It’s that wonderful time of the year when Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner opens up her annual End of the Year Survey! It’s long, but I love coming out with plenty of great books that I’ve read over the year, as well as checking out other people’s.
Number Of Books You Read: 130
Number of Re-Reads: 19 (10 down from last year, and 6 of them were The Mediator – tsk, tsk, self)
Genre You Read The Most From: Contemporary (it’s 50, which is the exact same number as last year!)
1. Best Book You Read In 2016? [Contemporary, Paranormal, Foreign, Adult, and Backlist]
Contemporary: This was a hard choice, but I’m going to go with Finding Audrey – I thought it did a great job of dealing with anxiety and showing how simple things can seem impossible and you can feel a bit like a supporting character in your own life or family.
Mystery: I just finished Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil this week, and I think it deserves a spot on this list for sure. It did a great job of dealing with racism and other areas of diversity while still being a twisty mystery.
Paranormal: The Mediator is still amazing, and Remembrance was proof of this.
Adult: Taylor Jenkins Reid was a late find this past month, but one of her latest, Maybe in Another Life was spectacular and got me excited for her backlist and new books as soon as I finished it. It was an interesting look at how different decisions can change your life, no matter how small, and deals with questions like soulmates and if you’re destined for certain things.
Backlist: We’re really going back for this: Melina Marchetta’s Looking for Alibrandi. It was written in 1992, a year before I was born (two, depending on your view and the exact date, as a wonderful November baby who just barely made that year), but it never felt all that dated. I loved the family dynamics in this, and even though it could be confusing in the same way her other contemporaries seem to be, it was enthralling in the same way. And wow, that means Melina Marchetta made this section twice (Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil was her first mystery and adult book) – congrats, I know it’s such a great honor!
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
I didn’t think this was going to be my FAVORITE BOOK EVER, but Bookishly Ever After was about a girl who decided to rely on her books to help her find love, so I thought it’d be a fun bookish adventure. I even got an eARC of it because I wanted to go ahead and read it, but this just wasn’t for me. It’s not even that it was bad, I just didn’t care about the characters or the romance at all, and in a way, that made it worse, because I was just disappointed. I’m not mad at you, book, just disappointed.
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
I was both surprised by the content of and the fact that I ended up enjoying The Steep and Thorny Way so much. I knew that this was a Hamlet retelling going in, and that it was set in 1920s Oregon with a biracial protagonist in a heavily racist community complete with a only-slightly-secretive KKK, but I was surprised by just how much lush diversity and atmosphere it had, while still acknowledging all the horrible viewpoints that many people had back then about people of color and non-straight people. And, I just liked it, and that was a happy surprise.
Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I’ve been talking quite a bit about Jennifer Lynn Barnes this year. I had read some of her books before this year, but this was the year I read a lot of them, loved them, and then raved about them quite a bit, when I was actually reviewing and posting about books. I have the fourth book in the Naturals series right now from the library, and I really need to get on it. Hopefully all of my talk about her encouraged some people to actually check out her underrated books.
5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?
Well, as I just mentioned, I’ve read some of Jennifer Lynn Barnes’s books in the past, but this was the year of Jennifer Lynn Barnes and falling in love with her twisted and entertaining series, like the terrifying and fascinating Naturals series. I raced through that series for sure.
This isn’t a sequel per se, but Remembrance was a great and extremely welcome addition to the superb Mediator series. It was a great adult foray into the already entertaining world of Suze Simon, and it’s clear that Meg Cabot is queen and should keep coming up with these surprise sequels.
And, finally, a series finale: the final book of the year for me as well (10:00pm on December 31st) – Bad Blood! I would love more books from this series and still wanted to learn more about the non-Cassie (the protagonist) Naturals, but it did a good job of wrapping things up with some callbacks and information we’ve already learned as well as emotionally twisting my poor, poor heart. So yeah, this series is making it twice, whatever, I’m trying to finish the last bits of this thing and get it posted.
6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?
After reading the amazing Finding Audrey, I knew that I had to check out plenty of other books from author Sophie Kinsella, such as her entertaining and fluffy Shopaholic series. I’ve read the first two books so far and am looking forward to checking out more. I was also blown away by the beauty of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Maybe in Another Life, so she could be a great discovery as well, but I want to check out a second book from her before I decide for sure.
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
I’ve read some books in verse before, but it’s definitely not a genre that I read much, so despite how much I enjoyed Christine Heppermann’s debut about fairy tale poems, I wasn’t sure about Ask Me How I Got Here, especially when I found out it involved abortion. Abortion wasn’t the only tough issue addressed in this book, and despite its short length, it covers all of these things quite well, and all with beautiful writing.
8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
I’ve read plenty of great mysteries this year, so I’m going to go with the most recent one, Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil, which I finished just this week and spend through the second half of, so it was definitely unputdownable once I really got into it. There were some twists that I saw coming, but since I really started to care about the characters, I was interested to see how they handled the new information, and there were plenty of other twists for me to love. Melina Marchetta can write adult mysteries as well as great young adult contemporaries – it gets me more excited to finally check out her YA fantasy trilogy.
9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I was surprised to see that I had read Hyperbole and a Half this year – it seemed like so long ago, so it’s only fitting that I need to reread it soon. I reread plenty of books, though, so I’m sure this won’t be the only one, but thanks to Allie Brosh’s second book coming out next year and the fact that I want to relive this wonderful mixture of mental health, humor, and badly-drawn pictures definitely put this near the top of my rereading pile.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?
Yep, cheating here because I have to. I mean, how can I choose between these two, especially when there are so many other great covers as well that I had to overlook just for these two. At first glance, they might not look that interesting, especially If I Was Your Girl, but it’s a book about a trans girl that actually has a trans model, which I can’t applaud enough. As for Exit, Pursued By a Bear, I love how the camera caught this great moment of the cheerleader basically defying gravity, but the hands are interesting as well – they could be people cheering her on and waiting to catch her, but they could also be the metaphorical bears that are chasing are and trying to eat her alive. I just love the symbolism, even if it’s just in my head.
11. Most memorable character of 2016?
There have been plenty of memorable people this year, but I think this has to go to the spectacular Susannah Simon. Not only did she return after a decade-long break, but she really did sound like someone who grew up during that time and is still the same person. She has blossomed into a great adult who still sounds like the amazing teenager she was, and it’s just cemented the fact that I would love to be Suze’s best friend – she’s definitely my literary go-to at this point.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?
I’m going a different direction with this and choosing Texts From Jane Eyre. Maggie Stiefvater wrote another beautiful book with The Raven King, but I love the way Mallory Ortberg managed to take so many classics and condense them into short tweets that still had the essence of so many greats (and not so greats, depending on your opinion of the many classics covered). Even the stories that I didn’t know kept me interested and feeling like I did know them, and the ones I did know were even greater. I want more, specifically from the ones I know and like, like so of the more modern choices (Harry Potter and The Babysitters Club, if I remember correctly).
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?
The graphic novel trilogy of Alex + Ada really got me thinking about different things like technology and identity, which can extend to people as well and is more important than ever when trans rights are still so much in jeopardy. It just goes to show that thought-provoking books don’t have to be adult literary bricks with tons of characters and themes – you can find them in graphic novels as well as young adult books. Take that, official book reviewers – all of the great books can be found in the book blogosphere!
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read?
Well, I already mentioned Looking for Alibrandi and The Naturals, so let’s go with something else – another Melina Marchetta title (sorry, not sorry), Jellicoe Road! It’s not my favorite Marchetta title (that honor remains with Saving Francesca), but it was a pretty breathtaking and beautiful story regardless.
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?
Maybe this is what normal girls do, right? And I did what other normal girls do. There are billions of us out there. Just like stars – none of us is the same.
– Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future
16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?
Morning Glories: Volume Seven (124) // Skulduggery Pleasant: Mortal Coil (572)
17. Book That Shocked You The Most
So many horrible and shocking statistics and stories and facts in Asking For It, but I expected it since it’s a book about rape culture and sexual assault. It was the top of book that shocked me in the best way possible.
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
Suze and Jesse. Hmm, one I haven’t talked about over and over again… Hmm, my favorite books this year really weren’t that shippy – sure, I might like them, but not enough to obsess over them over and over again. Well, I reread The Wrath and the Dawn and then its new sequel The Rose and the Dagger this year, so I’ll go with the still-amazing relationship between Shahrzad and Khalid. It’s amazing and they need more books about them, without some unnecessary new perspectives (one of the only reasons Rose didn’t show up more in this survey was because it had those unnecessary new POVs and romances when all I wanted was to focus on the same main characters).
19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
I wanted to do a book I hadn’t already mentioned, but I loved the friendship between protagonist Hannah and her best friend, Gabby. Gabby was such a strong and vital part of both timelines and I loved their relationship more than the two romances.
20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Girl Against the Universe was another great book from Paula Stokes – but, more importantly, it was a great look at anxiety and mental health and therapy. I need more books like this, and the rest of the world does as well.
21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
I read the first two books in Jessica Spotswood’s Cahill Witches series, but it all ended on a meh note, so I wasn’t planning on reading her new contemporary. Then I started seeing good reviews and talk about awesome feminist topics and such in Wild Swans, so I gave it a shot, and it was spectacular. This was an author whose second chance was well-deserved.
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?
Nina, you are a beautiful person.
Inej, you are a beautiful person.
I’m mad at making choices, but at least I stuck to one book (Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom)
23. Best 2016 debut you read?
The Girl From Everywhere was a super-pleasant surprise. I don’t quite know what it was about it, but I just enjoyed it so much. I want to reread it before getting to its sequel, which I have an eARC of and definitely want to get to soon, because this was a awesome mixture of Hawaiian history and some fantasy hijinks and adventures.
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
I hate to repeat once again, but the worldbuilding in Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom is amazing. It’s a great combination of true places and cultures and spectacular fantasy elements.
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
REMEMBRANCE! It was both hilarious plus fun to read because I loved getting back into this world.
26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?
This year, I kept track of the books that made me cry, and there were a fair number of them. Jellicoe Road; When We Collided; In the Country We Love; Made You Up (reread); Exit, Pursued by a Bear; If I Was Your Girl; The Inside of Out; The Long Game; Wild Swans; All In; The Darkest Corners; Looking for Alibrandi; Bad Blood – these are just the majority of them. I don’t cry in public at all, but when I’m alone, I tend to cry pretty easily, and that’s certainly true for books.
27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
More people should be talking about the awesome Sleeping Beauty duology, A Wicked Thing and Kingdom of Ashes. It was interesting to see how these books delved into Aurora’s character, focusing on different elements in the two books so that we got a chance to really get in her head and be introspective before the more action-filled sequel.
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
Look back at #26. I’ll mention Bad Blood again, though, because it was one of those books that made me feel a bit anxious while reading it and then left me feeling a bit emotionally shaky once I finished it.
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?
Darn, should have mentioned Texts From Jane Eyre here. Hmm… The Dead House and The Trees Crept In were pretty unique – and terrifying. So very, very terrifying.
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Asking for It – rape culture is awful.
If I Was Your Girl – transphobic people are awful.
Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil – xenophobic and Middle Eastern-phobic people are awful. Also, jails are awful.
And I enjoyed all of these books, so obviously it was a good kind of mad.
1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?
I’m pretty sure that I discovered Bookmark Lit this year, not last. Anyway, I love the aesthetic and all the posts that she seems to write all the time (seriously, I’m currently in awe of the people who actually regularly post since I’m so obviously not doing that right now).
2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?
I created pictures on Microsoft Paint for the review of Hyperbole and a Half – that was both difficult and incredibly entertaining. So much fun to make.
3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
Why Settle for Two When You Can Have Three? OT3s are fun and we need more of them – get on that, book, TV, and movie people.
4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
All the Book Blogger Love-A-Thon posts and events back in February were really fun – it was a bit exhausting keeping up with all the tweets and such, but still very fun and brought a lot of people together.
5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?
Every time an author likes a tweet of mine or even a picture of mine on Instagram (E.K. Johnston!), it makes my life.
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Weird, my most-viewed post wasn’t even from 2016, it was from 2014: Top Ten Books If You Like “Pushing Daisies” – such horrible graphics! That’s an area where I definitely improved. The most-viewed post from this year is Getting the Know the Amnesiac, which was a Beautiful People writing post, which are always fun for me to write.
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Cliche, but all of them, for sure.
9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
I’ve started decorating my bookcases with more than just books, which I really like. Things like owl statues, empty and pretty wine bottles, and the three Funko Pops I have (I NEED MORE) – I definitely want to do more of that in the future. I know, it’s barely book-related, but whatever.
10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
Yep! I completed all of them except Sophomore Author Challenge (3 short) and Backlist Titles (just 2 short). I had so much trouble with the Sophomore Author Challenge, so I’m mixing it up a little by calling it Second Helpings Challenge, so any book that’s my second with an author, whether it’s their second or not.
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?
Well, so many, as usual, but my first official book of the year is The Unexpected Everything. I bought it and then never got around to reading it with all the library books and such. I am determined to read it now, though – I’m already one chapter in, and I’m not reading anything else until I finish it.
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?
There are plenty of great books coming out, but I have eARCs of them already, which made it easier for me to choose This Is How It Happened. It’s by the spectacular Paula Stokes, but that’s not the most important thing: THE MAIN CHARACTER’S NAME IS GENEVIEVE! That is all.
3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
There are some pretty awesome-looking debuts coming out this year, especially diverse ones, so I’ll make this easy on me and choose a debut I already have an eARC of: The Hate You Give. I hope it’ll be beautiful and wonderful, but it’ll probably also be painful, as a Black Lives Matter-type book.
4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?
Libba Bray has tentatively said that The Diviners #3 should be out in Fall 2017 – FINGERS CROSSED. As for a book that’s definitely coming out this year, though, I’ll go with Always and Forever, Lara Jean, a surprise sequel and series ending that will hopefully be as charming and adorable as the first two books. And maybe mean girl Genevieve can finally be fleshed out. Hey, two books with Genevieve characters – yay, 2017!
5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?
Actually post? No, I simply want to be happy with my blogging, whether I most a lot or not.
6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
I’ve actually read a 2017 book already – I have a book to mention here for the first time! Kasie West has done it again with the fabulous By Your Side, even if it doesn’t have nearly as many locked-in-the-library hijinks as it should. It does have a main character with anxiety, though, and that makes up for it.
Wow, that took a while, but it’s finally done! Now I have a whole other year to put off writing this post. Or maybe I’ll be smart and start listing books and editing this post throughout the year. Hmm, to be productive and smart or not to be – that is the real question here, my bookish friends.