The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker (★★★★☆½)
This super original novel — Walker’s sophomore follow up to The Age of Miracles — explores a mysterious illness that quickly infects residents of an allegedly cursed college town in California, trapping the infected in a perpetual state of sleep. With a premise that’s as intriguing as her first novel (if you’re not in the know, it’s set in a world where the earth’s rotation begins to gradually slow down), it’s no surprise that I was immediately hooked. Pick up The Dreamers for the unique story, stay for the beautiful prose.
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson (★★★★☆½)
True crime enthusiast Stevie is determined to solve the decades-old murder and kidnapping at the prestigious Ellingham Academy boarding school. With a story that alternates between the present day and the events of 1936, when Albert Ellingham’s wife and daughter were kidnapped, Johnson’s new series is a fun-page turner full of a lovable cast of weirdos and several intriguing mysteries to solve. The only downside? The book ends on a major cliffhanger that will leave you wanting so much more.
My Boyfriend is a Bear by Pamela Robin (★★★★☆)
Much like Hot Tub Time Machine, you know exactly what you’re getting with this graphic novel. Starring a cutesy girl named Nora who happens to be dating a bear, My Boyfriend is a Bear is a surprisingly adorable story with even more adorable artwork from artist Cat Farris. A little weird at times (for obvious bear on human reasons), this graphic novel may be a metaphor for prejudices and the way that opposites attract … but also might not be a metaphor at all? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Scream All Night by Derek Milman (★★★★☆½)
On the outside, Scream All Night looks like a horror novel, but twist: it’s actually a coming of age story. The YA debut follows emancipated teen Dario, who is forced back into the family business (which just so happens to be his father’s B-horror movie film studio). Full of an eccentric cast of characters and some tough subject matter, Milman’s novel explores what happens when the monsters are found behind the camera. [Read our creator Q&A with author Derek Milman.]
Nyxia by Scott Reintgen (★★★★★)
I loved this super fast-paced science fiction story more than I ever could have imagined. Full of complex characters and shocking twists and turns, Nyxia features a definitely evil corporation who are taking young people to another planet to mine a mysterious material know as Nyxia. What could go wrong? Since this is the first book in the series, it’s focused solely on the kid’s training before arriving on Eden, a second earth-like planet inhabited by humanoid creatures known as Adamites.
The Traitor’s Kiss by Erin Beaty (★★★☆☆½)
The Traitor’s Kiss started off super promising, but unfortunately, things got real dumb real fast, and the story completely lost me toward the end. Set during an indistinguishable time period where everyone has to be paired by a matchmaker, this book definitely should have been a standalone novel. While things start off great with the matchmaking stuff, this far superior/way more interesting section was mostly glossed over to make way for a time jump and some nonsensical plot about spies and secret princes for no reason.
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.
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert (★★★★★)
A dark horror fantasy, Albert’s debut novel is about a fairy tale author turned cult phenomenon, and her granddaughter Alice, who has been raised as far away from everything to do with Althea Proserpine and the Tales from the Hinterland as possible. That is until her mother is kidnapped and she’s forced to learn the horrible truth of her past. From the dark fairy stories within the book, to a trip to a magical land and a journey of self-discovery, The Hazel Wood is three amazing tales all rolled up in one.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix (★★★★☆½)
Both funny and horrifying, Grady Hendrix’s re-released novel is one giant walk down nostalgia lane, but with 100% more demonic possession. Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since a disastrous roller rink party, that is until Gretchen goes missing one night and returns possessed by a demon. With everyone else snowed by Demon Gretchen, it is up to Abby to save her bestie with the power of friendship.
Deep Dark Fears and The Creeps by Fran Krause (★★★★☆)
The Deep Dark Fears collection is a humorous look at humanity’s strangest and darkest fears. A webcomic turned into two collected editions, Deep Dark Fears and The Creeps are unique looks at strangers’ most horrifying and baseless fears, submitted through Tumblr and illustrated by Krause himself. Get ready to feel slightly less crazy!
Like to judge books by their covers?
Say hello to Bookstagram — alternatively referred to as Instabook — a hashtag-based portion of Instagram where bibliophiles show off their current reads, favorite tomes and book hauls.
While I take far fewer pictures in the latter half of the year (because damn, sunlight is hard to come buy), keep going for the Bookstagram snaps I took in September and October.