A Year in Review… of Books!
As I have mentioned before I love books. If you were to ask anyone in my family or my friends what I want for holiday, the answer would always be books or something book-related. I’m obsessed to the point where my bookshelf is overflowing, and various tables and dressers are piled with even more books. That being said, this year I was in a huge reading slump until just recently. I set a goal of 40 books for the year and as I’m writing this I am at 22.
Over half of those I’ve read in the last two months. My reading slump, or what I like to call a “book hangover,” is officially over. It was so hard getting things done these last few weeks because all I wanted to do was read. So, without further ado, here is a countdown of the top 12 books/series I read in 2017:
12. “Everything, Everything” by Nicole Yoon.
This book was a super-quick read, not only because of the way it’s written, but because I couldn’t put it down. In “Everything, Everything,” Maddy has a very rare disease causing her to be unable to leave her house. Ever. Her entire world has to be sterilized and the only people she ever sees are her mom and nurse. When Olly moves in across the street, they are drawn to each other and begin communicating via email and through their windows. Sick of the same thing day-after-day, as she starts to fall in love, she wonders if it would be worth leaving her house to experience life. It was emotional and sweet, and there was a plot-twist that even I didn’t see coming. I loved this book, and the way Nicole Yoon makes you truly appreciate life.
11. “If I Told You So” by Timothy Woodward.
“If I Told You So” is a coming-of-age, coming out story about 16-year-old Sean. By getting a job at the local ice cream shop for the summer, Sean makes new friends while discovering who he truly is. Timothy Woodward, a SNHU alumni (shout-out necessary!), writes this fun, feel-good book that would make the perfect summer read. However, given that it’s December, it’s also perfectly acceptable to curl up by the fire or under the covers and pretend it is summer as you read this touching story.
10. “Hunted” by Meagan Spooner.
Set in medieval Russia, “Hunted,” is a new type of Beauty and the Beast retelling. It’s very much the story we all know, except Beauty is a kick-butt hunter, who’s not afraid to take down the Beast who killed her father. I love fairy tale retellings, this is the first of three on this rather short list of books. I’ve read probably half-a-dozen retellings of Beauty and the Beast, but Meagan Spooner tells it a new and exciting way. There is Russian lore in the story, which was really interesting and made me want to learn more. I also like that it was set in the past, in a realistic setting. While there was still magic and a curse, it felt more real. There were no singing candlesticks in this version. I’m looking forward to reading more by Meagan Spooner!
9. “Turtles All the Way Down” by John Green.
John Green does not shy away from mental health in his books, and in this long-awaited new book he tells the story of Aza, a 16-year-old dealing with anxiety, OCD, and her ever-spiraling thoughts. Aza works with her best friend, Daisy, to solve the disappearance of local billionaire and father to her friend, Davis. While she is trying to live her life though, she is struggling mentally. John Green is one of my favorite authors of all-time, but he truly outdid himself this time. The way he uses his words to describe her anxiety was so on point; it makes you know exactly how Aza is feeling. As someone who could truly relate to Aza’s struggles, Green put words to experiences I’ve never been able to adequately describe. The story was great, but it is the way he gives hope in difficult circumstances that make me love his books so much.
8. “The Glass Spare” by Lauren DeStefano.
“The Glass Spare” is about 15-year-old Wil, the spare princess of a powerful kingdom. She discoveries she has the ability to turn living things into gemstones. After a tragic accident, she must flee her country to find a cure. While traveling, she meets Loom, a rival prince who cannot find out who she is. I could not put this book down. It’s an adventure story involving royalty, which, if you can’t tell by this list, is kind of my favorite. However, I’m a huge fan of DeStefano, and she manages to always create these new, original stories and twists. I cannot wait for the next book; “The Cursed Sea” is set to be released in September 2018!
7. “King’s Cage” by Victoria Aveyard.
This is the third book in the “Red Queen” series. The “Red Queen” series that I am completely and utterly obsessed with. Seriously, if you haven’t read it, stop what you’re doing and go read it. OK, finish this list first, then go read it. If you know me and live nearby, I will loan it to you. That is how much I want others to read it, so I can talk about it! The series takes place in a dystopian future where people are born with either red or silver blood. Those with silver blood are born with a specific power and rule over the various kingdoms. Mare Barrow, a red, has the power to wield lightening though. I won’t give too much away since this is the third book, but I will tell you this series is full of conniving royalty, love, betrayal, battles, and rebellion. It’s perfect for fans of “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent.” In fact, I love this series even more than those two, which is saying something. The fourth and final book of the series, “War Storm,” is set to be released May 15, 2018. I can’t wait, but at the same time I don’t want it to end!
6. “Lord of Shadows” by Cassandra Clare.
Oh, Cassandra Clare. If you know me, you probably know that Cassandra Clare is my favorite author. Her original series, “The Mortal Instruments,” is the series I give credit for my love of reading. I love the shadowhunter world, with all of the spin-off series that have been released. This is the second book of the third series, “The Dark Artifices.” Without giving too much away, this series takes place five years after the last of “The Mortal Instruments” books. It is about Emma Carstairs, Julian Blackthorn, and the rest of the Blackthorn siblings. It’s a lot of the typical shadowhunters-killing-demons plot, but it is still distinctly its own series. This book delves farther into the Faerie Courts, which was a great addition in my opinion. There is also a forbidden love happening, and appearances from our beloved characters that introduced us to this world, Clary and Jace. The third book, “Queen of Air and Darkness,” will be out December 4, 2018, which is way too far away!
5. “The Upside of Unrequited” by Becky Abertalli.
The first book by Becky Abertalli on this list is a spin-off of what will appear later, “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.” Can I just say right now how much I love Becky Abertalli? Because I do. She writes in such a way that just really pulls you into the stories. While they do take place in high school, which was about eight years ago for yours truly, there is just something so relatable about her characters and the way she expresses their thoughts and feelings. “The Upside of Unrequited” is about Molly, a 17-year-old girl who’s had dozens of crushes, but never a boyfriend. She deals with the pressures of being a teenage girl with low self-esteem in the way she looks. I’m convinced Becky Abertalli can do no wrong. To quote a book by another author on this list, “I would even read [her] grocery list.” Another spin-off, “Leah on the Offbeat,” will be released on April 24, 2018, and it is definitely already pre-ordered.
4. “The Shadow Queen” by C.J. Redwine.
Another fairy tale retelling! This time it is a Snow White retelling, as the fugitive princess, Lorelai, is on a mission to take back her kingdom from the evil queen who killed her father. There are dragons and magic powers in this retelling, which made for a really great book that I had a hard time putting down. C.J. Redwine does an amazing job at creating worlds and I can’t wait to read the other books in this series: “The Wish Granter” and “The Traitor Prince.” The latter of which will be out February 13, 2018!
3. “Throne of Glass” series by Sarah J. Maas.
The first series of Sarah J. Maas on this list! I had heard so much about Maas’ two series and how amazing they were for so many years. I finally read them, and they exceeded expectations to say the least. I did read the other series first, and I’m still technically reading this one, but it deserves a spot on the list because it’s fantastic! “Throne of Glass” is about 18-year-old assassin Celaena, who is given a deal while in a prison labor camp. If she wins a competition to become the King’s Champion, aka assassin, and serves him loyally for four years, she will be freed. There is a lot of mystery as her fellow Champions start being killed off in the castle by some unknown creature. It’s an intense, funny, sad, and just all around awesome series that I cannot stop reading!
2. “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Abertalli.
This book is technically tied for first place because I love it so, so much. It is not only tied for the best book I’ve read this year, but it’s also my favorite stand-alone book that I’ve ever read. “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” is about, you guessed, a boy named Simon! This is a coming-of-age, coming out story, filled with blackmail, secrets, love, and happiness. It is hands down the best “feel-good” book I’ve ever read. I laughed, I cried, and I stayed up all night to read it in one sitting (I’m a slow reader). I won’t give spoilers, but for those who have read it, the carnival scene… goosebumps. So perfect. The movie, “Love, Simon,” will be in theaters March 18, and you better believe I have countdown on my phone!
1. “A Court of Thorns and Roses” series by Sarah J. Maas.
This shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me or follows me on social media. I haven’t stopped talking about this series since I started it in October. I know I’m way behind on times, but can we just take a minute to appreciate the wonder that is Sarah J. Maas? This series is what really got me out of my slump. I just need everyone to read this, so I can talk about it. “A Court of Thorns and Roses” starts off as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast (yes, I’m aware I read a lot of the same genre). The difference though, is this one involves Fae. While the first one starts out as the famous story we all know, it takes a very dark and twisty turn and the following two books are original stories that go more into the different Fae, their kingdoms, and a war they are trying to prevent from happening. This series is one of the only ones I know that truly get better with each book. There was such a rollercoaster of emotions in this not-so-PG-13 series that had me completely bawling at the end of the series. It was so unlike anything I have ever read, and I cannot wait until “A Court of Frost and Ice,” which is due to be released in May 2018! At this point, I will literally read anything that Sarah J. Maas writes.
Theses are just some of the fantastic books I read this year. There were many others that I haven’t technically finished, but they will probably make it to next year’s list! What was your favorite book of the year? Do you love any of these? What do you think I HAVE to read next year? Let me know in the comments!