The thing about favorite books lists is that inevitably a few great books are going to be left off. I wish I could include every one of my favorite authors on this list, but it would be way too long. Plus, I’ve had to leave a few good ones off simply because I couldn’t remember if I read them in late 2015 or in 2016. It doesn’t matter though. I love this list.
What do I love about the list? I love that it includes a number of Young Adult books, which I was asked by my teenage daughter to read. Reading is an experience, and I love the YA books on the list as much because they were my daughter’s favorites as for the books themselves.
So, tell me. What were your favorite books of 2016? What are you looking forward to reading in 2017?
Top Books of 2016
The Far End of Happy, by Kathryn Craft
What a lovely, heartrending, powerful, and important novel Kathryn Craft has written. The Far End of Happy was the first book I read in 2016. I knew the novel dealt with depression and the topic of suicide when I started it, so I admit that a tiny part of me was reticent to get going, but my worries were completely unfounded. Craft takes a very difficult topic, one that she knows about firsthand, and brings it home to the reader with a gentle, but honest message that was both jolting and freeing to read about.
Lies and Other Acts of Love, by Kristy Woodson Harvey
Lies and Other Acts of Love kept me glued to the page. I don’t know who I loved more, Lovey or Annabelle, but Kristy Woodson Harvey doesn’t make readers choose. The story weaves both of their narratives, grandmother and granddaughter, together into one beautiful tapestry. The story touched me deeply, making me think of the women in my own family, especially my own grandmother, and the first time my heart was broken.
The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster, by Scott Wilbanks
I loved The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster. It was such a breath of fresh air. The book’s intriguing title, gorgeous cover, and all the good things I’d heard about the author made me excited to read this novel, but it was even better than I expected. The characters were the best part of the story. Annie and Christian were altogether adorable, quirky, and refreshingly honest. The rest of the characters were just as intriguing.This would be a great novel for your book club.
The Selection, by Kiera Cass
This is one of the Young Adult novels that my daughter asked me to read. I really loved it. It was a mix of post apocalyptic fiction with a little bit of The Bachelorette. I was surprised at the depth of the story and enjoyed it immensely. I read all three books and now am waiting on my daughter to read the next one, so I can read it after her.
The Secret to Hummingbird Cake, by Celeste Fletcher McHale
I loved this book! It was suggested to me by one of my best reader friends and she thought I would love it. She was right!
“In this spot-on Southern novel brimming with wit and authenticity, you’ll laugh alongside lifelong friends, navigate the sometimes rocky path of marriage, and roll through the outrageous curveballs that life sometimes throws . . . from devastating pain to absolute joy. And if you’re lucky, you just may discover the secret to hummingbird cake along the way.”
The Promise of Forgiveness, by Marin Thomas
I thoroughly enjoyed this lovely Women’s Fiction story from Marin Thomas for its story of family. I appreciated the mother-daughter, father-daughter, and father-granddaughter stories that were all expertly woven together. Also, it just so happens that I grew up in Oklahoma and The Promise of Forgiveness is set in Oklahoma. I loved this beautiful story.
The Siren, by Kiera Cass
Okay, yes. I am obviously a fan girl of Kiera Cass, both as a reader and an author. If I were a Young Adult writer, I would want to write as well as her. I also love the story of how The Siren came about. It was the first book Kiera Cass wrote and before The Selection series came about, it got very little attention. I always love a good author success story.
“Years ago, Kahlen was rescued from drowning by the Ocean. To repay her debt, she has served as a Siren ever since, using her voice to lure countless strangers to their deaths. Though a single word from Kahlen can kill, she can’t resist spending her days on land, watching ordinary people and longing for the day when she will be able to speak and laugh and live freely among them again.”
The Fifth Wave, by Rick Yancey
This is another novel recommended to me by my daughter. It took me awhile to get started because I just didn’t know if I would enjoy another post apocalyptic book, but loved it. I can see why my daughter did too. It had a strong female protagonist and a new spin on the genre. You should definitely add it to your list, even if you don’t have a teenager.
The Maze Runner, by James Dashner
I saw the move, The Maze Runner, before reading the book, but my daughter assured me that the movie left a ton out and I’d really enjoy it. I did like it even better than the movie. It is a bit more violent than the movie, which of course annoys the momma in me, but I really enjoyed the story and the complexity of the characters. I mostly enjoyed that my daughter enjoyed it. I loved seeing the story through her eyes.
A Very Merry Christmas, by Cathy Lamb
I ended the year with this wonderful book by Cathy Lamb. A Very Merry Christmas was such a pleasure to read over the Christmas season. It was light and funny, but also heartfelt and surprisingly smart. I loved this fun read from one of my favorite authors, Cathy Lamb. Add it to your list right now. No need to wait until Christmas to read this one.