Throughout the year, I have been awarding books with my Best Book Award if they receive a five-star rating from me. In order to receive a five-star rating, it needs to be an incredible book that leaves me with nothing bad to say. I have read many outstanding books this year, but a few have stuck in my head and really made a lasting impression. It was hard to pick my favorite book of the year, but here is the winner and a few that almost made the cut. Please comment with your favorite book of 2016!
Best Book of 2016:
“Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story."
Number of Pages: 371.
Perspective: Alternating First.
I’ll Give You The Sun follows a set of twins, Jude and Noah, through middle school and high school. The perspectives alternate between Noah’s, when the twins are still close at the ages of 13 and 14, and Jude’s, when they are 16 and no longer speaking. It pieces together a puzzle of tragedy, secrets, and longing for forgiveness. For a complete summary, you can go here.
Wow. I have been in a review rut lately. I’ve been waiting to write reviews for a while after finishing a book, but I had to write this review immediately after finishing reading. I honestly feel like I am in the middle of a book hangover. I wanted so badly to finish the book to see how it ended, but I am sad that I have no more book left to read. I would love for the story to keep going. This is now one of my favorite books, and I already cannot wait to read it again.
This story was beautiful. It felt raw. It’s about transformation, loss, love, acceptance, and family. It’s about being true to yourself and loving others freely. I love the LGBTQ subplot in it. I love all the love! I even loved the metaphysical aspect to it (which very easily could have been a flop).
The writing was incredible. I usually hate flowery metaphors, but it seemed to fit with the artistic imaginations of the main characters. I read fast when the narrator was anxious and I felt those emotions. I could easily pick up all the feelings of the characters in the wording. That is a sign of a talented author. At times the story fell into place a little too perfectly, but that fit with the theme of the book.
This book made my heart ache in all the right ways. My favorite part was the tumultuous relationships between the twins and each of their parents and how they could fall apart and then fall back together. One line from the dad at the very end of the book gave me hope for our society and made me cry like a baby!
I recommend this book to everyone! There are some adult themes, but I think it is a great coming-of-age novel for teens. I think adults can really appreciate it too. Parents of teens could get a new perspective from this book. If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here.
“Meeting your soul mate is like walking into a house you've been in before - you will recognize the furniture, the pictures on the wall, the books on the shelves, the contents of drawers: You could find your way around in the dark if you had to.”
“You do not write your life with words...You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.”
Time to Read: 2 hours and 3 minutes.
Genre: Fantasy / Young Adult.
This is a story about a monster who comes to visit a young boy in the night. The boy, Conor, is bullied at school, and his mom is dying from cancer. His daytime and nighttime are filled with nightmares. For a complete summary, you can go here.
The first thing I said to my husband when I finished reading this book was, "Man, that was depressing." It was depressing, but it was so much more than that. It was truly beautiful. The writing and storytelling were just incredible. It included illustrations that were dark and creepy, but also magical. This is a story of loss and grief, and how to cope. I think this book could be very powerful for any teen who has had someone close to them die.
As a daughter of a cancer survivor, I know that depression and fear can feel like a monster inside. This book breathtakingly paints a picture of that exact feeling. I devoured this book and I cannot wait until the movie version comes out.
I would recommend this to anyone over 13 due to some thematic elements. If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here.
“There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.”
“Don’t sabotage yourself. There are plenty of other people willing to do that for free."
Number of Pages: 329.
This book is a collection of stories by Jenny Lawson as she tries to combat anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses by being “Furiously Happy” instead. For a complete summary, you can go here.
I normally HATE memoirs. I don’t know why I keep reading them. But THIS is why. This is the memoir that I have been wishing for! This book is the first memoir that I truly loved. I ate this book up. But, I really think this will be a polarizing book. Some people won’t get her humor and will not enjoy this book at all, other people will relate or at least empathize, and will absolutely love this book.
Jenny is vulgar, an exaggerator, and self-admittedly crazy. But, boy, is she hilarious. I found myself laughing out loud, and not many books can do that to me. I more likely to cry from a book than laugh. Warning: Do not read this book in public if you get embarrassed by laughing to yourself.
Sandwiched in between crazy hijinks, Jenny shares a few serious stories about her struggles with her mental illnesses. Even though she tries her hardest to combat them, there are still tough days, weeks, and months. I think this book is eye -opening to people who brush off anxiety and depression. It can also be a beacon for people who do struggle with similar issues.
My favorite part of this book was her story about renovating her house. My husband and I are nearing the end of our home renovation, and Jenny perfectly summarized all of the ridiculousness that is contractors and renovation projects.
I recommend this to people who struggle with mental illness, or to people who just need a good laugh. If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here.
“Don’t make the same mistakes that everyone else makes. Make wonderful mistakes. Make the kind of mistakes that make people so shocked that they have no other choice but to be a little impressed.”
“Some mistakes... Just have greater consequences than others. But you don't have to let the result of one mistake be the thing that defines you."
Genre: Chick Lit / Contemporary Romance.
Number of Pages: 369.
Perspective: First (A few alternating chapters).
Me Before You is about Lou, a woman desperately looking for a job so she can help provide for her parents and sister. She ends up becoming the caregiver for a quadriplegic, Will. It becomes Lou's goal to teach Will how to love life again. For a complete summary, you can go here.
Let me just say, I NEEDED THIS BOOK. I have recently been in a book rut. I couldn’t seem to find an amazing book. I’ve read a lot of pretty good books lately, but I haven’t found one that completely and utterly engrossed me. Until now. This has been a crazy week for me, but I was impatiently waiting each day for a few free moments to engulf myself in this book. Once I finally got a few solid hours of free time, I couldn’t put the book down until I was finished. That alone is the sign of a great book. But overall, this book was one my favorite books.
I will admit, I am a sap. I have cried during commercials, and I have definitely cried during movies. But there are only two books that have ever made me cry actual tears: The Time Traveler’s Wife, and now, Me Before You. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but some people hated this book because of the controversial ending. Yes, I think a bad ending can ruin a good book, but I can’t dislike the ending just because I don’t morally agree with it. I may not like all the actions and decisions of the main characters, but I accepted them.
This book tells a beautiful and heartbreaking story. Some people call it a love story, but it is so much more than that. It is more so an eye-opening life story. It makes you think about people with disabilities in a whole new way. It gives us a glimpse into daily challenges and interactions.
I want to also add that I appreciated that it wasn't a back and forth perspective between Lou and Will. I think that dual-perspective books are way overdone right now. There were a few random chapters that were in the perspective of the secondary characters, which was okay, but not necessary.
I recommend this book to everyone—well, probably just women. I can’t wait to go see the movie now. I’ll try not to judge it too much… If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here.
“You can only actually help someone who wants to be helped.”
What is your favorite book of the year? Let me know in the comments!