I know it isn’t quite the end of the year yet, but I’m not sure how much time I’m going to have over the next few days for reading and writing, so I’m going to wrap up the year now.
2016 was a year of contemporary reading for me, it had highs and it had lows, but overall there were very few books which escaped the 4/5 star band and made it to the top. In fact, I only gave 6 full star ratings all year (I’m very picky). In recognition of that sparse number I’m going to keep this post short and sweet, treating it as a sort of year-long wrap up and telling you the 5 things that earned each book a place on this list.
Note: I have tried to tentatively rank these books, starting with number 10 and working my way up, but the order changes every time I look at this list so take it with a pinch of salt!
- I rarely enjoy fantasy, so this was a pleasant surprise
- Mare didn’t infuriate me like so many female protagonists do, I thought she was relatively realistic and completely bad ass.
- I love her different suitors, I was so torn between Maven and Cal (Kilorn just didn’t even come close for me)
- The powers were interesting and unique, they were cooler than the average ‘oh my goodness he can fly!’
- I sort of sensed the ending coming and was so proud of myself, I never ever predict the end of books, and when I try I usually go way too elaborate.
9. Never Never by Colleen Hoover
- I loved the three novella format of this series, it made me feel so accomplished when I finished.
- The format didn’t feel forced, it made sense that it was divided that way. It wasn’t just three novellas for the sake of being three novellas, it aided the story.
- The dual perspectives were really well executed, I felt like I really did get to know them both despite the short length.
- This was the first (and only) thing I’ve read by Hoover, and I wasn’t really sure what to expect as I’ve heard mixed reviews, but this left me pleasantly surprised.
- It wasn’t insta-lovey – can I get a hallelujah!
8. Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
- Really interesting concept, you rarely hear a story like this about what happens way after the apocalypse but before civilisation has righted itself again.
- The jumping back and forward was occasionally hard to follow, but it did give a really clear view of both what was happening, how it had come to this and what happened afterwards.
- I loved how all the characters intertwined, it really helped to show that the old world/current world wasn’t entirely lost which I found very comforting.
- Really lovely writing, I listened to the audiobook and just breezed through the hours.
- Well-paced, enough happens to show the imminent danger of their situation in the new world, without making it unrealistic that they would survive.
- Just the most heart-warming story ever, it made me feel all warm and fuzzy.
- The narrative was quite matter-of-fact, it wasn’t overdramatised or underplayed.
- He didn’t try to make his life sound more horrific than it was or make himself too perfect just to sell books
- Bob getting his own personality – or Bob generally really
- How much Bob reminded me of my own cat, the similarities in mannerism were uncanny (or uncatty… tee hee hee)
6. We Were Liars by E Lockhart
- This was the first thing I read in 2-16 so I felt like I’d started the year really well
- The perfect beach read (I read it in Australia so it was a beach read despite it being January!)
- It was pretty short and nice writing so I flew through it
- I didn’t see the ending coming, yet it was still believable for me – a very interesting mix
- Their bizarre family dynamic, it wasn’t all rainbows and fairies like say Jenny Han’s, but it was still really interesting to read about.
5. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
- Finding out about Ransom Riggs process made an already pretty cool series epically cool in my eyes. The polaroids were so unique and so cleverly used.
- All the children’s powers seemed really organic, most of them just appeared to be totally random or useless – but amazing nonetheless.
- Despite the relative complexity of the concept, it was really easy to understand and didn’t take long to get your head around
- The series generally is beautifully paced, it doesn’t feel like an introduction or a filler, you could read this as a standalone and just be happy to have experienced this world for a while.
- I read just before the movie came out – can we just talk about how the ending of the movie was completely different. However, I think this made me like the book even more, I’m glad they didn’t try to copy it exactly and then get it totally wrong!
4. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
- I love that this was a real life event that I’d never heard about before
- I find the Second World War really fascinating and so I love WW2 historical fiction like this
- The multi-perspective narrative could have gone so horribly wrong, but I felt it was perfectly executed.
- It was like Goldilocks porridge, it was the perfect mixture of terrible things happening without seeming like it was using the war as entertainment.
- It was just so beautifully written.
- Such a clever layout and narrative style, nothing like I’ve ever read before
- As I always say when I talk about this book, the audiobook is phenomenal!
- Kady and Ezra were just the perfect combination of lovey-dovey and realistic.
- Surveillance analyst 7213 is literally the best thing ever – I got so excited at the beginning of his chapters.
- Kady is such a badass – she has emotions, but she doesn’t let them get in the way of her doing the right thing and not letting no man get in her way
(psst Gemina was great too, better than some of the books on the bottom end of this list, but I didn’t want to include two books from the series – just so you know!)
2. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
- I loved the family dynamic in this series, they’re so lovely!
- I really enjoyed the Korean influences in this series, you could tell Han was drawing on personal experience for inspiration.
- I can’t believe she was able to make me totally fall in love with John Ambrose Maclaren when I thought I was already completely devoted to Peter.
- Lara Jean, her quirky wardrobe and all her baking – just so much love.
- So excited that a third book is coming out – I really hope she doesn’t ruin such a fantastic series now!
1. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
- The romance in this story was really really cute, if not a little insta-lovey for some people’s taste.
- It may well be that I’m just a moron, but I found the big twist super surprising.
- I have been able to recommend this novel to so many people, both young and old, and everyone so far has loved it.
- It was such a fast read, the second I finished I send my boyfriend a huge gushing text I loved it so much.
- The plot was fast enough to keep the story interesting and stop repetitiveness, without hindering the development of the underlying romance.
So there you go, there’s my top 10 reads of the year. It wasn’t the best year for reading, but I still loved each and every one of these books and would give them the Miss Abigail seal of approval.
What was the best book you read this year? Do you have a top books post I can read? I’m always interested to hear what you guys think!