Thursday, December 28, 2017

Best Books of 2017

What an amazing year this has been for YA books. I know I probably say something like this each year, but this was a tough year limiting my favorite books to 10. There were so many great books this year. So many brave, political, diverse, and thought-provoking books too. Let’s keep this up, YA book world. 

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 2017

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 2018 bring just as many, if not more wonderful books into the world.

1) In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan (Review / Rating: 10/10)
This book seriously does not have enough love. It didn’t make it to the Goodreads awards or the Book Shimmy Awards. And not enough people seem to know about it. I’ve already re-read it since my first reading. I loved it. It had the best ship in it, ever. It’s fantasy at its best, with killer characters, loads of sarcasm and wit, a bisexual main character, feminist elves, and lots of magic and mayhem. Seriously, if you read my blog and trust my judgment at all, please read this.

2) The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Review / Rating: 10/10)
This was probably the most political and thought provoking read I’ve had in years. And it’s certainly up there as being one of my all time favorite YA books. I have a crazy itch to re-read it now as I’m talking about it. I couldn’t put this story down. It’s important, timely, and honest. And it’s also just a super addicting story.

3) Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu (Review / Rating: 10/10)
I’m taking this from my review: I love that this book focused so highly on friendship. It didn’t matter what social circle, racial group, or religion these girls belonged to. They all could relate to what Viv was angry about. All girls can relate. And watching all these different girls from various backgrounds come together, stand together, was such a powerful thing. And it was probably the strongest message from this book overall: the power of girls working together is mind blowing and fierce.

We’re finally at a point in time where YA literature is reflecting the current political atmosphere. People want to read books where the little guy wins, where women can start a revolution and succeed, and where small successes can mean the world. Sure, we will always need distraction and YA generates some of my all time favorite distraction. But, lately, I’ve been feeling this mass need of something else: hope. Hope for a future with less sexism, racism, and hatred. This book is powerful, and I think all girls (and guys too) should read it.

4) Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk (Review / Rating: 10/10)

This was another beautiful story written by the wonderful Lauren Wolk, one of my new favorite middle grade writers. She’s up there for me with Kate DiCamillo and Katherine Applegate. She just has a way with words. Her books are unique and beautiful. I want to re-read this one too! I guess you know a book is good, when I want to go back to it so quickly. This is a book for people who love good writing, and love a good mystery. It’s also good for the historical fiction fans and those who love a good ocean setting.

5) The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (Review / Rating: 10/10)
It’s weird that I have not just one, but two historical fiction books on this list! I’m not generally a huge fan of historical fiction, but wow, was this a good one. It was loaded with great characters, plenty of wit and snark, lots of adventures, and an amazing European backdrop. I also had the pleasure of meeting the author in Boston this past year, and she seems like such a cool person. The sequel is one of my most highly anticipated books of 2018.

6) The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo (Review / Rating: 10/10)
This was another beautifully written book. It’s also a book of several stories (redone fairy tales), and it was a pleasant surprise for me to fall so in love with each dark retelling. It may seem like a weird book to read around the holidays, but it’s actually perfect for that –not to mention the retelling of the nutcracker story. I’ve given this book as a gift to someone already. It’s also filled with beautiful correlating illustrations. It’s just a pure, magical book to read and look at.

7) Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (Review / Rating: 10/10)
Ahhh. I missed John Green. His books always give me the feels, and this one didn’t disappoint. I loved his depiction of mental illness. I loved his characters and I loved the super strange mystery in the backdrop of it all. I devoured this book, and I know I will have to read it again soon.  And here’s a lovely quote from it: “You remember your first love because they show you, prove to you, that you can love and be loved, that nothing in this world is deserved except for love, that love is both how you become a person, and why” (285).

8) Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray (Review / Rating: 10/10)
You didn’t think I’d pass up on mentioning my favorite author during a year she came out with a book, did you? She’s the best. Again, here’s a book with phenomenal writing. Her writing is probably the best of any of the books on this list. When I described it to someone at work, I explained it as a mixture of X-Men, Downton Abbey, NYC flappers, murder mysteries, ghost stories, and Harlem poetry. Weird list there, I know. But it seriously is all these things and more…And it’s written like a piece of classic literature. And to top it all off, there was a major plot twist to end all plot twists. I’m still in shock, and dying for the next book.

9) Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare (Review / Rating: 10/10)
I’ve been a big fan of this author since I was an actual young adult. And the thing about Clare is that her writing improves with each new book she writes. I will never tire of the world of the shadowhunters. And these new books and characters are just spectacular. As I mentioned in my review, “All in all, I was impressed with this volume. I loved the politics. I loved the character growth. I loved re-visiting old friends. I loved getting to know new friends. The action, especially at the end, was beyond crazy. There’s also this depth to the characters and sadness to them that wasn’t there with the generation before them. These main characters are already survivors of so much war and loss. And knowing more is coming for them, is just so intense and hard to read, but also addicting.”

10) Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills (Review / Rating :10/10)
As I said on Goodreads recently, “Emma Mills is Magic. Like if Sarah Dessen and Stephanie Perkins had a YA love child, it would be her. My heart melts just remembering what I put down." I loved this book. This book is YA contemporary at its finest. There’s just something about it that un-put-down-able. This is another author that gets nowhere near enough praise. I hope more people give her books a go. They are all good.

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