It is time.
I am finally here to discuss my favorite books of the year! As you know, I did not have the greatest reading year ever (because I haven’t shut up about it), but that doesn’t mean that I did not read some fantastic books this year. These are my ten absolute favorite reads of the year. Some of these got a slightly lower rating (4 or 4.5 stars), but these are books that stuck with me through the year, that I found myself constantly going back to and thinking about, and those that garnered most emotional involvement. And for me that’s what makes a favorite book – something that lingers and has me emotionally invested. And all of these books did so. So I present to you the…
You guys already know that my love for Susan Dennard knows no boundaries (pst, you should join my Witchlands readalong in January!). And the only reason that this isn’t higher up on the list is because it’s a novella. But I honestly think this was brilliant. This series keeps getting better, especially in terms of the world building and character development, and this novella was the same. It is masterfully crafted and it adds so much to the world and the canon of the story. I feel like it does foreshadowing really well, and really gives us an ethos and a glimpse into how huge this series is going to be. I cannot recommend this series enough, there’s a reason I still haven’t shut up about it and I really think that world-buliding wise, this is some of the best that YA has to offer. Finally, there’s the slowest of slow burns in this series and WE ARE HERE FOR IT. If you want to know more of my thoughts on Sightwitch, you can do so HERE.
If I had to explain this book in two words they would be – pure fun. I genuinely don’t think I had as much fun with a book this year as I did with Traitor’s Blade. It’s a start to an epic Fantasy series, that has a lot of Three Musketeers vibes, but also has that really good old school Fantasy vibe, with a king and a conspiracy and the king’s royal guard. On top of that, this is really well-written and handles world-building and exposition really well. The characters are really funny and charming, even when they are being awful. Falcio val Monde is completely oblivious and thinks he is the smartest person in the room all the time, even though he DEFINITELY isn’t, but my friends, that is basically me, so I could not help but love him. The plot is really fast/paced and there’s just so much to love here. I cannot wait to continue on with the series, but if you want to know more of my thoughts they can be located HERE.
I have just recently finished this one and I was completely blown away by it that it immediately made my best of the year list. It’s a fabulist short story collection that mixes myth and reality and does it in a really compelling way. It handles women’s agency and the way we experience and live out myths and it’s such a brilliant collection. I have a hard time with short stories, and this is a bit lower on the list simply because I did not adore every single of these stories, but I can safely say that it’s the best short story collection I ever read. Kat Howard is a really masterful writer and I am in awe of how clever and beautiful her stories are. Could not recommend this more. If you want to hear more gushing about it, find my review HERE.
It is very unusual for me to include a non-fiction book on this list, and especially this high up. But I haven’t stopped thinking about this ever since I read it and I think it’s fantastic, so it deserves this spot on the list. This is a deeply personal and yet highly insightful look at rape and rape culture and how we treat victims in this context. I found it to be refreshing in its feminist views, because it really brings a lot of nuance to these discussions, which I think is something that is severely lacking in this type of essays. Abdulali is honest and unflinching and really handles intersectionality well. This is difficult to read at times because of its subject matter but it’s just so good. I cannot recommend it more. I have a review for it up HERE in case you need to know more.
I did not think this would be making my best of list, but it turns out I am trash for this series. Holly Black really has my soul captured. I have made edits, I have a Pinterest board dedicated to this series – basically I am sold. I will die when The Wicked King comes out. The highlight of this series for me is Jude. I love her so much and she really is THAT bitch. So many power markers! She is this strong and competent girl that really needs to learn to fend for herself and who constantly has to prove to others her own worth. WE STAN. And Cardan… well, basically he is a little shit, but I still love him. And that dynamic! It’s written exceptionally well and I cannot wait to see where this goes. I am obsessed. Be aware that this book causes serious obsession. More logical thoughts on the book are available HERE.
I have no idea why it took me so long to pick up a Celeste Ng book, but I am so glad I finally did. It was really amazing and the hype is definitely justified. Celeste Ng is a masterful writer and the way she manages to give such nuance to her characterization. This story does my favorite thing in the world – it deep dives into two families and their small community and watches the aftermath of a disaster. I also feel like she is really good at writing really flawed characters but you can feel she deeply cares about all of her characters. And there is never a clear line between right and wrong in this story, which I loved. On top of that, Ng tackles some really sensitive topics in a really careful and nuanced way and I really am blown away with how good this was. More thoughts can be found HERE.
This is definitely one of the biggest surprises of the year for me, simply because I never expected to love this so much. But I really did. First of all, the audiobook was beyond amazing and brought so much to the story and I can safely say that it’s the only audiobook that I genuinely liked, ever. And it’s just a good book. It has a really interesting premise, with one storyline following Sadie as she is tracking her sister’s killer and the other following a podcast that is investigating Sadie’s disappearance. Sadie won me over from the first page and I loved her character. She is written in such a raw and powerful way and I loved her so very much. It was heartbreaking to read from her perspective because she has been through hell, but I loved her to bits. And her relationship with her sister is what cemented my love for this book. As Melanie said it, anyone who has a close relationship with their sibling will be affected by this book. Sadie adores Mattie and defines herself through Mattie and that made me cry all the tears. all of them. More coherent thoughts on this book are HERE.
We are down to the top 3 and I am excited. American Gods was the absolute perfect book for me. It has a really meandering plot, it’s really epic in scope and it’s got gorgeous writing. I loved how Gaiman used mythology in this novel. It was familiar but also really refreshing. I also think the concept of America being a hotpot of different religious pantheons and cultures is really clever, and provided such a great background for this novel. I also loved the way Gaiman handled the fight between good and evil in this book – it wasn’t really black and white and it’s done in a really interesting way. This book kept surprising me and I cannot wait to read more Gaiman after this. It’s a fantastic story that really grabs you and holds you for 700 pages, despite it being really slow-paced. If you want to know exactly what I loved about it, you can find my review HERE.
I had an agreement with myself that I would only include one Emma Mills’ book on the list and this is it (even though I love the other two so much too). This is the first book of hers I read and it quickly became a favorite. I read this in January and I knew this would be in my top 10 of the year. It’s just amazing. It’s a contemporary YA that manages to write teens so realistically, without ever dumbing them down and I was so excited for that. Moreover, this book does wonders with characters and their dynamics. There’s a gorgeous female friendship in here that I would die for (and also, Iris, I would die for her too). On top of that, there’s a fantastic portrayal of family and a great romance in here. Emma Mills’ does relationships really well, no matter what kind. AND there’s a really realistic portrayal of fandom and fandom culture and I basically loved every second of this book. And when I finished it, I immediately went and bought her other two books, which never happens. SO. I loved it, and you can read more on her books HERE.
And finally, surprising no one, my favorite book of the year is…
As you may or may not know, my favorite book of 2017 was Beartown. Well, Us Against You is the sequel to Beartown and it’s completely different but just as good. In this book, Backman examines what happens to a community and a small town after a devastating event tears it completely apart. In this novel, Backman revisits old characters and introduces new ones (and makes me cry), but he manages to completely expand on the story and make it stand on its own. I loved the characters and I loved the way Backman writes. He is a master of the craft and brings so much nuance and layers to this story and the characters. The town of Beartown felt alive in this story. It leaped of the page and I felt like I was there, living and struggling with the community. I cannot begin to describe to you how good this is and how essential it is for you to pick up this series. It’s a must. Plus, I am constantly wowed by how good Backman is at writing women, which you don’t see often with male characters. My review for Us Against You is my favorite review I’ve written this year, so please check it out. And go pick up this series!
And those are my favorite books of the year! It’s been sucky, but these books were real gems and I cannot recommend them to you all more. I hope this new year brings us all some fantastic books! And let me know in the comments what were your faves of the year! Talk to you soon!
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