Best of 2017

Man am I ever so glad to see the back of 2017. Could be the fact that my husband accepted a job offer and we moved across the state all within the span of a month. And that we sandwiched said move right between the holidays. Ugh. Don't do that to yourselves, friends.

But there has also been a lot of really, really good and surprisingly exceptional things that happened in 2017. I started editing for another publisher and have been enjoying a steady increase in my freelance business too. Dreams do come true! And there were some pretty wondrous books that came my way. This year I read 176 books -- 12 audio, 91 ebooks, and 73 in print. Some of these were published prior to 2017, but I'm still counting them because I'm a rebel like that.

Best Fantasy
A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
This book lived up to every expectation V.E. Schwab set in the previous books and then some. Her character arcs were heartbreaking and beautiful and maybe I cried for like the last 30 pages of the book. Maybe. I wanted to get lost in the gorgeous words and luxuriate in the descriptions. Schwab is a master at her craft and I so loved every single moment I spent with Kell, Lila, Holland, Rhy, and Alucard in the four Londons.

Best Feminist Manifesto
Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
I read a lot of feminist stuff this year. A lot. But it's like, once you know this stuff is out there, you can't stop seeing it ... or wanting to know more, in my case. This though-provoking YA tackles the ever-present sexism and abuse girls face every single day. Moxie does a fabulous job at reminding the reader just how terribly hard it is to grow up female. I want Moxie to become required reading -- and I hope it inspires girls to stand up for each other.

Best All The Feels Romance
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
This is one of those books that have been recommended to me over and over again but I never felt like I was in the right place to enjoy it. I'm so glad I waited until this year because I think I was at the perfect place to appreciate the story. I actually began listening to it and really fell in love with the dual narrators. Ms. Niffenegger masterfully made both Claire and Henry's voices come alive as they shared the impossible and the utterly mundane. This book was so viscerally real to me, I actually took over a month to finish it because I just had to savor the words and digest them.

Best Doorstop Fantasy
Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
This book is HUGE, like over 1,000 pages huge, and everyone who actually finishes it should get an prize. But Brandon Sanderson needed every single one of those pages to fully embrace and explore his many, many characters on their incredible journeys. This series does such a phenomenal job of fully capturing the nuances of good and evil. It's like he's taken a lens to each character when their back is to the wall, simply to find out, what will they do now? Riveting stuff.

Best Beauty and the Beast Retelling
Hunted by Megan Spooner
This category is kind of a cop-out because Hunted is so much more than a retelling. It's a gorgeously penned story of a fierce female huntress with an incredible weight on her shoulders. The setting becomes almost a character in and of itself and yes, there is a truly epic love story. It's one of those books where I caught myself physically petting the pages because of all the beautiful words.

Best Middle Grade
The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
Uniquely beautiful story about a girl who struggles to find herself in the perilous struggle of middle school while dealing with loss and grief in her own way. Weighty and unexpectedly lovely, I cannot recommend this one enough.

Best #LoveOzYA
Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
Gorgeously written with one of the best ideas for a bookshop. Can someone please make this place real? Cath Crowley is an amazingly talented writer and I could not get this story out of my head for weeks. She made the pulse of the ocean and the profound serenity to be found in books come alive. Such beautiful words.

Best Horrifyingly Elegant Mystery
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Another 'classic' book that I finally got around to reading this year. Twisty, elegant, and utterly horrifying plotting by Donna Tartt. She takes this group of misfit Classics students and turns them into a sinister and underhanded lot. Richard is a fabulous unreliable narrator and there were so many moments of dawning horror when I realized just how terrible every single character truly was (even their so-called 'authority figure'). But above all is Ms. Tartt's unmistakable genius.

Best Didn't-Read-as-a-Serial Serial

Clean SweepSweep in PeaceOne Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews
So I technically read Clean Sweep as a serial on Ilona Andrews' blog when it was first being released, but serials and I don't really get along and I so waited patiently for the rest to come out before binge reading. It'd probably be a surprise if an Ilona Andrews book didn't make my best of list. The storytelling is magnificent and Dina and her inn, Gertrude Hunt, are amazing protectors of all things family and loyalty.

Honorable Mention

Best Twisty YA
Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert
I discovered this gem randomly clicking through the archives of Forever Young Adult and it more than delivered. From the multi-layered meaning of the title, this books screws with your head in the way only truly talented authors can manage. Braden, Trey, and their dad, Mart, are all such carefully drawn characters in a story that unfolds in a terrifyingly real and heartbreaking way.

So that's it for me. What books made your Best Of lists?

See Michelle Read's Best Of 2016 2015 2014 2012 2011 2010