So here we are. Almost the end of December. It’s cold outside (probably, I got started writing this post back in October and it’s pretty darn chilly already). The year is wrapping up, the shortest day of the year has arrived and the snow is here to stay (again, this is an educated guess). Stores have been pumping the holiday tunes for months at this point (more than a guess, I’ve already heard Christmas carols being played in October*). Really, there’s no denying it: the holiday season is upon us. This means family, food, festivities, and, hopefully, some downtime to relax and read. With one year coming to a close and another fast approaching, let’s take a look at a few of the absolute best YA titles of 2017 (according to me), listed in no particular order:
1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Teenaged Starr Carter lives in a poor neighbourhood and goes to a fancy prep school. She also witnessed the police shooting of her unarmed childhood best friend, Khalil. Informed by the Black Lives Matter movement, this book addresses fundamental issues in American life and politics from the point of view of a young woman walking the line between two worlds. As Starr is the only one alive who knows what happened during the shooting, what she says or does could change her community, and her life, forever.
2. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Think that the title gives away the ending? It does. But that doesn’t detract from the story, in fact, it hinges upon it. The plot? Mateo and Rufus (two strangers at the start, and very different from one another) each get notified of their imminent death by Death-Cast, a company that notifies you of your imminent death. They meet up via the Last Friend app service. Story ensues. If you’re looking for action and adventure you may want to look elsewhere but if you’re up for having a date with all your feels (including new ones you didn’t even know about) this is where you want to be. It’s an engaging read that’s also a pretty deep study on life and making choices.
3. Release by Patrick Ness
So, I’m still on the waitlist for this book but I can’t wait to read it. From what I gather, Ness (who has a tendency to write impossibly beautiful books, though never really repeating the same type of story twice) is telling two divergent stories: one of a gay teen having the worst day ever and that of a vengeful ghost-girl. Colour me intrigued.
4. What Goes Up by Katie Kennedy
Even if you’re not a fan of sci-fi (or outer-space more generally) this hilarious book about a group of teens competing for spots in a NASA division called the Interworlds Agency is hugely readable. The competition is fierce but then a “major event” (no spoilees) changes the game and now the world needs to be saved by highly competitive and crazily smart teenagers. If you like this author, check out her first book Learning to Swear in America.
5. Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Okay, full disclosure, I have not read this book either. I saw the description and the cover and so I immediately added it to this list. I completely, absolutely, 100% intend to read this as soon as it comes through the delivery for me to pick up at my local library branch. The story is about anxiety, and disappointment, and not fitting in, and abuse, and fear, and art school, and finding a place for yourself, and being brave even when you don’t feel brave, and YES PLEASE. Plus, Asian main characters? Too few and far between.
Let me know your favourite books that you read this past year. Also, random and off topic question: has anybody read any good books that feature Deaf characters? I’m always on the hunt so comment your recommendations and I’ll check them out.
*okay fine, I’ll admit I heard Christmas carols in October because I’ve had I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus stuck in my head on a loop for, like, the last seven years of my life. It’s the worst.