Guys, this year has been a wild ride. I have grown and changed so much. This was the year I took my first AP class, the year I had my first real girlfriend, the year I got my first leading roles in a show, the year I dropped dance, and maybe most importantly: the year I really became someone who takes care of myself and the people around me. I can honestly say before this year, I would not have been able to be so confident and reach out to so many amazing people on here and in my life. You’re all so amazing and beautiful – there are friend shoutouts at the bottom to a few people I’m super close with, but honestly, there are so many people missing who I LOVE with my entire heart. You’re all amazing.
Before the end of last year, I was reading around two books a week. As some of you may know, I read five books a week this entire year. Though I may eventually reduce it to a goal of four a week for next year — five a week is freaking HARD — this is more than doubling the amount of books I am able to read each year. I have had so much more of an opportunity to read great books.
And what’s more, I have learned what my tastes truly are. In years past, I dabbled around and ended up reading anything I could get my hands, anything I saw at my local library / bookstore, or anything recommended to me. I was not at all critical of the recommendations I got. This year, I’ve realized what a mistake that is. I know what I am most likely to enjoy. There is no reason for me to continuously prioritize books with tropes I dislike when there are so many books out there I know I’ll like.
Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m never giving other books a chance! And it definitely doesn’t mean genre discrimination. Trying new genres has turned out well for me this year — what has hurt is trying out books I know from reviews will be too tropey for me. I know what things I love in literature. If a book promises absolutely none of those things, reading it rarely turns out well. And in a world with so many promising books, why not focus on those I know I’ll love?
WITH ALL THAT BEING SAID. It has been an amazing reading year, and it is time to recommend some books.
Favorites of the year are at the bottom. Of course. And feel free to check out this post on Goodreads!
🌎 Bingeable Series I’d Die For
🌟 A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab (Shades of Magic #1 and #2) – my first foray into adult fantasy and a series that makes me cry. Continuously.
🌟 The King’s Men by Nora Sakavick (The Foxhole Court #3) – the first new adult of my life, and basically the most entertainment I’ve gained from my reading life ever. but also kind of terrible. but also so good.
🌟 Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight, Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor (DoSaB #1, #2, #3) – I was so shook by this book and its WRITING and its TONE and its CHARACTERS and EVERYTHING ABOUT IT
🌟 How to Repair a Mechanical Heart, A&B by J.C. Lillis (HTRaMH #1, #2) – these books were so funny and still deep and so much fun oh my god. and book two is the BEST sapphic romance I have ever read
🌟 Saga by Brian K. Vaughn (#2, #3, #5, #6) – my favorite graphic novel series of all time. best characters, best art, best everything.
🌟 The Wicked + the Divine by Various (#1, #2) – a graphic novel series I can’t wait to continue.
🌟 Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray (The Diviners #2) – character-driven historical paranormal horror fiction and freaking awesome.
🌎 2017’s Promising Fantasy Beginnings
🌟 magic and dreams – Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
🌟 the only good romantic sci-fi – Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
🌟 fairies done right – The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
🌟 paranormal hist-fic and queer girls – Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
🌟 kick-ass plot twists and murder hogwarts – Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
🌎 2017 Series Continuations that Make Me CRY
🌟 Now I Rise by Kiersten White (And I Darken #2) – a masterpiece of plotting and character development and one of my new favorite books. read in 2016, but this has so stayed with me.
🌟 The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrutskie (The Abyss Surrounds Us #2) – the sapphic pirate duology we all needed and deserved, and one that absolutely made me cry
🌟 Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (Every Heart a Doorway #2) – the fabulous and fantastic second book in my new favorite novella series.
🌎 The Standalone List
🌟 horrible people and love triangle subversion – Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas
🌟 bi girls and art – The Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz
🌟 beautiful weird – The Strange & Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
🌟 my new fav parody novel – No Good Deed by Goldy Moldavsky
🌟 fast-pacing city – Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
🌟 underrated book that makes me emo – All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terill
🌟 cathartic hist-fic – The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
🌟 feminist fantasy – Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
🌟 the true classic of my heart – Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
🌟 weird suspense that made me emotional – Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
🌟 abuse and emotional catharsis – Still Life With Tornadoby A.S. King
🌟 a trauma narrative I claim – Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
🌟 ANOTHER trauma narrative I claim – Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
🌟 a huge mindfuck – The Devil You Know by K.J. Parker
🌟 true classic of my heart, p. 2 – Hamlet by William Shakespeare
🌟 the power of women against abuse – Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
🌟 crying for 70 hours – Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
🌟 emotional catharsis and year’s best ending – The Hearts We Sold by Emily-Lloyd Jones
🌟 sapphic witches and magic – Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle
🌟 weirdness and great books – The Wicker King by K. Ancrum
🌟 bi girls and love – How To Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake
🌎 The Short Story Standouts
🌟 Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, including Megan Shephard’s Hide and Seek, Jay Kristoff’s Sleepless, and A.G. Howard’s Stitches
🌟 Three Sides of a Heart, including Justina Ireland’s Dread South, Natalie C. Parker’s Cass, An, and Dra, Veronica Roth’s Vim and Vigor, Brenna Yovanoff’s Vega, Alaya Dawn Johnson’s A Hundred Thousand Threads, and Bethany Hagen’s Unus, Duo, Tres
🌟 Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo, including Ayama and the Thorn Wood, The Witch of Duva, and The Little Knife.
🌟 Summer Days and Summer Nights, including Leigh Bardugo’s Head Scales Tongue Tail, Stephanie Perkins’ In Ninety Minutes Turn North, Veronica Roth’s Inertia, and Lev Grossman’s The Map of Tiny Perfect Things
🌟 Difficult Women by Roxane Gay, including La Negra Blanca, How, and Break All the Way Down
🌟 The New Voices of Fantasy, including Alyssa Wong’s Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers, Ursula Vernon’s Jackalope Wives, Carmen Marie Machado’s The Husband Stitch, and J.Y. Yang’s Tiger Baby.
🌟 Robots vs. Fairies, including Seanan McGuire’s Build Me Wonderland and Alyssa Wong’s All the Time We’ve Left to Spend
🌟 Feral Youth, including Robin Talley’s Look Down and Stephanie Kuehn’s A Cautionary Tale
🌎 The Top ELEVEN of 2017
🌺 #11 – Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios
This is the most deeply, deeply emotionally cathartic book I have read all year. it’s a book I could not look away from, one that left me spellbound and in tears until the end. I connected to this so hard. and I hate that I connected to it so hard. But I think this is a story for people who have survived abuse, on a level I don’t feel for many books about abuse. Everything from the first scene to the final author’s note feel catered for those going through what Grace is going through.
🍀 #10 – Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
just. this entire series deserves top ten, but whatever. This book left me in tears, multiple times. I was so engaged in this book. the WRITING. the TONE. the CHARACTERS. EVERYTHING ABOUT IT.
🌺 #9 – The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
This is one of the most deeply heartfelt books I have read this year, on so many levels. It is a story about women, and not just a story about one kind of woman – The Nowhere Girlsis a story about all kinds of women, from queer girls to latinx girls to trans girls to girls with Aspergers to fat girls. It is so important and it is so well-written.
🍀 #8 – Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
This is one of the most authentic books I have ever read. It feels so real to my experience growing up as a teen, on a level I don’t think any other book has gotten. With characters I love more than my own life, a mostly-qpoc cast, and a focus on friendship rather than romance between the girl and guy leads, this book hit me on a level not much has.
🌺 #7 – Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant / Seanan McGuire
I keep describing this book as sapphic girls and killer mermaids and honestly, that’s the mood for 2017. This book was such a wild ride. It’s a character-driven story, and it’s written so beautifully I could cry. But honestly, I just found this so supremely engaging. I didn’t want it to end. I still don’t want it to end. It was 500 pages long, but it could’ve been another 500 and I would’ve just kept loving it. Sequel, please?
🍀 #6 – They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
This book is so heartfelt. And as you might be able to guess from the title, it left me a wreck. But what I liked about this is that it was not all sad – it’s blended with a current of hope. A feeling that no matter where we’ve ended up, there is always a last chance. A chance to change.
🌺 #5 – Jane Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
See, I didn’t think this would crack top five, but I really think this is a book that changed my life. it’s a weird gothic murder mystery AND a modern book AND a romance and every genre that’s ever existed, somehow, and I love it. With plot twists that messed with my mind and an odd sense of homage and simultaneous satire around every genre, I couldn’t have enjoyed this more.
🍀 #4 – Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee
this book was something I needed. it’s a fun, hilarious, and sweet book at times, but it’s also a book about trauma. It’s a subversion of the curing-mental-illness narrative so often forced in books, and a book that, at its core, is putting queer people and people of color back into historical fiction. It feels like reclaiming historical fiction. It feels like one of the most heartfelt books I have ever read. I read it in one day and can’t stop thinking about how deeply I love the characters.
🌺 #3 – The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (Wayfarers #1)
BRILLIANT worldbuilding, amazing characters, and found family come together. this book felt like reading a warm hug, one that acknowledges pain and hatred but also fundamentally believes that the world is good, not bad.
🍀 #2 – Vicious by V.E. Schwab (Vicious #1)
This is a book about the murder of my feelings AND of some actual people. You know, I have always said I like empathizing with villains, but this book really did it for me. At first, this seems like a traditional good vs. evil story from the point of view of the villain, but no character here is good. But do I love them all with all my heart? YES.
🌺 #1 – Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
You know, it took me a while to decide between this and Vicious as my fave of the year. But you know what? This book is worth my entire life and more. This is one of the only books I have ever started crying at literally just because the writing was so beautiful. I did not know that was possible. I connected to the lead character, Estrella, on such a deep level, and I honestly felt the same about every other part of the book. And the ending. The goddamn, fucking ending. This whole book was as close to perfect as a book can come, and I just want everyone to read it.
🌎 Top Friends of 2017
I want to close this whole post out with my favorite people of 2017. Because really, it’s the people I’ve met who have made this year such a good experience.
🌟 Melanie, you are the kindest, most caring person that I know. You are hilarious. And you’re really fantastic at gift wrap. And our Cruel Prince DMs made my entire life. I am so glad I got to know you this year (was it really only this year?) and I genuinely am grateful for you every single day.
🌟 Em, you are the funniest person on this entire hellsite. I literally love talking to you so much and I still think about our 2 am Wild Beauty DMs. and all the Now I Rise DMs. and who can forget our 2 am Nevernight DMs? (view spoiler)
🌟 Emma, you are a goddamn queen and a sapphic icon in every way. please be my fellow sapphic book stan until the end. but also, it’s still pronounced WYLAN, not WILLAN, and you know it!!
🌟 Emma, I love your overcritical and hella concise self so much. thank you for the Buzzfeed Unsolved introduction and the livetexts!
🌟 Prag, you were one of my first goodreads friends and have remained one of my favorite people. I love your memes and your flirting and your incorrect thoughts on Now I Rise 🙂
🌟 Amy, thanks for FINALLY coming back so I can say this!! you were one of my first goodreads friends and will always be one of my favorite people. thanks for getting me to read Nevernight and for all the flirting and all the memes.
🌟 Silvia, you are my fucking favorite human being and I love you so much. hope 2018 brings even more of our gay buddyreads ❤
🌟 Theo, you are so iconic and hilarious and I hope your blog gets ALL THE FOLLOWERS next year.
🌟 Ellie, thanks for tearing apart A Line in the Dark and coming to Simon Vs with me!! I love you so much.
🌟 Destiny, you are such a kind and caring person and also the best person to come to when I’m sipping tea. Thank you for always listening ❤
🌟 May, I can’t BELIEVE you only joined in May? I feel like you’ve been a part of my life and commenting loyally on all of my dumb blogposts every week. I love you 💖
🌟 Amelie, you are such a pan icon and I hope your new year brings even more Evelyn Hugo rereading.
🌟 Taryn, DMing you this year was a lifeline. thank you for always being there ❤
🌟 Romie, I’m sad we haven’t talked as much recently, but you are awesome and SO sweet and I love your blog 💖
Despite all the crap going down in the world, this has been such a great year for me personally, and I really hope 2018 is just as fantastic. and maybe politically a little less horrible? yes, that sounds great. Hope to see you all next year!