While 2016 has not been good for the world for quite a few reasons, there have been some good things – in fact, Bex from My Shelf and Myself did a guest post on bookish reasons 2016 wasn’t so bad. One of the good bookish things was the amazing books released this year, as I have read some absolutely incredible books. I’m going to share my ten favourite 2016 releases, as well as six other books that I’ve read this year that have really made an impression on me, as then overall I will have talked about my top 16 of 2016. I did a similar post half way through the year, so it will be interesting to see what’s changed. Also, I’ve reviewed most of the books I’m talking about, so I’ll link to them if you’re interested to read those!
Note: I have had the good fortune to read a couple of 2017 releases; however, in this post I am only going to be talking about 2016 releases, and a couple earlier than that. Also, generally these aren’t in any particular order – bar my top three. In joint first for the year are Radio Silence and Under Rose-Tainted Skies, and then third has to be Girl Detached. The others, however, I am writing about at random!)
Radio Silence by Alice Oseman is an incredible book about fandoms, modern culture and exam stress, following the protagonist Frances as she struggles with what she wants from life and what she feels she should want. A triumph for diversity which I would recommend to readers young and old.
Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall is not only joint first book of the year for me, but it’s my favourite debut of the year too. Norah Dean has agoraphobia, OCD and anxiety, and the story follows her struggle to recovery. It’s raw and honest and real, and a must-read for anyone looking to learn about mental health. (Louise Gornall is also such a lovely person, and I interviewed her as a part of Blogmas.)
Girl Detached by Manuela Salvi is a harrowing read, but also undeniably a powerful one. Dealing with grooming and prostitution, I think this book has the potential for an immense impact on society.
When We Collided by Emery Lord is the beautifully-written, emotional and poignant tale of Vivi and Jonah, exploring mental health by looking at bipolar disorder and grief. The writing and creation of Verona Cove is exquisite, and it’s a book I would definitely recommend.
Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield is another harrowing read about child abuse. It is difficult to get through, and quite upsetting to even think about what June goes through, but I do not regret reading it for even a heartbeat. The way the story develops and the ending are so intense as well. It is a book that was exceptionally well crafted.
Inferno by Catherine Doyle is the sequel to Vendetta, the first book in the Blood for Blood trilogy. The way it is written is amazing, as there’s something about the words which makes them so vivid that I could literally imagine the entire story unfolding before my eyes. The plot twist was what made me love this book even more than the first in the series – a rare occurrence for me!
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven is a book that I think everyone in the bookish community was looking forward to reading. There were so many things about this book that made me enjoy it, from the exploration of a topic I’d previously not heard much about, to Libby’s amazing self love. I think this book is one that will be talked about for a while to come.
Max by Sarah Cohen-Scali is the story of a boy born and raised to be of service to the Nazi party, and it follows the difficulties this plunges his life into when he befriends a Jewish boy. This book was well written, well told, and covered a tricky but important subject matter.
. . . And a Happy New Year? by Holly Bourne was the finale to the amazing Spinster Club series. I loved this book – it’s a novella, so unfortunately I didn’t get to enjoy reading about the trio of friends for that long, but I loved seeing where their lives had ended up, and it was a sad, perfect way to round off a great series.
Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard tells a story of friendship and mental health, with three flawed and fascinating protagonists. It is a rare treat to find a book that deals so well with friendship over romance, and the ending was emotional but perfect.
And finally, there were a few books released earlier than 2016 – some last year, and others in the 19th century, so quite a spread.
Panther by David Owen deals with depression and suicide in a way that is difficult to read, but absolutely grabs you, and leaves you heartbroken at the end.
Birdy by Jess Vallance has an incredible twist – I can’t say too much about this for fear that I’ll ruin it for someone else, but rest assured that it is fascinating and dark.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini gripped me when I was in the middle of a reading slump, and had me hooked. An incredible, incredible story.
1984 by George Orwell is a classic I can’t believe I didn’t read sooner, and is such an important book to show how dark things could become.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood should be mandatory reading for anyone who consider themselves a feminist. Another dystopian future that we should be desperately trying to avoid.
And finally, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is so clever, so detailed in its level of aspects to analyse, and it has feminist undertones, so I didn’t think I could not include it in this list.
And there you have it! I think that all of these books were so good, and honestly I would recommend reading all of them, so if you are looking for a book to read, I would suggest any of these. I’m now looking forward to the incredible books we’ve got coming up in 2017!