This year, I read a total of 42 books. This is soon to be 43 because I’m almost done with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I don’t think I will have time to finish any other books after this because I want to spend the next two days resting and hanging (my birthday is on NYE), so I’m wrapping up the year. I enjoyed most of the books I read this year; however, there are some that I enjoyed more than others. I had a tough time narrowing this list to only 10 books but I did! I did not include any Harry Potter books because those were re-reads.
The Unhappy Wife was the first book I finished in 2017 and Dear Martin was a book I finished in October. As to genre, there’s one memoir, one essay, one short story collection, two contemporary, and five fantasy, which is representative of the genre I prefer reading. All of these books took took me on a journey or an emotional rollercoaster. Without further ado, I present my favorite reads of 2017 in reading order.
Favorite Reads of 2017
The Unhappy Wife by KE Garland is a collection of short stories about 12 women from all walks of life in unhappy marriages. This book is engaging and the writing is amazing. I finished this in one sitting and was amazed at some of these women’s experiences. Some were hilarious. Others were sad. Definitely worth a read for anyone
We Gon’ Be All Right: Notes on Race and Resegregation by Jeff Chang is my favorite read of 2017 and definitely a must read. This book is a series of short essays on race relations in America, Ferguson, Black Lives Matter movement, Oscars So White movement created by April Reign, housing discrimination, and discussions about Asians as model minorities. There’s even a chapter on Beyonce’s Lemonade.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is probably the most hyped YA book of 2017 and trust me when I say the hype is deserved. This book is about a black teenage girl, Starr Carter, who is a witness to her best friend’s death at the hands law enforcement. This book tackles police brutality, Black Lives Matter, racial profiling, code switching, and interracial dating. Thomas uses African American Vernacular English, referenced Tupac, talked about Jordan shoes, referenced Harry Potter and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air . The Hate U Give includes one of my favorite characters, Starr Carter. I could easily identify with her as black girl and I loved the family dynamics. It’s very rare to see YA novel that represents me and the writing includes parents and close knit families. Angie Thomas captured all of that in 444 pages.
When I picked up Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, I had no idea what to expect. I thought the story was going one way a few pages into it, but I was so wrong. I’m so happy I was wrong. This book is one of the most diverse YA books out there. Six of Crows is about 6 misfits on a heist to infiltrate an impenetrable prison. This is the best way I can describe my favorite series. I loved the characters. They were so rich and the group dynamics were amazing. The diversity is authentic and it doesn’t feel forced. This book introduced me to Leigh Bardugo and my life has never been the same. She’s an auto buy author for me.
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo is the sequel to Six Crows. Crooked Kingdom picks up directly after the events in Six of Crows. The crew is back and the stakes are higher. I don’t want to spoil this book for anyone if you haven’t read Six of Crows. I did not want this series to end and I miss the characters so much. There’s more story to tell with these characters and I hope Leigh Bardugo blesses us with an announcement about the Dregs soon.
Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare is the first Shadowhunter book I ever picked up. I knew of this world, but I wasn’t very interested until this book. Lady Midnight is the first book in the The Dark Artifices series. My favorite aspect of this book were the characters. Close-knit families are my kryptonite so I really enjoyed the Blackthorn family. I would probably read anything that involved the Blackthorns. The characters are diverse. The plot was intriguing as I enjoy forbidden love and friend-to-lover tropes.
Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare is the second book in The Dark Artifices series. I devoured this book in less than 24 hours. I picked up this book from Barnes and Noble on publication day after class. I went home, devoured it, and went to class at 9:30 a.m. the next day with red eyes and fatigue. I have no regrets. I loved everything about this book. I loved the Blackthorns and liked that this book had less angst than Lady Midnight. I don’t know if I could have endured angst in this book.
I really enjoyed This Just Just my Face: Try Not To Stare by Gabourey Sidibe. I have a difficult time rating memoirs, but I loved this one. It was HILARIOUS and I loved her authenticity. She was very down-to-earth and honest as she discussed her experiences, challenges, and triumphs. She talked about her career, family, black hair, weight, life as phone sex operator, and eating disorders. Definitely worth the read.
Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor was my first Laini Taylor book. I actually ordered the UK cover of this book before I even read the synopsis because the cover looked AMAZING. I enjoyed all the elements of high fantasy, the intricate world-building, and the writing. I loved the characters and that this was more about the characters’ journey. The pacing was much slower than I usually prefer, but the characters really did it for me. Lazlo Strange was a breath of fresh air. Such a pure soul.
Similar to Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give, Dear Martin by Nic Stone tackles race relations in America, racial profiling, police brutality. I read this book in 4 hours. This story was too real and too familiar. I laughed. I cried. I raged. This book was timely. I empathized with the characters and immediately told everyone to read it after I finished. This book is important and much needed in YA.