So, much to my surprise, I actually made my ultimate goal of reading 200 books in the year 2016. I’ve never read so many books in the span of a year and although it brought me immense joy, there was a time where the real world truly eluded me (ah, the sacrifices we make). It also helped that I spent 6 months of 2016 working in a middle school library. But, as we all do at the end of a year, it’s time for some reflection of some of the best books I read in 2016.
It was difficult to put these in an order because they are quite different from each other, but I attempted it anyway. They are all YA, which surprises me, but looking back at some of the adult books I read, I didn’t find any really good ones that hit me like these did with a really good book hangover.
5. Lockwood and Co. #4: The Creeping Shadow by Jonathan Stroud: As a consistent follower of the Lockwood and Co. series, I awaited the next of the series eagerly which can be a lot of pressure, but this did not disappoint. It was probably my favourite of the entire series to date. The action was great, I adore the characters more with each page and the descriptions are so vivid, I really could not put the book down.
4. Frontlines by Michael Grant: An alternative history where women are on the front lines in World War II? Yes, please. It feeds my inner history nerd, it’s very well written and again, dynamite characters to follow. I can’t wait for the next book to come out this year.
3. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton: What can I say, other than the fact that I’m such a sucker for strong female characters? What I loved about this one is that it was completely different from what I’d read before. The elements of this desert life, the world building – it was all so elegantly done.
I have to say that the final two books on this list were difficult to select between. They both hit me, really hit me. These were the books that, when you pick them up, you’re like “yes… this is why I read”. They are the books that you keep on your shelf and plan to reread in the future to relive those beautiful book memories. I couldn’t decide which I liked more.
1. Kids of Appetite by David Arnold: Although one of my absolute favourites, this is not a book I would easily recommend to everyone because it’s quite gritty. That being said, Arnold’s characters are just so exceptionally written. I find myself so attached, so enthralled with their story, their development, vernacular, I really can’t wait to get my hands on his next piece.
1. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon: This is a piece that just made my heart ache and left me in tears. This is the book that pulled at my heartstrings, made me feel real feelings and left me unable to read when I finished it. A gorgeous love story with so many nuances, delicate side notes and little epiphanies. I will be rereading this in the future.
Honourable mentions: Although these aren’t my favourite five, they rank as some of the books that still resonated with me throughout this year and are certainly worth mentioning.
Brain on Fire by Susannah Calahan: Such a well-written, well-researched memoir piece.
Girl against the Universe by Paula Stokes: The most positive representation I’ve seen of mental illness in YA fiction to date.
Lumberjanes Series: The most kick-ass all-ages female empowerment graphic novel I’ve read to date.
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys: Another fantastic well-written historical novel by Sepetys with great plot development.
Morning Star by Pierce Brown: Brilliant high-action end to a knockout space opera trilogy.
What were your favourite books in 2016? Any of these on your list?