This book features an alternate historical landscape in which the Axis Powers won WWII and a shape-shifting character on an epic, cross-continent bike race to kill Hitler. And yes, it’s just as excellent as it sounds.
2. These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly
A complex murder mystery, a beautifully-built Gilded Age setting, and multifaceted characters combine to make this novel an enthralling read.
3. Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
Set in a hyper-competitive New York dance academy, this book includes dark, electric drama that had me absolutely addicted. The gorgeous and suspenseful writing style complements the plot perfectly.
4. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
I love a historical novel that teaches me about a lesser-known event or time period, and that’s exactly what Salt to the Sea did. While reading this book, I learned about the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff for the first time, and I got to know four complex characters with magnificently interconnected stories.
5. The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry
This book broke me. It’s set during the Inquisition and features vivid imagery of the violence of the time. The characters will make you fall in love with them, and the immersing storytelling style will leave you certain you just read a completely true story.
The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen by Katherine Howe
This part-contemporary, part-historical, part-ghost story is eerie, suspenseful, magical, and unique. I loved it almost as much as the author’s YA debut, Conversion, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for something literary and unusual.
7. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
I’m pretty sure I’m the last person in the YA world to read this book, but if you’re somehow more behind than I am, please make 2017 the year you remedy that issue. Take if from someone who isn’t a huge fantasy reader: even if the genre isn’t your #1 favorite, you’ll love Six of Crows.
8. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany, Jack Thorne, and J.K. Rowling
I debated whether I should include this title for a few reasons: I had a handful of problems with it (most of which are reflected here), and it’s technically a play rather than a novel. But at the end of the day, it’s new Harry Potter content, and there’s no way I wasn’t going to love it. I adored the new characters, I was addicted to the plot, and I was so happy to return to one of my favorite fantasy worlds. Not listing this book as a favorite would have been dishonest.
9. The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart
The Mysterious Benedict Society is one of my favorite middle grade books of all time, and the author’s 2016 release lived up to my astronomically high expectations. The Secret Keepers showcases endearingly clever characters, a sinister villain, a suspenseful mystery, and dangerously high stakes—elements that create my favorite kind of MG novel.
10. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
In case you missed the memo, Carry On is essentially Harry Potter (if Draco and Harry were roommates!). It’s based on the fanfiction Cath writes in Fangirl, and it’s excellent. The world building stands on its own, but it bears enough similarities to Hogwarts to be amusing—and the romance is painfully slow-burn and obsessively shippable. As I’ve said before, as far as I’m concerned, Carry On is canon and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is fanfiction.
Have you read any of my 2016 favorites? And what were your top books of the year?