Hello friends and fellow book lovers! This is a rather late and rushed post, but better later than never. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do a top 5 books I read in 2017 but I know it’s one of the more popular posts. Why not give a try and narrow down my top 5 favorite books of the year?
5. You Bring the Distant Near
The first book to make my list is You Bring in the Distant Near. Even though I read this book in November, it immediately jumped to the top of my list. Not only is the book incredibly diverse, but features Indian-American main characters and features those who value the old way of life and the new American way.
This book was so much more than that, though. It was a book about family, about falling in love, about being a feminist, about friendship and what makes someone an American. This book floored me and surprised me by sneaking into my top books of the year.
I can’t wait to see what Mitali Perkins does next. This book was such a delight and I couldn’t stop talking about it for days at work.
4. All-American Boys
How did I not know about this book before? All-American Boys was everything I needed after reading The Hate U Give. I know it was published before, but I read it a little later. Despite that, the dual authorship of Jason Reynolds and Brandon Kiely was brilliant.
The two told a complex and complicated story from two different perspectives who eventually came together. I could go on and on about the writing style, but what I loved most was the character development. Both Rashad and Quinn grew throughout the novel and started to see things from different perspective, but came together at the end.
What made All-American Boys stand out among other was how raw it was. I cried multiple times while reading this novel and I could feel the tension from the pages. It was such a lovely and necessary story. Plus, it started my love affair with Jason Reynolds so there’s that, too.
3. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
This was a book I’ve been hearing a little bit of buzz about. When I picked up I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, I truly fell in love with the story. Erika L. Sanchez completely blew me away and I can’t believe this is her first YA novel.
Sanchez somehow managed to include a lot of different genres here. The book was a mystery, a mental health novel, a novel about Mexican culture, a thriller and a contemporary all rolled into one. What I truly fell in love with was the character of Julia. She was not the perfect Mexican daughter, but she learned a lot about herself throughout the novel.
It was heartwarming, watching her mature and change. What took this book over the edge was the family relationships. While the story revolved about Julia, her family played a huge role in it even her sister, Olga. It stressed the importance of family, how not everything has to be perfect and love is all that truly matters.
2. The Smell of Other People’s Houses
I heard The Smell of Other People’s Houses during a YouTube video and they mentioned it was set in Alaska. I knew I had to get it for my cruise and it was an amazing idea. Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock wrote a beautiful, compelling and amazing story about Alaska and the people who live there or end up there.
This book was so much more than Alaska, though. While the book did talk a lot about Alaska and some of it was set there, the book was all about the characters. Somehow, she was able to weave an intricate web and make each character important. It felt like the story had an endless supply of main characters.
I truly fell in love with all the characters and became invested in what happened to them. In addition, the writing style was gorgeous. She didn’t just talk about characters, though. She spoke about the history of Alaska becoming a state and Alaskan natives. I will sing this book’s praises forever and recommend it to everyone.
If you have the chance to travel to Alaska too, you’ll see how beautiful it is and see why Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock wrote a love letter to it. I’m rambling now, but please do yourself a favor and read this.
1. The Hate U Give and Dear Martin
Some people might consider this cheating but I consider it sharing. There’s no way I could have picked between The Hate U Give and Dear Martin for my favorite book of the year. They shared similar concepts but executed them differently. At the end of each story, the mission of Black Lives Matter was still there and all the work that still has to be done to end police brutality.
Let’s start off with The Hate U Give. This book was what first got me back into reading and I can’t thank Angie Thomas enough. I’m not sure I’d either have this blog if I didn’t read this book. I’ll try not to get too sappy but we’ll see!
There are so many things to love about THUG. From the message, the raw realness and frank honesty Thomas shared, it was everything. In addition, Thomas wrote compelling characters like Starr and Khalil. I especially loved the family dynamic in the Carter family as you could tell they truly loved each other.
I enjoyed the romance in the story, the references and even, the twists had me shocked. I could go on and on about this book and how wonderful it is. Chances are you already know that though so I’ll stop before I get going. If you haven’t read The Hate U Give, you must and if you have, then you must read it again. It’s easily the important YA book published in 2017.
Concluding my list is Dear Martin by Nic Stone. Similar to THUG, the message was clear but here it was told from a male perspective. Seeing Justyce deal with racism and classism in the novel felt incredibly real. Even though I’ve never experienced it, my boyfriend has shared stories in being Jus’s shoes.
Dear Martin also included a callback to the civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr. It was such an awesome choice and truly set it apart from others. We see Justyce wrestle with a lot of things including racism, police brutality, relationships, and friendships. It was such a realistic read and felt incredibly fresh even though it was a similar concept.
These books both did one thing incredibly well. They both packed such a huge emotional punch and I can remember crying multiple times at both. Both Thomas and Stone know how to make you feel and want to make a change. I can’t say enough about how much I love both these books and both these authors.
There’s no way I could have chosen between them for my favorite books of the year. The Hate U Give and Dear Martin share the top spot as my top read of 2017!
Before I go, I’d like to include some honorable mentions: Piecing Me Together, Wing Jones, Monster, The Names They Gave Us, When Dimple Met Rishi and Tiger Lily
What were your top 5 books of 2017? Do we have any in common or any recommendations for 2018 reads? I’d love to discuss in the comments. 😀