It’s time for my 7th annual Keepers and Stinkers What to Read and What to Avoid Book List.
At the beginning of every year, I take a look back at the books I’ve read and let you know which were the best- ones you should read, and which were not so great- so you don’t waste your time reading them.
I keep track of every book I read on Goodreads or I try to at least. If you’re on there, follow me so we can see each others’ book recommendations throughout the year.
None of the books that I found just okay make it to this list, this is just the best of what I read, along with a few I wouldn’t recommend. Note that the books on this list are simply what I personally read during 2015, not necessarily what came out last year. My tastes tend to skew Young Adult, with some historical fiction, romance, and mystery in there for good measure. For me, it’s always been more about finding enjoyable reads than worrying about if they fit the definition of “quality literature.”
Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway Emmy’s best friend Oliver is found after being kidnapped 10 years ago. Friendship, coming of age, I’ve recommended this to several people and they’ve all come back to tell me they loved it. So you’re not just taking my word here.
Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider The unique setting of the book sucked me in: a sanatorium for teenagers who are all suffering from a deadly disease. Yet, there’s plenty of humor (okay, dark humor, but I thought it was funny) and heart. Her The Beginning of Everything made it to my Keepers list another year.
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander This is an extremely quick read, written in free verse. I wasn’t sure about it due to the format. At first glance, it seemed like a basketball story that would reach one of two inevitable conclusions, but it surprised me by heading in a different direction which had me sobbing like a baby pretty early on through the end of the book. Probably good it’s short then. Though I lent it to a friend who liked it but didn’t ball her eyes out- the main storyline ended up hitting really close to home, which is why it hit me harder than others. Oh, look at this vague review, but I don’t want to give too much away.
What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler If you see something and don’t speak up, if you share something on social media because everyone else is, are you just as guilty as those who committed the crime? This one is thought-provoking, given the times we live in, though it does sort of make me want to lock my kids in the basement I don’t have and not let them out until they’re in their 20s.
The Duff by Kody Keplinger I committed a bookworm sin: I watched (and laughed my head off during) the movie before I picked up the book. The book and the movie are extremely different, as if the movie were based off the blurb on the back of the book jacket instead of the actual book. But because I watched the movie first, I just sat back and enjoyed. And then reading the book felt like something entirely new. I’ve been told I’ll like her other books as well, so I’ll be reading some of those in 2016.
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling Of course I read these way back when they first came out, but it had been 5 years since I reread the series from start to finish, so it was time to go back to Hogwarts. I love the world of Harry Potter and knowing the story so well just makes a rereading even more delicious because you pick up all those teeny little seemingly insignificant details that are mentioned in one book that you know are going to play an important role in a later book. Rowling is a genius and if you’ve never read these books, you need to. My oldest is currently reading his way through them and my youngest wants to start them as well, though we’ll probably work through them together as a read aloud, since he’s 7.
Nantucket Brides Trilogy by Jude Deveraux This was pure guilty pleasure reading. Romance, history, even some ghosts who play an important role in the story. The dessert you know you don’t really need, but can’t resist.
I actually had a really hard time narrowing down which books to share with you here as Keepers because while I only read 47 books last year, what I did read were good stuff. You can see my full list of what I read in 2015 here- anything I rated with 4 or 5 stars, I’d recommend.
There were only two books I read this year that I wish I hadn’t. One was Hidden by Catherine McKenzie which was told from three different points of view and about the things we don’t know about each other, come to light after a man dies. I found it boring and lacking the emotional impact it seemed to want to have.
The other, which is probably the most disappointing to me, was Carry On from Rainbow Rowell. I loved all her other books- they’ve all made it to a Keepers list in the past. The story is about the Simon and Baz from Fangirl… but not. They were fictional characters in another book where they were book characters but yet this isn’t the same story. It’s all just…. too odd. And the story wasn’t put together in a way that made sense to me. I’ll look forward to her next one, but this was a letdown.
While these next books aren’t exactly stinkers, they could be called “I strongly disagree with the high ratings everyone else gave these books” and when others are raving about a book, I expect it to be awesome and these just didn’t do it for me(Carry On also falls in this category).
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera I was intrigued by the premise of this book: there’s a procedure that can make you forget whole bits of your life. But the actual story just didn’t do much for me.
The Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy by Jenny Han Okay, y’all, I know I read a lot of Young Adult, so I shouldn’t complain when the characters and what they do is very immature, but the appeal of YA to me is that there’s usually some deeper themes there. And this one just didn’t do it for me.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins I liked this one, but didn’t love it. I don’t see why it seems to come up as a suggestion any time anyone asks what they should read next. I don’t think you’ll hate it- I didn’t- but it doesn’t live up to the hype, in my opinion. I’ll probably still see the movie when it comes out this year, though.
If you’re looking for more suggestions, you can check out my lists from years past:
- 2014: Keepers and Stinkers
- 2013: What to Read and What to Avoid
- 2012: My Reading List
- 2011: Best and Worst Books
- 2010: More Keepers and Stinkers
- 2009: Looking for a Good Read?