Stop right there. I already know what you’re thinking; “a top 10 books of 2016 in February? It’s a bit late isn’t it!” Well my friends, I spent most of January in denial thinking that it was still December, so really… I’m just about on time. Without further ado, let’s crack on and talk about my top 10 books of 2016.
My Top 10 Books of 2016
Nothing To Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick | Animal Farm by George Orwell | Our Song by Dani Atkins | Geek Girl: Head Over Heels by Holly Smale | London Belongs to Us by Sarra Manning
But now she couldn’t deny what was staring her plainly in the face: dogs in China ate better than doctors in North Korea.
Towards the end of 2015, I started to develop an interest in North Korea. Nothing To Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick is one of the most recommended books about North Korea and with good reason. It explains the history of North Korea in an easy to understand way, and the content of the book is interesting and engaging. If you wish to know more about North Korea, this book is the best place to start.
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
Something that crops up a lot in books about North Korea is frequent mentions of George Orwell’s novels 1984 and Animal Farm. As I hadn’t read either of them, a lot of the references went over my head, to my annoyance. I borrowed Animal Farm from the library, and I loved it. The story may be about farm animals rebelling and taking the farm back under their own control, but it’s also a satirical look at communism and inequality. Animal Farm has become one of my favourite books of all time, and I genuinely do think it is a book that everyone should read in their life.
You say goodbye to the people you love thousands of times in a lifetime: every time they walk out of the front door; every time you hang up the phone; every waved farewell. You just never know which of those goodbyes is going to be the last one.
Our Song wasn’t a book that I had planned to read, but after seeing a few tweets about it I borrowed it from the library (you know what I’m like for books with hype…). For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to read it on the train… Nope. This book broke my heart, and I’m not ashamed to say it made me cry. Our Song is a beautiful, powerful book about love, forgiveness, family and friendship. It will make you want to hold on to your loved ones just a little bit tighter after reading.
My name is Harriet Manners, and I will always be a geek.
Come on now, how could Geek Girl: Head Over Heels, the penultimate book in the Geek Girl series, not be one of my top 10 books in 2016? Head Over Heels is the fifth book in the Geek Girl series, and what I loved most about this particular instalment of the series was that it was the beginning of Harriet maturing and developing as a person. If you fancy it, why don’t you read my full review of Geek Girl: Head Over Heels? I have the honour of being able to read the FINAL book this year, Forever Geek, and I’m devastated and delighted in equal measures to read it.
“Gretchen Weiner isn’t a ridiculous name for a cat! She’s got loads of poufy fur like she hides all her secrets in it and sometimes when you’re trying to shift her off an armchair she gives you this “you can’t sit with us” look”.
London Belongs to Us was a summer UK YA release that I was ridiculously excited about. Over 24 hours, we follow our protagonist Sunny all over London so she can confront her lying, cheating boyfriend. With the help of some brilliant characters such as the super cool French twins with their own fan-run Tumblr, and a roller-derby loving best friend, Sunny has a night that she will never forget. London Belongs to Us was so much fun to read, and it put the biggest smile on my face after I finished it. Why don’t you read my full review of London Belongs to Us?
How Not to Disappear by Claire Furniss | What’s a Girl Gotta Do? by Holly Bourne | Nothing Tastes As Good by Claire Hennessey | A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness | 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough
I look at Gloria with her red hair and glass of champagne and expression of utter disdain and wonder how many expletives she’d manage to fit into a sentence if I asked her to teach me to knit or bake me a cake.
I’m not sure what made me borrow How Not to Disappear from the library; I’ll have to put it down to an enticing display. However, do not make the mistake that I did, and be fooled by this book’s cover. How Not to Disappear is a a YA that took me by complete surprise. I honestly didn’t think that I would fall in love with the story of Hattie and her great-aunt Gloria as much as I did. I fell in love with How Not to Disappear so much that I bought a paperback copy for myself to re-read in the future.
Maybe all you needed in life was the belief you could change things. Somehow. Some way.
I’m a big fan of Holly Bourne’s books, having followed her since the release of her second novel “The Manifesto on How to be Interesting”. However, it was her third book in the Spinster Club trilogy, What’s a Girl Gotta Do?, that I was most excited for. What’s a Girl Gotta Do? is the feminist call to arms I have been waiting for and the one I wished I had written in equal measure. This book needs to be in the hands of every teenage girl in the UK immediately.
I think people can be very nice and charming without being decent human beings.
I’m repeating myself here, but when I heard that Claire Hennessey was bringing out a YA novel, I needed to read it. I was honoured to receive a review copy from the publishers, and I actually ended up reading this book twice. Nothing Tastes as Good is a touching, original look at body image with a narrator you won’t forget. Why don’t you read my full review of Nothing Tastes as Good?
There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.
When I heard that A Monster Calls was being made into a film, I thought I would read the book first and see what the hype was all about. Yep, I’m one of those people. A Monster Calls is a children’s book, not a YA, and it looks at a young boy who is struggling to cope with the fact that his mother is going to die. All I can say is that if you are planning to read A Monster Calls, prepare to cry, sob, wail, bawl for at least half an hour after reading. I am reluctant to go see the film now, as I’m not sure my local Cineworld will be able to cope with the flood risk that my tears will bring.
I wish she’d died.
Finally, a book that you’re all probably sick of hearing about. I read 13 Minutes late last year, and it completely blew me away. 13 Minutes is a YA thriller like no other, and one that I would highly recommend. Can the Netflix adaptation hurry up now? I need an excuse to reactivate my subscription. Why don’t you read my full review of 13 Minutes?
What were your favourite books in 2016?