Sunday, 31 December 2017

Best Books I Read in 2017

Hi everyone. As the year comes to a close, I thought I would share my favourite novels of 2017. I hope that 2018 brings you happiness. 

As a result of huge college work amounts and various other busy activities in my life in the past year, I only managed to read 30 books which is even less than last year. Although I read fewer novels, I feel like I discovered some greats this year, 

I really enjoyed all of the books mentioned on this list and you can see my full reviews of them linked below. 

Lets jump right in to my list of the best books I read in 2017; 

Like Other Girls  by  Claire Hennessy       [ Review Here ]

This novel is utter brilliance. Like Other Girls deals with so many important and current issues that not only affect those worldwide but also focusing on national Irish issues. The novel touches on hard issues in a realistic and raw way. Claire does not try to sugar coat any aspect of the novel, which I think is how it should be as readers can both learn and begin to understand the issues more clearly. 

The novel covers a host of issues such as sex, relationships, gender, abortion and modern Ireland. Claire Hennessy has created one of the best novels I have ever read on these issues in an Irish context that I hope teenagers and adults read and become educated on these issues. An incredibly emotional novel that will take you on a journey of tears, laughter and strength.This novel is one of the most important and realistic novels about the trials faced by Irish women in Ireland today and should be praised.

Claire is honestly one of my favourite authors of YA today. 

Aurabel  by Laura Dockrill                       [ Review Here
This is a sequel to Laura's previous novel Lorali. I actually feel like I enjoyed this novel even more than the first in the series, which is not something I would ever usually think. 

Aurabel takes place two years after the end of the previous novel. Lorali is mourning the loss of Rory and is living in the human world. I really enjoyed reading about Lorali's life on land and her relationships with Irish, Flynn and Cheryl and how quickly she was accepted into the life Rory had left behind. There was some really heartwarming scenes with her and Flynn where they both comforted each other in their shared grief over Rory. Lorali is such an interesting and honest character and I love reading from her perspective.

The plot of the novel was completely captivating. The world Laura Dockrill has created completely engages the reader as they fall head over heels for the characters and the story. The characters were engaging, realistic and unique. (Also LGBT representation in mermaids YESS!!)

Hugely imaginative and engaging novel that will have you hooked (no pun intended).  I highly recommend this novel for summer time reading.

No Virgin  by  Anne Cassidy                [ Review Here ]
The book deals with a lot of issues such as family life, friendships, teenage emotions, infatuation and ultimately abuse and rape. I think it is obvious Cassidy has done her research into the topic and the story comes across as raw and painful to read. The build up to the attack happens in a way which makes you understand Stacey, her life, her ambitions, personality and dreams all come across from the story in such an authentic way that you feel yourself identifying with her. 
Overall I found the novel extremely emotional, you feel like you are there with Stacey as she goes through everything. The novel was gripping and powerfully portrayed the issue and will hopefully raise awareness and be read by not only teenagers but parents, teachers, adults etc., Cassidy has carried off writing about such an emotive and difficult subject with vividness and raw detail. Highly recommend the novel. 

The Fallen Children  by  David Owens       [ Review Here ]
This book was such a pleasant surprise for me. The book is based on The Midwich Cuckoos by John  Wyndham. I've not read TMC but this YA retelling of it was so creepy and utterly captivating.
The novel focuses around Keisha, Maida, Olivia and Siobhan who, following a mysterious night where all residents of their apartment block fall unconscious for a few hours, discover they have become pregnant. As the girls begin to realise that this is no ordinary pregnancy and search for answers, the more sinister and creepy the novel becomes. 
The characters in this novel were absolutely amazing. They were written so well and came as being so realistic. Keisha was a definite favourite of the novel.Her relationship with Morris, who I completely and utterly loved, was also really nice and heart warming to read about. The novel deals with unrealistic plot themes but what makes the novel so stand out is its realistic aspects. 

Honestly the novel was just amazing. I found it so creepy and haunting but in the best possible way. Such an addicting read and I hope so much that there will be a sequel, but if not an overall incredibly enjoyable and mesmerizing novel. I will definitely be re-reading this in the future. Highly recommend.

Remix  by  Non Pratt    

This was my first Non Pratt book I've read and wow I now need to read EVERYTHING Non has written!! 

This novel was set at a music festival where best friends Ruby and Kaz who were both reeling from recent break ups. I thought one of the best things about this novel was how sucked into the friendship between them the reader becomes. I felt so connected to both girls and felt the impact of each of their ups and downs. The other characters are also so lively and vivid that I would love to read more about them too. 

Really well written characters and striking emotions through out the novel. Also themes of first love, heart break, relationship, friendships, sex and expectation. 
Such a great summer book, I will definitely read it again!

Everything, Everything  by Nicola Yoon    [ Review Here
The novel deals with Madeline, a girl who has not left her house in 17 years as she is allergic to the outside world and exposure to it could kill her. This was such an interesting and unique plot that captivated me.
The first paragraph of the novel captured my attention and had me eager to read more. "I've read many more books than you. It doesn't matter how many you've read. I've read more. Believe me. I've had the time."
The characters of the novel were amazingly written. Maddy was so great. Probably one of my favourite main characters of a standalone novel. She was funny, thoughtful and intelligent. I loved reading about her love of reading too. Her relationships were so well written, not only with the love interest of the novel Olly but also with her mother and her nurse Carla. 
I loved Olly so much. He was so funny, shy and caring towards Maddy. Their relationship was so heartwarming and although it happened semi-fast there was no feeling of "insta-love" in the novel as it was so well written and drawn out. 
The novel was utterly captivating- I finished it in two days because I could not put it down. I will definitely be re-reading this at some point in the future! 

The Call  by  Peadar O' Guilin           [ Review Here

The novel centers around a future Ireland where fairy folk known as Sidhe were banished from Ireland to another realm. As revenge for being evicted from their homeland, the Sidhe take children out of Ireland to their world for 3 minutes and torture them before sending them back. Kids and teenagers are now sent to military style combat schools where they learn to train and prepare for their call one day so that they might survive the horrors that the Sidhe have planned for them. 

This novel is definitely not for the easily scared or faint-hearted. Peadar has created a world so terrifying, you may want to sleep with the light on for the night! The twisted nature of the Sidhe's and how they torture, hurt and brutally maim the kids / teenagers for pleasure is difficult to read- as are the descriptions of what they look like after this ordeal.

The characters in the novel are really well written. I loved the "irishness" that they still had, in terms of slang, behaviors and phrases. The main character Nessa was so unbelievably tough and wonderful to read about. Nessa is strong willed, independent, kick ass in terms of combat and also fiercely loyal.  I loved her determination and constant focus. She was a brilliant character. I also loved Megan, Ms Breen and Anto. I loved the friendship between Nessa and Megan also between Nessa and Anto. 

 A wonderful Irish YA novel.

Margot & Me by Juno Dawson  

Another brilliant offering from one of my favourite authors Juno Dawson! 

This novel deals with such hard hitting topics while also having that heart warming and humorous elements that are often present in her novels. 

Margot was one of my favourite characters and how the relationship and perceptions of her through  Fliss's reading of her diary changes over the course of the novel. The relationships and friendships Fliss has in the novel were so wonderful to read about too. 

The novel was such a wonderful escape. I will definitely be re-reading this novel in future. 

I hope to read even more amazing novels in 2018. Let me know what your favourites of 2017 were and link me to your own posts in the comments below!

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