Alright, you know I can’t pick favorites. It just isn’t happening. But I did go through all the book-reviews from the last year, and pick out the top ones, sorted by age. So, here’s some of the books I loved most in 2017*.
~ Adult ~
- The Scent of Water. A quiet, slow-paced story set in the countryside. Probably not the sort of thing I usually review, but maybe I should try to find more such stories – this one is on my mental ‘inspirational’ list. To read it was mentally renewing in a way very few, maybe none, of the more ‘exciting’ books was.
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Top of the line fantasy by Neil Gaiman. This is the sort of surreal story that slides from creepy to horrifying then somehow into beautiful and back to creepy again, the story of a little boy’s adventures narrated by the adult remembering, a story that might very nearly convince you – at least for as long as you’re reading – that this world is thinner than you thought and there are things behind the stars.
- Bellwether. This one’s just fun. An oddball sci-fi/realistic story about chaos theory and herd mentality, with lots of office drama and hilarity.
~ Young Adult ~
- Wolf by Wolf. Alternate-history/fantasy, set in World War II. The main character is a death camp survivor – a Jewish skinshifter – a would-be assassin – a broken, bleeding girl with too much death in her past. If that doesn’t intrigue you all by itself, I don’t know what to say.
- The Changeling Sea. We’re back to fantasy, here. I discovered Patricia McKillip about this point, and was instantly enamored of her rich writing style. A book-length fairy-tale about sea-princes and changelings and love.
- Code Name Verity. Historical fiction in World War II again. There’s a somewhat rocky start, but then a great story about friendship and courage, and some cool bits about a woman’s role in the war; absolutely heart-wrenching ending.
- Speak. Contemporary highschool fiction, about a teen girl retreating into silence in the aftermath of trauma. Also a painful story: intensely realistic and, I thought, well-written.
~ Middle-Grade ~
- The Girl Who Drank the Moon. Another book-length fairy tale, which does the genre very well, from the language to the characters to the story. Think Old Witch in the forest and her Bog Monster and the Orphan Girl (although she’s not quite an orphan, really). Behind the whimsical story, it’s solidly based in human nature.
- Greenglass House. A fun wintertime mystery: Milo and Meddy, our two protagonists, use role-playing and their common sense to decipher clues and untangle the mystery surrounding the Greenglass Inn and its visitors.
*These are all books I read and reviewed for the first time in 2017 – not specifically written in 2017, or only reviewed now. So, for example, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell isn’t eligible because I’ve read it before.
Now it’s your turn. What are your top books from 2017?