I think we can all agree 2017 has been a pretty terrible year overall. But it’s actually been a great year for books. I’ve read so many amazing new releases, and there are about a hundred more that I still want to get to. Since I’m probably going to spend the remainder of the year trying to conquer Mount TBR and get ahead on some of my 2018 ARCs, I think it’s pretty safe to say I’m done with 2017 releases for the year (don’t worry, I’ll read plenty of them next year) and I can share my favorites with you! Here are my favorite 2017 releases, in the order that I read them:
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. I am a HUGE fan of Neil Gaiman – and Norse mythology – so I was ridiculously excited about this book. And it completely lived up to my expectations. I had so much fun reading it, and learned a lot about Norse figures I was unfamiliar with.
A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab. Not only is this a brilliant novel, it is a perfect conclusion to an equally brilliant series. I was so worried I would be disappointed because I liked the first two books so much, but this one didn’t disappoint at all. Plus, it allowed me to meet V. E. Schwab, so it’s extra special for me.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. This book was an unexpected favorite. I hadn’t read anything by Mohsin Hamid previously, and I can’t even remember why I picked this up. But I’m glad I did. This book is though-provoking and moving, and I am still thinking about it months later.
If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio. I was a bit disappointed when I read The Secret History last year, because I just didn’t enjoy it as much as everyone else seems to. But this book was EXACTLY what I wanted from TSH and more. It is engrossing, thrilling, and incredibly interesting. I always love a good campus novel, and M. L. Rio went even further into nerd territory by incorporating Shakespeare and I loved it.
The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova. Elizabeth Kostova has been one of my favorite writers for probably around ten years. I always love her work, and was so excited to see that she was finally releasing a new book this year. And it was completely worth the wait. This is a perfect blend of contemporary mystery and historical fiction, and reminded me exactly why I love Kostova’s books so much.
Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession by Alison Weir. Alison Weir is another author I loved ten or so years ago and hadn’t read in a while. Fortunately, Random House contacted me about her new fiction series about Henry VIII’s wives, and I was instantly hooked. So much so that I read not one but THREE Weir books this year, and I plan on reading more next year. They’re amazing.
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Here’s another unexpected favorite. I had previously read Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time (of which I remember very little), and wanted to learn more about astrophysics. Actually, I should say, I wanted to understand more about astrophysics. Because I am definitely not an astrophysicist. This was the perfect book. It was more approachable, funny, and completely understandable even for non-scientists.
Lost Boy by Christina Henry. Warning: do not read this before reading Peter Pan. Or if you adore the classic children’s book (or Disney movie). Because it will ruin Peter for you. In the best way possible. This book is brilliant and dark and so fun, and makes you look at J. M. Barrie’s classic in an entirely different way. You’ll never be able to look at it the same way again. Henry is brilliant.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. This is one of the few books I’ve read that I think is 100% worthy of the hype. I loved this book so much, probably because it’s abundantly clear that Mackenzi Lee is a huge history nerd. I loved how detailed and diverse this book was. It was funny and fun and the romance was completely adorable. If you haven’t read it, you need to. Trust me.
Hunger by Roxane Gay. I’ve read quite a few memoirs this year, and this one is at the top of the list. It is a heartbreaking and compelling story about Roxane Gay’s relationship with her body, and how that has affected the other relationships in her life. It’s something I related to strongly, and I am amazed by the courage it took for her to put this out in the world. I highly recommend this one!
Sourdough by Robin Sloan. Of all the books on this list, I’d say this book is probably the least popular. Its definitely not something everyone will enjoy. It’s an urban fantasy (kind of) about both technology and bread, and it’s amazing. Fair warning, you may want to buy yourself a loaf (or two) of sourdough bread before reading. Because if you’re anything like me, you will crave bread for weeks after reading this.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I first encountered Celeste Ng when I read her book Everything I Never Told You earlier this year. I love how she subtly explores the nuances of family tragedy, and was really excited to read this novel. It didn’t disappoint, though I honestly couldn’t tell you which of her books I like most.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I put off reading this book for months, because I was afraid of the hype. But you were all right, this book is incredible. I loved Thomas’s writing, her characters, and her story, which was told beautifully. It’s a truly fantastic novel, and it makes me so happy to think that books like this one are being read by young people today.
What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton. I was extremely skeptical going into this book, which is Clinton’s memoir of what happened leading up to the 2016 election. It’s entirely possible I liked it so much because my expectations were low, but, either way, I ended up loving this book. I looked forward to reading it every day, and learned so much not only about the 2016 election, but about how our government (and the election process) works. I think it gave me a better perspective on what actually happened, and I just really enjoyed reading it.
An American Family by Khizr Khan. This list wouldn’t be complete without this book, which is another one of my favorite memoirs this year. It is so inspiring and incredibly well-written, and I loved every minute of reading it. I think it’s going to stay with me for a long time, and I look forward to reading it again.
Phew! That was a lot of books! But, like I said, 2017 was a truly great year for books, and I just couldn’t cut any of the ones on this list. I highly recommend all of them, and I think there’s enough variety that you can all find something you’re interested in.
What was your favorite new release this year?