Way back in 2014, when I was a small and slightly dumb blogger I thought I’d be funny and do a top 14 books for 2014 (get it?), instead of a top 10. I decided to carry on the tradition throughout the next several years, although as the year number gets larger, I start to regret it more and more.
However, we’re still going, and today I’d like to present my top 16 favorite reads for 2016! I’m not going to lie, I did struggle to come up with 16 books, but a very nice list emerged! The books will be listed in decreasing order, leading up to my #1 book of the year.
16. JUST A FEW INCHES BY TARA ST. PIERRE
This was a book sent to me for review by the author, and it took me by so much surprise. I went into the book not expecting to be impacted as much as I was, and I certainly didn’t expect to be shedding a few tears by the end. It’s a fantastic coming of age novel that deals with self-esteem issues and how our world treats young women today.
15. INK AND BONE BY RACHEL CAINE
I picked this book up on a whim because I believe I saw it in a BookTube video, and the gorgeous cover. Not only does Ink and Bone feature a wonderfully diverse and interesting cast of characters, but it immediately sucked me into the magical world where words and books are precious, banned items. In a society where the Great Library rules the world, what are book smugglers going to do? Plus, I’m a sucker for boarding school-esque books. This is the perfect book for any book geek like ourselves.
14. STARS ABOVE BY MARISSA MEYER
Normally, I’m not the biggest novella fan. I find them a little cheap, and a ploy for more money. However, I could not resist picking up Stars Above by Marissa Meyer considering my huge Lunar Chronicles kick last year. Not surprising, I loved it and all of the stories it told. I really appreciated the fact that the novella spent time exploring before, during, and after the main series was set. Plus, who isn’t a fan of weddings? (So not telling you who got married).
13. SHUFFLE, REPEAT BY JEN KLEIN
This book was certainly a surprise to me. I stumbled across this on my e-reader, and even though I’d never heard of it before that, I read it. Shuffle, Repeat must have been the exact book I needed at the time I read it, because I adored it (being not the biggest fan of contemporary), and it sparked my urge to read again. It also reminded me of my friend who used to drive me to school every morning until he went off to college, so I’m being a bit of a sentimental sap for this one.
12. THE ROSE & THE DAGGER BY RENEE AHDIEH
I loved these books. The Rose & The Dagger didn’t impact me nearly as much as the first book (which we’ll get to), but this book was still so so so good. I adore all of the characters in this series, the romance is perfect, and the writing style is so captivating. Plus, 2016 was the year where re-tellings seemed to get all the rage, and this series is such an amazing re-telling of A Thousand And One Nights.
11. THE GRAY WOLF THRONE BY CINDA WILLIAMS CHIMA
The Gray Wolf Throne is the third book in the Seven Realms series, aka the books I fell in love with this year. As I like to think, it’s also the book where everything goes to crap. Oddly enough, it was extremely satisfying. The big reveal that I had been waiting for all series finally happened in this book, and my heart could not handle this book as a whole. You all might know how much I live for political/court drama books, and this one is full of it. Still team Haisa (Rain? Han plus Raisa…) forever.
10. SALT TO THE SEA BY RUTA SEPETYS
In 2016, I discovered the wonder that is Ruta Sepetys’ books, and her newest release is marking the beginning of the top 10. Salt to the Sea is an absolutely heart-wrenching book about another not well known disaster/historical event. It follows the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff. I adored it to pieces, and loved how it truly was a character driven story, and yet not a love story like another famous sinking (yep, Titanic! Although I love that movie). It also featured a character with a mental disease, which is extremely rare in YA stories where it isn’t the focus.
9. THE WRATH & THE DAWN BY RENEE AHDIEH
I’d told we come back to this one! The Wrath & The Dawn is the main re-telling of A Thousand And One Nights, and while I was only vaguely aware of the original story, I highly enjoyed Ahdieh’s take on it. Shahrzad will always be one of my favorite protagonists, because she’s so brave and kickass. This book is gorgeous, and it’s definitely one that I think everyone should read. Although, it will probably break your heart into a million little pieces just like mine.
8. THE DEMON KING BY CINDA WILLIAMS CHIMA
Now is where the first book in the Seven Realms series comes into play. Obviously, one of my new favorite series had to start somewhere, and The Demon King is probably one of the best set up books I’ve ever read. By itself, it was a fantastic book. Yet it also set up the obvious lead in for the overall series plot, which allowed for the middle books not to drag or feel useless. I also thoroughly enjoyed the fact that this world is so well flesh out, yet not too complicated. Also, Han Alister = New Book Boyfriend so….
7. A COURT OF MIST AND FURY BY SARAH J. MAAS
The only Maas book to grace the list this year… ACOMAF. No worries, it definitely deserves to be on the list. Not only did ACOMAF hugely improve on ACOTAR, but it also allowed the amazing Rhysand to grace our pages. But in all reality, Rhysand was not the only good part of the book. There were so many fantastic plot twists, great new characters, and well needed development on old characters. I may not be continuing with Throne of Glass, but I will most definitely be picking up A Court of Wings and Ruins when it’s released.
6. LADY MIDNIGHT BY CASSANDRA CLARE
I am a Cassie Clare groupie and not ashamed of it. I never want her to stop writing Shadowhunter books as long as she’s producing fantastic material such as Lady Midnight. I was not reading (or probably old enough) when City of Bones or Clockwork Angel were released, so it’s been so much fun being a part of the fandom when a new main series is staring. The first TDA book was so good, and I absolutely can not wait for Lord of Shadows. I adored all the characters (especially the kiddos) and I think all the drama with the Mark/Emma/Julian mess is going to be fantastic to read. Plus, more Tessa!
5. SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA BY BECKY ALBERTALLI
I didn’t end up reading a whole lot of contemporary this year, and the ones that I did end up reading weren’t typically my favories. However, bringing in the top five this year is the one and only Simon! This book was everything I could want in a contemporary novel. It was SO cute, had Harry Potter references, drama, a love for oreos, LGBTQ themes, and adorable family bonds. If you’ve yet to read Simon, go. Like go to the bookstore right now and read it because you won’t regret it.
4. THE CRIMSON CROWN BY CINDA WILLIAMS CHIMA
You all probably knew this was coming at some point. I raved about this series for nearly a month and a half on this blog, so obviously the finale is near the top of the list. Why obviously? Because it was fantastic. I was legitimately in silent tears for the majority of the novel. I am so darn attached to the characters in this series, and I was sad to have finished them, but it was also such a satisfying ending to an awesome series. I’ll just repeat myself once again, go read this series, especially if you love character driven fantasy novels. I just loved this book so much.
3. BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY BY RUTA SEPETYS
This book is without a doubt, one of the best books I’ve read not only this year, but ever. The story and message has such a powerful impact on the reader. You just fall in love with the characters, and you can feel all the pain and suffering they have to endure right along with them. It follows the deportation of Lithuanians over a large amount of time, and I’ve never read anything like it. Sepetys has a true talent for writing well researched historical fiction books based on events that typically aren’t covered. I’m sure you’ve read plenty of WWI and WWII books, but have you ever read anything like this?
2. CROOKED KINGDOM BY LEIGH BARDUGO
Oh my goodness. This book exceeded every expectation I had going in and more, and honestly left me breathless. The conclusion to the Six of Crows duology was simply… awesome. Also heartwrenching, and badass, and full of flawless writing. This series features wonderful characters, a wonderful amount of diversity (never before had I read about substance withdrawal in YA, especially fantasy), some of the best romances EVER, and it makes you walk the line between what’s good and what’s bad. You’ve probably heard lots of good things about this series before, and there’s a reason why!
And finally, my top book of the year is… (imagine a drum roll here)
1. WOLF BY WOLF BY RYAN GRAUDIN
I know I only finished this about a week and a half ago, but it honest to god amazed me. Set in Germany during 1956, following a “what-if” story line where Hitler won WWII, I’ve never read something this unique. I’ve always been a bit of an adrenaline junkie, and reading a book about a motorcycle race appealed to me so much. The plot line was extremely heart breaking and action packed. The characters were so fascinating, and it had the unique element that Yael (our main character) was impersonating someone who knew the other characters, and yet she didn’t. Overall, this was by far the best book I read this year! I loved it so much that I immediately ordered the sequel, which should be here soon.
So those were my top books of the year! Thank you all for an awesome reading year, and thank you for reading such a long post. If you’ve made it all the way down to the end, let me know what your top books of the year were, and if we had any that were the same. Happy New Year everyone, and here’s to a fantastic 2017!