As the end of the year approaches, I’ve noticed many of us like to make lists of our favorites of the year. However, I never feel qualified to claim I have an opinion on “the best books of (insert year)”. Mostly, because I never have a chance to read most of the books that came out in any given year! (I seem to always be a year or so behind). Instead, I’ve decided to share six brilliant books that I personally read this year. The following six were knockouts!
And, with holiday gift-giving in full swing, these might inspire you to pick something a little different for someone you love. Or just treat yourself!
Six Brilliant Books I Read This Year:
I was tempted to throw in the writing towel after reading this book – it was that good! On the surface it may seem like another story about an orphan girl, raised by magical creatures, in search of her past. Add a dash of adventure, a heaping spoonful of romance, and stir. But this book is so much more than that, and it proves that execution is vital to any novel! The writing is delicious, the world building astounding, the characters emotionally involving, and the plot well…I couldn’t put the book down!
If a book about carnivorous horses turns you off, this one isn’t for you. But if you’re spidy senses just did a double take (yes, I said carnivorous), then you’re in for a treat. A printz honor book, this novel has duly earned its shiny sticker. Told in dual point of view, the book follows a 16-year-old island girl who’s joining the scorpio races for the first time, and the 19 year-old boy who’s won them year after year. The novel is riveting, original, and absolutely engrossing. Did I mention they race on those carnivorous horses? Well they do!
Novels in verse are not everyone’s cup of tea, and the subject matter of this book may not be either – it’s about child prostitution. But this is the kind of book that will both break your heart and fill you with hope. Sixteen-year-old Angel gets dragged into the gritty reality of drugs and prostitution, only to find her “boyfriend” bringing home an even younger girl to learn the ropes. She risks her life to find a way for both of them to get out. This honest novel, told through lyrical poetry, is unforgettable.
The more philosophical reader is going to love this book! Written by Dutch author Janne Teller, the novel’s set in a contemporary European town where one boy’s existential revelation that nothing matters causes him to climb up a tree. That may not seem like a big deal – but as the rest of his classmates set out to prove him wrong, the search for meaning causes each of them to sacrifice something important, and well…things get a little out of hand. It’s a powerful book that will give you a lot to think about.
This is a moody and beautiful graphic novel about a young boy coming to grips with the death of his father. Only this isn’t like any other grief novel you’ve read. This book comes entirely from a child’s perspective. The images are evocative, the structure and storytelling is out-of-the box, and the ending with haunt or infuriate you. This book won’t do any of the things you expect it to, and that’s one of its strengths. If you sit down and spend some time with it, it will unveil beautiful layers of emotion and truth.
I don’t read much non-fiction, because yes, I think it’s boring. Or maybe I’ve been reading the wrong books. Phineus Gage is anything but boring. It tells the true story of a railroad man who gets a 13 pound rod-iron shot through his brain and walks away! Yes, there’s a gaping hole in his head, and he survives! (The title said it was gruesome). But this book does a lot more than tell a sensational story. It explores the science behind what happened and why. It compares what they knew at the time of Phineus’s accident (in 1848) to what we know today. Unraveling like a mystery it makes reading about science absolutely compelling!
Happy reading everyone.