Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig (★★★★☆½)
Part memoir, part self-help(ish) book, part something else entirely, Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive seeks to remove the stigma society places on depression, by revealing the author’s own struggles with the disease, as well as peppering the book with facts and statistics on depression and suicide. Super personal and very raw, I see this as a sort of companion to Notes on a Nervous Planet, which is structured in a very similar manner. Warning: this one is not nearly as light-hearted, but equally helpful.
Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage (★★★☆☆½)
Baby Teeth stars a pint-sized sociopath with designs to kill her mother, the mother herself, and the father who is completely oblivious to his wife and daughter’s true selves. You know, totally normal family dynamic type stuff. The story is made up of alternating chapters that switch between the crazed daughter who is too smart/demonic to be believable, and her mother, who is convinced she will never be a good enough wife and mother. While a super interesting premise — mostly because the kid is not alright — the plot definitely drags at times.
Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood (★★★★★)
Rust & Stardust is based on the 1948 kidnapping of 11-year-old Florence “Sally” Horner, a crime that would go on to inspire the Vladimir Nabokov classic Lolita. Despite being pulled straight from history, Greenwood’s novel is less a true crime story and more historical fiction, exploring the horrors that Sally was most likely forced to endure during her 21-month ordeal, and the ramifications it had on the people in her life. This heartbreaking and beautifully written novel deserves every single star (and then some).
Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson (★★★★★)
Beautifully illustrated by Emily Carroll, this graphic novel adaptation of Speak re-imagines the classic novel for a new generation, complete with modern technology. Perfect for fans of the original, or someone who has yet to read the prose version, Anderson’s young adult story about finding your voice is even more prevalent for those growing up in the midst of the Time’s Up and Me Too movements.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (★★★☆☆½)
Sadly, Exit West was not what I anticipated. I was super excited to read about magical doors that take their users to far away places (the main reasons I picked up this novel), but was disappointed when the doors did not go to other dimensions. But mostly, I just found the overly extended sentences to be tiresome.
Glitter by Aprilynne Pike (★★★★☆)
Despite having a somewhat unlikable heroine who makes the worst decisions imaginable, Glitter is still an exciting ride that combines the decadence and fashion of Marie Antoinette’s court with fun, futuristic technology. Does this combo make any sense? Not really. Is it still an enjoyable and fast-paced read regardless? Absolutely.
Love looking at book covers as much as you love reading books?
Allow me to introduce you to Bookstagram (AKA InstaBook), the hashtag-based portion of Instagram where bibliophiles show off their books.
You can check out my very minimal contributions to the world of Bookstagram below.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (★★★★☆½)
My first read of 2018 took me by surprise, mostly because I had no idea it was a murder mystery. Thankfully, I wanted to watch the HBO series and I’m a read it first kind of girl. Due in large part to the suspenseful nature of the novel (who done it and who!?!) I flew threw this Australian contemporary drama. Read: Pretty Little Liars for adults.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (★★★★★)
A dark fantasy set in the world of faerie, The Cruel Prince hits the ground running with a brutal double murder. What follows is a tale of revenge, beautiful dresses, crosses and double crosses, courtly drama, cruel faeries, even more murder, and magic, proving that this novel is deserving of all the online hype. Could it be Holly Black’s best faerie story yet? Damn straight it is!
Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire (★★★★★)
I could read 8,000 more books set in the worlds (plural) of Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series, which takes place at a boarding school for children forever changed after their adventures in other dimensions. The first two books are amazing in their own right, but Beneath the Sugar Sky is my favorite due to its multiple settings, including an underworld inhabited by the dead and a land made entirely of sugary treats. A candy land if you will.
2017 may have ended over two weeks ago, but due to a prolonged (and continuing) fight with a never-ending cold, I didn’t get around to wrapping up my new favorites and biggest disappointments of the year … until now.
In 2017 — the year of the dumpster fire, not to be confused with the original year of the dumpster fire: 2016 — I completed all five of my reading challenges and accomplished my goal of starting and finishing 100 books.
Keep scrolling to check out the best and worst books I read in 2017, or head to GoodReads to see a visual list of all the books (the good, the bad and the in-between) I read last year.