2017 was a great – no, fantastic – year for books, which made narrowing down my favorites to a Top Ten very difficult. Hence the numerous honorable mentions at the end. The books that made the list range from a National Book Award winner to a book inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement that has been on the New York Times bestselling list for 40+ weeks. Check out our list below:
1. Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
Moxie depicts a reality that so many people are still denying: school dress codes that favor men, football players being allowed to get away with everything, harassment in the hallways, and school administrators looking the other way when rape is reported – and challenges it head-on. An empowering read, I haven’t stopped thinking about Moxie six months after reading it.
2. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
I fell in love with The Upside of Unrequited, perhaps even more than Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Albertalli portrays the teenage experience in such a real, relatable way and has created characters who are impossible not to fall in love with. Set in a seamlessly diverse contemporary world, The Upside of Unrequited is another favorite.
3. Far from the Tree by Robin Benway
I stayed up far too late while reading Far from the Tree because I just couldn’t bring myself to put it down, sobbed as I reached the end, and I still feel the heart wrenching emotions whenever I think about this book. At its core, Far from the Tree is about what it means to be family and Benway explores the reality of adoptive families, biological families, and foster families in a truthful and sensitive manner. Far from the Tree features multidimensional characters that deal with problems young readers will be able to relate to, from adoption to alcoholism to complicated family dynamics.
4. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
I adored Menon’s debut novel, When Dimple Met Rishi. Sweet, swoony romance, diverse characters & culture, and wonderful writing. Highly recommend picking this one up when you’re in need of a contemporary YA romance.
5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
There’s not much I can say to add to the praise surrounding The Hate U Give except that it’s a must-read book. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, THUG has been on the NYT list for more than forty weeks and its status is well-deserved. What are you waiting for?
6. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee
Gentleman’s Guide is an entertaining queer historical fiction road trip story. Need I say more? I was enamored with Monty and Percy, their relationship, and their adventures (playing strip poker and streaking through Versailles, for example). Based on a live reading I heard at Books of Wonder, I’d say the audio book is also worth a listen.
7. Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton
Hamilton’s sequel to Rebel of the Sands is just as badass, magical, and suspenseful as its predecessor. I love Amani, Jin, and the world that Alwyn Hamilton has built. I’m impatiently waiting for Hero at the Fall, the third book in the series.
8. Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts
An adventure-packed fantasy about a group of outcasts racing against time to stop a civil war, Royal Bastards captivated me from the beginning and held my attention the whole way. With politics, betrayal, romance, and more, I’d say Royal Bastards has something for everyone.
9. Caraval by Stephanie Garber
This book is magical and all-encompassing. Stephanie Garber has created a rich, unique world and tells a story that allows readers to be fully immersed in that world. Just when you think you’ve got the story figured out, another layer of mystery and magic is revealed. The ending pulled my heart in so many directions, and I can’t wait for the next book.
10. Warcross by Marie Lu
Marie Lu has built a world overflowing with enough detail to transport you to Tokyo and the Warcross games alongside Emika, and has crafted a plot that will keep your heart racing long after you put the book down. Warcross kept me on my toes and though I guessed what might be coming, the ending left me feeling like I’d been punched in the gut. A creative, immersive fantasy that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Honorable Mentions: Dear Martin by Nic Stone, A List of Cages by Robin Roe, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne, Turtles All The Way Down by John Green
What were some of your favorites books of 2017? What are you anticipating in 2018?