Ten Books That Blew Me Away in 2017

The Glass Town Game by Catherynne Valente

Valente’s prose is always magical.  It feels knowing and wise, and it brings out  secret fears, hopes, and dreams.  It makes life feel a little wonderful and a little dangerous.  And it brings to life worlds readers have never seen before.  The Glass Town Game introduces just such a world, one where a man can be made of books and suitcases can come to life.  And it’s all based on the juvenalia of the Bronte siblings.

The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery

This is one of two novels Montgomery wrote for adults.  As a result, it feels a little more sad and knowing than some of her other works.  Twenty-nine-year-old Valancy Stirling has to find a way to break free from her repressive relatives and live her last year with joy–before she succumbs to a fatal heart defect.

The Exact Location of Home by Kate Messener

Messner writes all her books with keen empathy.  This one tells the story of a boy and his mom who briefly lose their apartment and must live in a homeless shelter.  Messenger’s stories helps teachers see that the students who come unprepared are not always “trouble,” but sometimes dealing with difficult situations.

Dragon’s Green by Scarlett Thomas

This is a fresh new fantasy series that seems to be inspired by role-playing games.  The protagonist must collect magical objects and assemble a team in order to stop the evil book eaters.

Cousin Phyllis by Elizabeth Gaskell

A short novel about a young woman’s first time falling in love.   It is a simple story, but a beautiful one.  A nice introduction for readers new to Gaskell.

Slider by Pete Hautman

Hautman’s original story focuses on a boy who wants to get into competitive, even though his family does not always understand his dream.  It also beautifully depicts the ways in which sibling relationships can be simultaneously complicated and wonderful.

Rilla of Ingleside by L. M. Montgomery

A moving look at the Candadian homefront during WWI, this book focuses on Anne Blythe’s youngest daughter as she learns to stop worrying about frivolous things and giving of herself to others.

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Sanderson always builds incredibly complex and magical worlds.  The Reckoners trilogy introduces readers to a fun world where superheroes are actually supervillains who must be stopped by ordinary individuals.

The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien ed. by Humprhrey Carpenter

Reading a book of letters might seem dull, but Tolkien’s provide lively insight into his life, his work, and his philosophy.  It’s full of musings on the characters of LotR, Tolkien’s insights into the morality of his created world, and fun facts you probably didn’t know!

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

This is the start of a fun fantasy adventure that will probably actually appeal to fans of Harry Potter.  It has a complex magical world, plenty of mystery and danger, and a cast sure to win your heart.

 

19 thoughts on “Ten Books That Blew Me Away in 2017

  1. lissa says:

    ‘the blue castle’ was sad but I thought it was a pretty good read. I read this a few months ago and thought it really is different from other Montgomery novels but I like it.

    still deciding if I want to read ‘keeper of the lost cities’ series. I keep hearing good reviews about it.

    have a lovely new year.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      The Blue Castle is different, I think, because it was one of two novels Montgomery wrote for adults. (The other is A Tangled Web.) It’s sadder and darker, and it focuses on a woman in her twenties considered an “old maid.” All quite different from watching Anne, Pat, or Emily grow into young women!

      You definitely want to read The Keeper of the Lost Cities series. 😉 It’s fabulous!

      Happy New Year!

      Like

  2. SeattleStories says:

    I love reading, and have been looking for a great read lately. My favorite books are those that have great words almost like poetry mixed in with story. Which one of these is your favorite? I know with books that is a hard question! But, if you could choose, which one would you read again right now?

    Like

  3. Jonathan Scott Griffin says:

    I’m very interested in Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson, particularly because it sounds like a very similar idea I have had for years now, but haven’t written. Hopefully when I write my story it will be different enough from Sanderson’s. It’s partly why I believe that originally is almost impossible.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I don’t know. Basic plot elements may stay the same, but I think plenty of stories still end up feeling original once you add in the worldbuilding, characters, etc!

      Like

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