So while I’m in the middle of my current read and don’t have a review for you (yet!), I thought I’d go through the books that I’ve read this year (and that have come out this year) that have really impressed me.
They Both Die at the End is set in a world where a company called Death-Cast calls you 24-hours before you will die. Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio both receive that call on the same day. As “deckers”, Mateo and Rufus feel conflicted, alone, and are in search of companionship. Thanks to modern technology, they are able to find each other through the Last Friend app. After connecting through this app, Mateo and Rufus spend their last 24-hours together and try to fit a lifetime of adventure into one day.
Don’t read this book if you’re not prepared for heartbreak. This book is not lying. They both die at the end. However, Silvera is able to weave a very important story about friendship, love, life, and asks a very important question: What does it mean to truly live? What would you do if you only had 24-hours left?
I loved this book for many reasons, but the most resounding reason is the connection that is cultivated throughout the book between Mateo and Rufus. Silvera made memorable, lovable characters who you rooted for the entire book. While the book focuses mostly on Mateo and Rufus, it weaves in stories of the people around them and how the Death-Cast call has affected them. I thought this made the book incredibly well-rounded and a great read.
If you love stories about love, adventure, and friend (even if there’s a little heartbreak at the end), then I highly recommend this book.
Little Fires Everywhere follows the stories of members of the Shaker Heights community in Ohio. Mia and Pearl are a nomadic family looking to finally find roots. Mrs. Richardson and her children have been a staple of the community going back generations.
This book explored the relationship between the mothers and their children and what it truly means to be a mother. Is it genetics alone? Is it love alone? Is it some combination of both? What’s the correct answer?
None of the above. According to Little Fires Everywhere.
This book did not answer that question in one definite way and that’s what made it perfect. All of the mothers in this book had different relationships with their children and what it meant to them to be a mother.
For Mia, it was both. Pearl was her flesh and blood, but she loved her fiercely. For Mrs. Richardson, it was genetics. She was Izzy, Lexie, Trip, and Moody’s mother because she birthed them. For Mrs. McCullough, it was love. She loved Mirabelle truly unconditionally despite not being hers biologically.
All of the characters were fully fleshed out. They were real people that I could imagine meeting on the street. Celeste Ng’s description of these characters made them jump from the page and made me feel for every single one of them (even Bebe). Ng painted a portrait of domesticity and family in a light that revealed flaws that all families have and what those flaws meant for the specific families. This portrait told a very realistic story about family and love.
I wasn’t expecting to be so impressed by this book, but it’s another one of my favorites of 2017. It’s definitely worth a read.
3. The Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab
Okay, so, I know this doesn’t count as one book… but I can’t talk about one without the others. A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, and A Conjuring of Light make up this phenomenal series by V. E. Schwab.
A really close friend suggested this series and I was hesitant because I don’t read fantasy very often, but wow. I am so glad she pushed me to read this. The series takes place in three different Londons and follow Kell, a powerful magician called an Antari, and Lila, a girl who loves to break all the rules. It explores the character’s relationships with each other and with magic.
This series starts out with Kell releasing a powerful piece of magic in what is supposed to be a magic-less London. It is in this London where he meets Delilah Bard and she throws his world off in a way he never expected.
V.E. Schwab does an amazing job creating amazing characters and worlds that you can’t help but want to live in. I want to relive this series over and over because of how invested I am in the plot and the characters. I never wanted this series to end, but I read each book one after another because it was just THAT good.
I highly suggest any of V.E. Schwab’s books, but if you need a starting place… this is the series you should read first.
This book was magical, whimsical, and made me feel nothing but happiness at the end.
This book tells the story of Weylyn Grey’s life through the perspective of people that interact with him. The book switches perspectives every chapter and while that normally isn’t my favorite, Ruth Emmie Lang did a fantastic job of keeping the story centered on Weylyn. It focused on the effect Weylyn had on the lives around him and how he changed everyone for good.
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is a love story. It is a love story between Weylyn and Mary. Between Weylyn and the wolves. Between Weylyn and nature. But especially between humanity and life. This book had a strong message of loving life and the people around you no matter what.
I loved the weaving of magic throughout this book. It was the right amount to keep it relatable, but also fantastical. I truly loved this book, Ruth Emmie Lang’s writing, and the message it weaved throughout its pages.
If there is one thing I’ve learned in more than seven decades of life, it’s that the world is a completely fucked-up place. You never know what’s around the corner and it’s often something unpleasant.
— The Heart’s Invisible Furies, John Boye
Let me tell you about my favorite book of the year. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me feel so many things. It is a monster of a book (at 582 pages, it’s intimidating), but after I finished it I wanted more. I actually wanted it to be longer, which is almost unheard of for me.
This book is a coming-of-age story focused on Cyril Avery (who is not a real Avery, as his adoptive parents love to remind him). It starts with the story of his mother, a teenage girl cast out of her home, and takes us through Cyril’s life and his struggles with living as a gay man in Ireland. Cyril’s life is set to the backdrop of a history full of struggle, sexism, homophobia, and so many other things.
John Boyne was able to create a fascinating main character with very impressive side characters. None of the characters were perfect. In fact, they were all incredibly flawed. I felt like I was reading an retelling of real people. The characters in this book were human and that made them perfect for this story.
This book was full of so much heartbreak, as to be expected with its setting, but it didn’t make the heartbreak hurt any less. I felt so much pain for Cyril, Julian, and all of the other characters in this book.
While the ending was intended to be happy, and it was, I still cried. There was so much sadness that had to happen for Cyril to get his happy ending, that it couldn’t be ignored in the final pages.
I recommend this book to everyone. It’s such an important read and so beautifully written. There’s humor, there’s heartbreak, and there’s so much love. Pick this book up, please.