According to GoodReads.com I read 20,948 pages from 57 books. So you can imagine how hard it was to narrow down to only 10 for the best books I’ve read this year. There were so many good ones! I think I ultimately went with these 10 was because while I may have liked some of the other books more or given other’s better reviews or more stars, these 10 books stuck with me longer after finishing reading them. I would like to think that our Diverse Lives, Diverse Stacks: Diverse Narrators reading challenge is working for me because half of the books were written by Women of Color and they contain protagonists from very diverse backgrounds. That’s exciting to me but enough of this, let’s get on to the list.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas– This book was as heartbreaking as it was realistic. Starr is caught between two worlds but doesn’t really how different they are or how truly different she acts to accommodate both parts of her life until her friend is killed by a police officer during a routine traffic stop and she is the only witness. This really should be a must read in all schools for generations to come and I’m excited that it will also be a movie coming out next year.
Pyromantic by Lish McBride– It’s funny, it’s sarcastic, it’s action packed but mostly it is just plain fun. I really hope that Lish returns to these characters because there is just so much weirdness she can do with them.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor-This is such a lush story with great imagery and original concept. There really isn’t another novel out there right now. The ending was such a surprise that I have no idea what to expect in the sequel.
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon-Just like The Hate U Give, this is another heartbreaking but all too realistic look at today’s youth. To strangers, meet and share a life changing day as Natasha fights to stop her family from being deported and Daniel fights the expectations of being a child of immigrants.
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin-How do you describe this book? It has so much going on and it’s not certain how they all interweave but you know they must somehow. It’s truly a powerful book it’s no wonder it’s won so many awards.
Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray-The third book in The Diviners series takes place in the 1920’s but with it’s themes of race, gender equality and science it’s more relevant than you would think. Evie, Sam, Memphis, Jericho, Theta, Ling Henry and Isiah have to overcome the coming darkness but also the social limits society places on those in the minority.
All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater-People come from far and wide to seek miracles from the Saints of Bicho Raro but even saints themselves need miracles and sometimes those miracles can’t be achieved on their own, sometimes they need a little help from others. That’s the lesson from this one, it’s great to self sufficient but don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake-It’s dark and mysterious but also cool to read of world where women rule and men play supportive roles. That women are just as complicated and conflicted and are able to be both and still show strength and vulnerability. Here we get three young women who all of those things and more.
WarCross by Marie Lu-This was fun and exciting thrill of a book. Full of mystery and kind of a spy novel in a way. Emika a down on her luck, hacker/bounty hunter gets a chance to play in the biggest game ever in hopes of finding another hacker trying to sabotage the game. It’s full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing.
So these are my favorite books of 2017. What are yours?
Lately some of the books we have read are being turned into TV shows and we couldn’t be happier about it. Here’s three that will be hitting the airwaves in the next couple of years.
The first being The Raven Cycle by Stacks Fave Maggie Stiefvater. It’s still in development but making progress. It’s found a home on Syfy with Catherine Hardwick of Twilight fame at the helm. Now this series is perfect for a series. There is really just too much for a movie. Too much of it’s weirdness and nuances would have to be cut out to make it fit into a two hour movie. As a TV show, we can get all the adventures of Blue and the Raven boys and also expand on the people of Henrietta. I’m particularly hopeful they dip deeper into the ladies of 300 Fox Way. I’ve been dying to know more about Maura, Calla and Persephone. Like how did they even meet?
Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor has been optioned by HBO and produced by George R.R. Martin. This is exciting because it takes place in a post-nuclear-holocaust Africa meaning an all black cast. Yeah diversity on TV! I’m not sure how this will play as a TV series. It wasn’t a very long book but plenty of room to expand on the universe. Go more into Onyesonwu’s people and the conflict between the Okeye and Nuru. If you are squirmish about some of the violence in Game of Thrones this is going to be any better. There were several scenes in the book that were very hard for me to read. I’m not sure how they are going to do them on TV, even if it is HBO. I can definitely tell you that there will be nothing like this on TV and the fact that HBO and George R.R. Martin are taking it on is impressive. Almost makes you forget that they are also trying to make a TV show about the Confederacy. Almost
Who Fears Death maybe produced by George R.R. Martin and HBO but in my mind N.K. Jemisin’s novel The Fifth Season is probably closer to Game of Thrones in scale of epic story telling. The Hugo winning novel was picked up by TNT earlier this week. I’m not even sure how they will be able to present this on screen without giving too much away. It also means more diversity on primetime television as the main characters are all women of color. If this done right it’s going to be impressive. This also reminds me I better get on to reading book two in the Broken Earth series, The Obelisk Gate.
This was a very interesting book. I can see why it won so many awards. It is beautifully written and has a well crafted world that brings you in. That being said, I did find it hard to get into at first. I think it had to do with the sort of complicated world the characters inhabit and having three different narrators that seem to living in the same nation but not at the same time. As one is living at the end of the world, while the other two are not. Once I was able to grasp that the timelines of the three narrators were different, it made it much easier to enjoy the storytelling. The story begins as Essun, is mourning the loss of his son who was murdered by her husband for being an Orogene. Orogenes are powerful beings that can derive power from the earth but are feared for this power because it’s unpredictable and can destroy as easily as it can save. Damasaya is also an Orogene, who has been locked in her families barns after she was discovered. And finally Syenite, a powerful orogene who has been given two different assignments that involve the most powerful orogene in the world. Each narrator is different. Damasaya is young and unsure of her future as she is afraid of who she is while Syenite is the opposite. She knows exactly who she is and how good she is. She is confident in who she is and ambitious to boot. Essun is definitely a woman who has seen and knows way too much. She is strong but even the strongest of us breaks. When her husband kills her son and possibly her daughter she is at a loss. Soon revenge becomes her only motivating factor. Essun’s story is also effected by the beginning of the Fifth Season. Every so often the Earth turns against the people and sets off catastrophic natural disasters. Some season’s last years while some last decades. It’s clear to Essun that this season is going to last centuries. So she sets off to find her husband while knowing the world is ending soon. Syenite and Damasaya are not experience the same end of the world troubles that Essun is and at first this was confusing since both were headed towards or living where the disaster had occurred. This was what made me think that the narratives were not all happening at the same time. The narrators do not seem to have much in common beyond they are all women and orogenes but it when it’s revealed what there relationship it was a gut punch. I didn’t see it coming. I think that is because it’s so well written. You could literally get lost in the writing as N.K. tells these women’s stories. They all have such hard struggles as they live and work in a very rigid society. People of this world are separated into different Comm names and it defines who they are what they do. If you don’t fit in a Comm you are in trouble when the seasons come. They all must try to do their best to find their own voice while still playing by the rules and of course there are far more rules for women. So even though it’s a fantasy novel, it’s still very much set in real life too.
So I haven’t been reading as much lately because well life and Gilmore Girls. I’ve recently just finished watching all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls. I know it’s weird it’s taken me this long to watch the show but what better time to do it then right before the new season, right? Anyway, while I was binge watching several books have come out and now I’m hopelessly behind. I’m still reading Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas. I have waiting in the wings.
The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan just came out. The latest in his Magnus Chase series with Norse gods. Then there’s Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo the sequel to Six of Crows. And then The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. Also The Midnight Star by Marie Lu the finale of The Young Elites Trilogy.
I have also recently picked up The Swan Riders by Erin Bow, the sequel to Scorpion Rules. I had no idea there was a sequel so I’m super excited for that. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro and The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin are two books that were impulse buys. I have so much to read but what else is new.