Each December, I like to look back at what I read and share those books that I personally thought were the best. I can never have just one favorite, so it is a list. Luckily, an app like Goodreads, helps me keep track of what I read. I highly recommend everyone to keep track in some way whether it is through an app or a journal or list.
Here are my top 10 favorite books of 2017. Books are in order by the author’s last name, not in any recommended order.
The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova
This book is not for everyone. I enjoy Kostova’s writing but it is very slow and meticulous. Her books are ones that you should take your time with. This novel was set in Bulgaria during the present-day but there is a lot of history and mystery to this book.
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
This book reminded me why I love young adult books and had everything I like about books in general: Action, adventure, mystery, romance with the added bonus of pirates. So much fun! Enjoy!
The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
This book was a comfort read. It follows the life of Penelope Keeling. She is nearing the end of her life and reflecting on all the things that have happened in her past and the present. Reading the synopsis, I was a little skeptical and therefore was amazed by how much I loved this book. Pilcher is a good writer and if the premise is remotely interesting to you, you will like this book.
The Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
This book is told in verse, so it doesn’t take as much time to read, but wow, it definitely is just as emotionally draining as his other books. Will’s brother just died and he is out for revenge. While he is taking the elevator down, gun in hand, he runs into ghosts from the past.
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
This is a book about mother and daughters, a traditional mountain village turning into a modern town and a young woman who had to give up her daughter and find her own way. There was so much to like about this book, including the hopeful ending.
The Hate you Give by Angie Thomas
You can believe the hype about this book. The characters felt real and authentic and the situations these characters found themselves in seem all too real. I believe this book is so important because I think a lot of people will find themselves represented in some way in this book and I believe a lot of people can use this book as a window to see a glimpse of what life can be like. Books have the power, not only to show us who we are but also the power to help us understand and empathize with others. This book should be required reading for everyone.
Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson
Don’t let this book slip below your radar. I loved this book and the main character so much. I think what makes this book unique is that it focuses on the microagressions (indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group) that young women of color face. She goes to a good school with good teachers, and yet, is overlooked for a trip. She has a mentor who has good intentions but even though they are both African-American, her mentor comes from a affluent family and does not always understand Jade and they have a tenuous relationship. She gets random comments from men on the street about her body. She hides food because she is overweight and feels and experiences judgement from others over what she eats. But through all of this, Jade finds a way to make a difference and figure out who she is.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
I listened to this book while doing an inventory of the library. It took a while to get used to how the story was being told but the writing was very well done. The subject of slavery is always hard to read. Even though this was a work of fiction where the underground railroad is an actual railroad it was apparent how thorough the research was. There was a lot more I had to say about the book at the time, so my New Year’s Resolution is to review a book right after I read it. Just like the Shadow Thieves and The Tea Girl books, this is not a fast-paced book, so be willing to take some time with it.
Gem and Dixie by Sara Zarr
This book did a good job on showing how poverty, especially food insecurity affects students. The book follows two sisters, Gem and Dixie and their complicated relationship with each other and their parents. Their father comes back into their lives after years of being away and it effects the family in different ways. I don’t read a lot of realistic fiction but I felt this book was sympathetic and honest about their characters.
American Street by Ibi Zoboi
Fabiola and her mother immigrate from Haiti to Detroit where her aunt and cousins live. In New York, her mother is detained and Fabiola has to continue alone. The book delves into the immigrant experience, life experience in a poor neighborhood, life for students that go to a private school far away from their neighborhood. It is just as important as the other books on this list, important as a mirror and a window.