I put the exclamation point in the title because these books make me EXCITED and HAPPY and SAD and ANGRY and THEY’RE JUST GREAT and I LOVE THEM SO MUCH.
According to my Goodreads account, I read 71 books this year, and luckily they were a lot of very, very, very good books. Which was why when I decided to narrow it down to five, I got nervous. All the amazing books I read this year flashed before my eyes. I thought this was going to be an impossible task.
In the end it really didn’t take long to decide, and mostly I think it’s because I went with my gut. If I’d started thinking really deeply about all the books I read this year, I’d get impossibly lost. These were the ones that just…stuck the most, I suppose. Left the strongest afterglow. The ones that nestled the most deeply into my heart and my brain. They’re books that make me immediately react with the thought and feeling of, Yes, I had a fantastic time reading that.
So, my top 5 books of 2016:
5. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
by Becky Albertalli
Sometimes a book doesn’t have to crush my soul for me to love it. This book is about a boy, Simon, who exchanges anonymous emails with another boy in his high school. Both of them are gay, and they’ve only exchanged this information with one another, but when Simon’s emails are seen by the wrong eyes, he suddenly finds himself the victim of blackmail.
It sounds rather sinister, but this book is sweet and light and made me feel butterflies and happiness. This book was so much fun to read, and it’s definitely my feel-good book of the year. It dealt with identity issues and family issues and teen issues and it was engaging and cute and it warmed my heart. I loved it, and if you’re in the mood for something light and uncomplicated and downright enjoyable, this is a great read. Simply, this book made me happy. Full review
4. The Alienist
by Caleb Carr
This book was a fantastic package of character, plot, thrill, horror, heart, and humor. The Alienist is set in New York City at the end of the 19th century, and is about a journalist who works with a psychologist – an alienist – to solve the mystery of a string of brutal child murders. This book seriously creeped me out, set me on edge, made me laugh, and punched me right in the heart. The plot was a horrifying, engaging mystery that I could read for hours without stopping and I hated to put down.
But it was the characters that make this book so memorable. I did not expect myself to end up loving them as much as I did- they were fantastically clever, wonderfully unique, funny, fun, and strange. I read this book at the beginning of this year, and even then I knew it would end up being one of my favorites. If you want a good, twisted mystery, I highly recommend.
3. An Arrow’s Flight
by Mark Merlis
This book left me in a state of awe and sorrow and wow I’m so glad I read that. This book is a mythology-based novel set in the contemporary world and tells the story of Achilles’ son Pyrrhus, who is summoned from his life of male escorting to participate in the Trojan War overseas. An Arrow’s Flight is a hefty read, and perhaps one of the heaviest, pace-wise, character-wise, and detail-wise that I read this year. It’s funny and sarcastic and twisted. It’s a slow book, a very smart book, it takes dedication, and once I closed it, every page felt worth it.
It’s a book that doesn’t really make you love the characters – in fact, most of the time I was disgusted by them or disappointed in them or pitied them – but I rooted for the with all of my heart, even when they were pitted against each other. I stumbled upon this book during a mythology kick in the summer, and I hadn’t expected anything quite like this book. Even months after closing it, I still feel I awe of it and very touched by it. Full review
2. The Dream Thieves
by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven Cycle a series of four fantasy/paranormal books about a group of teenagers in contemporary Virginia who are on a mission to find a dead Welsh king so that they can ask him for a favor. If you’ve followed my blog, it’s no secret that The Raven Cycle is one of my favorite series that I’ve read this year. It’s what brought this blog back to life after months of dormancy. I love it dearly, and I adore each of the books very much, but The Dream Thieves, the second book in the series, is the one I not only had the most fun reading, but I also think is the best of the series.
When I think of this book I think of fire and explosions, thrill and anger and things breaking and coming together in new ways. This book kept me on the edge of my seat, it made me angry and it made me scared for the characters I’d already grown to love so much after only the first book. This book, in comparison to the other three, was the most complete of the series; it was the best done. It made me feel as if I’d run ten miles by the time I’d finished it; exhausting in the best way. The Dream Thieves was definitely the most fun (in a frustrated, angry, thrilling, gratifying way) I had with a book this year. Full review
1. Crooked Kingdom
by Leigh Bardugo
This book is, without question, THE best book I read this year. Crooked Kingdom is part of the Six of Crows Duology, and is the sequel to Six of Crows (also amazing). It’s a fantasy about a young group of outcasts who find the nations of the world against them as they pull off heist after heist to reap revenge on their enemies, protect each other’s lives, and save the world from a powerful drug that could destroy life as they know it.
This book killed me and I came back to life just to finish it. This book raised the stakes at every possible turn, and met my expectations with every outcome. Words cannot express how much I enjoyed reading it, how much it put me on edge (I was SERIOUSLY STRESSED) and how incredibly lovable, terrible, hilarious and diverse the cast of characters are (I had to get up and walk around to cool off at times because of them). This book gets an A+ in every area: plot, character development, world building, writing, suspense, humor, heartbreak. It was an incredible and perfectly satisfying ending to an amazing duology. Someone please carve “Read Six of Crows” on my gravestone when I die. Full review
Now…onto see what 2017 brings!!