Thursday, December 15, 2016

Best Books of 2016

What a great, interesting year this has been. I know there’s still some time left, and so many books I didn’t get to, but I felt like it was time to come out with my list already. Also, I’ll be on vacation soon, and I wanted to do this before other things got in the way.
I both love and hate coming up with this list. I love looking back on my year and organizing all the books I loved. I hate narrowing down the good books though. It’s so hard to scratch books off my list. On the other hand, this year, it was surprisingly easy to come up with my books and scratch the ones I didn’t love as much, off. Everything kind of came together easily. How crazy is that?
My rules for this list are how they have always been:
1) Each book listed has come out this past year.
2) Each book is YA or Middle Grade
3) I have read the book in 2016.
I am going to start at the top with number 1, and make my way down to my number 10 book of the year. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! May 2017 bring just as many, if not more wonderful books into the world.

1) The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (Review / Rating: 10/10)

I seriously think Stiefvater should have won best YA fantasy on Goodreads this year. This wasn’t just the best fantasy of the year, it was the best book. The writing, the characters, the setting, the action, the romance, and the everything was just so good. This was all that I was hoping it to be. And I’m hoping more people put it on their best lists because it deserves it. How many final installments of a series actually accomplish all you want them to? And on top of that, as I said in my review, “
This book (along with the rest in the series) is a book that makes me feel like I’m reconnecting with old friends. Seriously, I feel like I know these characters. They can make me laugh, tear up, and roll my eyes. And I love them no matter what. So few books do this for me any more. It’s so wonderfully charming that I can’t help but smile just thinking about it.”

2) The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh (Review / Rating: 10/10)
This was one of those books, I know I will come back to and read over and over again. The magic and the romance were some of the best I’ve seen in YA. But more than anything, it was the writing I loved. I want to go back to this book right now and read some of it out loud. It’s beautiful and heartfelt, and filled with the power of words and story. I have so much love for this book and this series.

3) The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (Review / Rating: 10/10)
This book was not a fantasy novel, yet it had so much magic. I think what made it stand out to me was how plausible it felt. It’s sometimes the real kind of magic that can grab me more than any other story. It’s about falling in love in one day. It’s about how one city, and one series of events can change everything. I cannot do this book justice in a few sentences. Just know that it is YA contemporary at it’s finest. The characters are real and sad, and lovely, and wonderful. I wanted them all to succeed so badly, even the minor side characters. If you like contemporary at all, please read this book. This is the kind of story I aspire to write myself some day.

4) Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Review / Rating: 9/10)
As I said in my review, “I thought nothing could be more nostalgic than attending the release party. I was wrong. Reading this play took me back to all the times I read the Harry Potter books.” Yes, this book was nowhere near as good as the original seven stories. And yeah, there were things I did not like about it. But, what this book accomplished that no other book on this list did for me was: pure and utter happiness. I never thought I’d get the feeling of reading a new Harry Potter book again, and I got that feeling. What a gift.

5) Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine (Review / Rating: 10/10)
This book was by far the book with the best suspense and action of the year. I remember comparing it to Catching Fire and The Last Olympian. It was full of twists and surprises. It’s also the ultimate dystopian series for book lovers. The characters are awesome, the setting is both beautiful and frightening. And for a book 2, this was beyond remarkable.

6) This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills (Review / Rating: 10/10)
This book was full of so many great, wonderful things. I loved that the main character’s dad is a famous novelist. I love the focus on family. I love that the dad introduces his daughter to fandoms and fan fiction. Finally, there’s a YA book with a believable amount of social media usage. I feel like this is very commonly left out. I also loved the focus on art and grief, and friendships. Seriously, this book had everything going for it. And I’m really coming to love this author.

7) Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk (Review / Rating: 10/10)
As I said in my review, “I’m not generally a big historical fiction fan, particularly with middle grade. So, despite the high praise, I wasn’t expecting to love this as much as I did.  Thankfully, it was hard not to love this. The writing was beautiful, the characters were spot-on, the setting was fantastic, and I can understand why reviewers are comparing this to To Kill a Mockingbird.” This was a very powerful book for me.

8) A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro (Review / Rating: 9/10)
Finally, we have a girl Sherlock Holmes! Words cannot express how much I needed this character. This book was everything I was hoping it to be. I read it super quickly because I needed to know all the things. Also, I had a super big book crush on Watson. But mostly, I loved watching the super intelligent, snarky detective be a girl. I can’t wait to read more in this series.

9) Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (Review / Rating: 9/10)
Clare is another character writing queen. I seriously love her characters. I loved the new kids right away. I also loved the cameos from other known/loved characters of the past. I loved the romance, the magic, the action, and the setting. And I think with each book, the author’s writing skills improve. What a fun new series start!

10) Pax by Sarah Pennypacker (Review / Rating: 10/10)
Middlegrade books killed it this year. This is one of those strong books that sticks with you days, weeks, and months after you finish it. I’m not usually a big fan of books about animals either. This book was all kinds of out of my normal comfort zone, but it called to me. And I’m so glad it did. Sometimes I just have to read something a little different. This was it. As I said in my review, “I liked that this wasn’t a book about humans destroying the planet, a father abusing his kid, a boy running away from home, or even a country devastated by war. All these were components. But, the main focal point was the boy and his fox trying to find each other again. It was about friendship and doing the right thing.” And now I successfully convicnced myself to re-read this as soon as I can.


  1. Aw that's how I feel about the Raven Boys + Blue for sure, like I'm reconnecting with old friends. Ditto with reconnecting with the HP trio :) I haven't read any of the rest of the books that have made your list yet! But hopefully I will get to Lady Midnight before the sequel comes out - I loved meeting the new kids in City of Heavenly Fire so I think I will enjoy Lady Midnight as well.

  2. I feel the exact same way you do about The Raven King and in fact, I voted for it throughout the GR awards. That book was incredible and it certainly made my top pick for 2016 ♥ I adored The Wrath & The Dawn but I have yet to get my hands on The Rose & The Dagger...but I WILL asap! And honestly, some of the reviews for Cursed Child scared me -which is why I haven't opened my copy yet but your thoughts on it here have laid my fears to rest. I always knew it wouldn't be as good as the original 7 but the happiness it brought you seems perfect!

    I haven't read the rest here but I'm interested in A Study in Charlotte and Pax!