It’s tradition around here for me to share my best and worst reads of the previous year with you. This is year 8- I think it’s safe to call that a tradition.
Whenever I share my favorite (and least favorite) reads of the year, it’s based on what I happened to read that particular year. So while some of the books appearing on this list were first published in 2016, others are older but I just got to them last year.
My book taste tends to run to young adult books, with some chick lit, suspense, and historical fiction thrown in for a little variety. I go for what draws me into the story and makes me want to keep reading. Characters I like, a storyline that makes me smile or think or feel… this is not to say what the absolute best literary books of the year were(there are plenty of lists elsewhere for that) but these are my more recent reads that I recommend to a friend (or tell a friend to stay away from).
Out of the 72 books I read (according to what I kept track of on Goodreads), I read way more good than bad. You can check out my shelves there for more recommendations or, on the homepage of this site, you’ll see a books section that I update throughout the year(there are also links to previous years’ lists at the end of this post). But these are my favorites this year… and a few that didn’t resonate with me. Links are affiliate in case you decide you want to buy any of these (even the stinkers, because you might have a totally different opinion on these than I do).
Behind Closed Doors: A Novel by B.A. Paris is hands down the book I’ve been recommending to anyone who asks for a suggestion since I first read it back in August. I read this as part of a campaign- it was sent to me and I really didn’t know much about it, but it ended up being one of the best books I read all year and I’ve passed my copy along to several friends who all thought it was a good read, too. It’s… twisted. The couple that appears perfect and yet (of course) is not. But it took a different twist than the one I expected(far darker than I expected). There’s been a lot of “if you liked Gone Girl…” attached to this book, but I liked this one a lot more than I liked Gone Girl (and there really aren’t similarities in the two books, which I was worried about- they both just have dark twists).
All the Missing Girls: A Novel by Megan Miranda If someone told me they already read Behind Closed Doors, this was the next one I’d suggest. It’s told in a unique way, with each chapter taking place the day before the chapter you just read. You go backwards in time to figure out the mystery of what happened to the girl who goes missing in a small town recently(and the one years ago).
A Monster Calls: Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd This is a super quick read and one I read because it is on my middle schooler’s Battle of the Books reading list(he likes when I read the books on his list and help quiz him for his upcoming competition). It just flows beautifully. You may have seen the preview for the movie since it’s releasing soon. You could easily read this book in an afternoon and I suggest you do before heading to see the movie.
Violent Ends This is a school shooting story… sort of. Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different victim. Some of the stories don’t seem all that related, some provide backstory, others insight. It’s a unique twist on a horrifying subject, each chapter written by a different young adult author.
First & Then by Emma Mills Plain ol’ enjoyable young adult lit. Devon is content with her mediocre teenage life. She’s not really a part of anything. But then her cousin Foster comes to live with her and her life gets a lot more complicated, bringing star football player Ezra into her life. The characters are quirky and flawed and likable. This book made me laugh and smile.
The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead By the author of Vampire Academy (which I liked ever so much more than Twilight) but this first in a series did not have me wanting to read the next book.
The Flood Girls by Richard Fifield I saw references to Where’d You Go Bernadette mixed with A League of Their Own and was so excited. But it moved too slowly for me. This was the book I had with me at the pool for weeks, with friends noticing and asking what was taking me so long.
He Said, She Said by Kwame Alexander The Crossover by this same author made my Keepers list last year. So, so good. This one was just so different and I couldn’t get into it.
I Crawl Through It by A.S. King I rarely do this: give up on a book. But a third of the way through it, I had absolutely no idea what was going on nor did I care to find out how it all resolves. I doubt it even does, it probably just keeps rambling in this smug “if you don’t get it, you’re tragically unhip” way. I can live with that label, but life is too short to read a book you don’t like.
This Is the Story of You by Beth Kephart This is another that I didn’t finish. A hundred or so pages in and I was bored the whole time- I had other books waiting to be read that looked far more interesting, so I moved on.
Keepers and Stinkers Book Lists
- 2015: Books to Read
- 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?