Despite 2017 not being a great year for a lot of things, it was a pretty good year for books! Here are the 10 best books that I’ve had the pleasure of reading in 2017.
10. Rain Falls on Everyone by Clár Ní Chongaile
I felt really lucky to have stumbled across Rain Falls On Everyone, just because you rarely find books about Ireland/set in Ireland that feature diverse characters. And Theo was a fantastic character that I could relate to on so many levels.
9. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
I absolutely flew through When Dimple Met Rishi during a long flight from Ireland to Bangladesh. And it was the perfect companion. It was heartfelt and sweet. I loved Dimple Shah – even if she may have caught some flack around some YA circles. I found her to be very relatable, especially her struggle to balance Indian traditions and cultures, against Western ones. To balance family expectations against her own wishes, struggles that many desi kids face on a daily basis. Plus, look at that cover!
8. Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
Stay With Me follows Yejide and Akin, a young, Nigerian couple whose struggles to have a baby might cost them their happiness.
It’s a powerful and lyrical novel about motherhood, and everything that comes with it.
7. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
An East-Asian take on Snow White’s the evil queen. Xifeng knows that she’s destined to be the empress of Feng Lu, but in order to fulfill her destiny she’ll have to make sacrifices and embrace the darkness inside of her. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns has one of the most complex protagonists I have read in a long time. It’s also set in a richly developed fantasy world that’s easy to get lost in.
6. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
This was probably the most spoken about book of 2017 – and for good reason. Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give tells the story of 16-year-old Starr Carter. After Starr witnesses her friend Khalil being shot by the police, she is the only person who knows what really happened. But telling the world the truth might have some dire consequences. The Hate U Give is a bold and honest portrayal of the state of race relations in America right now.
5. WE ARE OKAY BY NINA LACOUR
We Are Okay is the beautifully written, heartbreaking novel about Marin, who must cope with her grief after the death of her grandfather.
It’s a novel about loss, love, and secrets.
4. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Exit West is the story of two people, Nadia and Saeed, who suddenly find themselves in a country riddled by violence. They are left with no choice but to flee in an attempt to secure a future for themselves. Exit West is a novel that feels palpably close to home, while simultaneously feels like it takes place a million miles away. It’s a moving tale of two people trying to find a home that is lyrically written and weaves magic and reality together masterfully.
3. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
There unfortunately just aren’t a lot of books that examine race in the UK, despite the fact that racism and xenophobia are rife there – particularly in the wake of the Brexit referendum. Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race, however, is a book that does look at racial dynamics in the UK, and does so with intelligence and poignance. Eddo-Lodge’s journalism background makes the book the perfect mixture of fact and opinion, resulting in a book that will probably teach you a lot about Britain’s racist history.
2. The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty
The City of Brass is the first of a trilogy that follows Nahri, a street-wise con artist who accidentally summons a djinn and gets plunged into a world full of magic and politics. The novel is wonderfully immersive and intricate in its worldbuilding, full of palpable, developed characters, and has a plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
1. Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali
Ali’s debut novel tells the story of Janna, a young Muslim American who knows of a monster within their close-knit Muslim community. Does she risk calling him out when she doesn’t know what the consequences could be for her and her community? Saints and Misfits is a powerful novel with a starkly relatable character who has to face struggles that too many women can relate to.
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