Sunday, 11 December 2016

Five Star Books of 2016

The following books are all the books I rated five stars over the last year. I must admit I haven't read as many five star reads this year as I have in previous years but these are all crackers. So in no particular order (mostly because I can't work the list down to a top 10) here are my favourite reads of 2016

Books from my favourite UKYA authors
I love UKYA and these were my favourite books from some of my favourite UKYA authors in 2016.

London Belongs to Us by Sarra Manning


Seventeen-year-old Sunny's always been a little bit of a pushover. But when she's sent a picture of her boyfriend kissing another girl, she knows she's got to act. What follows is a mad, twelve-hour dash around London - starting at 8pm in Crystal Palace (so far away from civilisation you can't even get the Tube there) then sweeping through Camden, Shoreditch, Soho, Kensington, Notting Hill . . . and ending up at 8am in Alexandra Palace.

Along the way Sunny meets a whole host of characters she never dreamed she'd have anything in common with - least of all the devilishly handsome (and somewhat vain) French 'twins' (they're really cousins) Jean Luc and Vic. But as this love-letter to London shows, a city is only a sum of its parts, and really it's the people living there who make up its life and soul. And, as Sunny discovers, everyone - from friends, apparent-enemies, famous bands and even rickshaw drivers - is willing to help a girl on a mission to get her romantic retribution.


I love Sarra Manning's books so it is no surprise that I adored this book. It's lots of fun and a real love letter to London.

Love Song by Sophia Bennett


A million girls would kill for the chance to meet The Point, but Nina’s not one of them.

She’s the new assistant to the lead singer’s diva fiancĂ©e, and she knows it’s going to suck. She quickly learns that being with the hottest band on the planet isn’t as easy as it looks: behind the scenes, the boys are on the verge of splitting up. Tasked with keeping an eye on four gorgeous but spoiled rock stars, Nina’s determined to stick it out – and not fall for any of them …


This very much played into my inner teen boyband fangirl. I adored every page of this book

Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield





June's life at home with her stepmother and stepsister is a dark one – and a secret one. She is trapped like a butterfly in a net.

But then June meets Blister, a boy in the woods. In him she recognises the tiniest glimmer of hope that perhaps she can find a way to fly far, far away from her home and be free. Because every creature in this world deserves their freedom . . . But at what price?


This book made my heart ache. I read it early on this year and I still think about it all the time 


Books for US authors I loved.

Highly Illogical Behaviour by John Corey Whalley





Sixteen year old Solomon has agoraphobia. He hasn't left his house in three years, which is fine by him. At home, he is the master of his own kingdom--even if his kingdom doesn't extend outside of the house.

Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to go to a top tier psychiatry program. She'll do anything to get in.

When Lisa finds out about Solomon's solitary existence, she comes up with a plan sure to net her a scholarship: befriend Solomon. Treat his condition. And write a paper on her findings. To earn Solomon's trust, Lisa begins letting him into her life, introducing him to her boyfriend Clark, and telling him her secrets. Soon, Solomon begins to open up and expand his universe. But all three teens have grown uncomfortably close, and when their facades fall down, their friendships threaten to collapse as well.


I adored this book and the main character Solomon. I read it in pretty much one go as I couldn't put it down.

When by Collided by Emery Lord


We are seventeen and shattered and still dancing. We have messy, throbbing hearts, and we are stronger than anyone could ever know…

Jonah never thought a girl like Vivi would come along.

Vivi didn’t know Jonah would light up her world.

Neither of them expected a summer like this…a summer that would rewrite their futures.

In an unflinching story about new love, old wounds, and forces beyond our control, two teens find that when you collide with the right person at just the right time, it will change you forever.


I adored this book because of Jonah. Jonah is just wonderful. I also liked how it portrayed mental health.

Holding up the universe by Jennifer Niven





From the author of the New York Times bestseller All the Bright Places comes a heart-wrenching story about what it means to see someone—and love someone—for who they truly are.

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for EVERY POSSIBILITY LIFE HAS TO OFFER. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything in new and bad-ass ways, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. . . . Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

Jennifer Niven delivers another poignant, exhilarating love story about finding that person who sees you for who you are—and seeing them right back.


I loved the characters in this and their love story. It was impossible not to fall in love with them.

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson



Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?


This is such a fun read and I love that it features a teenage novelist and lots of dogs.

Books which are the next book in a series that I was excited to continue with.

The Last Beginning by Lauren James



The epic conclusion to Lauren James' debut The Next Together about love, destiny and time travel.

Sixteen years ago, after a scandal that rocked the world, teenagers Katherine and Matthew vanished without a trace. Now Clove Sutcliffe is determined to find her long lost relatives. But where do you start looking for a couple who seem to have been reincarnated at every key moment in history? Who were Kate and Matt? Why were they born again and again? And who is the mysterious Ella, who keeps appearing at every turn in Clove's investigation?

For Clove, there is a mystery to solve in the past and a love to find in the future.


This was a brilliant sequel to the previous book. I made the time to reread the first book and I'm glad that I did so it was fresh in my mind. I enjoyed how it tried everything up.

How hard can love by by Holly Bourne

 
Amber, Evie and Lottie: three girls facing down tough issues with the combined powers of friendship, feminism and cheesy snacks. Both hilarious and heart-rending, this is Amber’s story of how painful – and exhilarating – love can be, following on from Evie’s story in Am I Normal Yet?

All Amber wants is a little bit of love. Her mum has never been the caring type, even before she moved to California, got remarried and had a personality transplant. But Amber's hoping that spending the summer with her can change all that.

And then there's prom king Kyle, the guy all the girls want. Can he really be interested in anti-cheerleader Amber? Even with best friends Evie and Lottie's advice, there's no escaping the fact: love is hard.


This is my favourite in the series. I loved this because I loved Amber and the setting.

Ride by Lisa Glass




The final instalment in this irresistible story of romance, sun and surf.

Seventeen-year-old Iris has returned to her hometown of Newquay. Leaving behind her promising surfing career. Leaving behind Zeke, the boy who changed her world.

She's happy to get back to her old life, her friends and family. She wants to rediscover her passion for surfing.

But Iris soon realises it won't be that simple. Because while summer romances might only last the season, first loves never truly leave you.
 


Another series I adore. I love the setting and the surfing and loved how the series finished off. I need more surfing books.

Starstruck by Jenny McLachlan


In a huge fantastic final hurrah to our lovable heroines - Bea, Betty, Kat and Pearl - Jenny McLachlan's latest book tells Pearl's story. Pearl is the 'bad girl' of the group - she drinks, she smokes, she swears - and she's mean to Bea and Betty. But she did fly halfway round the world to rescue Kat in Sunkissed. If there's one thing Pearl knows deep down, it is how to be a friend. And now, more than ever, she could really use a friend.

There will be laughter, there will be tears and there will definitely be kissing. Most importantly, Pearl will be keeping it fierce!
 


This is my favourite book in this series. I must admit I was never a Pearl fan in the previous books but this book really gives you insight as to why she's like she is and now I get her I love her.


UKYA Debuts from authors who are now on my auto buy list

Songs about a girl by Chris Russell



Charlie Bloom never wanted to be 'with the band'. She's happiest out of the spotlight, behind her camera, unseen and unnoticed. But when she's asked to take backstage photos for hot new boy band Fire&Lights, she can't pass up the chance.

Catapulted into a world of paparazzi and backstage bickering, Charlie soon becomes caught between gorgeous but damaged frontman, Gabriel West, and his boy-next-door bandmate Olly Samson. Then, as the boys' rivalry threatens to tear the band apart, Charlie stumbles upon a mind-blowing secret, hidden in the lyrics of their songs...


Another book that spoke to my inner boyband loving teen. I actually think this might be my favourite book of the year if I was forced to pick one. I cannot wait for the sequel.

Eden Summer by Liz Flanagan


IT STARTS like any other day for Jess – get up, draw on eyeliner, cover up tattoos and head to school. But soon it’s clear this is no ordinary day, because Jess’s best friend, Eden, isn’t at school . . . she’s gone missing.

Jess knows she must do everything in her power to find Eden before the unthinkable happens.

So Jess decides to retrace the summer she and Eden have just spent together. But looking back means digging up all their buried secrets, and she starts to question everything she thought Eden’s summer had been about ...

A tense and thrilling journey through friendship, loss, betrayal and self discovery.


Another book I inhaled in one sitting. I loved it.

Middle Grade book of the year

The Secrets of Billie Bright by Susie Day




Billie Bright's family is pretty big for one that's got somebody missing. There's Billie who is a girl Billie and eleven and about to go to secondary school. Then there are her three big brothers and her Dad, who also runs the cafe under their flat. Life's loud but Billie likes it, even without her mum there any more.

But with the new school comes having to make new friends and all kinds of other grown-up things to deal with. And at home it feels like all her brothers are keeping secrets from her. So when she decides to do a project on her mum, she has to do all the research herself and ends up finding out all kinds of things she doesn't expect to . . .


This book is the equivalent of a hug and cup of tea and biscuits. I adored how diverse it was and loved every page.

Aussie YA book of the year


Jess Gordon is out for revenge. Last year the jocks from Knights College tried to shame her best friend. This year she and a hand-picked college girl gang are going to get even.

The lesson: don't mess with Unity girls.

The target: Blondie, a typical Knights stud, arrogant, cold . . . and smart enough to keep up with Jess.

A neo-riot grrl with a penchant for fanning the flames meets a rugby-playing sexist pig - sworn enemies or two people who happen to find each other when they're at their most vulnerable?

It's all Girl meets Boy, Girl steals from Boy, seduces Boy, ties Boy to a chair and burns Boy's stuff. Just your typical love story.


I love Aussie YA but always struggle to get some of things I want to read because they aren't always published in the UK.

Adult Books I adored this year

The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts by Annie Darling




Where happy ever after is only a page away… A delightful new series set in a quaint old bookshop, for fans of Lucy Diamond and Jenny Colgan. Once upon a time in a crumbling London bookshop, Posy Morland spent her life lost in the pages of her favourite romantic novels. So when Bookend’s eccentric owner, Lavinia, dies and leaves the shop to Posy, she must put down her books and join the real world. Because Posy hasn’t just inherited an ailing business, but also the unwelcome attentions of Lavinia’s grandson, Sebastian, AKA The Rudest Man In London™. Posy has a cunning plan and six months to transform Bookends into the bookshop of her dreams – if only Sebastian would leave her alone to get on with it. As Posy and her friends fight to save their beloved bookshop, Posy’s drawn into a battle of wills with Sebastian, about whom she’s started to have some rather feverish fantasies… Like her favourite romantic heroines, will she get her happy ever after too?

I was recommended this by Sarra Manning who thought I would like it and she was spot on. I loved it completely and set me off on a books featuring bookshop binge.

Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot


From Meg Cabot, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Diaries series, comes the very first new adult instalment, featuring the now grown-up Princess Mia! Royal Wedding follows Princess Mia and her Prince Charming as they plan their fairy tale wedding - but a few poisoned apples could turn this happily-ever-after into a royal nightmare.

I've only discovered The Princess Diaries in the last year and worked my way through them as the new editions and finally got to this. I want more adult books which follow up from a YA series I've loved.

The Little Shop of Happy Ever After by Jenny Colgan


 
Given a back-room computer job when the beloved Birmingham library she works in turns into a downsized retail complex, Nina misses her old role terribly - dealing with people, greeting her regulars, making sure everyone gets the right books for their needs. Then a new business nobody else wants catches her eye: owning a tiny little bookshop bus up in the Scottish highlands. No computers. Shortages. Out all hours in the freezing cold; driving with a tiny stock of books... not to mention how the little community is going to take to her, particularly when she stalls the bus on a level crossing...


Another bookshop book I adored and a new to me author in Jenny Colgan. I've since inhaled her backlist and they are the ultimate comfort read,

2017 preview

I've been lucky enough to get my hands on a few 2017 books which I've really enjoyed and recommend you look out for in 2017 because they are all amazing.

Optimists die first by Susin Nielsen




Petula has avoided friendship and happiness ever since tragedy struck her family and took her beloved younger sister Maxine. Worse, Petula blames herself. If only she'd kept an eye on her sister, if only she'd sewn the button Maxine choked on better, if only... Now her anxiety is getting out of control, she is forced to attend the world’s most hopeless art therapy class. But one day, in walks the Bionic Man: a charming, amazingly tall newcomer called Jacob, who is also an amputee. Petula's ready to freeze him out, just like she did with her former best friend, but when she’s paired with Jacob for a class project, there’s no denying they have brilliant ideas together – ideas like remaking Wuthering Heights with cats.But Petula and Jacob each have desperately painful secrets in their pasts – and when the truth comes out, there’s no way Petula is ready for it.

I have enjoyed Susin's books before and I was so pleased that this held up to my expectations. I've never identified with a main character so much in the way she worries and does her worst case scenerio planning.

We come apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan


Authors Brian Conaghan and Sarah Crossan have joined forces to tell the story of Nicu and Jess, two troubled teens whose paths cross in the unlikeliest of places. Nicu has emigrated from Romania and is struggling to find his place in his new home. Meanwhile, Jess's home life is overshadowed by violence. When Nicu and Jess meet, what starts out as friendship grows into romance as the two bond over their painful pasts and hopeful futures. But will they be able to save each other, let alone themselves? For fans of Una LaMarche’s Like No Other, this illuminating story told in dual points of view through vibrant verse will stay with readers long after they've turned the last page.

I always thought I didn't like books written in verse and last year Sarah changed by mind with One and so I was very excited when an early copy of this dropped through the door. It is awesome.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard



Steffi doesn't talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can't hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn't a lightning strike, it's the rumbling roll of thunder.

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life - she's been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He's deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she's assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn't matter that Steffi doesn't talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she's falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.

From the bestselling author of Beautiful Broken Things comes a love story about the times when a whisper is as good as a shout.


 I loved this because of the relationship between Steffi and Rhys. It is a brilliant YA novel.

So that's my 2016 five star reads of 2016. All brilliant books which I would highly recommend.

1 comment:

Laura said...

I have a pile of these on my 'to read' pile so I'll have to bump them up. I'm hoping there is more from The Princess Diaries too!