2016 is finally drawing to a close, and this year has been the best reading year of my life. Not only did a read a TON of books, I also read some pretty amazing ones. Today I’m going to be sharing the nineteen books that I read this year that got added to my “All Time Favorites” shelf on Goodreads, as well as my three least favorite reads from this year. As a side note, for the purposes of this post, series are grouped into one book.
My favorites are (in no particular order) –
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
This book is so amazing, and so important, and I loved every minute of it. The characters were all so beautifully written, and I fell in love with them as I watched them struggle and persevere through all of the adversity and hardships that were thrown there way. This is a book that is going to stick with me for a VERY long time, and I would definitely say that this is a book everyone should read at least once in their life.
The Wrath and the Dawn (duology) by Renee Adhieh
I wasn’t really expecting to like this book all that much, and I wasn’t even originally intending on picking it up. Then Clara read it, and gushed about it so much that I decided to pick it up myself. I am soooooo glad I picked this duology up. It had such gorgeous writing and I loved the cast of characters. Plus, there was never a dull moment in either book, the plot was fast-paced and there were constantly twists and turns that I wasn’t expecting.
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
I read this book really recently, and it tore my heart to shreds. I was not ok. I cannot believe how emotional a book can make me, and how attached I can become to characters. One of the things I absolutely love about Ruta Sepetys is she writes about true events that everyone ignores. I knew nothing about the events of this book, and the story gave me so much more insight into what really went on during this time in the war. Ruta Sepetys has a way of taking really obscure but important events, then telling and honoring the lives of those involved in a magnificent and beautiful way.
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
While I didn’t like this book quite as much as Between Shades of Gray, this is yet another gorgeous book by Ruta Sepetys that will be in my heart forever. I read this book early this year, and it broke my heart in ways I didn’t know were possible. Each and every character in this book had their own unique story, and I felt like, despite the quick and short chapters, that I got to know them on a really deep and intimate level over the course of the book. This of course made the ending that much harder, but also just as poignant and satisfying.
The Lunar Chronicles Series by Marissa Meyer
This is yet another set of books where the characters mean absolutely everything to me. I didn’t think it was possible for me to ship so many people in one book. The way all of the characters’ stories wove together and the friendships and relationships that were developed throughout the course of this series was so much fun to watch, and on top of it all the plot was engaging and surprising from page-to-page, which just made it even better.
A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
I’m realizing as I’m writing this blog that almost all of these books make my favorites list because of the relationships between the characters. This book is no exception. The relationships and friendships between the characters in this novel are some of my favorites of all time. One of the best things about this book is that there isn’t any romance. All of the relationships are just good old-fashioned friendships, and and incredibly strong sense of loyalty among a host of characters, who really have no reason to be so close, but are anyways.
The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye
First of all, can we talk about how gorgeous this cover is? It’s sooooo pretty. The story inside is beautiful to match. I love the character development, and seeing how everyone tries to do what’s best, even if they aren’t sure what the right thing is. I also loved the high-stakes situation with reluctant participants. I can’t wait to see where this story goes next, and I want the second book nooooowwwww.
The Firebird Trilogy by Claudia Gray
Another series with absolutely GORGEOUS covers. I marathoned this series in 3 days, and I couldn’t put it down. While the world-building in book one was a little confusing, the plot and the characters had me drawn in from the very first page. I couldn’t wait to see how it ended, and I couldn’t be happier with the way things turned out. This is probably one of the most satisfying trilogies I’ve ever read.
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
I know I said that these books had no order, but this is it. This is my favorite book that I read this year. I don’t think I’ll ever get over how good and pure this book was. It was so sweet, and so adorable, and if I could reread it every day I probably would. There is so much love poured into this book it’s kind of hard to describe. I won’t ever be able to think of this book without feeling all warm and fuzzy…. and also getting hungry for Oreos.
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
This is another book that rivals Simon on the cuteness level. While I love all the books I’ve read by Rainbow Rowell, I think this one might be my favorite, and I would love to see more content from Baz and Simon’s world.
A Court of Thorns and Roses Series by Sarah J Maas
I really liked the first book in this series, but the second one absolutely killed me. She expanded the world and the characters so much, and I became far more invested in the story and the outcome than I ever thought I could be. I can’t wait to see where this next book takes us, and where all of our characters end up.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
I had actually heard a lot of negative reviews about this book, so I was pretty hesitant to pick it up. WOW was it amazing. I’m still not entirely sure why so many people really dislike this book, because it was absolutely amazing. I loved all of the characters, and their friendship and loyalty to each other was absolutely adorable. I really wish I had my own copy of this so I could make everyone and anyone read it.
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
This was the first book I’ve ever read in verse, and the writing was so gorgeous. I loved the method of storytelling, and while it could be a little confusing at times, I really liked the fluidity of reading a life story told in little snippets like this. I love this book not only because I think it’s incredibly important, but also because it’s opened me up to a new genre that I want to explore more next year.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
I went into this book knowing that it was going to wreck me. Little did I know how devastated and heart-broken it was going to leave me. This book was so gut-wrenchingly sad and the writing was simple and sweet, and I still am not ok with it.
An Ember in the Ashes Series by Sabaa Tahir
This series is definitely going to be one of my favorite series of all time. I loved the first book, but the second book got so much better. I can’t believe how much more invested I am in this world now, after having read A Torch Against the Night. Sabaa Tahir has this amazing way of drawing the reader into the story and never letting go. Her characters are all beautifully flawed, but they still do their best to do the right thing and accomplish their goals. I cannot wait for the next book in this series.
The Gold Seer Trilogy by Rae Carson
I was not expecting to love this series as much as I do. The characters are so diverse and interesting, and they all have such unique and individual stories. I am also far too invested in all of the ships that are setting sail over the course of this series, and I can’t wait to read the conclusion to this fantastic series.
The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I read Illuminae earlier this year, and fell in love with it, but I was a little apprehensive about the idea of Gemina being more of a companion than a sequel, following a new set of characters. It blew my expectations completely out of the water. From page one I was thrown right back into the world, and I loved all of the new characters immediately. I’m so glad I decided to continue on with this series, and I can’t wait to see where we go next.
The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters
This book had such a marvelous story and absolutely glorious writing, that I knew immediately it was going to be added to my all-time favorites shelf. Not only did I fall in love with the writing and the story, but the message of the book is also incredibly important. This is definitely a book that everyone should read at least once.
Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo
While it did take me a little while to get into the first book, the characters and the fast-paced plot eventually drew me in and didn’t let me go until the very end of book two. The fierce loyalty among all the main characters was such a joy to see, and I loved watching their bond grow stronger over the course of both novels. I just wish there were more books in this series, because I didn’t want it to end!
And now for my least favorite reads (in no particular order) –
Sweet Lamb of Heaven by Lydia Millet
I am actually really proud of myself – I didn’t have a single 1-star book this year. But this one came really close. This is actually a book that I had to read for one of my classes, and it just wasn’t for me. I think part of the reason I disliked it so much is that it actually had a lot of potential to be really good, but all of the interesting things that were introduced in the beginning were left un-dealt with by the end, and I was left feeling confused and disappointed.
Hamlet: Poem Unlimited by Harold Bloom
I loved Hamlet when I read it in my literature class last year, but this book… It was just so pretentious and annoying. I ended up skimming through half of it because it was mostly direct block quotes from Hamlet anyway, and I just don’t feel like it added anything to my education about the play itself. It really wasn’t worth my time.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
This book had such an interesting premise – a great puzzle surrounding the customers at a 24-hour bookstore? It sounded so interesting! But, to be honest, I hated the writing style, and the plot went down a technological path that I wasn’t expecting and that I really didn’t enjoy. This book was such a disappointment because I was really excited for it, and then it wasn’t at all what I was expecting.
What were your favorite books that you read this year? What were your least favorite books? Tell me in the comments!