Unfortunately, I read more bad books than good this year, but I am nothing if not consistent – I’ve made these lists for the past 2 years, can’t break tradition!
Here’s my top 10 books I read in 2017 (not necessarily published in 2017).
1. Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged – Ayisha Malik
Oh man, I have been looking for a book like this for YEARS. Sofia Khan is Not Obliged has been recommended to me many times, but I kind of shied away because I find it hard to read adult lit these days, also there’s the thing of all books featuring Muslim protags being a let down in some way. But I was sucked in straight away. The writing is hilarious, the characters well rounded and interesting. The thing I love most though is that the book is about a normal Muslim character, without her religion being an ISSUE. There needs to be more books like this, more books with Muslim characters who are at ease with their religion, more books with a Muslim protagonist which has positive rep. It helps that Ayisha Malik is adorable in person, too.
2. They Both Die At The End – Adam Silvera
The premise of this book is just SO COOL. I am SO in love with it and frankly, jealous I didn’t write it first. I couldn’t get this book out of my head for ages after reading it. (I do think parts of it fell flat and it would have been better without romance, but we’ll just ignore all that for now…) I was dubious about the head hopping at the beginning, but I think showing other characters’ POV and their experiences of this day worked pretty well.
3. The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
I mean how can this book NOT be on this list? THUG was just one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read. It was so overdue and I’m so glad it exists. I really related to how Starr talked about her code switching, and how Angie Thomas wrote so openly and honestly about the sensitive topics featured. I got to meet Angie at a signing and she is THE CUTEST.
4. The Deviants – CJ Skuse
Another book that I couldn’t get out of my head for ages after reading it. I may be biased on this book because CJ is my tutor, but I do genuinely love the plot of this book. It had a lot of traits I love in YA lit, and the ending caught me so by surprise, which I LOVED.
5. The Upside Of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli
I re read Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda after the film trailer got released, then thought I might as well move onto this since I thought it was with the same characters. It was not (but I get the Simon link), but nonetheless it was super enjoyable. I LOVED the diversity, and how it dealt with a bunch of sensitive subjects. It’s been a while since I related to a character as much as I related to Molly. I wasn’t super into the romance part of it, and found her sister really annoying, but all in all, an important book!
6. Life On The Refrigerator Door – Alice Kuipers
I am obsessed with books that are written in a unique format (lists, dictionary definitions etc.) I put a call out on twitter for suggestions and someone recommended me this – a book composed of notes written between a mother and daughter left on the fridge. While it became hard to believe that these notes would be left on the fridge, the story here was GREAT. I loved the idea of it and the surprising emotional resonance it had. Need more books like this.
7. The Real ER: True Stories From the Emergency Rooms – Mark Brown
Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with Grey’s Anatomy. I found this book in a free bookshop at the beginning of the year and it was a hoot to read (sounds weird, but it’s true). It’s filled with really bizarre/funny/emotional medical cases. The variety was fantastic, but what appealed to me most was how this entire story was crafted from such little words, and lasted after you’d finished that section. I’ve been trying to write a hospital based YA book for a while and this reignited my love.
8. Sweetpea – CJ Skuse
This was described somewhere as Bridget Jones meets Dexter. I mean, need anyone say more? I don’t usually read adult books, but this was great fun to read. So much humour on every page, while having much of the darkness I love in literature. I think it adds an extra layer when you know CJ personally because you can just hear her voice as Rhiannon’s. Can’t wait for the sequel!
9. Turtles All The Way Down – John Green
My little nerdfighter heart rejoiced when John Green announced his new book. As soon as I heard it was about mental health, I was so excited! I think I had my expectations way too high, so was bound to be disappointed in some aspects (everything about the romance plot just made me go UGH). But the depiction of Aza’s mental illness was so realistic and gripping. I related to a lot of her anxious thoughts and the portrayal was just so real. I was annoyed by the lack of plot, since I’m a plot gal, but it was good for what it was.
10. The Princess Saves Herself In This One – Amanda Lovelace
I started writing a novel in part verse this year, so decided to read up on some poetry. This had been in my peripheral for ages so one night I just sat down and read it from cover to cover. It was an easy read and made me think, which I think is good enough.