As we start to wrap up the month of December, I thought I’d share the best books I read this year. Now, I do my ‘best of’ list a little differently because I’m not limiting this list to books released this year. The following is a list of books I read this year and loved. I’ll briefly share why I loved each book, provide a link to where you can purchase the book on Book Depository, and link to my full review of the book wherever it’s relevant.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath is one of my favorite books of all time. I’ve reread this book every year for the past few years and I always find something new to appreciate. The Bell Jar is a fairly quick read, I would actually categorize this as older YA, and always an important one, addressing mental health and the patriarchy.
A Court of Thorns and Roses Series by Sarah J. Maas is one of my favorite series. This series starts off as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but really becomes so much more. I read books two and three this year, with A Court of Mist and Fury being my favorite, but this series is fantastic as a whole. It’s YA, and definitely for the older set as there is a fair amount of violence, sex, and psychological issues.
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng is a fantastic look at one family’s attempts to assimilate, individualize, and coexist. Ng does a great job of hiding family secrets and slowly building suspense. I actually slightly prefer Ng’s debut novel to her second book, which was released this year and I’ll highlight below.
The Girl of the Lake by Bill Roorbach is a delightful collection of short stories. These nine stories are charming, witty, and full of heart. Each one explores relationships and what we ask of each other. Full of memorable dynamic characters and a variety of settings, each story in this collection deserves to stand on its own and will delight and surprise you. Perfect for fans of Elinor Lipman, you’ll fly through this collection and instantly wish for more.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, rightfully so, received quite a lot of buzz this year. This dystopian tale based on true events is daunting, heartbreaking, and downright scary. This quick read will make you want to throw things but this is a necessary read for everyone everywhere.
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie is a breathtaking retelling of Antigone, three siblings struggle to find their own place in the world while also honoring their family. Kamila Shamsie writes a beautiful and haunting story that ambitiously and flawlessly addressed racism, grief, love, and patriotism. Perfect for fans of Exit West and Sing, Unburied, Sing.
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay is a difficult book to describe. This memoir is devastating, beautiful, and impossible to put down. It’s a timely look at food, body image, and silence. Promise me you’ll read it soon.
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh is a delightful thriller. After a fatal car accident, a mother flees and attempts to cope with the death of her child. Meanwhile, two police officers work diligently to find the killer. This is a shocking, heart-wrenching novel that will leave you breathless as the truth finally emerges. It is perfect for fans of psychological thrillers and know that you will not be able to put this book down!
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng marks another fantastic book by Ng. Again, she tackles the inner workings of a family and the secrets that make or break relationships. Ng addresses race and gender in fascinating ways and this is another slow-burning book that will cut right to your heart.
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer is another YA series I read and loved this year. This series is a retelling of several fairy tales, including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel. These books are delightful, clever, easy to read, and addictive.
The Mother of All Questions by Rebecca Solnit is a short essay collection that addresses feminist topics. Solnit covers the Black Lives Matter movement, the Cosby trial, and Trump. Solnit is fantastic at doing so much in such a short amount of space. Her essays will have you nodding along and underlining every other sentence.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is quite the book. It’s a roller coaster ride about two sisters living in Nazi-occupied France during WWII and the choices they each make to survive. This is a tough read and an emotional one—be prepared with boxes of tissues.
The Power by Naomi Alderman asks several questions: What would happen to society if teenage girls could suddenly cause harm and even kill? What happens when our power structures shift and women run the world? Through shifting perspectives, Alderman examines this shift from multiple angles. Perfect for fans of Margaret Atwood, this book will challenge you to imagine an alternate future.
Refuge by Dina Nayeri is a lyrical, memorable, and meaningful story about what happens to a family when some escape and some remain behind. Refuge is a stunning portrait of what it means to be a refugee, what it means to be an immigrant, what it means to feel displaced, lost, and in between two worlds. This is a remarkable book, perfect for fans of multi-generational family dramas.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid will make you want to find a comfy reading place and settle in for the wild story of Evelyn Hugo’s life because once you start, you won’t be able to stop. Full of Old Hollywood references, wit, and memorable characters, Taylor Jenkins Reid crafts a compelling and heart breaking story you’re not likely to forget. Perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner. You can read my full review here.
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser is such a fantastic middle grade read! You’re likely tired of my talking about this book but it’s just that good! You can read my full review here.
That’s it for this post! Have you read any of my 2017 favorites? Which books did you read and love this year?
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