This is it! The last day of 2016 is here. For many, 2016 is being filed away as one of the worst years ever and its end is met with joyous anticipation. For some of us though, either 2016 was a relatively good year or just an average year.
For me, it was pretty average but I choose to focus on the positive things that happened so I can be fully prepared to take on 2017. I graduated from college (finally). I started the Vicarious Bookworm blog and met SO MANY amazing book bloggers. I’ve been able to read so many awesome books! Because there were so many amazing reads in 2016, I had loads of trouble narrowing down and ordering a top ten but I somehow managed it. All of these are books I have read in 2016, regardless of when they were released, that I rated 4 bookworms or higher.
10. And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
I was so completely drawn into the world and characters of this book. Having read Khaled Hosseini’s work before with A Thousand Splendid Suns, I had a feeling I would absolutely love And The Mountains Echoed, and boy was I right! While reading it, the real world around me felt like a dream… like something surreal around me while I was truly in the world between the pages. From beginning to end, this book is absolutely perfect.
9. Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond
This book reminded me of my childhood dream to run off with the circus. Yes, I was that kid. I also loved that part of the book was set where I live because not many fiction books are. I can only think of two at the moment. It’s cool for me because I can’t walk the Riverwalk past the Main Street Bridge without thinking about Jules walking it. It’s quite curious how good it feels to associate something positive and bookish with this city. The book itself was beautiful and I’ll likely reread it someday just to enjoy the characters and plot another time through.
8. The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon
I absolutely loved this book! I couldn’t put it down, even though I was ‘supposed to’ do chores and run errands. The story and characters in it held me hostage right from the beginning. I both liked and disliked the ending, so I can understand the mixed feelings others seem to have about it.
7. The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison
I always love a good post-apocalyptic story so when given the chance to read about a world after a plague that affects women and children 99% more than men, I knew it’d be right up my alley. The book also contains the best explanation of being bisexual that I have seen in literature, but not much time is given to it because it’s not the focus of the story. It’s been a few months since I read it, but I still feel a connection to the unnamed main character.
6. Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
I read this one because it’s a retelling of my all time favorite book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I was almost expecting it to be similar to all the other retellings I’ve read, but I was blown away by how unique and beautiful it is. If I did not know the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland so well, I would not have recognized this as a retelling while reading it.
5. The Kingfountain Series by Jeff Wheeler
I couldn’t pick just one so I’m putting the whole series here. I found this one on Kindle Unlimited and it quickly became one of my favorite series. The trilogy of Owen’s story is unique and exciting. I’m also pretty excited that Jeff Wheeler has decided to continue the series and give us six books plus a prequel instead of the existing three. I can’t wait to read them as they’re released!
4. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
As I mentioned, I cannot resist an Alice retelling. This one is actually a ‘villain’ retelling, which I also absolutely love and hate simultaneously. Why do I hate them? Because I go into the book knowing how it ends. In Wicked, Alphaba has to die. In Heartless, the Queen of Hearts must become cold and cruel. The story leading up to that point made it totally worth it! I’ve since learned that Marissa Meyer has an entire series of retellings and will be digging into them in the coming year.
3. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
This book opened my eyes to so much and changed the way I see the world. I won’t lie, reading from Turk’s perspective made me extremely uncomfortable because I honestly can’t wrap my mind around that much hatred. Seeing just a small amount of what PoC are treated like every day helped me to understand things a bit better. Not perfectly, but better. The first step in working toward fixing a problem is recognizing the problem exists. This book shined a spotlight on part of the problem.
2. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
I absolutely adored this book from beginning to end and devoured it in a single sitting. It’s the second book I’ve ever read with a bisexual main character, but, much like the first (The Book of the Unnamed Midwife), the bisexuality is normalized instead of being awkwardly highlighted. The main focus of the story is the epic journey to save Alex’s family. If you enjoy an epic journey, an unexpected love story, and learning what matters most, read this book. Twice.
1. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
When I started making this list, this book was a no brainer for the top spot. I loved every single moment in it. The story itself is beautiful and kept me on the edge of my seat. There is also so much diverse representation that the story itself is brought to a whole nother level. I’m morose because Leigh Bardugo has gone on record saying that the series will remain a duology and we won’t get to hear any more from this cast of characters.
That’s my top ten from 2016! What’s yours?