This is a bit late, but I had a hard time deciding which books I was gonna include on this list and how to address having a problematic favorite.
TOP 8 BOOKS OF 2016
The first three books I want to talk about are young adult books that I really loved.
Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
I loved this book so much. I loved the writing, I loved the characters, I loved the way this book talked about feminism and about being queer, I loved how it represented the different perspectives that exist in these broader movements and the way it showed why intersectionality is so important, I loved the way safe spaces were addressed, and as a Latina I loved the way latinxos were represented. Honestly, I loved so many things about this book that it impossible to name them all here. (If I had to choose a favorite book of 2016, this would definitely be it!)
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
This book has a special place in my heart because back when I read it, it had been a long time since I had read something with amazing representation of latinxs characters and that meant the world to me (I read this before Juliet Takes a Breath). Also, I loved the fact that I could recognized in this book cultural traditions that were similar to the ones of my country. Also, I loved he whole world building and magic system, the fact that they were based on latinx cultural traditions made them interesting and unique.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
The characters were the driving force in this book; they were complex and captivating. The group dynamic had me enthralled the entire time, I loved it because it’s the type of relationships where the characters don’t entirely like each other but need to stay together to reach their individual goals. I don’t actually like heist stories that much, but this was interesting and the plot twist kept me entertained through the book. Also, the writing was really good, even if the pacing was a bit uneven.
The next four books I am gonna talk about are Adult books from different genres, that go from mystery to chick lit to literary fiction.
The Secret History by Donna Tart
The characters were my favorite part of this book; they were enigmatic and fascinating and even when they did things or had thoughts that were disturbing, I never found myself quite disliking them. I really enjoyed the writing style. This was the first Donna Tartt book I read and I found her writing compelling and beautiful. Also, the fact that the book revolved around the study of greek literature and language was quite interesting, there was an underlying commentary about power, elitism, morality, depravity, freedom, insanity, even religion.
Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares
At the beginning of this book, I thought I was gonna hate it. I couldn’t believe that Ann Brashares had done something so awful; I got angry and sad. Nonetheless, as I read I realized she was portraying real life; this book dealt with what happens when you grow older, when you are not a young adult anymore, and it did it in such a realistic way that it was at times hard to read. I loved seeing all the characters of the past books after such a long time, seeing what happened to them was great. Even if there were sad parts, reading this book was a heartwarming experience.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson
I think this was my favorite book in the series, all the lose ends of the second book found a resolution in this one. I loved reading about all Lisbeth, Mikael and all the other members of the team had to do to catch the bad guys, and I thought it was interesting how complex this series started to get by adding new characters that weren’t always working with each other and didn’t always had the same or all the information. This was one of the series that introduced me to mystery/thrillers, which is now one of my favorite genres, so it has a special place in my heart.
Twenties Girls by Sophie Kinsella
This was one of the first books I read by Sophie Kinsella and even if I had a few problems with the books I read after this one, I loved Twenties Girls. It made me fall in love with the twenties even more than I was before. My favorite thing about this book was the relationship between Lara and Sadie, female friendships for the win! Even if I suffered with secondhand embarrassment by all the silly and ridiculious things that Lara had to do for Sadie. Also, this almost made me cry by how things worked out for Sadie. I had so many feelings while reading this book.
And now… let’s talk about the problematic favorites!
Empire of Storms & A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
These were the books that made the process of writing this post so hard. When I started to write this I realized that if I was being honest I had to include both of these books on my list because I enjoyed them a lot. Nonetheless, I was very conflicted because I know these books are problematic. From the way the POCs are treated as plot devices to queer bating and consent issues (about drugs), these books have a lot of problems. I knew that if I was gonna include these books on this list I had to call out the problematic aspects, but the fact that I was including them made me wonder why did I like these books in the first place and why did I not notice the problematic aspects until someone else mentioned them.I read the first 4 books in the TOG series and loved them, before I found out about the problematic content. I found out when I became more involved on twitter and I followed bookworms that were either members of other marginalized groups (in case you didn’t know, I’m Latina) or allies to those groups. I have learned a lot since then, but I still got a lot more to learn. Anyway, I liked these books, but I have to recognized that they have problematic content and I feel the responsibility of talking about it when I mention them.
I have two favorite series of 2016, to classify for this category I had to have read all the books in the series in 2016. I want you to know that at least my favorite book of each of these series would have made it into my favorites list if I hadn’t done a separated category.
The Addicted/ Calloway Sisters Series
There’s 10 books in this series, I read them for the first time in July 2016 and I had to re-read them by November 2016. That’s how obsessed I was with this series and how much I loved all the books. My favorite book in the series was the last one (Some Kind of Perfect), because we get POVs for the six main characters and since I can’t choose a favorite couple this is perfect for me. This series dealt with family, friendship, the link between fame and privacy, sexual orientation, PTSD and depression, sex addiction and alcoholism, also this series has very positive representation of going to therapy as something you don’t have to be ashamed of, something that helps people. This is definitely my favorite new adult series of all times.
All for the Game Series by Nora Sokovik
I loved the complex characters and the unique set up of the story because it revolved around a fictional sport and I became really invested in the championship even when I don’t like sports that much. My favorite book was the last one called the King’s Men, it was a great conclusion to the series. There was a diverse cast of characters and it had this strange and atmospheric feel to it, even if it was set in a college, it also had to do with crime families. This was a bit weird, but really good as well.
FAVORITE GRAPHIC NOVEL
I don’t read that many graphic novels because I tend to not enjoy them that much, but this year I found one that I loved. Both the story and the art were incredible.
City of Clowns by Daniel Alarcon and
This graphic novel was set in Perú and it dealt recurrently with the theme of poverty in a perfect and sensitive way. Also, it was interesting to see very serious topics being adressed while incorporating clowns to the narrative. The art was really good as well, it’s all black and white and it went really well with the story.
I don’t usually read poetry, but this year I read a few really good poetry collections and I decided to highlight my two favorites.
Poems by Maya Angelou
I don’t read that much poetry, but this is definitely my favorite poetry collection of all times. It was meaningful, impactful, it transmitted so much emotion and the voice behind the poems was so present that it made the poems feel incredibly personal. This dealt mainly with themes of race and gender and included one of the most popular Maya Angelou’s poem And Still I Rise, which let’s be honest is a masterpiece.
The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace
There’s a broad variaty of themes in this collection and a consistency in the quality of the poems. I loved the ones that dealt with womenhood, death, abuse and suicide, I though they were both powerful and relatable.
Have you read any of these books? Did you like them? I want to know about your favorite books of 2016, if you made a post about them, leave me a link!