Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. There’s a different themed top 10 list every week. This week, the theme was Top 10 Books I’ve Read in 2017 (broken down however you want). So, folks…this wasn’t easy for me. I’ve finished an absurd amount of books this year (87 I think?), so this is where my reading spreadsheet came in handy. I decided to go ahead and highlight the top 10 Own Voices books I’ve read this year, so without further ado…
1. Dreadnought by April Daniels
I loved this superhero story about Danny, whose encounter with a superhero transforms her body into the gender she’s always known she is, and now everyone knows that she’s a girl. She has to deal with her parents’ reactions (her father desperately wants to change her back), as well as a newfound career, with grumpy, prejudiced superheroes. Trigger warnings for verbal/emotional abuse. A powerful read…and I have the sequel from Netgalley to read and review before it comes out next month! I reviewed Dreadnought here.
2. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
I really loved this story about a girl whose family is about to be deported and who is trying to stop it. Along the course of her day, she meets another teenager and sparks fly. Is it instalove? Maybe a little. Did I like it anyway? Yep! It has great writing and I really loved the little snippets of others’ stories that showed you never know how you impact someone with even small kindnesses.
3. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin
This book was amazing. I love fantasy, and, far too often, the protagonists are white. Not so here, where Jemisin builds a very rich world full of godlings, prejudice, and politics. It’s sexy and violent and hard to walk away from. I can’t wait to finish the series eventually!
4. Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson
I loved this novel about a young black girl trying to find her way in our world. Jade has done everything she can do to get out of her neighborhood. She attends a mostly white private school, where her guidance counselor insists on giving her “opportunities” by the cartload, without bothering to figure out what Jade really wants. One of these opportunities is a mentorship in a program for “at-risk” girls. The female relationships in this book were really interesting to read about. There was Jade and her mother, Jade and her mentor, and Jade and her friends (both from the private school & the neighborhood). Jade is also such a strong character and there are so many different concepts tackled in this book that are important for YA readers. I reviewed the book here.
5. Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
Oh man. I LOVED THIS BOOK. It hit all my fangirl buttons & made me feel so delightfully geeky and happy. Chockful of pop culture references, as well as diverse characters attending a comic-con, and a little teenage love, and it was simply amazing. Definitely just one of my favorites this year all around. I reviewed it here.
6. She Wore Red Trainers by Na’ima B. Roberts
This YA novel follows Amirah and Ali, two Muslim teenagers from a conservative world who are wrestling with different parts of their lives and their faith. Amirah, who has watched her mother go from husband to husband and back again, has sworn never to marry. Ali is just rekindling his faith following the death of his mother. The two encounter each other when they end up in the same neighborhood. Their stories are interesting and sweet, and extended my notions of romance beyond my experiences.
7. History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
This book absolutely gutted me. It was the first I’ve read of Silvera’s, and I just cried at the unfairness of life. A LOT. I mean, I’m not sure what I expected when I knew what the book was about…but anyway. The book follows Theo, coping with the death of his estranged first love (not very well), and the relationship he builds with said love’s new boyfriend in the aftermath of the tragedy. So good. Well worth it. Thought about it for days. Have lots of tissues.
8. All the Rivers by Dorit Rabinyan, translated by Jessica Cohen
I just extolled the virtues of this Israeli-Palestinian love story yesterday in a review here. I loved it. It was realistic and complicated. I really loved how love was not enough to conquer all of their prejudices and feelings about the relationship between Israel and Palestine even within their relationship in the US. Definitely worth a read.
9. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
I will admit that reading anything by Native American authors is a huge gap in my reading life. This is the second book I’ve read of Alexie’s (the first was The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven) and I loved it. The story of a young boy who decides he wants to go to school off of his reservation, and the tensions it creates everywhere in his life, was charming and funny at times, but also heartbreaking at times. Junior, the main character, is also a cartoonist and I loved the addition of his drawings throughout the text. This is a MUST read.
10. The Sky Between You and Me by Catherine Alene
I don’t usually read books in verse, but I got this as a Netgalley and ended up really appreciating it. The story follows Raesha, a teenager who competes in rodeo-style riding. As she deals with various pressures in her life (boyfriend, loss of her mother), she slowly descends into anorexia and the verses chronicle how this happens. This novel was heartwrenching and well worth reading. I reviewed it here.
What Own Voices reads have you loved this year or would you recommend?? Let me know & feel free to link to your Top 10 Tuesday!