I was looking for an excuse to make this list more than a week into 2018, and the Book Blogger Hop gave it to me. To quote Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer, “The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.”
Question: What are your five most favorite books in 2017?
Now that we’re in 2018, I can actually name my favorite books of 2017. I’m going to list more than five books today. (Sorry about the misleading title.) I’m going to show you four Top 5 lists because I think certain categories need their own mentions.
Disclaimers: Let me be clear that the books I list are books I read in 2017, not necessarily books that were published in 2017. Even if my ratings are not all 5 stars for these books, these lists show the books that have left an impression on me. They’re also not in any particular order.
Top 5 YA Novels
Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
It’s an eye-opening book that examines microaggressions, racism, socioeconomic statuses, and learning to stand up for what you want. It also shows a teen studying. I haven’t seen much discussion about this book, yet it’s great. I hope to see it discussed more in the future.
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
I love retellings, and I love The Goblin Market. I wanted a good retelling for that poem (and apparently other tales), and this book delivered. It focuses strongly on music, family, and friendship. The fighting in the relationship was great, and I liked that this book covers the topic of people changing from when they were children.
Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard
This was one of the best novels with lesbian characters that I read this year, and it was an audiobook. It covers relationships, respeito (“respect” in Portuguese), friendships, gender, independence, abortion, fighting, and gender roles. There’s also drug use and other mentions of sex. I particularly liked seeing Pen try to work out issues with her family. The issues with acceptance, generational differences and a culture clash made it deeper.
Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley
For all of the YA books that have kick-ass heroines, this one makes use of that type of character in a realistic way with an actual obstacle over it. The heroine in this one wants to go to this renowned military high school that her father and brothers attended. That was impossible until she was a sophomore because it was “boys only” forever. She joins the first female cadet class, and the trouble starts when it becomes clear that there’s a conspiracy to eliminate all of the girls from their school.
I loved seeing the characters be physically strong and learn to work together. I like that they really learned the meaning of loyalty and working together as a unit. I want to see more of this type of friendship in books.
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
This one appealed to my love of Drarry fanfiction. I also developed a love for the Simon/Baz ship because of Fangirl, but the novel brought it to life. What made it great was that it put me in a world that was similar yet unique enough to make me interested in wizarding worlds again. I also liked the element of a magical energy crisis.
Top 5 Graphic Novels
I read 16 graphic novels, but only 13 counted for the Graphic Novel Reading Challenge. I’ve also noticed from this list that not a one of these was originally written in English.
Killing Stalking, Season 1 by Koogi
I don’t read a lot of horror (outside of fanfiction), so I was surprised to love this. I felt the fear and suspense, and the artwork shows it best. I keep wondering and wanting to know what this psychopath is going to do to screw up Bum even more. This manhwa introduced me to webcomics.
I’m still behind on the series. I’m only a few episodes into Season 2, but those were amazing.
Tokyo Ghoul, Vol. 1 by Sui Ishida
I apparently have a theme going that the top favorites are classified under horror, though I tend to think Tokyo Ghoul isn’t quite horror to me.
The gore and horror capture the terrifying appearance of Ghouls. It shows not only killing people or maiming other Ghouls but also Kaneki trying to figure out what’s wrong with him. After realizing what he is, he reacts in the crazy and horrifying way that you would expect. I also loved seeing a “book recommending a person” go wrong. This is a fabulous book.
Hostage by Guy Delisle
This one used monotone colors to great effect, and I love how it demonstrated Christophe’s daily life, locked up. The ending was surprisingly emotional for me because I hadn’t felt emotional during the book.
The Color of Earth by Kim Dong Hwa
I liked watching Ehwa grow up and have a couple of crushes. The young monk’s love for her was sweet too. The best part is the relationship between mother and daughter. Their conversations, the passing down of information, and their discussions about love make it all wonderful. It’s also one of the few coming-of-age books that I’ve read where girls have periods. The artwork is elegant, and it added to the historical era it was set in.
Blue Is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh
The romance is sweet, and I’m heartbroken about Clementine. It’s another graphic novel that I love for the artwork. I still want to see the movie adaptation.
Top 5 Picture Books
I read 20 picture books last year, so I can safely pick a top 5.
Golem by David Wisniewski
It’s a great story. It’s epic, magical, and a little heartbreaking. The cut-paper illustrations are perfect and dramatic. If nothing else, come for the pictures.
Pewet’sali Ɂi·da Damalali C’ɨk’ɨ HaɁka: The Wašiw Legend of Pewet’sali and Damalali and Their Adventure with Black Widow retold and translated by Lisa Enos and Melba Rakow, illustrated by Charles Munroe
This is a legend I had never heard or read before, so I was intrigued. It was entertaining. There are interesting relationships and different methods for saving the day. I also see how it would raise interest in learning the Wašiw language, since it’s bilingual. Read for the story, not the artwork.
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith
I’ve always loved this retelling with its focus on an alternate perspective. The pictures make you think. There are whole animals in some of Alexander T. Wolf’s food.
DK Braille: Counting by Fleur Star, designed by Jemma Westing
Yes, it’s a counting book, but it’s different from most of the others I’ve read. I love it for the textures of each item: sticky worms and rubbery balls.
Green Porno by Isabella Rossellini
This is an adult picture book because it’s about the sexual reproduction of marine life, but it’s shown through costume. It is clever and has great photography. One of my favorite photos in the book is this one with a mouth (see below). She knew how to use the photographs to effect across pages and keeping page-turning in mind.
Overall Top 5 Books of 2017
You’re going to see some overlap here, but there a couple of titles I haven’t mentioned yet. Drum roll, please!
Killing Stalking by Koogi
See the reasons above for it being so good.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
In a universe where four worlds are tied by their own versions of London and the blood mages (Antari) who can cross them, an Antari prince has a penchant for collecting souvenirs from those worlds and a magicless girl is trying to survive her harsh reality. Their paths cross when the evilest of magic crosses into their worlds, forcing them to stop the power-hungry that would kill them and return the object to where it belongs. I love the novel for the world building, magic system and action. Especially on the magic system, I have rarely seen blood magic outside of fanfiction.
Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
This book is relevant to the Black Lives Matter movement, and it helped me learn more about microaggressions than what I had learned in classes.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
This was unexpectedly good to me. Like Piecing Me Together, it is hugely relevant to current events and issues. What is harrowing about that world is that I could see it happening very easily. That’s what makes it great speculative fiction. I would still like to see its adaptations, but I don’t think that will happen for a while.
Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard
See the reasons above for why it’s good. As a person who doesn’t listen to a lot of audiobooks, I loved Emma Galvin’s performance.
What are your favorite books of 2017?