Top 10 Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read So Far in 2017

toptentuesday

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You can find the prompts here.

I remember last year being so anxious for it to be done and for 2017 to get here. I didn’t realize just how fast it would go once it actually got around to arriving. *lol* Nevertheless, here we are at the halfway point of the year and I’ve read 71 books out of my 100 book Goodreads Challenge. I’m proud of myself because last year was a failure; I missed out by a few dozen books and I’m determined to make it this year, raising my goal eventually if I need to.

Today’s Top 10 Tuesday topic is about the best books I’ve read so far this year. I’m going to skip over the rereads because there turned out to be rather a few of them and as I’ve talked about them a lot in the past, I want to share with you some of the newer to me titles I picked up. These will all be either 5 or 4 star reads.

In no particular order these are the best books I’ve read so far this year:

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George by Alex Gino

BE WHO YOU ARE. When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not….

I’d heard of this book before and since I’m trying to consciously read more LGBTQ+ books this year, I knew it was time to finally pick it up.

George/Melissa’s story was difficult because we were seeing a young girl’s experience being transgender when everyone is trying to tell her that’s she’s something she knows she isn’t.

My review: link.

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Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

There are so few books about conventions (as far as I know) that when I saw this one I knew I wanted to pick it up. When I started reading it and learned that Charlie was this bad ass, a bisexual woman who wasn’t going to let a studio dictate how she acted (i.e. fake a hetero relationship for the sake of a film), I was pumped! Taylor, the other main character, felt really relatable in terms of how she acted at the convention: toting around a box set, hoping to get it signed, and her enthusiasm for her fandom.

There’s a lot of good stuff in this book and the only real downside was that it was too short!

My review: link.

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The Backstagers #1 by James Tynion IV and Rian Sygh

James Tynion IV (Batman Eternal, The Woods) teams up with artist Rian Sygh (Munchkin, Stolen Forest) for an incredible yet earnest story about finding a place to fit in when you’re kinda an outcast.

When Jory transfers to the private, all-boys school St. Genesius, he figures joining the stage crew would involve a lot of just fetching props and getting splinters. To his pleasant surprise, he discovers there’s a door backstage that leads to different worlds, and all of the stagehands know about it! All the world’s a stage…but what happens behind the curtain is pure magic!

I requested this comic because the cover reminded me a lot of Steven Universe, one of my favorite cartoons at the moment. I hadn’t realized it was only issue one rather  than volume one, so hopefully I will get to read more soon. Anyway, the art is amazing and the story just got started telling us about the crew behind the drama club and their magical backstage area.

My review: link.

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Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen

Sarah Andersen’s hugely popular, world-famous Sarah’s Scribbles comics are for those of us who boast bookstore-ready bodies and Netflix-ready hair, who are always down for all-night reading-in-bed parties and extremely exclusive after-hour one-person music festivals.

In addition to the most recent Sarah’s Scribbles fan favorites and dozens of all-new comics, this volume contains illustrated personal essays on Sarah’s real-life experiences with anxiety, career, relationships and other adulthood challenges that will remind readers of Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half and Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. The same uniquely frank, real, yet humorous and uplifting tone that makes Sarah’s Scribbles so relatable blooms beautifully in this new longer form.

Sarah just has a way of connecting to how I feel at any given moment, especially with her comics about anxiety. This is her second collection and it was just as amazing as the first. The line art is simple yet well done and her characters manage to have a lot of personality whether they’re in one comic or multiple.

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Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

I had no idea, beyond the summary, what to expect from this book. I didn’t know when I got it that I would stay up all night to finish it. I didn’t know how blown away I would be by the ending. There was so much to enjoy about this book, from the pacing and the writing to the characters, as well as so much to learn. It is easily one of my favorite books of the year.

My review: link.

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It Had To Be You by Lizzy Charles

James Parson has a problem. His military dad is going to yank him out of his expensive boarding school if James doesn’t prove he’s no longer hooking up, pulling pranks, and charming his way out of consequences. What better way to show he’s now responsible than becoming the committed boyfriend of a U.S. diplomat’s daughter?

Level-headed, book-smart Edelweiss may have traveled the world thanks to her dad’s job, but when it comes to friends and boys, she knows exactly nothing. Newly enrolled in boarding school, Edel is now on a mission to learn it all. James says he’ll help her experience the ultimate high school life—if she’ll be his fake girlfriend. And fake is perfect, because he’s exactly the kind of player she’d never date.

When I got the chance to review this for a tour and heard it had Gilmore Girls traits, I was more than happy to read it because that show is one of my all time favorites. This contemporary was a fun read and had a funny LI who wasn’t a complete ass like I’d have thought he might be, being the “rich boy who’s about to be expelled”.

My review: link.

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A Pattern for Pepper by Julie Kraulis

Pepper is getting a dress made for a special occasion. It’s the first dress that has ever been made just for her, and she wants it to be perfect. But what pattern is right for her? Pepper is particular, and nothing works at first. Dotted Swiss? Too plain. Houndstooth? Not enough color. Pinstripe? Too glum. As Pepper learns about each fabric, she finds a reason why it’s just not the one. Will Pepper ever be able to find the perfect pattern?
Julie Kraulis takes readers on a journey through gorgeous patterns and their origins–from the mountains of Switzerland to the green grass of Scotland–in search of Pepper’s ideal pattern. The incredible illustrations make for a dress, a character and a book that are impossible to forget.

I’m more of a knitter than a sewer but even I could appreciate this book. It celebrated the wide range of fabrics that were available for Pepper to choose from for her new dress. The illustrations were beautiful and the variety of these samples was interesting to see. It’s been one of my favorite picture books so far this year that I can recommend for adults to read themselves and to share with their children.

My review: link.

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Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

Saints, Misfits, Monsters, and Mayhem is an unforgettable debut novel that feels like a modern day My So-Called Life…starring a Muslim teen.

How much can you tell about a person just by looking at them?

Janna Yusuf knows a lot of people can’t figure out what to make of her…an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and sometime graphic novelist is not exactly easy to put into a box.

And Janna suddenly finds herself caring what people think. Or at least what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Or they shouldn’t date. Or won’t? Janna is still working all this out.

While her heart might be leading her in one direction, her mind is spinning in others. She is trying to decide what kind of person she wants to be, and what it means to be a saint, a misfit, or a monster. Except she knows a monster…one who happens to be parading around as a saint…Will she be the one to call him out on it? What will people in her tightknit Muslim community think of her then?

Sadly I do not remember who recommended this on Twitter or I would be thanking them a hundred times over. This debut blew me away with the writing style, the information without being info-dumping, and the multi-layered story for the main character, Janna, as she struggles with something that’s happened to her, her community, and what her personal feelings as a Muslim teenager.

My review: link.

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March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

Congressman John Lewis (GA-5) is an American icon, one of the key figures of the civil rights movement. His commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper’s farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington, and from receiving beatings from state troopers to receiving the Medal of Freedom from the first African-American president.

Now, to share his remarkable story with new generations, Lewis presents March, a graphic novel trilogy, in collaboration with co-writer Andrew Aydin and New York Times best-selling artist Nate Powell (winner of the Eisner Award and LA Times Book Prize finalist for Swallow Me Whole).

March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.

Book One spans John Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall.

Many years ago, John Lewis and other student activists drew inspiration from the 1950s comic book “Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story.” Now, his own comics bring those days to life for a new audience, testifying to a movement whose echoes will be heard for generations.

This book proved very educational and relevant to current times. I don’t know why I hadn’t read it before, but I’m looking forward to reading the next two volumes.

My review: link.

 

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If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school in Lambertville, Tennessee. Like any other girl, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret. There’s a reason why she transferred schools for her senior year, and why she’s determined not to get too close to anyone.

And then she meets Grant Everett. Grant is unlike anyone she’s ever met—open, honest, kind—and Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself…including her past. But she’s terrified that once she tells Grant the truth, he won’t be able to see past it.

Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It’s that she used to be Andrew.

This was recommended several times over on Twitter and I’m glad I finally read it in January. The story of a transgender teen, there were quite a few gut-wrenching scenes in this book. It has highs, lows, and lots to tell. The author was sure to point out that it wasn’t a story that spoke for all transgender people, which I appreciated.

My review: link.

 

Have you read any of these books this year or in the past? What did you think of them? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. 🙂

 

 

 

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.
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3 thoughts on “Top 10 Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read So Far in 2017

  1. Oooh so many good books! I’m absolutely in agreement over how good Queens of Geek was. SO MUCH NERD APPRECIATION. I also really loved George! I read that a while ago but it was so cute and heartwarming and lovely. ❤ I'd love to try When I Was Your Girl and Saints & Misfits soon too. They sound amazing. 😍

    Liked by 1 person

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