I have compiled a personal list of the books that I enjoyed the most this year. It is important to note that not all of these books came out this year, although most of them did. Ranging from many genres, these books are exciting, interesting, and well-written.
1 – An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
This one was my absolute favorite book of the year. It was trendy, well-written, interesting, and suspense-filled. This book was amazing. The novel follows 23-year-old April May, who after finding what she thinks is a piece of art left in the streets of NYC (Carl) becomes an overnight success with a viral video she and her friend, Andy, posted on YouTube. With her new fame come challenges for her identity and relationships.
I love that the setting of the book is NYC, and I love that April’s character is unapologetically herself. I think her character is very real—she makes mistakes and doesn’t know what to do most of the time, just like the rest of us. I love that the story was told from her perspective, and looking back, this gave me the sense that everything was going to be okay in the end.
This book was very entertaining and relevant, which makes it definitely a page-turner. It not only touches on sexuality, social media, and YouTube but also portrays the human side of the people behind the cameras. And all of that while catching our attention with the unremarkable story of the Carls and the future of humanity. This book is definitely a must-read.
I am now impatiently waiting for the sequel.
2 – Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
Not much to say about this collection other than that it is truly beautiful. Rupi Kaur put into words all the feelings that we all have had and could never articulate. Although at times I did not like the way the poems were composed and the way the verses were broken down, I did love that the language used was simplistic and easy to understand. I found this poetry collection to be very accessible to the normal person, and the graphics were very helpful in supplementing the intentions in each poem.
Her poems are simple, empowering, and relatable—a piece of art.
3 – The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings #) by Mackenzie Lee
This book was my first YA novel ever. I loved it so much that I even felt guilty for never reading a YA novel before thinking they were all this good. This is a wonderfully written story with great historical details. I love to get immersed in other time periods and imagine the lives the characters lived.
This novel is about Henry Montague, his best friend Percy and his sister Felicity, embarking on a Grand Tour of Europe before he is set to manage his father’s State. The book is about their adventures during this Grand Tour and how their lives are changed by discovering each other’s secrets. I fell in love with the characters, especially Henry Montague. It’s wonderful to read a story from the perspective of such a character—he is hilarious, clueless, and, at most times, a jackass. He has no intentions to be considerate, and he doesn’t really think about other people. His inner monologues were so funny that I found myself laughing out loud all the time. I just loved him.
This book tackles racism, mental illness, and queerness; and although the story was not the most original, I loved how relevant it is for young people nowadays. Overall, I really loved this book, and I thought it was super fun!
“Perspective is a goddam son of a bitch”
4 – Becoming by Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama is my new best friend! I fell in love with her and her story, and I finally understand what makes the Obamas different from other politicians. Becoming is an intimate memoir of the life of the former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama.
This book makes you feel as though you were just having a cup of coffee while catching up with an old friend. Michelle is a wonderful storyteller, and it was great getting to know her and seeing her story shine. I couldn’t help but feel personally connected to her story. It was fascinating to see the woman behind Barack Obama’s work. Certainly, he could not have achieved anything without his loving and supporting wife, Michelle, who sacrificed big parts of her life to support his role as a politician.
To me, this book was everything: real, inspirational, and entertaining. It was very important to see and understand that someone like Michelle Obama is human like us—she came from a normal working-class family, lives a normal life, and has normal people’s problems. In this memoir, she even talks about her experience with miscarriages, couples counseling, and her struggles to have a balance work home life. This book is a portrait of Michelle Obama, but beyond that, this book represents all of us, all of us Americans who strive to be better. As she says herself, “… I think about a little working-class kid named Michelle LaVaughn Robinson—an ordinary girl who had some tales to tell, some failures and some successes, too. She had a lot to learn, a lot to experience, a lot to give—more than she ever could have imagined.” To me, the biggest lesson this book has to offer is that we are all like Michelle Obama, and we can accomplish anything we want.
“Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result. It’s vulnerability that breeds with self-doubt and then is escalated, often deliberately, by fear.”
5 – Children of Blood and Bone By Tomi Adeyemi
A page-turner, this book was intense—so much happened. This debut novel by Tomi Adeyemi tells the story of Zélie, a divîner who is trying to bring magic back to Orïsha. When their magic fully manifests, divîners can become maji, but that was before magic was eradicated and majis were killed for using their powers. Zélie, Tzain, and Amari (daughter of king Saran who took magic away) embark on a crazy adventure to return magic back. They are hunted by Amari’s brother, Inan, who, as the story develops, notices that he has magical powers himself challenging everything he has ever believed. Together, they experience many obstacles and personal challenges on their quest to try to bring magic back to Orisha.
I loved all the characters, and I was truly invested in their stories. I loved Zélie’s strength and resilience. Her character was very relatable, and I loved her relationship with Amari. The world created by the author was rich and well-developed. I appreciated the references to the Yoruba religion and the West-African culture in general.
This book is truly unique and irresistible, and I would definitively recommend it. If you want more information on how this book relates to African culture, I suggest you read the review written by Jaye Winmilawe on Africa Access Review Internet Page.
This year was a roller coaster ride for my reading adventure. I experimented with many different genres, and I came across many good books along the way. I learned that I still love poetry and that I do not enjoy short story collections as much as I thought I did. I fell in love with some fantasy books, and I learned so much about current politics. Non-fiction books are definitely still some of my favorites. Overall, it was a really good reading year.
I hope you enjoyed my post today, and I hope that it gave you an idea of the books I enjoy and that it inspired you to pick one of them up.
Other books I really enjoyed this year:
- The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings #2) by Mackenzi Lee
- Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister
- Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors
- Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
- Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis
- Circe by Madeline Miller
- The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller
- Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
- I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
You can read more of my thoughts on the books mentioned above in my Goodreads page.
Thank you for reading me!