With only two days left of 2017, I thought now would be the perfect time to talk to you about my favourite books of the year. It was actually quite easy to make the list for once and I can say that I truly adored them, because upon writing this post, I wanted to reread them all. This post is a bit long, that’s for sure, so let’s start it right away!
I don’t read a lot of YA contemporary novels, but sometimes, I stumbled upon some that gets me. Tash Hearts Tolstoy was such a novel. This novel is about Tash, the creator of a webseries that’s a modern take on Anna Karenina, who finds herself in the spotlight after a shoutout from a famous YouTuber. When her webseries is nominated for an award, the perspective that her flirt with a fellow award nominee might become something more IRL dawns on her, because she has to figure out how to tell her crush she’s romantic asexual. It might not be the greatest novel, I do realise that, but before I met Tash (and Molly from The Upside of Unrequited), I had never met another character I could relate to that much, which is why this novel will always have a special place in my heart.
“I don’t entirely understand how anyone gets a boyfriend. Or a girlfriend. It just seems like the most impossible odds. You have to have a crush on the exact right person at the exact right moment. And they have to like you back. A perfect alignment of feelings and circumstances. It’s almost unfathomable that it happens as often as it does.”
I read Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda when it came out two years ago and loved it, but not as much as everyone else. I went into The Upside of Unrequited without any expectations and ended up reading it in one sitting, because I found so much of myself in Molly. My sixteen years old self was so much like Molly, with a million crushes without doing anything, self-conscious, suffering from anxiety and weird around boys. Sometimes, I was reading her reactions, thinking: “Well, if this isn’t me”. The Upside of Unrequited is the book I wish 16 yo me could have read, for it would have made her love herself more and stop caring about getting a boyfriend before the end of high school (I’d like to scream at myself that it was very stupid haha).
“He read while he walked. He read while he ate. The other librarians suspected he somehow read while he slept, or perhaps didn’t sleep at all.”
“Everybody is a main character to someone…”
I am so happy I finally started reading Amy Harmon’s books this year. Like I said, I don’t read a lot of contemporary novels, and yet, this is the third one that won its place in this top. From the first moment I started reading this book, I fell in love with Harmon’s writings, put way too many post-its because there were so many quotes I wanted to remember. Everything the author wanted to talk about was very important and done in the right way, I know this one left a lasting impression on me. The main characters were absolutely amazing, in their different ways. I can’t tell you who I loved the most between Fern, Bailey or Ambrose. I went into Making Faces expecting another romance, got out of it having read one of the best contemporary novels I had ever read. I see myself rereading it years after years, falling in love with it every single time.
“There is music in your soul. A wild and untamed sort of music that speaks to me. It defies all the rules and laws you humans set upon it. It grows from inside you, and I have a wish to set that music free.”
It is set in 18th century Austria, the main character’s full name is Elizabeth, the Mozart family is mentioned a few times, music plays an important part in it and it might have my favourite cover ever (go check what it looks like, please). One of the scenes gave me strong Evermore vibes, because I’m very obsessed with this song (a new song from Beauty and the Beast), but you know. Now, all of those elements seem very random, but they all mean something for me in different ways, and it’s one of the reasons I adored this book so much.
“Did it never strike your mind that what every woman says, some women may feel?”
Last year, I discovered Thomas Hardy with Far from the Madding Crowd and it was my favourite book of the year. In 2017, I read a lot more of Hardy’s novels and he became one of my favourite authors, I’d trust him with anything. Tess of the d’Ubervilles was the second of his novels that I read and it left me speechless. Thomas Hardy, while being a Victorian era (aka from a totally different time) writer, stood up for women in his writings, showing how much men could be at fault and should be held accountable for their actions (we still have a long road to go, even though we’re almost in 2018). In Tess of the d’Ubervilles, he portrays two men in a completely different way while showing all of their flaws, and makes us wonder what is right and what is wrong, in very specific situations. I cannot express how much I loved this book, but Thomas Hardy definitely is one of my favourite authors and I need to read all of his books.
“High above the clustered houses and the grey harbour waters of Plyn, the loving spirit smiles and is free.”
I first read Daphne du Maurier’s novels this year and she quickly became one of my favourite authors. I had put My Cousin Rachel in this spot at first, but realised it wasn’t right and almost didn’t put anything by her in here, because I hadn’t rated The Loving Spirit five stars, at least not at first. Then, I remember how much I loved this book. It was du Maurier’s debut, it’s a family saga on four generations and it is set in Cornwall. I could feel the sea whenever I was reading the book, it became an actual character in the novel and I loved it so much, since I’m obsessed with it. The characters were so interesting, complex and deeply flawed. Every time I finished reading about one of them, I became so sad, because I didn’t want to say goodbye, and then I read about the next generation and felt for them.
In a way, the Coombe family became mine, as I was along them in their hardships, their joys, their pains, their dreams. From the second I finished this book, I started missing it. I badly want to reread it, because it somehow feels like home. Du Maurier gets my feelings for the sea, as we have the same ones, and I’m so grateful I realised that while reading The Loving Spirit.
“My heart is too thoroughly dried to be broken in a hurry, and I mean to live as long as I can.”
Anne Brontë is often seen as the forgotten Brontë sister, but she might be my favourite. I read Wuthering Heights by Emily and Jane Eyre by Charlotte a few years ago, but never got around to read anything by Anne, until this year. I didn’t know what I expected, but I completely fell in love with this novel. I had only started getting back into classics, but it’s definitely the book that made me realise I never wanted to stop reading them. Victorian England definitely wasn’t ready for Anne Brontë and that’s one of the reasons I admire her so much. I absolutely adored reading about Helen, the way Anne portrayed relationships and the darkness of the human soul. She was much more of a realist when you compare her to her sisters, and it might be why her books aren’t as talked about as theirs. In any case, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is one of my favourite classics ever.
“Everyone is afraid of something. We fear things because we value them. We fear losing people because we love them. We fear dying because we value being alive. Don’t wish you didn’t fear anything. All that would mean is that you didn’t feel anything.”
You probably all know I adore Cassandra Clare’s books and that they mean the world to me, as they made me read in English. Lady Midnight, the first book in The Dark Artifices trilogy, was the book I waited the most on in my life, and I completely fell in love with it. Lord of Shadows didn’t disappoint me either: I absolutely loved how Clare talked about topical subjects, wrote amazing characters, plotlines and relationships once again. As I’m writing those words, I’m reading this book for the third time of the year, and there couldn’t be any better way to end the year. I can’t put into words how much I love this book and I still haven’t been able to write my review. Nevertheless, it’s absolutely amazing and the Shadowhunters books only get better and better with every single one of them.
“The power of a glance has been so much abused in love stories, that it has come to be disbelieved in. Few people dare now to say that two beings have fallen in love because they have looked at each other. Yet it is in this way that love begins, and in this way only.”
I’m sure most of you won’t be surprised, considering I’ve been talking about this one a lot and told everyone it was my favourite book of the year anyway. *Ahem* Les Misérables and I actually have a lot of history and you can read about that here. It’s one of the best books I have read in my entire life, I read it in three days. I put way too many post-its in it, loved the characters and all the historical details, ‘accidentally’ fell in love with Marius Pontmercy (which makes absolutely no sense, but anyway), laughed, cried, gasped. I own a 1662 page long edition and yet I want to reread it again and again. It’s nothing to say that it is a masterpiece, but it is a masterpiece and it changed my life.
So there you have it, here are my favourite books of 2017. I hope you had an amazing year reading-wise. I’d love to know what your favourite books of the year were!