My Favorite Books of 2017 (So Far!)

Hi friends!Top Ten TuesdayIs your week off to a good start? I’m making my way though Adele Griffin’s Be True to Me — who can resist a ’70s set story of romance and betrayal? Not I, clearly — and whipping up a recipe with fresh fruit from the farmer’s market before popping some popcorn for tonight’s iZombie finale. It’s the pattern of my summer thus far: relaxing and reinvigorating, just how I like it!

In addition, I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that we are now halfway through 2017, as evident by this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic: Best Books We’ve Read in 2017 So Far. With college and other extracurriculars on my mind during senior year, I didn’t read as much as I usually do, so you’ll find below the eight novels I did read that I consider current favorites. What books have you enjoyed so far this year?

Before I begin, a reminder: Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the always wonderful bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. Pop on over to read posts from others or to add your own!

The Upside of UnrequitedTo start, Becky Albertalli’s sophomore novel, The Upside of Unrequited, is nothing short of a gem. It was the first book I read this year, giving me ample time throughout the winter to suggest it to friends and family alike ahead of its release this past April. I’ve continually recommended it for good reason: the characters are drawn with humor and plenty of heart, and Albertalli shapes the story with her knack for teen romance. A book is good when it has me smiling from beginning to end.

How to Break a BoyI’ve read quite a few young adult debuts this year, but none have stood out to me so much as Laurie Devore’s How to Break a Boy. Taking the typical “mean girl” narrative for a spin, Devore delivers a compelling and realistic story that packs an emotional punch and develops characters who are certainly flawed, but who also force readers to listen, think, and reflect. I’m only bummed that the novel has flown under the radar since its release, as I, for one, can already tell it will be one of my favorites by the year’s end.

We Are OkayLike any form of art, there are some books that enter your life at the right time.  My list of such novels is long, but among them is Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay, which I read and fell in love with this past spring. Weaving together such emotions as grief, love, and loneliness after the narrator’s family has been lost, it is quiet and simple and right up my alley. The lyrical, pensive, and oft-melancholic style won’t appeal to all readers, but I myself plan to read it once or twice more through, along with the rest of LaCour’s collection.

Flying Lessons and Other StoriesOn the middle grade end of things, one book comes to mind from what I’ve read this year: the anthology Flying Lessons and Other Stories, compiled by one of the founders of We Need Diverse Books. That the book showcases kids of such a wide range of backgrounds, abilities, and interests is reason alone to recommend it, but I consider it a favorite of the year because not one story fell too short from the bar, a rarity with short story collections. Is it too much to hope for another one in the works?

The Names They Gave UsI absolutely adored Emery Lord’s 2017 release, The Names They Gave Us, but that should come as little surprise, for Lord has consistently written novels with well-developed characters, strong familial and friendship dynamics, and plots that make me cry, not because they are sad, but because her writing can prompt a cathartic release. The Names They Gave Us follows in the same tradition, as readers follow the protagonist Lucy’s summer as a camp counselor and her mom’s battle with cancer. In short? I loved it.

The Importance of Being EarnestIt’s not often that I share the books I’ve read in school here on Ciao Bella, if only because I typically found my English classroom curriculum rather dry {or, on the flip side, found no reason to review a classic already loved and adored by so many, myself included!}. With that said, however, this list wouldn’t feel complete without Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, a play I read for AP literature. I rarely laugh out loud while reading, and yet, Wilde’s satirical look at Victorian society had me giggling with each flip of the page. A winner, no doubt.

The Things They CarriedSimilarly, The Things They Carried also hails from my AP Lit syllabus, though its setting and subject are a far cry from Wilde’s English drama. A collection of stories linked by the Vietnam war and the experiences of the author Tim O’Brien, the novel effortlessly moves between fact and fiction to produce what has been rightfully called a “classic work of American literature.” As someone who generally avoids “war stories,” for lack of a more specific term, I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did, nor did I expect the stories to linger in my mind for so long.

The Careful Undressing of LoveFinally, for someone who has felt unsatisfied with Corey Ann Haydu’s work in the past, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed her latest release, The Careful Undressing of Love. With thanks to Haydu’s dreamy and descriptive writing, readers are invited into an enchanting, reimagined world where the Devonnaire girls reside. From the eye-catching cover to the stunning last chapter, I was captivated from beginning to end. Magical realism fans would do well to pick it up.

Have a lovely Tuesday!
B

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13 thoughts on “My Favorite Books of 2017 (So Far!)

  1. The Importance of Being Earnest and The Things They Carried are both FANTASTIC!! I really want to read The Names They Gave Us because I adored When We Collided <3 Great list!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, they are excellent! I’m hoping to read The Picture of Dorian Gray next :) And yay, you will definitely enjoy The Names They Gave Us then – I hope you’re able to read it this summer!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m actually planning on reading How to Break a Boy and We Are Okay soon! Just got them from the library. Really cool that you liked HTBAB cause I haven’t seen much about it anywhere else, I just stumbled upon it on the catalog.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes to The Upside of Unrequited and We Are Okay – those are definitely two of my favorite books so far as well. :) Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous choices! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great list! How to Break a Boy sounds right up my alley. I’m glad I read your post because I haven’t seen anything about it anywhere else.

    Liked by 1 person

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