Book Reviews · Reading

The best books of 2017

I read SO MANY BOOKS this year, and most of them were amazing. Whittling my top reads down to five involved nail-biting, gin and tears. BUT I HAVE DONE IT. Here’s my fav books of 2017:

#1 THE EXPLORER by Katherine Rundell

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From Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winner Katherine Rundell comes an exciting new novel about a group of kids who must survive in the Amazon after their plane crashes.

Fred, Con, Lila, and Max are on their way back to England from Manaus when the plane they’re on crashes and the pilot dies upon landing. For days they survive alone, until Fred finds a map that leads them to a ruined city, and to a secret.

I would give this a billion stars if I could. It’s lushly imagined, beautifully written–an adventure that’ll make your heart sing. This is a classic in the making. Spectacular. The best book I’ve read this year.

#2 WHO LET THE GODS OUT? by Maz Evans

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Elliot’s mum is ill and his home is under threat, but a shooting star crashes to earth and changes his life forever. The star is Virgo – a young Zodiac goddess on a mission. But the pair accidentally release Thanatos, a wicked death daemon imprisoned beneath Stonehenge, and must then turn to the old Olympian gods for help. After centuries of cushy retirement on earth, are Zeus and his crew up to the task of saving the world – and solving Elliot’s problems too?

Puntastic, whip smart and snort-in-your tea funny, WLTGO is the epitome of sparkingly good MG. I loved it, I devoured its sequel, and I can’t wait for the third in 2018.

#3 THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas

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Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

If this book’s not on EVERY ‘best of’ end of year list, I’ll be very surprised. This is probably the most powerful book I’ve read all year. Hard-hitting, heart-wrenching and with Harry Potter references, if you haven’t read THUG yet, they what are you doing with your life???

#4 THE LIE TREE by Frances Hardinge

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Faith Sunderly leads a double life. To most people, she is reliable, dull, trustworthy – a proper young lady who knows her place as inferior to men. But inside, Faith is full of questions and curiosity, and she cannot resist mysteries: an unattended envelope, an unlocked door. She knows secrets no one suspects her of knowing. She knows that her family moved to the close-knit island of Vane because her famous scientist father was fleeing a reputation-destroying scandal. And she knows, when her father is discovered dead shortly thereafter, that he was murdered.

In pursuit of justice and revenge, Faith hunts through her father’s possessions and discovers a strange tree. The tree bears fruit only when she whispers a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, delivers a hidden truth. The tree might hold the key to her father’s murder – or it may lure the murderer directly to Faith herself.

Startlingly creepy, in the best possible way. This was my first Frances Hardinge book, and I ADORED IT. If you like lyrical mysteries with magic, this is the book for you.

#5 SPELLBOOK OF THE LOST AND FOUND by Moira Fowley-Doyle

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One stormy summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hair clips and jewellery, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something bigger; something she won’t talk about.

Then Olive meets three wild, mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel and Rowan. Like Rose, they’re mourning losses – and holding tight to secrets.

When they discover the ancient spellbook, full of hand-inked charms to conjure back lost things, they realise it might be their chance to set everything right. Unless it’s leading them towards secrets that were never meant to be found . . .

This book absolutely blew me away. It was witch-y and feminist and mysterious, and at its core was the importance of friendship. It captivated me from start to finish, the magical realism was exquisitely done and I also love the diverse cast of characters. This is one of those books that hits you straight in the heart–I have a feeling I’ll be thinking about this story for a very long time.

 

So those are my favourite books of the year! What are yours? Let me know in the comments below!

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