I have mentioned several times on this blog that I am an avid reader. If I could, I would read all day everyday. Today I wanted to share the best books that I read in 2016, not to be confused with books that were published in 2016. Some of these books were published in 2016, and some were published in years prior. I’d say I have probably read around 100 plus books this past year (no exaggeration), the books listed below are the ones that really stood out to me and I gave them all 5/5 star reviews.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes- It was an extremely successful year for this book as the movie adaptation came out this past June. I fortunately read the book before seeing the movie, and while I did enjoy the movie, the book was 100x better. The story follows a twenty something girl who takes a job as a caregiver for a young, wealthy quadriplegic. What follows is an unforgettable love story that will stay with you long after you finish the last page. Quick tip- keep the tissues handy!
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone- I loved this book for so many reasons, but especially because of the way that the author approached the stigma of mental illness. She gives an incredibly accurate depiction of what it is like to suffer from an anxiety disorder, specifically OCD. What I enjoyed most about this book was the fact that it was made very clear that the main character did not let her OCD define her, while it was a part of who she was, she did her best to work her way through the days without succumbing to her disorder. A lot of YA novels that I’ve read that try to tackle the topic of mental illness have a main character who is magically cured of their disorder through love or something like it. When in reality that’s not how life works. This book is incredible because of how realistic and relatable the characters are. There is an odd twist near the end that I definitely did not see coming, but that’s all Im going to say about that 🙂
Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern- This is another book that actually has a movie adaptation, but the difference here is that I saw the movie first! Funny enough, the male lead in both Me Before You and Love, Rosie were played by Sam Claflin (who I adore). I loved the movie so much that I decided I needed to read the book. And let me tell you, the book is amazing and it is so different from the movie that I can honestly say I cannot decide which I like more. The book’s format is interesting as it is told through a series of letters, emails, texts and instant messages. It follows the main characters from ages five to well into their forties. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a well-rounded chick lit story.
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson- As you might have noticed, this is not the only Morgan Matson book that I have included on this list. And that is because she is the absolute master of YA contemporaries. Dare I say it, but I think she might just be the next Sarah Dessen. Her most recent novel revolves around a teen girl who’s summer plans get derailed and she’s forced to stay at home and work. There are dogs, nerdy cute boys, laughs and did I mention dogs?? What’s not to love ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware- I am a total sucker for a good thriller, and this debut novel by Ruth Ware really captivated me. It’s not a long book by any means and the story moves along at a fast pace, so it is a fairly quick read. This novel takes place during the events of a “hen party” (UK version of s bachelorette party) and alternates between past and present, finally coming together near the end. I don’t want to detail much more of the plot because I think that thrillers are much more enjoyable when you go into them blind.
Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling- My first recommendation regarding this book is to listen to the audiobook version. It is read by Ms. Kaling herself, which I loved because you really got a better sense of her stories and how they were delivered. I enjoyed this book so much more than her first. Unlike her first memoir, these essays mainly take place during her adult life and tell the story of her career and personal relationships. It is hilarious and incredibly insightful.
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson- This novel is the perfect summer beach read. It takes place during the summer months (as you can probably tell by the title) on a lake filled with cabin owners and vacationers. The story follows a teen girl and her family who go back to their childhood vacation cabin on the lake for one last perfect summer before her terminally ill father passes. While the premise is terribly sad, Matson does a wonderful job of balancing the good, the bad and the romantic.
Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum- I just recently completed this book and I was barely halfway through when I just knew that it would make this list. Tell Me Three Things is definitely a traditional YA contemporary but is so well rounded. Buxbaum creates such complex and well thought out characters, people who you wish you could hang out with in real life. A large component of this novel focuses on grief and Buxbaum draws from her own personal experiences to really make sure that the reader actually feels what the character feels, which I think is a unique component that sets this novel apart of other YA books.
I Like You Just the Way I Am by Jenny Mollen- This book is a collection of autobiographical essays written by possibly the most entertaining woman on Earth. Jenny Mollen is a comedian, actress and writer who happens to be married to actor Jason Biggs. She puts into words every thought that every girl has probably wanted to say out loud at some point in their life, but didn’t for fear of sounding crazy. Jenny Mollen knows she’s crazy and has a total IDGAF attitude about life, love and relationships. From being completely and utterly obsessed with her husbands ex-girlfriend to coming up with uh…let’s say interesting ways to spice up her sex life, Mollen will have you laughing so hard you start gasping for air.
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty- This book is a total diamond in the rough and undeservingly fly’s under the radar. Moriarty is mainly known for her page-turning thrillers, which are amazing, but this story is really something different. It follows main character Alice who one day is twenty-nine, married and pregnant and after a bump on the head, the next thing she knows, it’s ten years later and her entire world as she knew it had fallen apart. In this novel, you join Alice as she tries to piece together the last ten years of her life, told in alternating points of view from various characters. It is a heartwarming, heart wrenching and clever book that will leave you wanting more long after you finish.