While I’m a bit late getting to my top ten post this month, I finally had a little time to sit down and think over the 102 books I had the pleasure to read over the course of last year. It took a little narrowing down, but I’m happy to present my ten reads of 2017:
1. Curio by Evangeline Denmark
I have nothing but wondrous praise for Curio, a fantastical tale filled with some of the most amazing world building I have ever experienced in a novel. I was instantly drawn in by the distopian premise and later captivated by what turned out to be a beautifully imagined and creative steampunk universe that left me desperate for more to read. It is not every day that an author manages to pull me into a world so effectively. And while I will freely admit that the best piece of this novel is the very distinctive world of Curio City, the characters fit well into Denmark’s fantastical writing. Curio is not a very well known novel as far as I am aware, but I would definitely recommend it.
2. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
I have to admit, I did not expect to love this book. I’m not even sure I expected to like it all that much. This is one of those books that I feel is definitely a hit or miss depending on who you are, and reasonably so. It has a number of themes that I can imagine some readers being uncomfortable reading related specifically to violence and sex and this is definitely not a book for young readers. Nevertheless, Nevernight is a well written and impressively imagined story about a young girl seeking revenge against those who destroyed her family. Kristoff takes a number of risks in his tale and as far as I’m concerned, they all paid off. I adored all the characters, the plot, and especially the many asides Kristoff fits into the story via footnotes. This is a technique I’ve only found in a small few fiction novels and I’ve enjoyed it immensely each time.
3. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
This was one of those books I’d had in my to-read list for ages and finally picked up simply on account of the fact that I’d run out of titles I was exceptionally excited to read. All Our Yesterdays is most impressive in its plot, creating one of the most emotional read I got my hands on all year. If there were ever a book I wanted to stamp FEELS across in big bold letters, it would be this one. What are the consequences of time travel? Well, All Our Yesterdays captures one of them in the most exceptional way. I don’t cry at a lot of books, but this was one that had me shedding tears in the end. It was downright heartbreaking and I couldn’t put it down for a second to the point that I actually finished this book within hours of beginning it.
Is Terrill’s work worth such extensive amount of praise? Well, I think so. And I implore all of you to get yourself a copy and judge for yourself.
4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Is there a single top ten list that this book doesn’t belong on? Angie Thomas sends one of the strongest and most important messages to society today with The Hate U Give. I’m sure most of us have heard of this story at this point, a fictional account of the aftermath that comes from unwarranted police violence. As this topic is such a strong issue in our world right now, it is almost imperative that everyone read a book that deals with this particular topic in this particular way. Whether that book is The Hate U Give or another novel entirely, this message needs to be received by everyone. It is unfortunate that we live in a world where this is such a prevalent problem and the only way to improve the situation that we find ourselves in is to educate everyone we can on the matter. And I’m not saying that this is the number one book to be read on the topic. There are plenty that would suffice to educate those who simply aren’t aware. Angie Thomas does a pretty fantastic job of it, though.
5. Windrunner’s Daughter by Bryony Pearce
Ironically, I can’t for the life of me remember why I gave this book four stars instead of five. Windrunner’s Daughter was wonderful and unique. I was pretty captivated the entire time I read it and it’s due largely in part to the incredibly pleasant feelings I have associated with this book that I plan to re-read it in 2018 just to see if it really doesn’t deserve five stars because at this point I feel like I might’ve just been comparing it unnecessarily to other amazing books. Regardless, I’d definitely suggest this book to just about anyone. Set on Mars, Pearce’s novel follows the tale of a young girl called Wren who breaks all sorts of laws in order to save her family. I loved the characters, I loved the world, and I loved the premise. I don’t know about all of you, but Windrunners sound amazingly epic. So give it a shot, see what you think. I know I was impressed.
6. Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken
It seems only fitting that, after including Passenger in my top ten list for 2016, I should include its sequel here. I just loved Bracken’s storytelling. I loved the characters she fit into this fantastical story of time travel and adventure. It’s gotten mixed reviews, which I’ll admit I didn’t fully understand, but I suppose I can respect that. Regardless, I’m in love with this series for a vast number of reasons. Good time travel stories usually have me hooked, of course, but the characters were simply so well developed that I don’t think there’s even the slightest possibility that I wouldn’t have enjoyed reading Bracken’s novels. And, as someone who is in an interracial relationship, it was really heartwarming to actually be able to connect with the characters in that way. It’s not something I get to experience often and I was really grateful to have found it in the Passenger series. Aside from that, the book has a brilliant and emotional ending, which will just about endear me to any book.
7. Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell
One of two Peter Pan retellings on my list for the year, Unhooked took me by surprise. Ironically enough I read both this and the next book on my list shortly after reading a horrendous and poorly written attempt at a Peter Pan retelling, so it was refreshing to extend my reading to some books that were actually worth my time. Unhooked is dark and the villain is surprising, but Maxwell pulls it off really well. I wasn’t expecting to like this book once I learned about the devilish nature of our villain, especially as I’ve expressed in the past my utter fury with the destruction of this character in a television show (not to give spoilers, but I’ll answer privately if anyone wants to know – you can message me on any of the platforms on my contact page), but I found myself pleasantly surprised at the way Maxwell executed it and, in the end, didn’t mind the change at all. In fact, I applauded it. Granted, for the very reason of the villain himself, I could never consider this my favorite Peter Pan retelling, but it certainly deserves a fair amount of praise in my opinion.
8. Caleb and Kit by Beth Vrabel
I generally feel like this book might be fitting for a younger audience, depending on the maturity of the kid. I find sometimes that I compare children to myself when I was their age, perhaps a bit unfairly as I was definitely reading things that most kids my age probably shouldn’t have been at the time. I don’t think it was particularly an issue, but more that I was ready for some themes and stories others might not have been. There’s a very Bridge to Terabithia feel to Vrabel’s novel, which I enjoyed. I would definitely count this among one of the more emotional reads of 2017. It touches on some sensitive topics, but in an incredibly tasteful way. The main character is ill and the girl he later befriends has some secrets. All in all, I was very impressed with Caleb and Kit at the end. I feel it’s certainly worth putting some time into reading. Also, the cover is just absolutely gorgeous. I think that’s what captured my attention the most when I decided to read it.
9. The Child Thief by Brom
Introducing the second Peter Pan retelling to make it to my top ten reads of 2017 list! This one was suggested to me by a very close friend of mine and while I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at all when I first picked it up, the story grew on my pretty quickly. It’s got some dark themes and is certainly not the sort of book you want to read to your kid or anything like that. Peter isn’t what you’d expect, but nor is he off the mark as so often happens when people turn him away from the innocent boy he always was in J.M. Barrie’s writings. It’s not my favorite retelling by any means and honestly works very well as a story. In fact, it would work even without the references to Barrie’s beautiful tale. Brom weaves a creative and impressive novel and at the end of the day I would say it doesn’t even need to be compared to Peter Pan at all. I enjoyed this one more than I thought I would and that was enough for me.
10. Geekerella by Ashley Poston
There are probably a number of books I could’ve chosen for this final spot on my list, and I very nearly did. Geekerella wasn’t exceptional by any means, but it was good. And that single fact alone made this the most surprising book I read all year. I had pretty low expectations. I knew this wasn’t going to be an amazing book that I ended up suggesting to all my friends and raving about for hours after reading. And, true to that expectation, it wasn’t. But the thing about Geekerella was that it had a quality that most “fall in love with fame” type stories don’t have. And it’s not that there weren’t cliches, because there were, but it’s more that the characters felt genuine. And I often feel with books of this nature that the author tries so hard to portray her characters in a certain light that it often falls flat. Poston does not fall flat. She delves into the world of retellings and cliches and makes them real. And I found that impressive. So, despite my preconceptions for how this novel was going to turn out, I found myself enjoying it. I doubt I’d read it again, but at the end of the day I still appreciate what it had to offer me. Which is ultimately why it made its way onto this list instead of Godsgrave, which I had honestly had every intention of including on here. Go figure.
So, thanks for reading! Agree with my list? Leave a comment! Disagree? Leave a comment! Just like most readers, I’d really love the chance to chat about these books. Did you read any of them yourself? What did you think? Any recommendations for books I should read next? Let me know!
(Credit to Goodreads for featured image.)