Hello again blog family! I thought it was best to commemorate the half-way point of 2017 with a look back at some of my favorite reads this year. I am only focusing on books published and reviewed between January and June even though I have already read three amazing books that publish the beginning of July ( I’m looking at you What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons, Hum If You Don’t Know The Words by Bianca Marais, and Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown). Scroll through for links and blurbs for my top 10. You’ll also get to read about few of my other favorite things from this year. I hope you enjoy!
Literary Fiction, Random House January 10
This one struck a chord with me. High school is such a tricky time, and though it’s been a bit since I was there, those feelings never really go away- at least for me they didn’t. Johnson writes this story from the perspective of a group of privileged teenagers and one eager school teacher. I labeled it as a YA cross-over only because the characters are mostly youths while the writing and storytelling is superb.
Literary Fiction, Random House January 31
It has become quite clear that my review of this novel could never quite do it justice. The emotions and scenarios explored in this story just have to be read. At its core this is a story of female partnership both in work and in friendship and the ability for that to survive ambition, addiction and the major curve-balls that life throws.
Historical Fiction, Crown February 14
A historical fiction told through journal entries and letters, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir is a subtlety feminist take on wartime in a small English village. When all the men are called to serve, the women band together to keep their church choir going and to form a lasting support network made up of quite the mixed bag of characters.
Literary Fiction, Penguin Books March 2
A superbly timed novel, Exit West takes the refugee experience and twists it by subtracting the fraught nature of the process and replacing it with an imagined system of doors that link throughout the world. However, what Hamid shows is that is it up the people to alter and improve the process and therein lies the trouble. Elegant prose make this a snap to read while the topic will leave you dwelling long after the final page is turned.
Women’s Fiction, G.P. Putnam’s Sons May 9
I loved this one. Period. Full-stop. Your first love never leaves you and when circumstance brings Lucy’s crashing back into her life we read through their story full of tenderness and anguish. Don’t forget your tissues.
Fiction, Random House June 6
Set mostly at a summer camp in the Berkshires, Berman explores the turmoil of female adolescence and the delicate balance of female friendship at all ages. Kirkus Reviews likened her storytelling to that of Judy Blume and I stand by that comparison wholeheartedly.
Fiction (Literary Suspense), Scribner June 13
A literary mystery if there is such a thing, Sullivan crafts an intriguing tale of the life of a bookstore patron and the life of a bookseller and all the ways in which they mattered most to one another.
Historical Fiction, Riverhead June 13
Oscillating between L.A. in the 1980s and Austria during WWII, Cantor weaves a story brimming with romance and bravery. Kristoff is an apprentice to the famed stamp-maker Fredrick Faber where circumstance has placed him and he grows to love much about the family- their Jewish religion and daughter Elena included. Katie is struggling to care for her ailing father, a philatelist succumbing to Alzheimer’s. When she has his stamp collection appraised, something is found that serves as the cornerstone to the rest of the novel.
Women’s Fiction, G.P. Putnam’s Sons June 27
Fallon takes on the military wife in her novel The Confusion of Languages. Cassie and Margaret navigate through their companionship in the Jordanian desert where their husbands are stationed. Polar opposites in many ways, they end up forming a deeper bond that is whittled away by differing opinions and deception.
Mystery/Thriller, Park Row Books June 27
In classic Kubica style, Every Last Lie whips through at a thrilling pace. Clara has just gotten the worst news of her life, her husband Nick and young daughter were in a serious car accident which results in his death though her daughter is thankfully unharmed. Unable to accept the circumstances surrounding his passing, Clara goes to all lengths to uncover the real cause. What we are left with is a tale of grief at its most raw.
Some of my other favorite things so far this year include author interviews, my reading nook and Bookstagram.
I have had the honor of interviewing three authors this year. The first was a Twitter interview with Elan Mastai which might have been an epic fail so you can read that for yourself:
This second was with Jill Santopolo who wrote The Light We Lost which has been blowing up the shelves at Target and your inbox if you subscribe to theSkimm. All the praise is well deserved as evidenced by my blurb above. I just loved it.
And the last interview I’ve done so far this year was with Mandy Berman who wrote yet another of my most favorite books this year. She has some great things to say about adolescence and female friendship and the importance of tell these types of stories in today’s society.
Lastly, two things I am loving in my day-to-day life are my reading nook- where I read and write many of my reviews. You can see the creation of this magical corner in my bedroom here:
And my Bookstagram community. I have chatted with authors, publicists and avid readers alike via this social media portal. Please come find me there if you haven’t already: @readvoraciously
What were your favorite books or things from this year so far?