Another year has come and gone but what a literary ride it's been! 2017 started strong with books of all sorts and didn't let up for a minute. From YA to adult, thriller to historical, and everything in between, I gave more books five stars in 2017 than I ever have before. In total, I read 80 books and painted 43 cover manis--also a personal record. If I hadn't fallen ill in January and August, I have no doubt there would have been more.
As such, this was the most challenging top 10 list I've ever put together and even now, I'm not completely certain with my choices. But the show must go on and I don't want to start 2018 behind in my posts, so the top 10 I have now will have to stay (until I actually press "publish" and until then, I'll be frantically changing my choices haha!). I've written smaller blurbs underneath each picture but if you click on the title, it'll take you to my full review, and keep in mind that not all of my choices were 2017 releases. :)
THE HATE U GIVE was a force to be reckoned with this year and rightly so. Honest and powerful, Thomas's writing shined a light on the Black Lives Matter movement, from a YA perspective. A must-read for everybody, no matter their age. Especially white folks, because obviously.
This action-packed Canadian YA dystopian (say that three times fast haha) was a surprise hit for me. I mean, I thought I'd like it but was surprised how attached I became to the antagonist, Eighth. His chapters drew out a wide variety of strong emotions in me and even now, the title gives me feels (this will make sense to you after you read it). Eighth's counterpart Raven proved to be a complicated character herself and I'm dying for the next book to be released.
Incredible plotting and pacing, I flew through THE VANISHING YEAR. The sense of unease was so strong that I vividly remember being on the literal edge of my seat. Unreliable narrators are my favourite and Zoe killed it in that regard. And then things got SUPER MEGA INSANE and I couldn't read fast enough. (I'm also sad that this mani happened to fall on a week where I'd had major nail breakage. There should've been far more room for the fun galaxy background!!)
Nobody makes me laugh like Kirsty Greenwood and in BIG SEXY LOVE, she travels across the pond to NYC. Slapstick, over-the-top, and bursting with humour and heart, this book was a refreshing change of pace from heavier novels. A true nod to the complex fierceness of female friendships, I was laughing even while I cried. So, so, so awesome.
I was fortunate enough to hear S.K. Ali speak about her debut novel, SAINTS AND MISFITS, and her passion had us leaning forward, hanging on her every word. Ali's writing contains the same quality, and I loved reading about Janna's life. I found 2017 to be an extraordinary year for feminist fiction and SAINTS AND MISFITS falls under that glorious (and past-due) umbrella. With elegance and strength, Janna grappled with events in her life, and the added bonus of her Muslim culture meant I got to experience a new world. Woot!!
There are few things I love more than magic but since I possess no magical inclinations myself, I'm forced to read about it and dream. WICKED LIKE A WILDFIRE presented magic in a way I'd never seen before and I adored the powers that Popović created. With a rich setting, flawless writing, and too many twists to count, WICKED LIKE A WILDFIRE was a seamlessly constructed fairy tale that will leave you dying for more. This book also wins my Favourite Cover of the Year Award, because I still can't handle the gorgeous details and colour palette.
THE CHILD FINDER was everything I've come to expect from Rene Denfeld: a haunting story written from a place of compassion. I find that's the key note to Denfeld's voice, as she explores what the human spirit is capable of--how it can survive the darkest of moments. A steady pace with revelations and crossroads, THE CHILD FINDER proved that Denfeld is a force all of her own and I'll continue to read every book she releases.
I started reading THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES on a plane and it was the worst because my face exploded with unexpected tears but my attachment to Alex forced me to continue reading and therefore, I continued to cry in public. This was also the official beginning to my Mindy McGinnis addiction and I've since read two more of her novels. All are different but have one thing in common, unapologetic and fairly unlikable protagonists, and I can't get enough.
I was peer pressured to read ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE and I'm so happy I caved. There are no characters like Eleanor Oliphant, with her highly compartmentalized and controlled life, but so much more bubbled beneath her surface. Hilarious and heartbreaking, Eleanor's journey to self-acceptance was ultimately uplifting and magnificent prose delivered her tale with quirky style. Honeyman's exquisite writing allowed for this in-depth examination on what it means to be lonely, and the pain one will endure to let others in. Gah. It's just so amazing!!
Atmospheric, sharp, and haunting, THE WEIGHT OF LIES became my top read of the year the second after I finished. Southern gothic vibes done right with a fascinating protagonist, I've recommended it to more people than I can count because it's frickin' incredible. Just read it. READ IT NOW (PLEASE).
So there you have it. My top 10 reads of 2017! YAY!
On a final note, I'd like to say thank you to the authors, publishers, and PR folks who've sent me books over the last year, but most importantly, thank you to my readers!! I'm beyond grateful for your support for my quirky hobby of cover manis paired with reviews and I'm looking forward to booknerding out with you in 2018!
Happy New Year!!