I’m a little late on this since we’re a bit past the halfway mark of the year (someone tell me HOW this can possibly be), but I’ve read 73 books so far in 2017, and have reviewed and talked about next to NONE of them, and I want to. I look back on when I reviewed everything I ever read and just…how was that ever a thing? I did a post like this last year though, and wanted to revisit the concept. Here are a few of my favorites so far this year!
Most Surprising Read of the Year: Beartown by Frederik Backman
I will admit, I started and didn’t finish A Man Called Ove and Britt-Marie Was Here, so I didn’t go into this with any kind of expectations, and was pleasantly blown away. I think people tend to either love or hate this author, but Beartown is definitely a different style for him, and I would read anything else he writes like this going forward.
Beartown is the story of a small town obsessed with hockey. It’s about boys and the things they can do and get away with. It’s brutal but light, and it will make you laugh and cry, and I could not put it down. This has been hyped up since its release, and it is with good reason. I was skeptical, but I LOVED it.
Best Family Saga: The Sisters Chase by Sarah Healy
This is my most recent read, and the one I most want to hand to literally everyone I talk to. The Sisters Chase was half price at a local bookstore, listed as “scratch and dent” and having recognized it only from Book of the Month a few months ago, I picked it up.
Once I started reading, I tore through over 100 pages without blinking. The story of Mary and Hannah (Bunny) Chase as they traverse the country following the death of their mother is one you won’t be able to forget. Mary is an amazing if reckless heroine, and I was captivated by the writing and the plot all the way through.
If you love a good family story, a plot-driven novel, or just a story that will surprise you until the very end, give The Sisters Chase a shot. I feel like this one is so underrated already and deserves so much more attention!
Best Debut Novel: If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
This book is one that I wont forget for a long time. This one is set at a theater school that is obsessed with all things Shakespeare and plays. They story focuses on seven friends in their senior year, and the many things that go so incredibly wrong that year.
What we know when the book starts: someone is dead and someone is in jail. The rest everything that happens in between. If you’re already looking forward to fall like I am, save this once for October, light some candles and settle in for the perfect read of the fall season.
M.L. Rio is a treasure and I can’t wait to read everything she writes next!
Best Romance: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
First of all, I wouldn’t have thought that I would even have a “best romance” category, but here we are. The Hating Game was a brand new genre for me, and I can’t remember what made me pick this one up, except maybe reading about it on Twitter? But, once I did, I literally could not and would not put it down. Then, once I did finish, I immediately started it again. That has never happened to me before or since, and I just need you to know that The Hating Game is as good as everyone says it is, but better.
Even for non-romance readers like me, this is worth picking up.
Best Thriller: My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry
This is the hardest choice for me because I’ve read a lot of great thrillers this year, but this one was definitely one of the most captivating. I could not put this down, between the plot and the unreliable characters, I had to know what happened.
I read this in a matter of hours and YOU WILL TOO.
Best Young Adult Novel: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
I was not a huge fan of Everything, Everything when I read it, but after hearing amazing praise for The Sun is Also a Star last year, I figured I would give it a shot. I honestly felt like this book was by a completely different author.
Every page felt purposeful, and since it was told over the course of just one day, no time wasted. Natasha and Daniel and their stories will stay with you for a long time, definitely long after you finish the book, which you will breeze through.
I’ve read less YA this year than last, but this one definitely sticks out in my mind as the best one.
Creepiest Book of the Year: Things We Have in Common by Tasha Kavanagh
If you’ve read this for any length of time or know me at all, you know I read a lot of thrillers, but I don’t know that I can even classify this as one. This is the story of Yasmin, an obese teen struggling to cope with the death of her father and her mother’s marriage.
She is obsessed with this girl at school, Alice, and when she disappears, Yasmin becomes determined to find out what happened so that she can be the hero. But things take a turn when she meets the man she believes may have taken Alice.
That’s all I really can say about this one. The overall sense of unease you will feel as you read this one was like nothing I’ve read before. I haven’t heard anything about this one, and while I definitely think it takes a certain type of reader to appreciate, I hope more people give it a try!
Best Book of the Year So Far: The Nix by Nathan Hill
I mentioned it in my review, but I never would have picked this one up had someone not said this was the first book they loved as much as The Goldfinch. This was a comparison I could not turn down, and I am still so glad I gave this a chance.
Clocking in at something like 600 pages, it’s definitely a commitment, but a worthwhile one. It’s funny, and well-written, and the characters truly come to life on the page. The Nix was ten years in the making, and it was an amazing ride. If you like literary fiction, politics, or historical fiction, definitely pick this up, it’s worth every page.