The end of the year is upon us, and we are about to embark into 2017. Given that we both did a lot of reading this past year, and had a lot of opinions about what we read, we thought that we would reveal our top picks of the year this entire week! Today I’m finishing my countdown with my top 5 favorite books of the year!
Pick Number 5: “The Girls” by Emma Cline
This book was so not what I was expecting, but that ended up being perfectly okay. The Manson Family Murders are notorious, but when we think about them we think about Manson and the girls who went to prison. We don’t really think about the girls who were left behind in the aftermath. Emma Cline decided to take this question and fictionalize it, and brought us a very sad, tense story about how we view girls in American society, and how they react to how we view them. This book raised some important questions, and it was written in a strange and beautiful way. I felt so badly for Evie, our lonely and lost protagonist, and I also felt for Suzanne, the doomed and violent friend who was on a deadly path. This book was hard to read, but so, so good.
Pick Number 4: “Hex” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
This was a year where I read a fair amount of books about witches, and “Hex” was one of them. And damn was it good and scary. I love a good story about witches that takes the puritanical terror of it all, and “Hex” does that perfectly, and in a modern setting! The town of Black Spring has been haunted by the Black Rock Witch for hundreds of years, and they have it pretty well under control, keeping it secret from the world. So of course some dumb teenagers are resentful of having to remain silent, and decide to post about her on youtube. With horrific results. This book scared the crap out of me, keeping me up and night, yet fearing that if I stayed awake I’d see a terrible shadow in the corner. Horror fans, this book is AMAZING and you need to check it out.
Pick Number 3: “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: The Crucible” by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Speaking of stories about witches, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa took the classic heroine of Sabrina the Teenage Witch and turned her and her aunts into some scary as hell puritanical nightmares! I had no clue that this was going to happen when I picked this comic up, and when it became incredibly clear incredibly fast that this wasn’t going to be like any other “Archie” comic I’d ever read, I was on board one hundred percent! The artwork is beautiful and eerie, and the story puts Sabrina in the sights of an evil succubus named Madame Satan. Oh, and her aunts are cannibalistic brides of Satan. OH, and Betty and Veronica are also witches. This series is genius, and I need more of it. Now. YESTERDAY.
Pick Number 2: “The Fireman” by Joe Hill
Joe Hill is my favorite author, and I waited in abject anticipation for “The Fireman”. When it finally dropped this past spring, I was not disappointed, devouring this brick of a tome in a couple days time. Hill takes the apocalypse story and tells it from the perspective of the infected, humanizing them and also showing how scary they can be from those who sympathize towards them. His creation of the disease Dragonscale is harrowing, scary, and beautiful, and his protagonist Harper is a wonderfully well rounded heroine. And finally, his tragic character of John Rookwood, the Fireman himself, was one of my favorites of the year as well. His love for Harper was beautiful, their relationship sweet and strong. This book was just so emotionally charged, and meeting Joe Hill was the icing on the cake involving this book. Read it. It’s so good.
Pick Number 1: The “March” Trilogy by John Lewis
This personal and powerful graphic memoir is my personal favorite book of 2016. Yes, fine, it’s technically three books, but we’re going to take them as a whole. John Lewis chronicles his time in the Civil Rights Movement in these stories, and they are all so incredibly moving, resonant, and powerful that I found myself floored many times while reading. He tells not just his story, but also parts of the stories of those who were there, stories that may not be told all that often in American History. The art is also lovely, subtle and simple but still able to jump off the page and really kick you in the gut. In times like these, this story is more important than ever, and I truly and sincerely hope that educators will use this story to teach about human rights, civil rights movements, racism in America, and the power of resistance for years to come.
A very fulfilling year of reading. What were some of your favorites this year? Let us know in the comments!