When coming up with posts, I try to think about the things that I most enjoy reading on other peoples' blogs. By far and away, it's their "best of" lists. I don't care if it's a best of the year, best YA, best Sci Fi, etc... I'm interested.
Here are my my favorite books that I read in 2016! These were not necessarily published in 2016, but they are ones that I came across.
Disclaimer. Admittedly, I am a gentle reviewer. I enjoy a good story with strong characters and the occasional attention grabbing non fiction. My Goodreads average rating is a congenial 4.16. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, but there are books that I like, and then there are books that I want to buy for my bookshelf and come back to again. This is that list.
The One That Makes You Think:
The Humans | Matt Haig | Goodreads
The cover of The Humans says that "body snatching has never been this heartwarming", and I couldn't agree more. The premise is certainly unique: an alien gets sent to Earth and inhabits the body of Andrew Martin. Dr. Martin is a professor who has just solved a previously unsolvable math problem...one that will have catastrophic consequences if the information gets out. The alien is sent to Earth to take over Professor Martin's life and stop the solution from becoming public. The story was told from the first person and was so interesting to hear an alien describe the way that us Earthlings think, act, look, and dress. My favorite relationship in this book was between the alien and the dog! After reading this, you'll never look at your dog the same. That and the list he makes for his son are what made me identify this as the book that made me think. I listened to this on audiobook, and I think it made my experience even better. This one is a must buy for my bookshelf!
The 'How Haven't You Read This One Yet?!'
Valley of the Dolls | Jacqueline Susann | Goodreads
I think of all of the books that I read that were released in 2016, this one was my favorite. It introduces a tough subject... like really tough. Underage love tough. But the story of Wavy and Kellen isn't your normal boy meets girl story and the author's writing tells this story in a beautiful way. It's definitely worth reading. it sticks with you! Full review here.
The Likable Villain:
You | Caroline Kepnes | Goodreads
You has been talked about all over the place, with good reason. You introduces us to Joe Goldberg. He's many things: sarcastic, witty, intelligent, a bookseller, stalker, possible murderer, and absolutely unforgettable. Bonus for those of us who wanted more- You is a series! Hidden Bodies came out in 2016. It took a bit of a different direction than You, but Joe remains the same. I recommend them both.
The Best YA:
How It Went Down | Kekla Magoon | Goodreads
Before the Fall has a fantastic premise- a unlikely passenger on a private plane and a billionaire's son are the only two to survive a plane crash. Not a spoiler- this all happens within the first few chapters. This was written by Noah Hawley, who is probably best known for his work as a screenwriter and producer. Therefore, this book has a lot of action, but what I liked most was getting to know the main character and learning about the events that lead up to the crash. Happy to say that this one was worth the hype it received!
The Most Overhyped:
The Girls | Emma Cline | Goodreads
If you like fast paced action and historical crime fiction... then this one might not be for you. The Girls had a lot of hype and a lot of promise- it's a debut and author was paid a $2 million advance for this as a part of a 3 book deal- but I think it relied far too heavily on its loose association with the Manson cult. I'm a true crime junkie and I love psychological thrillers, but this was way too slow for me. The beginning had promise and I enjoyed getting to hear about how Evie was introduced to the cult leader and his girls, but the sentences were drawn out and overdone. I could have done without all of the compound sentences: "how impotent my anger was, a surge with no place to land, and how familiar that was: my feelings strangled inside me, like little half-formed children, bitter and bristling". It's a cool book cover though. Full review here.
What were the best books you read in 2016?