Saturday 23 December 2017

Blogmas Day 12: Top 5 Favourite Books of 2017

Hi, and thanks for stopping by.

2017 has been a really amazing year for me as a reader - not only did I properly commit to blogging (and in turn make so many new, lovely friends) but I really fully committed to reading, too. I have never read so many books in my life as I did in 2017. And I am so fortunate to have discovered these five books, because reading them was the most incredible experience. 

Here's some context: as I write this, I have read 249 books...TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY NINE. Of which I had to narrow down the best FIVE. So that should really tell you how incredible these books are. I'm so excited to share them with you now, in reverse order, counting down to number 1, my favourite book of 2017. goes!!! Here's to the best books of the year, and many more in 2018. Enjoy.

5. angie thomas’s the hate u give

"Sometimes you can do everything right, but things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right."

If you didn't hear about this YA release this year, WHERE WERE YOU?! Angie Thomas's incredible debut novel is the incredible story of Starr, who watches her best friend Khalil, an unarmed black teenager, get shot by a white police officer. Starr goes on to not only grieve for best friend, but struggle with her relationship with a white guy and get involved in a representation of the Black Lives Matter movement. 
This book is not only incredibly topical but so, so emotive. Starr was funny and such a vivid character. Her family were adorable and completely hilarious. Her personal character development, struggle and growth was the most inspiring part, though. It was one of those books that I've thought about so often when I see headlines or social media posts about police brutality & racism. If you haven't already read this, you really, really should. Not only is it a great piece of fiction, it's incredibly politically important and relevant. Educate yourselves. You won't regret it.
(My full review is here.)

4. Christina lauren’s autoboyography

"You have so much space in your heart for your church. But does it have space for you?"

This is my most recent discovery. It tells the story of Tanner, a bisexual teen living in a predominantly Mormon community, who falls in love with a Mormon guy, called Sebastian Brother. I absolutely adored Tanner as a character - he was so funny, self-deprecating and sweet. I wanted everything to work out for him so badly. I also think he was presented very realistically, as a flawed human being - for instance, the mistake he makes with his best friend, Autumn. 
Speaking of, their friendship/weird relationship was one of the most well-written parts of this book, in my opinion. It was very complex and at times borderline uncomfortable to read about, purely because you could tell how utterly in love with Tanner Autumn is. The religious aspect was very present in the story, but it didn't take over at all, and I appreciated and respected that it was written very honestly/accurately, without sugar-coating the religion to make it seem perfect, but that it also didn't demonise the faith. I could talk about this FOREVER. But I won't. Just go buy a copy for yourself.

3. jenn bennett’s night owls

"Feeling alive is always worth the risk."

There are very few books that I purposely read slowly in order to prolong the complete heaven of a story, and to avoid the inevitable sadness (and subsequent book-hangover) that comes hand-in-hand with finishing them. THIS is one of those books. It's the story of Beatrix, who meets Jack (simultaneously a politician's son and a secret nighttime graffiti artist) on a night bus. The connection between these two characters is sublime - the chemistry they have is just excellent and their relationship is enviable. 
This book also includes some really important mental health representation, that I didn't expect but completely adored and really respected. Worth mentioning here, and keep in mind I have read A LOT of contemporary (and otherwise) YA romance, I think Jack might actually my favourite ever love interest...(it's a battle between  Levi from Fangirl, Joe from The Sky Is Everywhere and Oscar from I'll Give You The Sun). Jenn Bennett's writing is funny, addictive and delightful - I can't wait to see what she does next.
(My full review is here.)

2. holly bourne’s am I normal yet?

"You may feel broken, but you don't break others."

This is the first book in Holly Bourne's "Spinster Club" trilogy (all of which are brilliant, incidentally) and it's the story of Evie; a teenage girl dealing with anxiety & OCD whilst simultaneously trying to be a "normal" teenager, going to parties, meeting boys, making new friends and losing her virginity. Holly Bourne's writing is completely hilarious - the female friendships in this book are some of the best I have ever read and the feisty feminism is also superbly written. I wish I could have read something like this at 16 or 17 - I think it would have helped me a lot.
The mental health representation is sublime. Evie's struggle with anxiety and OCD is completely heartbreaking, there's no shying away from that, but it is written with this excellent combination of humour and hope that makes her story so relatable, so real, and in some ways, so much sadder, too.  Evie has to be one of the most relatable protagonists I have ever personally found - I'm not sure I have ever wanted a character to get a happy ending so much.
(My full review is here.)

1. emery lord’s the names they gave us

"I think I might die if you die. I'll never get over it, not even when I'm forty and have kids of my own. And if heaven is real, I can't wait all those years to see you again."

I immediately feel emotional when I even think of this book, so writing about it is a really strange experience - particularly the quote above. I have never, in all of the hundreds of books I've read, found a more relatable character than Lucy.  Lucy's summer gets off to the worst possible start when she finds out her mother's cancer has returned and shortly after gets dumped by her "perfect" boyfriend. She follows her mother's wishes, spending her summer working for as a camp counsellor in a camp for disadvantaged kids, where she makes wonderful new friends and falls in love.
Lucy's relationship with her mother (and father, actually) has to be the most wonderful parent-child relationship I've EVER read in YA. It is so incredibly close, so special, so unflinchingly real - I constantly had goosebumps on my arms or tears in my eyes whilst reading about their relationship. I also thought the depiction of Christianity in this book was completely stunning, mainly through the character of Lucy's father. The romance was also beautifully written, but it really didn't take over, letting the family plot take centre stage.
Wow, I really can't put into words how much I adored this book. Reading it was the most heartbreaking and hopeful experience ever. I cannot possibly recommend it to you enough. I want to buy a copy for every person I know. Last year, when I discovered Jandy Nelson's two YA novels, I was sure that no YA book by any other author would ever compare, but I absolutely would put this right up there with those, and all my other all-time favourites.
So, thank you to Emery Lord for writing this beautiful story - I have never felt more represented in a  book before, and it meant a lot to me.
(My full review is here.)

That's it! The best 5 books I read this year! And, because I can't just leave it at five, here are some STUNNING runners up that I couldn't not mention... (Me Before You was NEARLY number five). I also want to shout out 180 Seconds by Jessica Park & Brigid Kemmerer's More Than We Can Tell (both of which I received from the publishers on my Kindle, hence why I don't have a physical copy - also, More Than We Can Tell isn't being published until 2018, so keep an eye out for it!!).

Thanks for reading today, and all year long. Thanks for commenting and sharing and following. I can't wait for 2018 and lots more glorious books. I really hope you have enjoyed my 12 Days of Blogmas. Hopefully next year, when I've graduated, I'll be able to commit to all 24!! For now though, have a really happy Christmas and a fantastic New Year. Can't wait for 2018 to start blogging all over again.

Till next year



  1. The Names They Gave Us is a huge favorite of mine as well. That book touched me in so many ways---just amazing!! I also loved The Hate U Give, but haven't read your others---got to get reading!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. I am SO glad you loved it, too!! It was so beautiful! Oo, yes, do! Let me know if you get around to them & what you think.