My half-year reflections can begin with this week’s Top Ten Tuesday – the best books I’ve read in 2017 so far.
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
This was the first book I read this year, and it was an excellent choice! I reviewed it here.
Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey
This is an epic, heartbreaking story of love and loss in the war and after. I wouldn’t have usually picked this up as the cover doesn’t particularly stand out, but I am so glad I did; it was stunning. I really wish my gran could have read it, as I think she would have loved this.
The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is one of my top five favourite books, so I am always excited to find out there’s something new to read from Rachel Joyce. The Music Shop is another beautiful novel. ‘And of course the silence at the beginning of a piece of music is always different from the silence at the end … Because if you listen, the world changes. It’s like falling in love. Only no one gets hurt.’
After the Fire by Will Hill
When a massive fire destroys the compound that housed a cult, there are few survivors. Moonbeam is one of them. Her sessions with a therapist are interspersed with flashbacks that reveal her story piece by piece. I feel like it’s incredibly relevant in the times we live in to see how people could become brainwashed by a manipulative leader. This was a compelling narrative.
Broken Sky trilogy by L. A. Weatherly
Speaking of authoritarian leaders… the Broken Sky trilogy is set in a world many, many years in the future, where our civilisation destroyed itself in a nuclear war, and disputes between countries are settled with dogfights between pilots from each nation. When Amity, a Peacefighter, discovers corruption in the system, it unravels everything her world stands for. This trilogy was truly harrowing at times, drawing on the Second World War, but it is well worth reading.
The Hate U Give by A. C. Thomas
When Starr is the sole witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed friend, Khalil, by a police officer, she faces not only the pain of losing him, but also danger, whether she tells the truth or keeps quiet. This is an eye-opening, important book that I think everyone should read.
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
I have read a lot of YA this year! This is the story of Libby, once dubbed ‘America’s Fattest Teen’, returning to school after years spent near housebound. Jack seems to be the high school teen who has it all, but he has a secret – he can’t recognise faces. When they’re brought together by a cruel prank, they strike up an unlikely friendship.
A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy by Sarah J. Maas
I don’t think there is anything Sarah J. Maas could write that I wouldn’t read. I am obsessed with the Throne of Glass series, and I raced through this trilogy in a matter of days. I am so glad I waited to read them until they were all published, as I don’t know how I would have waited to discover what happened. Rather than me try to summarise, if you have any interest in YA fantasy, read this.
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
Becky Chambers examines issues like artificial intelligence and genetic engineering in this fantastic follow-up to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
A completely different type of book for this list: When Breath Becomes Air was written by neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi, following the discovery he had terminal lung cancer. It couldn’t be anything but poignant, but it is also philosophical, intelligent and beautiful, as he considers life’s meaning.
I would highly recommend every single one of these. What are the best books you’ve read so far this year?