TOP 5 2017

December 30, 2017

What a wonderful year for reading it was!


2017 brought some incredible new books into my life and allowed me to revisit some childhood favourites. Despite the fact that I spent the majority of my time writing, I still managed to read a grand total of 33 books, which is certainly the most I’ve ever read in a year! I can’t begin to explain the gamut of emotions I've experienced, all with my nose buried in a book. My perspective has been altered, my horizons expanded, my mind opened. I think Albus Dumbledore hit the nail on the head when he said:


“Words are, in my most humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.”


I decided to put together a list of my Top 5 books of 2017, along with a few Honourable Mentions (because I absolutely couldn't leave them off the list entirely). In the Top 5, there are three young adult novels, one middle grade book, and (can you believe it?) a book for grown-ups. Two are sci-fi (I never would have predicted that), two are fantasy (my fave), and one is contemporary. The COOLEST statistic, though, is that FOUR out of the five books are written by AUSSIE AUTHORS!!! Pardon my language, but, fuck yes! #LoveOzYA for the win! This just makes me so happy, and I cannot wait to one day—hopefully, fingers crossed—join the ranks of the Australian authors I adore so very much.

Without further ado, here is the list:


Honourable Mentions –


The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas (for being a brilliant, honest tale about race that hit me hard).


Begin, End, Begin, edited by Danielle Binks (for being a stunning showcase of Aussie YA authors).


Holding Up the Universe, by Jennifer Niven (for being, hands down, the most heart-warming, smile-inducing book of the year).


Harry Potter 1-7, by JK Rowling (for being the series that changed my life when I was a teenager and that still manages to bring me so much joy, all these years later).


5 – Gemina, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff



The sequel to Illuminae, this book was a mind-blowing sci-fi extravaganza. To quote my original review: ‘My god... the END’. This book was unputdownable from beginning to end and left me hungry—no, starving—for more. I am literally counting down the days until the final part of the trilogy, Obsidio, is released in March. Get ready, nerds, it’s going to be fucking awesome!





4 – Nevernight, by Jay Kristoff



Kristoff’s second entry in my top five is his brilliant fantasy novel, Nevernight. A triumph of genre fiction, this book was full of twists and turns and made me want nothing more than to run away and join the protagonist, Mia, in her quest to become a deadly assassin. And the ending KILLED me. Well, it killed a lot of characters, but it also killed me... Again, I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel, Godsgrave, as soon as I can extract myself from underneath my already sky-high TBR (to be read) list.




3 – Nevermoor - The Trials of Morrigan Crow, by Jessica Townsend



Can anyone say, “Amazing debut novel by brilliant, young Aussie author”? Nevermoor, a middle grade fantasy novel, had me hooked from its first sentence. I devoured this book faster than any other novel I read this year. It cast a spell over me that reminded me of when I first read Harry Potter at age 15. Though now, at 30 years old, I was pleased to see that a children's fantasy tale could still have the same effect over me. This book may have been written for children but, as I said in my original review, if all adults read more children’s books, the world would be a much better place.



2 – All the Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven



Let me paint you a picture: I’m on the 64 tram, on my way to work in the city. It’s 8.15am, pouring rain outside, and I’m squashed between a crowd of commuters, with tears positively streaming down my face. Ugly crying. On the tram. Trying not to make sobbing noises. That’s what this book did to me. Niven has drawn on personal experience to bring us a heart-warming and heart-breaking tale of teen romance. I was blown away by this book, and upon meeting and hearing from Jennifer at the YA Matters conference earlier this year, I was blown away by her as a human. There is a film version of All the Bright Places coming out soon, but please read the book first. Because who doesn’t want to be caught bawling on the tram?

1 Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff



Way back at the start of 2017 when I first read Illuminae, I wrote in my original review, ‘For me, this is probably going to be the standout book of 2017’. And I was right! I called it! I just loved everything about this unusual, gripping, sci-fi book. Everything about it, from the structure (a bunch of files from a spaceship), to the plot (teenage girl needs to save entire spaceship full of people), knocked my socks off. I laughed, I cried, my heart was racing 100% of the time. It was enthralling. It’s also Jay Kristoff’s THIRD book in my Top 5, and Amie Kaufman’s second, so, bloody well done to this incredible Aussie writing duo!





There you have it! That’s it! My favourite books from 2017! If you haven’t read them, I’m sure at least one of them will bring you loads and loads of joy! If you have read them, and you hated them all, then I am forced to conclude that you literally have no soul.


I hope everyone’s 2017 was wonderful, see you all in the new year!


And, as always, happy reading! xxx






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© 2016 by Tobias Madden. Headshots by Maryna Rothe, 2015.