Another a year, another almost impossible task trying to each choose our Top 10 Reads of the year! And don’t forget to check out our “12 Days of Christmas” giveaway that may even features a few books from these very same lists! Today I’m going to countdown my favorites reads, five to one.
Pick Number 5: “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas
Another book that I didn’t review on the blog, though I kind wish that I had, because “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas absolutely lives up to all the hype it has. Thomas tackles the all too common issue of systemic oppression and racism against black people in this country, specifically within police departments. It tells the story of Star, a black girl who was in the car when her childhood friend Khalil was shot to death by a police officer even though he was unarmed. As his death makes headlines, Star starts to feel the pressures of being a witness, the pressures of having to straddle her home life and her (predominantly white) private school life, and the pressures of loss and trauma. This book is necessary, incendiary, and a MUST READ.
Pick Number 4: “The Last Days of Jack Sparks” by Jason Arnopp
It’s been a few months and this scary as hell demonic possession story is still sticking with me! The sheer creativity of this book made it one of the scariest books I read this year, along with one of the most complex and compelling main characters I’ve read in a horror novel. Jack Sparks is a son of a bitch, but I was fully invested in him and his well being after strange things start happening after he laughs during the exorcism of a teenage girl in Italy. This book ratchets up the ‘unreliable narrator’ device, and the hints and pieces fall into place to create a truly scary, and breathtaking, story.
Pick Number 3: “My Favorite Thing Is Monsters” by Emil Ferris
This powerful and gorgeous graphic novel left me with my jaw agape at the details, the characters, and the mystery. This coming of age story set in 1960s Chicago was a graphic novel that left a serious mark on me, exploring racism, budding sexuality, prejudice through the eyes of a strange and precocious child named Karen, who really loves and fancies herself as a monster. This book is the pages in her sketchbook and diary, with vibrant and flawless designs. This is just part one, and I cannot wait to see part two, as Karen is so excellent and so genuine, and her need to solve the mystery of her murdered neighbor lets her escape her own tumultuous life. This book is so good and is a prime example of how we have entered a new golden age for graphic novels.
Pick Number Two: “The Disaster Artist” by Greg Sestero
I will admit that I was kind of surprised that this wacky, strange, and hilarious memoir made it this high up on my list this year, but “The Disaster Artist” was the most fun I had reading a book in 2017. The odd and outlandish story of the making of “The Room” and it’s eccentric and sometimes deranged creator Tommy Wiseau had me laughing hysterically as I listened to it, and it shed a light on some of the more ridiculous things about the Hollywood dream and how far people will go to get it. Greg Sestero chronicles the oddball process of making this terrible movie, but also tells a bittersweet, and sometimes quite upsetting, tale of a friendship that is ride or die, for better or for worse.
Pick Number One: “Sing, Unburied, Sing” by Jesmyn Ward
Jessmyn Ward has done it again with her newest book, “Sing, Unburied, Sing”, and I loved every bit of it. Part family saga, part ghost story, part road story, this book examines the effects of lingering racism and violence in a post Jim Crow American South. Jojo and Kayla have been raised by their grandparents, as their father Michael is in prison and their mother Leonie is an addict. But when Michael is released, Leonie is determined to reunite the family, taking her children on a road trip up to pick him out. Leonie is tormented with visions of her dead brother, but only when she’s high, though Jojo has seemingly inherited the full gift, as he starts seeing the ghost of a dead boy who was the victim of racial violence decades before. This book absolutely blew me away with it’s beauty, it’s power, and it’s dissection of Americana and it’s values.
So there’s my complete list! What were your top five reads of 2017?