Review: My 2017 Books of the Year

Come December, I always enjoy a good look-back over the year, in real life and here in my digital book world. For the last 8 or 9 years I’ve kept written notebooks with all my book thoughts, but it was lovely (and so much easier!) to look back through my posts and review my reads over the last year. I have a rated 5/5 category, so can easily see all the books I popped in there as a quick guide to my favourites, and for my 2017 Books of the Year, I have selected six across a range of genres that I truly loved.

So, enough preamble, I know you’re waiting with bated breath for my choices… Here are my 2017 Books of the Year (to clarify, they have all been read by me this year, not all published this year):

Overall Fiction

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

From my review: “I started to read this on New Year’s Eve, which, weirdly, was the exact title on the opening page. Being a fan of fateful encounters like this, I took this as good omen for the book.”

Yep, it says a lot that the first book I read this year set the bar so high that it’s included on this end-of-year list. It’s just such a well-written, engaging story that I really enjoyed.

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

From my review: “This is the most emotionally powerful book I’ve read in a long time.”

I did not expect to love this book as much as I did. Yejide and Akin are having trouble starting a family, it’s causing tensions in their relationship and wider family. Equally gut-wrenching and full of hope, with characters you rooted for.

Psychological Thriller

Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land

From my review: “This is my definition of a page-turner. I read it so quickly, as it was simply impossible not to.” 

Troubling, enticing, uncomfortable and just so bloody good. Milly has just turned her mother into the police. Her mother is a serial killer and now both of them have to face the consequences of what they’ve done. Best thriller of the year for me, by a mile.

Novella

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

From my review:“You know when you finish a book and just feel better for having read it? Yep, if you find yourself with an afternoon to spare, sit down with this little gem. You won’t regret it.”

Yes, pretty much what I said there. When the Queen discovers she has a passion for reading, her royal duties take a back seat, much to the annoyance of members of her household. There is nothing not to like about this book. (Unless you are not a fan of the Queen, then it might not hold as much charm!)

Non-Fiction

The Mitford Girls by Mary S. Lovell

From my review:“I really can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading this book. When a biography feels like a novel – in its tone, structure, plot development and engrossing story arcs of the characters, then you know you’ve got a great read on your hands.”

The amazing lives of the Mitford sisters need to be read about to be believed. If this was a movie script, you would probably say some parts needed to be edited out as it’s just too much, but all of it – from becoming famous authors to hanging out with Hitler or spending years in prison – actually happened.

Classic Read

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

From my review:“When you put it in historical context and realise this book was published in 1932, before many of the ideas that Huxley explores were even developed as they are today, it makes it even more of an astounding read.”

A classic I’m so pleased I got round to reading this year. A dystopian piece of perfection that may have been written as a version of a future that would never happen, but that seems scarily prophetic now.

Young Adult

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

From my review:“An essay by Patrick Ness accompanied the edition I read and in it he made a perfect point, ‘I’ve always felt A Monster Calls was never solely a book for children. A good story should be for everyone.’ This is something I’ve long thought, no matter the intended audience, a great story will speak to everyone.”

Young Adult writing at its best. Patrick Ness is an author I discovered this year and one I am very pleased I did. This emotional and intelligent story of a child dealing with grief may not be an easy topic to read about but the exquisite writing makes it impossible to put down.

So… there they are! If you’ve read any of my 2017 choices, I’d love to know what you think. Also, I want to say a big thank you to everyone who takes the time to read, like and comment on my reviews, I really appreciate it. I’ve loved my first year of having this blog and can’t wait to see what books 2018 will bring my way!

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