Okay so, when it comes to reading and reviewing, I have one big problem. I can never remember which books I read the month before (which, you know, isn’t REALLY that surprising seeing that I read around 12 books every month) and now I want to give you my top 17 books I read in 2017. Unnecessary to say, it took me a while guys, hope you like it!
17) Moonrise by Sarah Crossan
Stories told in prose always scare me a little as I never expect them to convey the message as a “normal” book would. I already knew that this wasn’t the case for Crossan and she proves it yet again with this book. It’ll take a few poems to get into the rhythm, but once you do, you’re in for one hell of a book.
‘They think I hurt someone.
But I didn’t. You hear?
Coz people are gonna be telling you
all kinds of lies.
I need you to know the truth.’
Joe hasn’t seen his brother for ten years, and it’s for the most brutal of reasons. Ed is on death row.
But now Ed’s execution date has been set, and Joe is determined to spend those last weeks with him, no matter what other people think…
16) A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom
I adore a good book about any mental health issue and this book about bipolar disease blew my socks off. Like every book on such a topic should do, we crawled into the head of someone with the illness and Lindstrom PERFECTLY conveyed what happens there.
For sixteen-year-old Mel Hannigan, bipolar disorder makes life unpredictable. Her latest struggle is balancing her growing feelings in a new relationship with her instinct to keep everyone at arm’s length. And when a former friend confronts Mel with the truth about the way their relationship ended, deeply buried secrets threaten to come out and upend her shaky equilibrium.
As the walls of Mel’s compartmentalized world crumble, she fears the worst–that her friends will abandon her if they learn the truth about what she’s been hiding. Can Mel bring herself to risk everything to find out?
15) Scythe by Neal Shusterman
This book got me on that premise alone. A world where no one dies of natural causes and professional murders (okay that’s my interpretation) walk around to keep the population under control, GIVE IT TO ME. Shusterman ended up giving me everything I wanted this book to be, and yes, that meant it got a little dark at times.
Thou shalt kill.
A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.
Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.
14) Invictus by Ryan Graudin
I ADORED Graudin’s Wolf by Wolf series so I was having some high expectations of this one! And I should not have worried about fulfilling them, Graudin gave me an epic time-travelling adventure that spoke to every part of my being.
Time flies when you’re plundering history.
Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.
But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.
13) They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
I can’t pass up on a new Silvera book and this one definitely didn’t disappoint at all! Even though you know it advance that they will… you know… die at the end, it was still one hell of a rollercoaster and I adored every second of it.
When Mateo receives the dreaded call from Death-Cast, informing him that today will be his last, he doesn’t know where to begin. Quiet and shy, Mateo is devastated at the thought of leaving behind his hospitalised father, and his best friend and her baby girl. But he knows that he has to make the most of this day, it’s his last chance to get out there and make an impression.
Rufus is busy beating up his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend when he gets the call. Having lost his entire family, Rufus is no stranger to Death-Cast. Not that it makes it any easier. With bridges to mend, the police searching for him and the angry new boyfriend on his tail, it’s time to run.
Isolated and scared, the boys reach out to each other, and what follows is a day of living life to the full. Though neither of them had expected that this would involve falling in love…
12) 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough
I first read this book last year, but it was also one of my book club picks this year. And well, the main reason why they picked it was because they wanted to read something that I would actually like. Oops. I loved it even when rereading it. What a perfect mindfuck of a book.
Natasha is the most popular girl in school. So why was she pulled out of a freezing river after being dead for thirteen minutes? She doesn’t remember how she ended up in the icy water that night, but she does know this—it wasn’t an accident, and she wasn’t suicidal.
Now Natasha’s two closest friends, who are usually her loyal sidekicks, are acting strangely. Natasha turns to Becca, the best friend she dumped years before, to help her figure out the mystery.
At first Becca isn’t sure that she even wants to help Natasha. But as she is drawn back into Natasha’s orbit, Becca starts putting the pieces together. As an outsider, Becca believes she may be the only one who can uncover the truth…which is far more twisted than she ever imagined.
11) The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr
This was an ARC I picked up at YALC this year and I didn’t know what I was getting into when I picked it up. I couldn’t stop reading, the story never went where I thought it would go and I was at the edge of my seat the whole damn time.
Ella Black seems to live the life most other seventeen-year-olds would kill for . . .
Until one day, telling her nothing, her parents whisk her off to Rio de Janeiro. Determined to find out why, Ella takes her chance and searches through their things.
And realises her life has been a lie.
Her mother and father aren’t hers at all. Unable to comprehend the truth, Ella runs away, to the one place they’ll never think to look – the favelas.
But there she learns a terrible secret – the truth about her real parents and their past. And the truth about a mother, desperate for a daughter taken from her seventeen years ago…
10) Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Look, when a book has a title like that and the story is about a girl who’s into forensics, there is NO way I’m passing that up. This book seems to be written especially for me and I couldn’t get enough. I’ve also devoured the sequel already and it was just as good as this one.
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.
Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.
9) When Dimple Me Rishi by Sandhya Menon
I’m not the biggest fan of romantic books, but I got very intrigued with the hype surrounding this one. Thank God I gave it a chance, because I adored this romantic novel with Indian American culture and a programmer main character.
Her main aim in life is to escape her traditional parents, get to university and begin her plan for tech world domination.
He’s rich, good-looking and a hopeless romantic. His parents think Dimple is the perfect match for him, but she’s got other plans…
Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.
8) Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
WE FINALLY GOT A NEW GREEN BOOK THIS YEAR! And God it was amazing. I can’t even…
Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.
Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.
7) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
I’ve read this book, I think, for the third time this year and I loved it yet again. Written in the form of letters, I never expected it to touch my heart as much as it did. It’s an ode to love, to reading, yet told in the aftermath of the second World War. Completely unique and oh I love it so much.
January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….
As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.
Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.
6) A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
It took me way too long to finally pick up this book and I regretted it so much while reading. This book is utter perfection and a MUST read.
At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting – he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd – whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself – Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.
5) Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
This book has been praised to Heaven and back, and I’d gotten more than a little curious. It deserves every ounce of hype and award it has gotten and should even get a Mount Everest more of them. It’s one of the most beautiful books I have ever read, and brought tears to my eyes at the end.
Dante can swim. Ari can’t. Dante is articulate and self-assured. Ari has a hard time with words and suffers from self-doubt. Dante gets lost in poetry and art. Ari gets lost in thoughts of his older brother who is in prison. Dante is fair skinned. Ari’s features are much darker. It seems that a boy like Dante, with his open and unique perspective on life, would be the last person to break down the walls that Ari has built around himself.
But against all odds, when Ari and Dante meet, they develop a special bond that will teach them the most important truths of their lives, and help define the people they want to be. But there are big hurdles in their way, and only by believing in each other―and the power of their friendship―can Ari and Dante emerge stronger on the other side.
4) And I Darken by Kiersten White
Back in 2016, I was subscribed to some bookish subscription boxes because I loved getting boxes at my doorstep with a book I might otherwise never have read. This one came in one of those boxes and I’m so glad it did. The feminist, gender-swapped Vlad the Impaler story was everything I never thought I wanted a book to be.
No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way.
Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.
Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.
3) The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Yet another book that received a lot of hype, but again it was highly deserved.
Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.
2) Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
Another ARC I got at YALC and OH MY GOD I’M SO GLAD I GOT IT. This feminist book should be mandatory reading in every high school. It’s about as perfect as a book can get.
Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her high school teachers who think the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.
Viv’s mum was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates Moxie, a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond and spread the Moxie message. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realises that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.
TIME TO FIGHT LIKE A GIRL
1) This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada
Another ARC I picked up at YALC and to be honest, I wasn’t that sure about it. The short description promised a lot of annoying tropes and I was not feeling it. BOY WAS I WRONG. This book is not what it seemed to be, it’s the most perfect thing I have ever read and there was no way this mix of sci-fi and dystopia wouldn’t be at the top of this list!
When a lone soldier, Cole, arrives with news of Lachlan Agatta’s death, all hope seems lost for Catarina. Her father was the world’s leading geneticist, and humanity’s best hope of beating a devastating virus. Then, hidden beneath Cole’s genehacked enhancements she finds a message of hope: Lachlan created a vaccine.
Only she can find and decrypt it, if she can unravel the clues he left for her. The closer she gets, the more she finds herself at risk from Cartaxus, a shadowy organization with a stranglehold on the world’s genetic tech. But it’s too late to turn back.
There are three billion lives at stake, two people who can save them, and one final secret that Cat must unlock. A secret that will change everything.
What do you think of the books that ended up on my list? What were your favorite books you read this year?