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?
Those who do not know their own history are doomed to repeat it. It may sound cliche but it is true. Libba Bray has set The Diviner’s series in the twenties but in our current political climate it could easily be a contemporary novel. All she would have to do is change some of the slang and add some emoji’s. Themes of race, sexual orientation, patriotism, health, sexism and worker’s rights are very prevalent through out Before the Devil Breaks You and The Diviner’s series just as they are today. The Eugenic’s movement that was full swing in the 1920’s where white supremacist used pseudoscience to prove that the white race was superior to all others. It influenced government policy, immigration and mental health and would later inspire those in Nazi Party. The racist policy was dressed up as a way to make America better and stronger. If we can weed out all the undesirable elements of our a population we would be stronger. Their “Make America Great Again” so to say. Our Diviner’s, Evie, Sam, Memphis, Henry, Ling, Isiah, Theta, Jericho and Mabel have now faced two ghosts and are starting to understand the threat they are facing. They powers are growing but are strongest together. They start working with Will and Sister Walker to improve their powers but they all have secrets. Will and Sister Walker both are part of opening the gap between the living in the dead and creating the Diviners. Making them a little less trust worthy. Evie is clinging on to her fame as a radio host but also can’t decide between Sam and Jericho. Theta is afraid the other will find out about her powers and gets an even bigger surprised when her past comes back to haunt her. Mabel, the one without any kind of powers feels out of place because she can’t read objects or disappear or walk in dreams. She want’s to change the world but more then anything she was be noticed. They individual stories are heartbreaking and true and make a for a rich story and speaks to the diverse nature of our country. The King of Crows is throwing everything at them this time because it’s not just one ghost but many and it’s not just ghost they must fight against it’s prejudice and ignorance. It’s the balance between wanted to be safe vs. wanting to feel safe. Those are two different things. When people are scared they will agree to almost anything to feel safe again even if it doesn’t actually make them safer. I would point to the entire last election cycles of examples of that. The Diviner’s came together at the beginning of the book only be torn apart which I can only assume is the perfect set up for the last book. I’ll give Miss Bray credit, she knows how to tell a story and is not at all sentimental. The last 20-30 pages. Bray channels her inner George R.R. Martin and racks up a body count that only he could appreciate. We are living in scary times and anyone who picks this book up hoping to escape will be disappointed because America hasn’t learned from our own history and we are now repeating it.
It’s that time of the year when publishers release titles in bunches so they are out before the Holidays. It also means my to-read list just gets longer and longer. Here are a few books I just can’t wait to read.
One Dark Throneby Kendare Blake – the sequel to Three Dark Crowns. Three sisters with three different powers but only one will survive to be crowned Queen.
Before the Devil Breaks Youby Libba Bray – Book three of the excellent The Diviner’s series. To quote Evie, it really is the Bees knees.
The other day at work, I was bored so I was checking to see if they were any updates to some of the books I can’t wait to read. One is the Lair of Dreams, book two in the Diviner’s series by Libba Bray. There was indeed an update. The publication date has been pushed back! Again! This book was originally supposed to be released this past September but was pushed back to this upcoming April and now July! JULY! July!!! That’s like 8 months from now! The first book, The Diviner’s came out in September of 2012 and I got an Advanced Reader’s Copy of it a couple months before, so I’ve already been waiting for more then 2 years by the time it does finally comes out.
Over the years, I’ve learned a few things about the publishing industry and about how it works. I have friends who work in various publishing houses in the city and follow several different authors on twitter and tumblr, so I’ve pieced the process together. It turns out a lot there is a lot of work that goes into making a book a book. From the first draft, the many rounds of revisions and edits to person who does the lay out and then the graphic design team to come up with the cover. All doing this on deadline, so it’s already to go to printing at the right time to be printed and shipped out and the marketing team have time to promote and spread the word. Here’s a what Cassandra Clare had to say on the process of publishing Clockwork Princess. Continue reading →