It's the end of 2016 and time for best of lists! I like to hold off til late in December because... well, I read a lot and cutting off 20 - 25 possible amazing books just doesn't seem very fair to me. I also read a lot in a year (340 as of today!) , so my best of lists are pretty much the few books that earn a full 5-stars from me over the course of the last 12 months.
That said, there are only two full days left in 2015 and I have to narrow down my favorites for at least one list.
Here are my Top Books of 2015
1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows #1)
Heist fantasy with a cast to dream of. So many lovely tropes, so many ships, so much cleverness, and so much pain.
2. Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman (The Illuminae Files #1)
Space, zombies, evil AI, teen romance, found footage/document style. It almost shouldn't worlk but holy shit does it ever.
3. The Royal We by Jessica Morgan and Heather Cocks
I've loved the Fug Girls for years but this novel was their best yet. It was so hilarious and real and full of great characters. I feel a constant need to reread, honestly.
4. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
The surprise of the year! I had Novik on my fantasy radar for her Napoleon and dragons books, but this book and THIS Dragon? Stole the show! It was full of some of my favorite fantasy elements and I didn't want it to ever end.
5. Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
My first novel by this author and it had me scrambling to read her bibliography. TJR is clever and explores love stories in fresh and emotional ways. This book made me think and made me cry. It was lovely.
6. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #4)
So Maas does not disappoint with book four. It was long, it was epic, it was intense, and it was goddamn unpredictable. Manon and Abraxos remain perfect and Lysandra as sorta retconned into a dimensional character. HERE FOR IT.
7. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Beautiful and terrible. We all know how this story ends and though Miller cashes in on that pain, the novel is written so exceedingly well it almost makes you forget how it will all end.
8. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
Hands down the best YA contemporary I read in 2015. This book is so memorable and original and impressive. It's got a great plot, the main character is fantastic, and damn does Oakes know how to wriiiiite.
9. Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann
Feminist poems with a fairytale theme? Okay I was sold on that but I was also apprehensive.. but Heppermann is a one of a kind talent and this book is everything you/I want it to be.
10. The Conqueror's Wife by Stephanie Thornton
Okay so what The Song of Achilles did for well, Achilles, this did for Alexander the Great + Hephaestion and the women of his life. It was a finely tuned emotional whirlwind; the best kind of historical fiction.
11. Winter by Marissa Meyer
A series conclusion that more than satisfied expectations; in a lot of ways, Meyer exceeded the hopes. It may have run a little long but I was not complaining about extra time spent with one of the best character casts in YA.
12. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
A contemporary YA retelling of the Little Mermaid with an interracial romance? Written by Sarah Ockler? Another one that lived up the hype, this was such a well-written contemporary that both paid homage to the Little Mermaid and also created its own characters and plot.
Runners-up aka other 5-star reads:
Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner, Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Lady of the Eternal City by Kate Quinn, and I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios.