As 2016 draws to a close and we wait excitedly to see what gifts and adventures 2017 will bring, it only seems right that I do my bit to celebrate the community that’s been so welcoming and to be honest, just plain brilliant since I discovered it existed back in February!
From High Fae to Grisha, my first taste of a Patrick Ness book to a long-awaited return to Hogwarts, it’s been a magical little year in the world of paper and bookmarks and there’s no one I’d rather celebrate with than you.
So, without further ado, let me introduce to you the first ever Bookshelves & Biros blog awards!
The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
This book will always have a special place in my heart because it was the first ever ARC that I got approved for on NetGalley. Ah, memories! Square is such a unique book, combining sparkly summer romance with sci-fi elements seamlessly. It’s a wonderfully balanced story, with darkness tempered by patches of wry humour and utterly loveable characters. I fully credit it with changing my opinion on sci-fi, which used to just make me think of Star Trek.
The Deviants by C.J. Skuse
Of all the books I’ve read this year, this is one of the few that I’ll definitely re-read (this is a compliment; I’m not usually big on re-reads unless we’re talking about Potter). An incredible book across the board; I loved the characterisation, the super sharp writing, the diversity, the way C.J. Skuse handled some very emotional topics and the whopping great twist which hit me in the gut with all of the force of a Muhammad Ali sucker punch.
What’s A Girl Gotta Do by Holly Bourne
God I love Holly Bourne books. They’re just so real. I read the whole of the Spinster Club trilogy this year; a groundbreaking UKYA series about three friends who take on mental health, relationships, feminism and sexism. What’s A Girl Gotta Do is the third and final book in the series and it blew me away. It focuses on the complications of being a young feminist in the 21st century and it’s one of the most heartfelt, funny, honest and inspiring books I’ve ever read. I can’t say enough good things about it.
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
I’ve read some stunning fantasy books this year that have whisked me away to worlds near and far, but I didn’t devour any with as much near-obsessive fervour as I did A Court of Mist and Fury. The second installment in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, it did that rare thing whereby it totally knocked the first book out of the park. The detail is immense, the world building is dazzling in its beauty and depth and the characters are brilliantly formed, witty and seductive. There’s action, romance, mystery and peril and I never wanted it to end.
A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sarah Barnard
Just when I didn’t think my 2016 reading list could get any better, along came A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard. This book is everything a contemporary YA book should be and more. It’s stunningly written, with a fantastically authentic depiction of both anxiety and disability, as well as a straight-up awesome cast of diverse characters AND a well-constructed plot with a touching underlying message about relationships and the limitations we place on ourselves and others. I know, I’m gushing, but DAMN. Please, do yourselves a favour and get your 2017 off to an incredible start by reading it when its released.
Rhysand and Feyre –A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
I just can’t even. I am OBSESSED with these two, to the point that even I find it embarrassing. To say that Maas has created a tantalising, slow-burning, devilishly flirtatious romance would be to do this relationship an injustice. Rhys and Feyre are all of those things, but their relationship is also depicted with so much complexity, poignancy, fierceness and depth. In Rhys we finally have a male protagonist who sees the woman he loves as an equal in every single way and I adore him for it.
I also have to give a huge shout-out to the amazing books that I read in 2016 that weren’t actually published this year, including the indomitably incredible Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness (5*), heartbreaking-ly gorgeous I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson (*5), the eye-opening and poignant The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson (*5) and the powerful and utterly terrifying Asking For It by Louise O’Neill (*4.5), all of which would have been included in the awards had they been released this year.
My bookish moment of the year (I could have created an award header for this but it turns out I’m really, really lazy) was getting to return to the Wizarding World on the stage, the big screen, my kindle screen and the page. It’s literally been like a dream year for Potterheads, amiright?! Mine was made even more magical by being lucky enough to see Harry Potter and The Cursed Child on stage. It’s an experience that I’ll never, ever forget and I’ll be eternally grateful that I got to experience that wonder in all of it’s intended glory.
I also want to share the love with some of my amazingly talented and eternally humble fellow bloggers, who despite being based all over the world have become some brilliant friends, advice givers and partners-in-blogging. Thank you all so much for reading my posts and making me so welcome in the book blogosphere, but special mentions go to Lauren, Beth, Azia, Stephanie, Jess, Melissa, Jill, Amanda, Marie, Naz, Casey, Kai and the Orang-utan Librarian. You’re not only seriously swish bloggers with insane content, beautifully written reviews and tons of creative ideas, but you also work so hard to get others involved in the community and are always positive, funny and helpful. So many of you have made this blogging year great for me. BIG LOVE AND HUGS.
What have been your high (and low) points of the year? Which books have smacked you in the face with their brilliance or utter rubbish-ness? What have I missed and what should I be on the lookout for in 2017? TELL ME ALL.