Monday, December 26, 2016

Top Ten Favorite Fiction Reads of 2016

I'm linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for another Top Ten Tuesday.

This week I'm sharing my favorite fiction reads from 2016. See last week's post for my favorite nonfiction reads of the year. These are listed alphabetically.

1. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
This is an outstanding contribution to the national conversation about racism and police brutality. The authors manage to cover a lot of ground in a relatively short young adult novel, and I found it to be well done. Definitely recommended for everyone!

2. George by Alex Gino
I found this story of a transgender girl in elementary school heartwarming and very well done. The conflicts are realistic without being too heavy, and the ending is optimistic without being naïvely so. I enjoyed the read and would happily share the book with my kids.

3. The Giver by Lois Lowry
I read this book a long time ago, maybe in middle school, and it didn't make the impression on me that it clearly had on so many people. Rereading as an adult and a mother whose son was around Gabe's age at the end of the book, it hit me much harder. It's a deceptively quick read that contains so many lessons about history, society, and what makes life worth living, and I appreciated it so much more this time around.

4. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
I'm not a big fan of sci-fi generally, and my first impression was that there was too much to keep track of, but once I got my head around everything the story started to come together and I really enjoyed it. There's great world-building and a good balance between expository detail and narrative action, and the characters' dilemmas felt real to me.

5. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
This has been a favorite since I first read it, and it still is, though I went into rereading it this time with a more critical eye this time regarding gender and intersex identity. Eugenides provides it all: complex, memorable characters; unpredictable, intriguing plot lines; and subtle lessons in history and science. The Pulitzer is well deserved.

6. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
How to describe this classic without spoiling anything? Let's just say that I guessed the reveal and still greatly enjoyed the read.

7. Peril at End House by Agatha Christie
This may be one of my favorite Christie plot twists. I was convinced I'd figured out the mystery, and then it turned out that what I'd figured out was just a tiny piece of the puzzle — Christie fooled me again, though as usual the clues were all there.

8. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
This was the first time I'd read Irving, and I ended up really enjoying this novel, as I became entrenched in the world of the story and its colorful characters. It's rich in symbolism without being heavy-handed, making it a good choice to read, discuss, or analyze. I highly recommend the audiobook!

9. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
This was sweet, hilarious, and a pitch-perfect depiction of life in high school. Although I figured out the identity of Simon's anonymous e-mail penpal pretty early on, which took away some of the mystery driving the plot, I still enjoyed the read. I especially love Simon's family.

10. Stolen by Lucy Christopher
I spent most of this book worrying about how Christopher was going to end it, but she nailed the ending, so I can recommend the book. It's told by a girl who's kidnapped at the airport and taken to the middle of an Australian desert. The attention to detail and the descriptions of nature were fantastic.

What were your favorite fiction reads of the year?

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