Yes, I’m writing a post about my favourite books from 2016, even though January is nearly over. Yes, I realise how late this probably seems. No, I am not willing to get in my time machine and force myself to finish this post in December. Anyway…
Last year, I attempted to read 50 books and failed. But I did manage to read 25 (see the above image), so I didn’t fail completely. I’m actually only half a failure. Go me!
Out of these books there were 11 that I really loved, so I thought I’d do a post on these. If you’d like to see how I rated the other books that I read this year then you’re welcome to follow me on Goodreads.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
This isn’t your typical ‘boy meets girl’ story. When Park first sees Eleanor it’s not love at first sight. She has bright red hair, is dressed in a mish-mash of old, baggy clothing, and turns heads for all the wrong reasons. She’s odd, instantly bullied, and Park doesn’t want her sitting with him on the bus. However, he eventually, he falls for her, and soon learns about her terrifying home life.
I love how this book blows apart unrealistic ideas of romance and shows you how shallow people can actually be. The prejudice towards Eleanor is disgusting, and hardly any of the characters ever think about what her situation might be, and I got genuinely angry every time anyone said anything about her. I was so happy when Park started to really love Eleanor. It was so beautifully done and there were moments where I actually cried. And, I don’t care that the ending is a little bit far-fetched; it was so beautiful and romantic and I loved it.
Dark Doors by LMA Bauman-Milner
Dark Doors is a collection of horror stories, written by a friend of mine. It’s dark (duh), disturbing, and horrifyingly addictive! I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who likes gore, ghost stories or just appreciates a beautifully-crafted sentence. The descriptions in Dark Doors are to die for… literally?
I’d also recommend this to anyone who enjoys being too terrified to sleep at night. Yes, I am a massive wuss. And yes, these stories caused me to sleep with the lights on.
Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
This was hands down the best book I read all year. Radio Silence focuses on the pressure to succeed and the affect this has on mental health. The main character, Frances, has always been an overachiever and so she’s expected to go on to a prestigious university and a life of academia. However, when she starts creating artwork for Aled’s podcast, she realises that she doesn’t want to follow the path that has been laid out for her.
So much goes on in this book, that it was really difficult to sum it up in one sentence. I love all the plot lines, how they are linked, and how Oseman builds towards the climactic ending. I love how every character is carefully constructed and realistic, how she tackles issues such as mental health and gender, and how she shows us a friendship which isn’t romantically charged. I love how racially diverse the characters are, and how wonderful all the minor characters are.
Can you tell I love it?!
Everything I read by Holly Bourne
I read five books by Holly Bourne this year, and they were all brilliant. Bourne writes about teenage girls and their struggles with mental health, sexism and relationships. I really wish her books were around when I was a teenager!
My absolute favourite out of these has to be The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting, where Bree makes a plan to become popular, as she thinks this will give her a life worth writing about. While she has lots of new experiences, makes new friends, improves her relationship with her mum and gains Internet recognition, she also loses her best friend, is publicly humiliated and nearly ruins everything. The character relationships are so well-created, and I love how Bourne shows us that it doesn’t matter how popular you are, you can still experience the same struggles and problems as everyone else. Plus, I loved Bree so much, even though she was a bitch for half the book!
Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard
Beautiful Broken Things is a novel about two girls who have been best friends for years, and how their relationship is changed by the arrival of the troubled but exciting Suzanne. I loved how the themes of mental health and abuse were shown from an outsider perspective, with narrator Caddy’s misunderstanding of the severity of Suzanne’s situation causing some conflict. I’ll be honest, I found the ending disappointing, but it was a realistic conclusion for Suzanne, even if it did feel quite anti-climactic.
Remix by Non Pratt
Remix focuses on two teenage girls attending a music festival, where their ex-boyfriends will be. I’ll be honest, the blurb didn’t initially grip me, but the after reading the first few pages I was hooked. I love the dual narration, and thought both of the characters were very well done. It was also great to see romantic relationships that weren’t shown as perfect, but a realistically complex combination of lies, cheating and confusion. 100% would recommend (the book, not the lies and cheating).
Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland
An absolutely heart-breaking read about teenage relationships and the effects of grief. Our Chemical Hearts is funny, refreshing and, if you’re an overly emotional reader like me, will probably make you have a little cry. I don’t want to say any more as it’ll spoil the plot, but I’d definitely recommend it to anyone.
What was the best book you read in 2016?