druggie ways and the fact that you totally ignored Laurel even though you played together as kids. But post-accident, SA-WOON. You're tortured and lost and you aimlessly drive across the country and send Laurel cryptic post cards and you love your dog Masher and you are seriously TURNING ME ON. Plus, the fact that Laurel is trying to make it work with another guy just increases the romantic tension to almost unbearable levels.

--Poshdeluxe

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Swoonworthy Scale: 8

The Deal:

Arguably the biggest dystopian hit of the year, Divergent is set in a crumbling, futuristic Chicago. All the cities inhabitants are split into five segregated factions based on personality type. 16 year old Beatrice lives with her family in Abnegation, the selfless faction that runs the government. All teenagers her age are given an aptitude test to help determine their future faction. Except Beatrice's test is inconclusive. She is what is referred to as "Divergent" but no one will explain to her what that means or why it's dangerous. So Beatrice chooses Dauntless, shocking everyone but most of all her family. The Dauntless are brave and dangerous and lead very different lives than those in Abnegation. Beatrice have what it takes to make it through the Dauntless initiation process or will she be kicked out, forced to live her life as faction-less? And will Beatrice find out what it means to be Divergent before it's too late?

Why It's So Swoony:

Many of you have already had the pleasure of experiencing Beatrice's relationship with her handsome instructor Four. Now "teacher/student" roles can be a real turnoff, but luckily Four is only a couple of years older than Beatrice, making their dynamic sexy instead of yucky. And even better, Four is a classic Mysterious Loner Dude. Handsome, strong, unknown background and Beatrice is never quite sure if he likes her or hates her. And Four shows us how a little can go a long way, because the foreplay in this book is unreal. Okay, not like, actual foreplay, just a really great build up of little touches, flirting and sexual tension so thick you could butter it on bread. But don't worry, this book isn't a just tease -- you'll be left plenty satisfied.

--Megan

I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Swoonworthy Scale: 8

The Deal:

Sam and his little brother Riddle have lived all over the country, uprooted by their dangerously crazy, criminal father every time the voices in his head warn him it's time to move on. Her whole life, Emily Bell has lived in the same town, the same house with her normal professional parents, her little brother and their fat old dog Felix.

Sam hasn't been to school since second grade, but knows how to disappear, how to protect strange little Riddle, and he knows music.

Emily's been in the same school district her whole life, but she doesn't know much about the world. She does believe everything is connected. So when her dad makes her sing a solo in church -- "I'll Be There" by the Jackson 5, which is bad enough by itself, but Emily can't sing -- and she handles her nerves by singing to the strange boy in the back row, it has to mean something that the boy is Sam.

Emily doesn't know what their meeting will do to Sam's tenuous protective walls, but Sam does, and he tries to ignore their connection. But of course he can't, and Sam and Emily knock down that first domino in a wild chain they'll be powerless to stop.

Why It's So Swoony:

Sam's determination to keep his distance from Emily makes the swoon so hardcore. Much like Cameron Quick in Sweethearts, Sam has lives at stake if he gets involved, but unlike Jenna, Emily doesn't know anything about Sam's life (since he won't tell her), and that makes her heartbreak more bitter. Every time Sam tells Emily goodbye, he means it as a final goodbye, and while reading, I knew it if she didn't, and I knew why and I was so tense and worried sick that each time would be THE time Sam's father really snapped, so I just wanted to stretch out their time together as long as possible. Heartbreak, a few fist pumps and SWOONY TUNES (who knew city buses could bring the swoon?).

--Meghan

Fateful by Claudia Gray
Swoonworthy Scale: 7

The Deal:

Tess Davies has spent her adolescence as a maid in the service of the Lyles --- a family with a title, lots of secrets --- and not much else. But she finally has a chance at a new life, making it on her own, because (in hopes of marrying off their children to rich merchants in the US) the Lylse family is setting sail on the maiden voyage of The Titanic. Tess plans to set out on her own as soon as the ship makes port in NYC, where she will find good honest work as a seamstress or hired maid, freeing herself from the bonds of servitude.

Once aboard the vast ship, Tess is thrown into a mystery as unbelievable as it is deadly, when she meets Alec, a devastatingly handsome passenger in First Class, on his way back to the states from France, where he left suddenly, (and under questionable circumstances involving the gruesome murder of an actress friend of his).

We all know (SPOILER) the boat sinks, but will Tess and Alec even make it to the 'berg as their relationship is challenged not only by class divide, but by the creatures of myth who are hunting him?

Why It's So Swoony:

Fateful makes my list because of how much it surprised me with it's epic, sweeping romance. Call me crazy, but I just didn't think a book about WEREWOLVES on the TITANIC could deliver such swoon! However, from the first moment our heroes meet, it became clear that this was a classic bosom heaver. The thrills! The suspense! The romance! By the end it had me singing Celine Dion. And that, my friends, is something that I just don't do.

--Jenny

Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
Swoonworthy Scale: 7

The Deal:

Wren's boyfriend Danny is killed in a car crash, and she's so heartbroken, she brings him back to life. But Wren doesn't know much about her powers, since her mother refuses to admit they run in the family, and didn't stop to think about the consequences of the spell. Danny's not the real Danny, but an empty shell of the boy she loved, and he's quickly getting out of control --- and she can't let anyone know he exists. What makes Danny so terrifying isn't rotting flesh or a craving for brains (he's not that kind of zombie, anyway), it's getting inside Wren and knowing just how MUCH she loved him and how much she misses him. It's knowing what he was like alive that makes the dead Danny's dependence and lack of autonomy so chilling. As if struggling to figure out how to fix her immense mistake and handle the double loss of her first love wasn't complicated enough for Wren, she meets Gabriel, a gorgeous --- and living --- boy who knows her secrets.

Why It's So Swoony:

I wouldn't normally expect a zombie book to make any swoon list, let alone find a place in my decidedly anti-zombie pants, but we all know fire and ice just intensify each other. There's no swoon with Danny, because right next to the glowing memories of living Danny is his cold, dead shell, but right next to THAT burns Gabriel, the new boy in Wren's life. And nothing starts panty fires like secrets, rampant emotions and danger, wrapped up in a tall, grey-eyed, sandy-haired package.

--Meghan

Honorable Mention: Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar

This book came out in Australia a few years ago, but since it's not available in the US, I didn't get my grabby little hands on it until 2011. The other books are lucky that it's disqualified from this list, because it would SCORCH THE SHIZZ OUT OF THEM WITH ITS BLAZE OF SEXINESS.

--Poshdeluxe

Meghan Miller's photo About the Author: Meghan is an erstwhile librarian in exile from Texas and writer for Forever Young Adult. She loves books, cooking and homey things like knitting and vintage cocktails. Although she’s around books all the time, she doesn’t get to read as much as she’d like.