Here are my Best of the Best from this past year! Of course, there’s still half a month left, so there could be some surprises, but as of now, these are my top ten favorite books from 2015!
I’m not sure anything can live up to the beauty that is Saving Francesca, but this sequel/companion was pretty damn good. There wasn’t nearly enough Francesca and the rest of their beautiful group of friends, but it was great learning more about Thomas and his family. Even though it was more subtle than the first book, I still think there was a lot of great story about depression and other mental issues, and I definitely need more of that in my books.
I feel bad, because I don’t remember this as much as some of the others (although it is one of the earlier books from this year), but I do remember loving the friendship in this book. I also related to the protagonist, way, way more than I ever did the protagonist in Emery Lord’s debut. The fact that it was a great book in general was awesome, but I was even happier because I kind of hated her debut but her second book gives me hope that I might be interested in checking out her future books.
This was one of my first ARCs, which gives it a special spot in my heart, of course, but the story is also awesome. Four girls who wouldn’t usually be friends come together to fight the corruptive patriarchy that lets the high school football team get away with everything. It’s a great look at all the destructive and horrible things that can happen because of rape culture. There’s romance, but it never takes over from their awesome growing friendship and their great adventure in scavenger-hunting. There isn’t a perfect ending, because unfortunately four girls alone can’t take down rape culture, but it’s a step in the right direction, and it was just such a fun and awesome adventure with feminism, friendship, and football – look, I even got some alliteration into my gushing about it!
I was super-excited for this book because it was billed as The Princess Diaries meets My Life Next Door, two books I love. Of course, that also puts a lot of pressure on this poor little debut, but it more than stood up to that personal hype and became one of my favorite debuts from this past year. I think of myself as more of an Independent when it comes to politics, but I definitely lean more towards to the left in general, if I had to pick a side, so it was interesting reading about the suddenly-found daughter of a Republican presidential candidate. I thought it was quite respectful while still having some great messages about immigration and doing what you feel is right. The romance was pretty adorable, but family was the focus, and it was definitely my favorite part.
When I read the first book in the Sherlock-retelling series, Every, I enjoyed it, but I didn’t quite get all the hype over it, especially the romance between Sherlock and Watson. Then I read the second book in the series, and I GOT IT. I ship them so freaking much, but I loved the mystery at all, even when it took time away from kissing and other moments of sexual tension. I mean, I already love mysteries, but that still seems like a pretty good sign. I need to get my hands on the third and final book – why isn’t it out in the US yet?!
I binged the Princess Diaries series last year, which made it clear that Meg Cabot is a queen and can do no wrong, so I was definitely excited to learn that Cabot was writing a new adult addition to the series. I loved it just as much as the rest of the series, but I especially appreciated Mia’s anxiety struggles, even if they weren’t strictly addressed or called out. She’s had experience with therapy and mental struggles in general, so it’s just great to see how it’s a normal part of her life without taking over. Now I just need more from the series – the new middle grade companion series is cute, but I need my Mia.
This was the book that made it very, very clear that we need more diversity, especially in fantasy. It’s so awesome to see fantasy worlds that aren’t tired rehashes of Middle Aged kingdoms with tons of sexism and no racism because there aren’t even any POCs in the story because god forbid that madeup worlds can do a better job of showing diversity. The book itself was amazing, though, especially the writing and the romance. I really did not expect to root for a romance between a murderous king and the girl who plans on killing him, but I definitely need more scenes between them now. I NEED THE SEQUEL NOW.
This was a bit of a weird book for me, because I felt like Etta was a bit too over the top sometimes, but I related to her so much that I really didn’t mind at all. She was bisexual, was recovering from an eating disorder, and had general mental issues. We were carbon copies in the slightest, but there was just so much of me in her and her story that it felt like such a personal story to me.
I had to wait so freaking long for this sequel to The Diviners, but it was worth it. It was quite long, but that just meant I had plenty of story to get through before I finished it and the wait for the third book began. More characters were added, and that could be a little frustrating since I would just want to know what happened to one character or characters but would suddenly be watching someone else, but since I liked pretty much all teh characters, I didn’t mind all that much. There’s a twist that I did see coming pretty early in advance, but I really didn’t care all that much. Libba Bray can pretty much do no wrong in my mind, other than not writing nearly fast enough.
I loved both of the Cormoran Strike books that I read this year, but the third and latest book was certainly the more spectacular one. The case at the center of this private investigation mystery series was more personal than the rest of the cases we’ve seen so far, and we got a lot more back story about Comoran and Robin. No matter how tense and violent these books can get, you can tell that J.K. Rowling wrote it because the story is always fascinating and leaves me totally captivated. The ending was the type of cliffhanger where it’s not like the book ends in the middle of a scene, but it definitely needs follow-up! Rowling has been quite busy lately, but hopefully she’s already working on the fourth book – I need it now!