The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager (★★★★☆½)
The suspenseful follow-up to Final Girls tells the story of Emma, another survivor of trauma (Sager’s forte). 15 years after the disappearance of her Camp Nightingale cabin mates, Emma returns to the hoity-toity summer camp to learn what happened to Vivian, Natalie, and Allison all those years ago. Perfect for fans of psychological thrillers, Sager’s latest novel will keep you guessing (and screaming) until the very last page. Adapt this for the big screen, please and thanks.
I Am Not Your Final Girl by Claire C. Holland (★★★★☆)
This debut collection from Claire C. Holland combines two of my favorite things: feminist poetry and fictional final girls. Written in response to the 2016 election and the #MeToo movement (among other unfathomable goings on in the world), Holland’s poems explore the perspective of 40 female horror film survivors throughout the decades. Deeply unapologetic, this debut collection is a fitting tribute to final girls and the society that shapes them.
You by Caroline Kepnes (★★★★★)
Kepnes’ debut thriller is an incredibly disturbing novel about obsession in the social media age, including the unhealthy fixation we have with curating our own online personas. Full disclosure, I should not have enjoyed this dark and deranged novel told in the second person as much as I did. And I especially should not have been rooting for the charming, literary loving stalker/kidnapper/murderer the entire time. But here we are. Insert Sorry Not Sorry joke here.
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 Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell (★★★★★)
The Disaster Artist is the unbelievably true story behind the making of The Room, the so-called worst movie ever made. Written by actor Greg Sestero — who plays The Room‘s Mark — the novel details his tumultuous friendship with the man, the myth, the enigma: Tommy Wiseau. With on-set tales that range from hilarious, to baffling, to downright awkward, this is a must-read for anyone who has ever seen the cult phenomenon that is The Room.
The Walking Dead Vol. 29: Lines We Cross by Robert Kirkman (★★★★☆)
An uneven and pretty slow arc, the 29th volume of The Walking Dead comic suffers slightly from a few snoretastic issues. Thankfully, a brand-new character named the Princess arrives to shake things up. To make matters better, the entire collection ends with a huge emotional bang 74 issues and five years in the making. Promise.
The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand (★★★★☆)
Sometimes you just need a dumb, mindless read, and The Afterlife of Holly Chase is exactly that. This young adult tale inspired by Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol follows former socialite and failed Scrooge Holly Chase, a ghost who is now being punished for her sins in life by the workers at Project Scrooge, who force her to become the Ghost of Christmas Past. Nonsensical and predictable, I had so much fun reading this stupid book.
The Grownup by Gillian Flynn (★★★★☆½)
I can understand why people feel lukewarm toward The Grownup. Aside from the ridiculous price point, we were promised a ghost story and we weren’t given a ghost story — not exactly. Instead, what we got was a well-written psychological story with one hell of a twist. And I for one can’t really complain about that.
Penpal by Dathan Auerbach (★★★☆☆)
This creepypasta turned novel could have been great. Unfortunately, a non-linear narrative, way too many descriptive elements and all the filler made what could have been a superbly creepy horror story way less creepy. While I ultimately liked it and some of its chilling turns, Penpal has plenty of falts. Still curious? Read the shorter online version — which makes way more sense structurally — instead.
A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay (★★★★☆½)
In this modern day exorcism story, a teenage girl and her family become the subjects of a reality television show called The Possession. Named for a Bad Religion song, and partially inspired by The Yellow Wallpaper — with a dash of We Have Always Lived in the Castle thrown in — A Head Full of Ghosts will leave you with more questions than answers.Read More »