2017 End of the Year Book Survey

Hi friends, and happy Saturday!

How are you? Can you believe it’s the last weekend of 2017? I love the calls for reflection and organization that come with the start of a new year, and from conversations with friends, I know I’m not the only one. That in mind, I’m hoping to use today and tomorrow to tend to my planner, look ahead to a few 2018 projects, and, of course, read my final book of the year (!!).

Speaking of books, I’m really excited to participate in Jamie’s annual end-of-the-year reading survey. I completed it a few years back, and I enjoyed the opportunity to look over and assess the books I had read. 2017 personally proved an excellent year for reading, and I know I can name numerous titles that I will surely recommend for years to come. There are a number of novels coming your way, so I have only three final notes: I tried my utmost best to name books only once (variety!), I kept to the bookish questions only, and HERE‘s the link if you want to join in on the fun too.

Number of books you read: 52 (but we’ll see if I can fit in one or two before Sunday night!)
Number of re-reads: Just one! I love to revisit Caroline Kennedy’s A Family Christmas every holiday season.
Genre you read the most from: YA contemporary, per usual.

1 Favorite Books1. Best book you read in 2017?
Everything All at Once by Katrina Leno, We Are Okay by Nina LaCour, and How to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore | Is it okay if I cheat a bit at this question? Though I read fewer books in 2017 than I would have liked, narrowing down my favorites still proved difficult. I settled on the three above, all of which entered my life at exactly the right time (and I will gladly gush about them to anyone who asks). Literature at its finest.

Runner-ups, because three just wasn’t enough: Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert and The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

2 Survey2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn’t?
Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart | There is no doubt that E. Lockhart is an incredible writer (if you haven’t read We Were Liars yet, you’re missing out), which is why I was so bummed that her latest, Genuine Fraud, didn’t work for me. Alas, I’ll just look forward to her next release!

3. Most surprising {in a good way or bad way} book you read?
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds | I should have revisited the summary before diving into Jason Reynolds’ newest novel, for the appearance of characters who had already died took me by surprise! That said, Long Way Down is a profound read, one that I’d urge you to check out for yourself.

4. Book you pushed the most people to read {and they did}?
Flying Lessons and Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh | I don’t know how many people actually picked it up on the basis of my suggestion, but I certainly felt like I was recommending this middle-grade anthology left and right! Edited by Ellen Oh of We Need Diverse Books, Flying Lessons boosts a stellar line-up of authors and a really wonderful set of stories. If it wasn’t already clear, I highly recommend it :)

3 Survey5. Best series you started in 2017? Best sequel of 2017? Best series ender of 2017?
Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han / Take the Key and Lock Her Up by Ally Carter | I didn’t start or continue many series in 2017, so I’ll instead use this question to draw attention to two of best final installments I read this year. Jenny Han’s last book in the To All the Boys I Loved Before trilogy made me cry (she has a knack for writing realistic teenagers), while Ally Carter’s third and final Embassy Row novel had me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. While it was hard to say goodbye, I’m glad both series ended on such good notes.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?
Tiffany D. Jackson, author of Allegedly | Tiffany D. Jackson’s debut came out in January, so I fear she might have fallen from your radar in the slew of 2017 releases. It would be a shame not to revisit her work now, for Allegedly was one of the most well-paced and well-crafted novels I read this year. I’m excited to see what she writes next!

4 Survey7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows | I don’t mean to keep bringing up My Lady Jane, but I so rarely read fantasy novels, that this was the only novel to come to mind. Though it was out of my comfort zones, I couldn’t be happier to have picked it up – I’m already in eager anticipation for Book Two!

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Little Monsters by Kara Thomas | Leave it to a veteran YA author like Kara Thomas to write such a chilling – and as I initially wrote on Goodreads, mind-boggling! – thriller. I devoured Little Monsters in mere hours so anxious was I to see how the mystery ended.

9. Book you read in 2017 that you are most likely to re-read next year?
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli | Regular readers of Ciao Bella know that re-reading is not one of my strengths. Even so, I think if there is any opportunity for re-reading in 2018, it would be Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and the delightful The Upside of Unrequited before Love, Simon hits theaters. Just think: a weekend full of Becky Albertalli!

5 Survey10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour | The cover of We Are Okay beautifully captures the stillness and melancholia that defines the book. It’s characteristic of artist Adams Carvalho’s work, which showcases both the rebellion and solitude of adolescence. More covers (and stories!) like this, please.

11. The most memorable character of 2017?
Julia from You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner | Julia, the protagonist of Whitney Gardner’s debut, is many things: creative, confident, sometimes bitter, sometimes mean. But such complexity and layers are what make up my favorite characters (that she’s Deaf – an identity so rarely explored in YA – is further reason to read You’re Welcome, Universe).

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017?
The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu | There were times while I was reading The Careful Undressing of Love that I stopped simply to appreciate the beauty of Haydu’s writing. I don’t think the story is perfect, nor do I think the characters are fully fleshed out, but reading it is like living a dream.

6 Survey13. Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2017?
Everything All at Once by Katrina Leno | Everything All at Once is well-written, without a doubt. What pushed it to my favorite category, however, is that it prompts reflection on “big” things that feel so relevant to the YA audienceparticularly: What makes a life well-lived? What is the true significance of living once? Why is death so ambiguous, yet feared? I want to read it again, and I hope you’ll check it out too.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read?
Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour | I’ve had this contemporary novel on my TBR list for years, and I’m only mad that I waited this long to actually grab it from the library. Nina LaCour’s writing is a treasure, and Everything Leads to You proves why: characters who are developed with heart, a story that engages readers, and an ending that asks for quiet reflection.

15. Favorite passage or quote from a book you read in 2017?
“The thing about a story is that you dream it as you tell it, hoping that others might then dream along with you, and in this way, memory and imagination and language combine to make spirits in the head. There is the illusion of aliveness.” – Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried.

7 Survey16. Shortest and longest book you read in 2017?
Shortest: Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | Adichie has mastered the writing of small pockets of wisdom. Though it is merely 63 pages, Dear Ijeawele is a powerful piece to read in the era of modern feminism.

Longest: Pick Your Poison by Lauren Child | Let it be known: I LOVE the Ruby Redfort books. Lauren Child’s wise-cracking sleuth is an absolute delight, and each installment in the series is only better than the last.

17. Book that shocked you the most?
One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus | I think the “Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars” pitch is an apt comparison for Karen M. McManus’ debut. Combining high school politics with a murder mystery, the book had me glued to my seat until I was able to finish – and WHAT an ending it is.

8 Survey18. OTP of the year {you will go down with this ship!}?
Phoebe and Archer from Girls in the Moon by Janet McNally | I always struggle with this question. It struck me while reading Girls in the Moon earlier last week that perhaps I have such difficulty because my favorite fictional relationships are those that don’t call for much attention; they, in other words, grow naturally. Phoebe and Archer’s own isn’t perfect, but they seem to me like two genuinely kind people who care about one another – no better “ship” than that.

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year?
Suzette and Lionel from Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert | Little & Lion is one of my favorite books of 2017 for a variety of reasons, but top among them is that it explores the unique bond that exists between siblings. I’ll take any YA novel that showcases the power of family, but Suzette and Lionel’s story has lasted long in my memory.

20. Favorite book you read in 2017 from an author you’ve read previously?
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson | I think the only surprising thing about my enjoyment of The Unexpected Everything is that I waited so long to read it! Matson writes the best of the best YA contemporary novels, and The Unexpected Everything was no exception. Don’t be silly like me and delay reading it.

9 Survey21. Best book you read in 2017 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure?
Be True to Me by Adele Griffin | I can’t say I checked out Adele Griffin’s Be True to Me out of peer pressure, but after seeing it on so many BEA haul posts and tweets, I couldn’t resist reading it myself. I can see why so many people clamored to grab it; Griffin writes such a compelling blend of mystery, historical fiction, and romance.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?
Gideon from Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills | Fictional crush is another question that I find hard, but since I’m asked to choose, I’d go with the charming Gideon from Foolish Hearts. Who needs a brooding YA hero when you have a respectful, funny, and undoubtedly kind character to admire?! :)

23. Best 2015 debut you read?
How to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore | How to Break a Boy is another book I haven’t stopped talking about, but I hope you’ll take note: it’s a revenge plot done right, with complex characters and compelling writing. If this is Laurie Devore’s debut, I can only imagine what her next novel has in store. 

10 Survey24. Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting you read this year?
The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein | At the conclusion of The Pearl Thief, I had only one thought: I want to travel to Scotland! In all seriousness, this novel, the prequel to the equally good Code Name Verity, paints a stunning picture of Scottish country landscapes. I’d be honored to spend a day in the home of main character Julie and her family.

25. Book that put a smile on your face/was the most FUN to read?
I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo | There are times while reading where I have to stop and walk away because I’m simultaneously laughing and cringing at the events in the story. I did this not one, not twice, but multiple times when reading I Believe in a Thing Called LoveIf you need a good laugh (and smile!), you’d do well to pick it up.

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2017?
Far from the Tree by Robin Benway | On the opposite end of emotions is Far from the Tree, Robin Benway’s award-winning novel that had me in near tears by its last chapter. I like to call it the This is Us effect: any book that explores adoption, fostering, and the making of a family also calls for a box of tissues. 

11 Survey27. Hidden gem of the year?
Grace and the Fever by Zan Romanoff | I want everyone to read Grace and the Fever and, frankly, I want more YA books like it. Romances that have a presence in the story, but not at the expense of individual character development. Plots that do not belittle or ignore the interests of teens. Contemporary novels that start in high school, but blur into college life. In short? I loved it.

28. Book that crushed your soul?
The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord | I shouldn’t be surprised at this point, given that I’ve read all of Emery Lord’s novels, but The Names They Gave Us was all at once emotion-packed, thought-provoking, and adorable. I loved every second of it, tears it produced and all.

29. Most unique book you read in 2017?
The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra | Marra’s The Tsar of Love and Techno, which I read as part of my freshman orientation, took my breath away. Jumping between characters and time periods, Marra weaves a compelling collection of short stories that ends in outer space. I haven’t ventured much into adult literary fiction, but take my word for it: this is a unique, worthwhile read.

12 Survey30. Book that made you the most mad {doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it}?
Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios | Heather Demetrios writes such raw, gripping contemporary novels, and it was no different of a case with her latest book, Bad Romance. While it was obviously well-written, I hate that abusive and toxic relationships are a reality for so many. No one should be a victim of such treatment.

31. One book you didn’t get to in 2017, but will be your number one priority in 2018?
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas | I KNOW, I’m upset I haven’t gotten to this one either! I’m so late to reading Angie Thomas’ widely acclaimed debut, but due to a busy semester, I had to return it to the library before I could finish. It’s on my nightstand now, so you can be sure I’ll be reading it first thing in the new year.

32. Book you are most anticipating for 2017 {non-debut}?
Save the Date by Morgan Matson | I shared quite a few titles that I can’t wait to read (eighteen, in fact!) on Tuesday, but I think the one I’m most excited about is Morgan Matson’s newest novel, due out in June. Her contemporary novels rank among my absolute favorites, so I’m looking forward to adding Save the Date to my shelf.

13 Survey33. 2017 debut you are most anticipating?
American Panda by Gloria Chao | I don’t have as good of a sense of what debuts are coming out in 2018, but one novel I do know of is Gloria Chao’s American Panda. Taiwanese-American narrator? Contemporary set in college? Themes of family and love and coming-of-age? It has all I could ask for and more – February, come soon!

34. Series ending or a sequel you are most anticipating in 2017?
The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall | As much as I don’t want to say goodbye to the Penderwick family, I am glad that Jeanne Birdsall has provided us fans with one more heart-warming story. The Penderwicks at Last comes out in May, and so I’ll be reading it as soon as I finish finals.

35. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2017?
Finally, as much as reading isn’t about the numbers, I nevertheless like to set a personal numerical goal of reading 100 books a year. Academic commitments have made it more difficult of a goal in recent years, but I’m hoping I can accomplish it in 2018!

Have a terrific weekend and end to the year.


6 thoughts on “2017 End of the Year Book Survey

  1. I can’t believe the end of the year is here already, but I feel like that’s sometihng I say every year. I do hope you have the opportunity to get into The Hate U Give next year! It was one of my favorite reads of this year and it actually broke a reading slump I was having during the school year (I hadn’t read for a couple months, and then I got through The Hate U Give in a day!). But I am glad that you enjoyed I Believe in a Thing Called Love, I’m hoping to read that soon. I hope you have a wonderful new year!

    claire @ clairefy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed The Hate U Give! I’m planning to start it tomorrow morning, and I cannot wait :) And YES – I Believe in a Thing Called Love is so adorable! I hope you enjoy it.

      Thank you so much for stopping by, and happy 2018!


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