Friday Fifteen – Favorites from 2017

Happy Friday, guys! It’s also the last Friday of 2017, which feels like a great time to share fifteen of my favorite books from this year and why you should read them in fifteen words or fewer. I’ve done a lot of great reading, in large part thanks to audiobooks, and will spend 2018 recommending these books to pretty much everyone. (Most of these are not books published in 2017 because I’m way behind the times.) In no particular order:

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
A gut-punch of a book, and a necessary read about Soviet work camps in WWII.

George by Alex Gino
A sensitive, hopeful story about a transgender girl who proves she’s the perfect Charlotte.

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
A powerful and deep dive into the history of cancer, cancer research, and healing.

The Countdown Conspiracy by Katie Slivensky
I’m kinda biased but SO MANY FEELS! I love this STEM adventure. Also, RUBY LIVES!

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
I devoured this tale of family, courage, and how storytelling makes us who we are.

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
This stands in for all the Tiffany Aching books; funny, fierce and so friggin’ good.

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
I. Loved. This. Book. Shetterly’s writing is fantastic, and these stories are so powerful.

The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs
Sarah’s writing is so good, it made me tear up in a Panera. Beautiful, arresting.

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
My kind of middle grade–sensitive and sad and joyous and true.

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
The whole series is great, but PS is my favorite. I’m still ship Lara Jean/John.

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
The book I want to shove into people’s hands. Gorgeous writing, so many feels.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
My new fav contemporary YA romance–funny and sweet and sad and fun.

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey
This Jane Eyre adaptation has stuck with me in ways I didn’t expect. Love Livesey.

The FitzOsbornes in Exile by Michelle Cooper
Finally read and LOVED it. On the edge of WWII, feels very relevant right now.

Ana of California by Andi Teran
Stays true to the spirit of the original Anne of Green Gables, with contemporary spins.

What were your favorite books from 2017? (Bonus points if they’re available via library audibook borrowing services, just saying, it’s a great way to read.) Share them in the comments! And sending you all happy reading wishes for 2018.

Superpowers, Trauma, and Best Friends: Books for When You’ve Finished Season 1 of Jessica Jones

When I was five, I went as Batgirl for Halloween. Not Batman–Batgirl. As a redheaded ass-kicker, she was the ideal superhero for Kindergarten Annie. Unfortunately, the store only sold Batman costumes, so that’s what I wore, even though it obviously wasn’t the same costume.

I’m still a big fan of female superheroes. (Seriously, Buffy was a major part of my middle/high school experience.) So of course I binge-watched the recent Jessica Jones series, and there was a lot to love–female ass-kicking superhero, lots of action and mystery, and also a fascinating look at trauma and recovery and a fantastic central female friendship.

Of course, all of that reminded me of the amazing YA novels I would recommend as follow-ups to fans of Jessica Jones. Here are a few titles to add to your reading list in your post-binge-watch life:

If you liked Jessica Jones for its depiction of trauma/abuse survivors:

  • Fault Line by Christa Desir: I kept thinking, “Wait, is Christa on the JJ writing staff?” Her debut novel is a powerful take on sexual assault, survival, and anger.
  • All the Rage by Courtney Summers: also about sexual assault, a great look at the idea of who ‘deserves’ to be saved.
  • And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard: quiet but compelling story about surviving a relationship turned abusive, with some excellent poetry.
  • Far From You by Tess Sharpe: with their losses, addictions, sharp wit, and detective skills, I think Jessica and Sophie would get along really well.
  • Pointe by Brandy Colbert: Theo reminds me a little of Malcolm–dealing with abuse and self-harm, and I want to give both of them big hugs.
  • Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein: Rose and the Rabbits survive Nazi medical experimentation in a concentration camp; a very intense story of trauma and survival.
  • Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen: Scarlet carries a lot of guilt associated with her previous abuse/loss.
  • Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly: fantasy, but the theme of being used as a weapon in an abusive relationship is powerful here.

If you liked Jessica Jones for its strong female friendships:

  • Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler: Ally and Vanessa have been best friends forever, and Vanessa’s a real celebrity–this is totally Jessica and Trish!
  • Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy: Willowdean and Ellen’s friendship goes through some rocky patches as they grow up, but they always have each other’s backs.
  • Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma: without other family support, these are sisters who would do anything for each other.
  • Open Road Summer by Emery Lord: another famous/not-famous pair, Reagan and Lilah’s friendship is so similar to Jessica/Trish’s in its strength between two seemingly very different people.
  • Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen, Maarta Laiho: friendship to the max, indeed, even when facing some seriously weird supernatural stuff.
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: even thinking about Julie and Maddie’s friendship guts me.

If you liked Jessica Jones for its irreverent girls with super powers:

  • Croak by Gina Damico: Lex and Jessica would totally hang out in the reaper cafeteria.
  • Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor: a supernatural world lurking behind a contemporary urban setting, with great quips from Karou and questions of whose side is ‘good.’
  • Hexed by Michelle Krys: lots of narrative twists and turns, and no one in Indie’s life is safe.
  • Sekret by Lindsay Smith: even as a psychic spy in the Cold War, Yulia struggles against government control and to understand her own abilities.

Any other reading suggestions for post-Jessica Jones life? Share them in the comments!