It’s nearly the end of the year, and that means lists---shopping lists, New Year’s resolutions, and favorites. The YA Buccaneers have put together a list of all of the books that truly touched us in some way or another. We hope you’ve read at least a few of them, too, and if not, add them to your TBR list for 2017. But first up, we have to share a few of our successes this year, and that means books by our very own pirates!
Congratulations to Erin L. Schneider for SUMMER OF SLOANE , Kathryn Holmes for HOW IT FEELS TO FLY, and to Stephanie Scott for ALTERATIONS. We hope you love these books as much as we did.
And now, a few of the best according to our crew:
Kris (Jas Ketch, Siren of the Seychelles) loved THE CROOKED KINGDOM by Leigh Bardugo, and THE RAVEN KING by Maggie Stievfvater.
CROOKED KINGDOM is the second instalment in the story that follows Kaz Brekker and his delightfully criminal crew. It’s a tale of loyalty, revenge and redemption set against the backdrop of a beautifully-created world where thieves and magic are king.
THE RAVEN KING is the final book in the Raven Boys trilogy. This series has been one of my favourites. It is magical realism at its best. It is one of the few YA books I’ve read recently with characters so well written that it is almost impossible to comprehend that they do not exist. It is also one of the few books I’ve read that make it seem completely reasonable that magic exists, that people can pull objects from dreams and trees speak in Latin.
Kathryn (Bonny Kitty Cutlass) : My top two YA reads for 2016 were Anna-Marie McLemore's WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS and Nicola Yoon's THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR. WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS is a gorgeous magical realism love story written in prose so achingly luxurious you want to swim around in it. McLemore writes with her whole heart, and it shows on every page. THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR is also a love story, and also features diverse characters who don't often get a voice in YA (particularly an undocumented immigrant on the verge of deportation), and it perfectly captures both the feeling of meeting someone who will change your whole life and the frenetic energy of a whirlwind day in New York City. I can't recommend these two books highly enough!
Kelly (Kegstealing Kay) picked THE READER by Traci Chee (a book suggested by more than one crew member), and TIMEKEEPER by Tara Sim.
And Bridgid (Dread Pirate B.), adored PLACES NO ONE KNOWS by Brenna Yovanoff. She says:
How can I make you understand how spectacular and beautiful and strange and wonderful this book is? It made me think of Heathers, where high school politics meets something surreal and disturbing, but with a refreshing weirdness and a dreamy kind of plot that had me wondering, "What if...?" Plus swoony moments that made my heart happy.
I'm *dying* to go into all the amazing, beautiful, heart-wrenching details. *physically restrains self from writing more* but .... GUYS. THIS BOOK. Please go read it. Then let me know you read it so we can gush about the amazingness together. Okay?
Stephanie (Botswain Jayne) couldn’t quite limit her favorites to two (she chose THE READER and SUMMER OF SLOANE, too), so we went with her choice of THE SERPENT KING by Jeff Zentner, and WANDERLOST by Jen Malone.
THE SERPENT KING by Jeff Zentner : Three teens in small town Tennessee grapple with their families, friendships, and dreams. You will cry, but I promise it's worth it.
WANDERLOST by Jen Malone is my favorite kind of contemporary YA: travel, adventure, new love, and a whole lot of trouble.
Patrice (Calypso) said her favorites this year were WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS by Anne-Marie McLemore (also a duplicate pick!), and THE STAR TOUCHED QUEEN by Roshani Chokshi.
WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS is a beautifully-written YA magical realism novel follows two queer teens of color as they struggle to love and stand up for not only each other but themselves. Anna-Marie McLemore is a writer to watch.
In THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN by Roshani Chokshi , Maya has been cursed by the stars, as a result everyone in her father's kingdom fears and scorns her. When her father, the Raja, unexpectedly arranges a wedding of political connivence to quell outside rebellions, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she begins to fall in love. But Akaran has its own secrets and in order to survive she'll have to unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most, including herself. YA Fantasy inspired by Indian mythology that's as gorgeous on the inside as its outside. Can't wait for Chokshi’s companion to this next year!
Sara (Lady Bird Bonebreaker) loved TELL ME THREE THINGS by Julie Buxbaum, a book that so genuinely tells a story of grief and healing. This is going on my list now.
And G. Myrthil (Curly McGee) picked MORE HAPPY THAN NOT by Adam Silvera, and SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA by Becky Albertalli.
Outside of the wonderful YAB member books--which I'm glad we're highlighting as well--my favorite reads in 2016 were MORE HAPPY THAN NOT by Adam Silvera and SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA by Becky Albertalli. MORE HAPPY THAN NOT is the kind of book that's best read with little knowledge up front, so all I'll say is that it blew me away! Read it NOW! Simon in SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA is just so lovable and his story gave me all the feels. If you're looking for a reason to smile, I highly recommend this book!
And last but not least, the book that I couldn’t put down this year was Ruta Sepetys’ SALT TO THE SEA. Her characters were heartbreakingly real, and it was a moment in history that was never really talked about, even though the loss of life was enormous.
Thanks to all the crew members who shared their favorite books of 2016 with us! I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings!