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My Year in Books

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?

22 thoughts on “My Year in Books

  1. I can’t possibly choose the best book I’ve read in 2016 (mainly because I can hardly remember what I read 😅). Though I did read some that I really loved like the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (still have one more to read).

    I love Rainbow Rowell and I’ll definitely have to read Eleanor and Park when I get the chance. I’ve read another book of hers called Fangirl and I loved that one. It was definitely relatable.

  2. It’s fine to still do recaps on the past :). As long as you could express what you wanted to express, it’s all good~

    25 books is pretty good (better than my 0). Love stories where love sprouted from some sort of conflict are the best. Oh man, I’m not a fan of scary stories so I’d probably stay away from Dark Doors. Characters who overcome obstacles to be successful beings make a great story :). For some reason, I’m curious about what else the teenage girls from Remix goes through. Festivals are so big that the chances of bumping into each other are slim @___@. But that’s just me XD.

    1. They do bump into each other an awful lot considering the size of the festival! But I find stuff like that happens a lot in fiction so I really don’t mind it. Even though my creative writing lecturer would have complained if we did it!

  3. I attempted the Goodreads challenge last year, but that didn’t really work out for me. I’m determined to try it again this year, though!

    I started reading Eleanor and Park a couple of years ago, but I never fnished it and I’m not sure why. I love Rainbow Rowell! I’ll definitely have to check out the other books on your list.

    I really enjoyed reading Girl on the Train! Bloody fantastic and i couldn’t put it down.

    1. I’m hoping I manage more books this year, but I’m not pressuring myself. No point rushing a good book!

      I’ll definitely have to read Girl on the Train! It sounds so good!

  4. I heard how great Rainbow Rowell is but couldn’t bring myself to read Eleanor and Park because Park is half-Korean and I’ve heard that the author didn’t do enough research (which would bother me because I’m Korean and I would notice) and I’m afraid she just passed him off as a token Asian.

    25 books is still really impressive! I feel like creating challenges for yourself is really important and as long as you’re reading, I think that’s the most important part.

    I actually haven’t read any of these books on your list. I’ll have to look into some of them!

    1. To be honest, Park’s family weren’t the best part of the book, but I love Eleanor’s story, and I was more excited by their class differences than anything else. I’ve seen books so far worse jobs with characters!

  5. I started reading again, and it’s Marley and Me <3 I couldn't help it! Though I didn't know many of these authors because I go for nonfiction usually and historical nonfiction at that.

  6. 25 books in a year is good! I didn’t even finish one… 🙁 I used to be a big reader. The book I’m reading (on and off) is Doctor Sleep by Stephen King, it’s a good book but has dark themes. I need a break from it.

    I’m going to check out Dark Doors and, I’ve not heard of Holly Bourne but, from your description, I think I’d enjoy her stories.

    1. I was like that during my Master’s. I literally read one book for fun throughout the entire year. Been trying to make more time for it since though!

  7. Oooh, I’ve been looking forward to this post!!

    I read Eleanor and Park, but I wasn’t really blown away with it. I enjoyed it, but there were some plot things that bothered me. As where you liked the ending even if it wasn’t practical, it drove me bonkers, haha. I also think my expectations were too high going in because I’ve only heard positively glowing reviews about it.

    I think I’ve heard of Radio Silence, perhaps in passing. It sounds soo good though! I feel like I would be able to really relate to the main character, since that’s what I’m kind of at in my life. I’ve added this one to my to-read list!

    My favorite book I read in 2016 was the Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. It tells the story of two sisters during WWII France, and oh my goodness I still can’t stop gushing about it. It’s not just one of my favorite books of 2016, but definitely one of my favorite books of all time. The I felt every emotion that the characters felt and I just sobbed at the ending, even though it wasn’t that sad. Love love loved it.

  8. Even if you didn’t hit your goal, I think 25 is really good! I mean, I think I only read like… 2, so you’re way ahead of me 😉 That’s nice that you’ve found several books that explore mental health and non-stereotypical romances. I feel like those are likely more relatable for most people.

    I barely read anything outside of manga and comics, but my favorite novel last year was probably The Martian!

    1. I keep hearing loads of great things about The Martian, so I’ll have to check it out. I read so much manga and so many comics, but I never add them to my list. Maybe I should next year?

  9. Haha, I know right? It amazes me sometimes that I can use so many products. Luckily for me, I only use 3 to 4 products most of the time…

    Reading 25 books in a life is quite a feat! I don’t think I even read 1 book in 2016…

  10. I really enjoyed reading through your list. It seems like you really enjoyed these books 😀 Radio Silence by Alice Oseman sounds really really good. I might have to buy it/add it to my Amazon wish list. I’m currently still half way through GONE GIRL.

    Well done on 25 though, I think I got to about 15 last year I don’t remember, but I had the goal of 8 haha. Just because I am just super busy! Glad I made time for them though because they were a great read!

  11. I’ve heard of Eleanor and Park, but haven’t gotten around to reading it. I think I’m a sucker for those kinds of novels. I have heard both good and bad things about the book (most of the bad reviews were just people complaining about the romance, pff people just get over it!), but I think this is still one I would personally like.

    Remix sounds really interesting, actually. Definitely not your usual book about relationships… that too sounds like one I might enjoy!

    It’s kinda nice when books get you a little teary. I’ve had that happen to me a few times. 😆 It’s when I know that a book has had that much of an impact on me and that I have been really drawn towards some of the characters.

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