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The Best Young Adult Book Covers of 2017
Posted by Marie on December 27, 2017



Although you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, you can certainly admire its cover art. And this year's young adult novels featured some of the most stunning book covers yet. Every month, our readers cast their vote in our young adult newsletter, choosing the one cover that they couldn't resist. The monthly winners then entered a final showdown, where fans voted on which covers would take home the title of "Best of the Year."

And who was the champion of 2017? Fantasy favorite An Enchantment of Ravens took flight with first place; The Bone Witch cast its spell and took second; and placing third was contemporary heartbreaker, The Color Project. Congratulations to all those that made the final roundup—we can't wait to see what covers will come our in way in 2018.

Want to participate in next year's cover contests? Be sure to sign up for the Goodreads young adult newsletter.

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Check out more recent blogs:
2017's 20 Most-Read Books on Goodreads
Our Most Popular Blogs of the Year
'Tis The Season to Do Good
Our Favorite Holiday Tradition: Iceland's Christmas Book Flood
Posted by Hayley on December 22, 2017



In our perfect world, every present underneath the Christmas tree would be a book. Alas, most of us must prepare ourselves for disappointment (likely in the form of socks). But there's another way! This year take a page from Iceland's book and celebrate Jólabókaflóð.

What is Jólabókaflóð—and how do you pronounce it? The Icelandic word translates roughly into English as "Christmas book flood" and is pronounced yo-la-bok-a-flot. It refers to the country's traditional publishing peak: The majority of books in Iceland are sold between late September and early November, just in time for the holidays.

And the best part of Jólabókaflóð happens on Christmas Eve. "The culture of giving books as presents is very deeply rooted in how families perceive Christmas as a holiday," says Kristjan B. Jonasson, president of the Iceland Publishers Association. "Normally, we give the presents on the night of the 24th and people spend the night reading."

That sounds like holiday perfection to us. Now we just have to convince our family members and friends to embrace the magic of Jólabókaflóð. Here are some of Goodreads members' favorite books to read during the holidays to get you started.

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Do you have any bookish holiday traditions? Share them with us in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
2017's 20 Most-Read Books on Goodreads
Our Most Popular Blogs of the Year
'Tis The Season to Do Good

2017's 20 Most-Read Books on Goodreads
Posted by Cybil on December 21, 2017

The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood's classic feminist dystopian novel, was the most-read book on Goodreads in 2017. The popularity of the 1985 novel was bolstered, in part, by an award-winning TV series adaptation on Hulu.

In fact, many of the year's most-read books had hooks into popular culture, whether that's the success of the Big Little Lies series on HBO or the political climate that helped popularize the hardscrabble memoir Hillbilly Elegy (which was the fourth most-read book of the year).

Some of these novels have become bookclub favorites, including the tale of a stepfamily in Commonwealth (No. 2 on the list) and the beloved curmudgeon of A Man Called Ove (which finished the year at No. 3). And let's say lots of you like to return to Hogwarts as the boy wizard continues his popularity among readers of all ages.

Check out the entire list from No. 1 (The Handmaid's Tale) to No. 20 (Beneath a Scarlet Sky).


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Did you read any of these books in 2017? Which ones would you recommend? Tell us in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
First Lines from the Best Books of the Year
'Tis The Season to Do Good
An Interview with the Most Popular Reviewer on Goodreads

Our Most Popular Blogs of the Year
Posted by Hayley on December 21, 2017



As 2017 comes to a close, we're taking a look back at a year of amazing author exclusives, engaging discussions, and enough book recommendations to last us well into the next decade. These are the blogs that got your fellow Goodreads members talking and adding books to their Want to Read shelves.

Special Coverage

Reader Roundups

Author Exclusives

Goodreads Hacks


What would you like to see more of from our blog in 2018? Tell us about it in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
2017's 20 Most-Read Books on Goodreads
'Tis The Season to Do Good
First Lines from the Best Books of the Year

'Tis The Season to Do Good
Posted by Cybil on December 18, 2017



Every month, Goodreads highlights a great reading-related nonprofit for folks to volunteer with, donate to, or otherwise help. As this is the season of giving, we thought we'd share a roundup of some literary-themed charities in need of your support.


Barbershop Books
Barbershop Books is a community-based literacy program that creates friendly reading spaces in barbershops for boys. The nonprofit's mission is to help black boys between the ages of four and eight become readers by bringing books into barbershops—and involving the men who work there to help foster a love of reading. Every dollar invested in a reading space results in 27 minutes of reading in a barbershop. Find out more about the program's impact as well as how you can get involved and donate.

PEN International
Since its founding in 1921, PEN International has championed freedom of expression while helping writers of all persuasions weather censorship, imprisonment, and persecution. Its advocacy has spanned wars and decades; then-PEN president H.G. Wells campaigned against Nazi book burnings before World War II, the organization condemned the fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989, and today PEN is active in more than 100 countries. Its recent work includes support for mother language education around the globe as well as rallying support for writers in crisis in foreign countries. Learn more and donate.

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library
In 1995, country singer Dolly Parton started the nonprofit Imagination Library to promote reading in her home state of Tennessee. Today the group has donated millions of books to children in need throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Every month the Imagination Library mails more than 1 million books to children's homes, and in February the nonprofit will send its 100 millionth book. Dolly Parton's Imagination Library partners with local communities. If your community would like to get involved, learn more here.

Reach Out & Read
Reach Out & Read helps at-risk kids learn to read. Through the program, Reach Out & Read-trained doctors give books to children at each of ten well-child visits, from infancy until they start school. More importantly, it encourages families to read aloud and engage with their infants, toddlers, and preschoolers every day. You can see a list of its recommended children's books here. You can also donate here.

ProLiteracy
ProLiteracy promotes adult literacy through education, training, research, policy development, and advocacy. It works with adult learners in partnership with local, national, and international organizations. Those include volunteer-based literacy groups, the U.S. adult basic education system, and agencies that specialize in workforce readiness, health literacy, and English as another language. Learn how to get involved and donate.

Reading Is Fundamental
Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) is committed to inspiring a passion for reading among children and engaging with communities to give every child the fundamentals for success. With the help of thousands of RIF volunteers (as well as local chapters established throughout the country in schools, Head Start programs, community centers, health clinics, migrant camps, and homeless shelters), it provides books and literacy resources for children in communities nationwide. You can help support tomorrow's community of readers by donating to RIF. Learn more and donate.

International Rescue Committee
An estimated 28 million children who are caught up in conflict and crisis worldwide are unable to attend school. For the past 80 years, the International Rescue Committee—which helps uprooted and war-torn communities in more than 30 countries to rebuild—has provided educational opportunities for children who are fleeing violence, disaster, and instability. The IRC, which was founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, operates in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. In addition to offering schooling, it trains teachers and promotes literacy, advocating that access to education gives children a vital sense of stability and opportunity during an emergency. Learn more and donate.

Learning Ally
The nonprofit Learning Ally uses educational technology to assist struggling readers who have learning differences and visual disabilities. Its cloud-based library of narrated audio textbooks and popular literature—all voiced by volunteers—gives these students access to grade-level content so they can become successful, engaged learners alongside their peers. Working with schools across the U.S., Learning Ally provides teachers with tools, training, and support to help students. Get involved and donate.

We Need Diverse Books
We Need Diverse Books is a grassroots nonprofit program that is run by children's book lovers and aims to increase the diversity of books available to young readers. The group works to promote literature featuring children's book characters who are from diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, indigenous, LGBTQ, and other minority communities. We Need Diverse Books was spearheaded by author Ellen Oh and 21 other children's book writers and industry professionals. The group was founded on the belief that more diversity in children's books better reflects the world and teaches kids about our differences as well as our shared feelings and aspirations. Become a fund-raiser or volunteer.




First Lines from the Best Books of the Year
Posted by Hayley on December 14, 2017

We try to not judge books by their covers, but first lines? Well, that's a different story. In a world of so many books (and so little time!), we have to be selective…and a great opening can make the difference between "want to read" eventually and "want to read" now.

Check out how the winners of this year's Goodreads Choice Awards hooked readers below. Which first lines make you want to read more?


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"Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down."


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BEST MYSTERY & THRILLER
Into the Water
by Paula Hawkins
"There was something you wanted to tell me, wasn't there?"


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BEST HISTORICAL FICTION
Before We Were Yours
by Lisa Wingate
"My story begins on a sweltering August night, in a place I will never set eyes upon."


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"Dougal—you settle down now, please."


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"I have an impressive collection of trophies that I did not win."


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BEST SCIENCE FICTION
Artemis
by Andy Weir
"I bounded over the gray, dusty terrain toward the huge dome of Conrad Bubble."


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"If you'd asked me back at the beginning of my career to guess which character I was most likely to return to, fifteen years after I'd played her for the first time, there would have been only one answer."


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"Regardless of how you got here, I'm so glad you did."


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BEST MEMOIR & AUTOBIOGRAPHY
What Happened
by Hillary Rodham Clinton
"This is my story of what happened."


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BEST MEMOIR & AUTOBIOGRAPHY
The Radium Girls
by Kate Moore
"The scientist had forgotten all about the radium."


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"In recent years, no more than a week goes by without news of a cosmic discovery worthy of banner headlines."


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BEST FOOD & TECHNOLOGY
The Pioneer Woman Cooks
by Ree Drummond
"When I was in my early twenties, I thought I was busy."


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BEST YOUNG ADULT FICTION
BEST DEBUT GOODREADS AUTHOR
The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas
"I shouldn't have come to this party."


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BEST YOUNG ADULT FANTASY
A Court of Wings and Ruin
by Sarah J. Maas
"The buzzing flies and screaming survivors had long since replaced the beating war-drums."


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BEST MIDDLE GRADE & CHILDREN'S
The Ship of the Dead
by Rick Riordan
"'Try it again,' Percy told me. 'This time with less dying.'"


What's your favorite first sentence of 2017? Share it with us in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
See Your Year in Books!
Books that Celebrate the Spirit
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2017 - See Your Year in Books!
Posted by Hayley on December 13, 2017

Year in Books is sponsored by Audible. Enjoy a free book with your trial.


As 2017 comes to a close, let's celebrate another year of reading. Did you discover a new favorite author? Did you delve into different genres or tackle a big series?

To help you reminisce, we put together a Year in Books personalized infographic to showcase your 2017 reading life. In addition to highlighting the total books and pages you read, you can also find out your top genres, your average rating, the most popular and least popular book on your list, and more.

Don't keep your Year in Books to yourself—share it with your friends and use the hashtag #MyYearInBooks on social! You can even add a note at the top, a personalized description of your unique reading journey in 2017.

See your Year in Books!



With Year in Books, you can also get a peek at the reading life of authors, entrepreneurs, and celebrities. How do your recent picks compare with these big names?


Celeste Ng's Year in Books
The winner of the 2017 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Fiction read 28 books this year, including The Age of Innocence and My Absolute Darling.

Belletrist's Year in Books
This year actress Emma Roberts and her friend Karah Preiss started the online book club Belletrist. The founders share the books they read together this year.

Neil deGrasse Tyson's Year in Books
The winner of the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Science & Technology read Everything All at Once by Bill Nye the Science Guy in addition to several other nonfiction books.

Colleen Hoover's Year in Books
The winner of the 2017 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance read a little bit of everything this year, from Stephen King's It to Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic.

Reshma Saujani's Year in Books
The founder of the tech organization Girls Who Code tackled 24 books, including Hidden Figures, The Gentleman in Moscow, and The Rules Do Not Apply.

Brad Feld's Year in Books
The early stage investor and co-founder of Techstars was busy this year—he read 73 books. The longest was The Rise and Fall of American Growth at 785 pages, and the shortest was the 95-page The Future of American Progressivism.

Victoria Schwab's Year in Books
The finalist for Best Fantasy in the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards (who also writes under the name V.E. Schwab) read a grand total of 105 books! Her most popular genres are nonfiction, fiction, and biography.


To see your Year in Books, click here!


Are you planning on going on an epic reading binge in the final two weeks of the year? Or did some of the books you read in 2017 not make it onto your Goodreads bookshelves? Don't worry! You can keep adding more books. Your Year in Books will continue updating until the new year.


How a National Book Award Winner Overcame Writer's Block
Posted by Hayley on December 12, 2017

This year's National Book Award for Young People's Literature went to Robin Benway's Far from the Tree, a powerful tale of three adopted siblings who find one another after years of struggle. Benway, who also wrote Emmy & Oliver and Audrey, Wait!, shares her own journey of discovery with Goodreads, one that took her from crippling self-doubt to reclaiming the magic of storytelling.



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In the opening pages of Far from the Tree, each of the three siblings who narrates the book talks about being "untethered," of feeling so disconnected that they could float away. It's only now that I realize I wasn't describing them; I was describing me.

About 18 months ago or so, I thought my career was over. Not even thought—I knew it was over.

I didn't tell anyone this, of course. I felt too ashamed, too scared of the fact that I couldn't seem to write another book. I had written five by this point, so a sixth one seemed inevitable, and yet the story felt wrong, the words sounded wrong, and the characters were so flat that it was embarrassing. I trashed several ideas. By February 2016, I was trying to hammer out a story about three siblings who were separated at birth and reunited as teenagers.

It wasn't going well.

I've always connected to the world through writing, through imaginary places and friends and secret stories that only I could know. When I was a child, I would sit in the back seat of our family station wagon and imagine that we were driving on a secret spy mission along with all of the other cars on the freeway, zooming to solve some imaginary danger. (We were, of course, not zooming toward danger. We were going to my grandma's house.) So the idea that I was becoming untethered from that place that I had cherished horrified me.

When my first book was published, it was the first time that other people connected with the stories in my head. It created a bond between the reader and me that felt almost like a secret handshake, a signal to enter into an imaginary space that I had created for others to visit. "We have a deal," it seemed to say. And now the deal was broken. Worse, I was the one who had broken it.

The ideas had dried up. The magic seemed to be gone. I watched as other authors on social media sold books, created bestsellers, and traveled the world to tell their stories. I felt even more useless. (Social media is a fickle beast, as we all know, and a terrible manipulator of the truth, but at the time, it felt all too real.) Desperate, I applied to a freelance agency that staffed creative people at various companies around Los Angeles. I polished my résumé, making sure to add all of my book titles and foreign sales, and then I got called in to meet the head of recruiting. She studied my résumé, then slowly said, "I don't know what to do with you" as I sat in a small chair and felt all of the pride of my previous successes drain away.

I didn't know what to do with me, either.

It all came to a head when I met a friend for lunch and finally told her how stuck I was on these ideas, how I was sure that it was all over for me. She looked at me and said, "You should meet a friend of mine."

So I did. I met the friend and his two sons. Afterward, I drove home and realized that in meeting this family, I had discovered how to—maybe, just maybe—tell my characters' stories. I had approached the idea all wrong, and by the time I parked the car, I was ready to rewrite the book. Again. The bond wasn't broken. The place I felt most at home was still there, waiting for me to find my way back to it.

I met friends for writing dates, showing up to a coffee shop filled with people clacking away on their MacBook Airs, the room filled with the synchronicity of dozens of people all trying to hammer out an idea at the same time. Sitting in that room next to friends and neighbors plugged me back into a creative orbit that gave me the kind of peace I had been craving, and with my friends by my side, I started to write about Joaquin and Maya and Grace, three characters who to this day feel so very real to me. I didn't even care if the book was any good. I just wanted it to be done.

Eighteen months later, the book was done. I liked it. I felt proud of it. But most importantly, readers connected with these three siblings in a way that I couldn't have imagined last year. I've heard so many stories about families who have been split apart, who have come back together, and I feel so honored that readers have trusted me with these intimate stories. The bond is back, stronger than ever, and I am so grateful for it.

I finished Far from the Tree on May 14, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. I documented this event on Instagram with a screenshot of two of the best words in the English language—"The End"—and I added this caption: "I wondered if I would ever finish a book again. I wondered if I was even a writer anymore. But I did. And I am. And to quote the ever-quotable Kanye West, "it feels good to be home."

It still does. Thanks for letting me come back inside.


Check out the rest of Robin Benway's books and follow her here.


Which 2017 book would you recommend to your fellow readers? Share it with us in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
12 Audiobooks for Star Wars Fans
Announcing the Winners of the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards
Excerpt: Neil deGrasse Tyson's Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

An Interview with the Most Popular Reviewer on Goodreads
Posted by Marie on December 11, 2017

Since joining Goodreads seven years ago, Emily May has amassed more than 80,000 Goodreads followers and has written 1,300 book reviews and counting—making her the most-popular reviewer on the site. She loves reading across all genres and completes an average of 200 books per year. Originally from Yorkshire, England, she currently lives in Los Angeles, where she works as a freelance editor and beta-reader, giving publishers feedback on soon-to-be-released novels.

Goodreads chatted with May to get her advice on writing book reviews, upcoming trends she's seeing in the book industry, and her top 10 favorite books of 2017.

Goodreads: Why is reading important to you? What books got you hooked on reading?

Emily May: I don't remember ever not reading. Like most bookworms, I was a deeply shy and quiet child who preferred to keep to myself and live in books instead of the real world. Reading was, and still is, all kinds of things to me—an escape, an adventure, and entertainment.

The earliest books I remember reading were everything by Roald Dahl, [R.L.] Stine's Goosebumps series, and C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I still get a sense of that early excitement and wonder I felt every time I think of Lucy stepping through a plain old wardrobe in a house and discovering a whole magical world—that has always seemed like a metaphor for reading itself. Later I found that metaphor again in the Harry Potter series as well as others. Both Harry Potter and Lucy Pevensie cast off the mundane life they've always known and step into a world of magic where anything is possible—isn't that what happens every time we get lost in a good book?

GR: What inspired you to become a book reviewer? How did you get started?

EM: When I started writing reviews, I didn't consider myself a book reviewer at all. I was still a teenager, feeling—as a lot of teenagers do—constantly out of place and awkward in myself. I stumbled across Goodreads one day, and it offered exactly what I didn't know I'd been looking for—somewhere I could go where people genuinely loved reading and talking about books. There was no uncool on Goodreads. I could make hyperbolic statements like "I am dying for the next book" or "if this character 'chuckles darkly' one more time, I'm going to throw this book in the fireplace" (yes, I'm dramatic), and other Goodreads members would get it and share encouraging GIFs.

I made friends all across the globe, we gave each other "likes" and comments, and I stuck around. It was that simple, really. I'm still not sure I consider myself a book reviewer. As far as I'm concerned, I'm still that same weird girl talking about books with other book lovers.

GR: What's your process for writing book reviews? How much time do you spend on them? How do you define your star rating?

EM: With most books, I make notes and highlights (on Kindle) while I'm reading. Time permitting, I like to start writing a review immediately after finishing the book while everything is still fresh in my mind. It takes me approximately 30 minutes to an hour to write a review, usually depending on how passionate I felt about it. The hardest are the 3-star books because I have to somehow communicate "I liked it, but I didn't like it that much."

I typically try to follow the Goodreads star ratings—"did not like it" (1 star), "it was OK" (2 stars), "liked it" (3 stars), "really liked it" (4 stars), and "it was amazing" (5 stars). I especially like this rating system because the use of "liked" and "did not like" emphasizes that the rating is a personal opinion, not so much a statement about the quality of the book. I am one of those readers who believes all reading experiences, all experiences with art, in fact, are about perspective and interpretation. I don't believe I am in a position to make a universal statement about how good a book is; I can only say what I liked or didn't like about it, and why, and maybe some people will relate to that and find it useful.

GR: What do you hope your followers will gain from your reviews?

EM: I've actually had to school myself not to be too obsessed with what my followers, or anyone on the internet, wants from me and my reviews. Constantly worrying about how others will see me, especially when those others number in the thousands or tens of thousands, is the fastest way to bring on the anxiety. But, put simply, I hope people find books they love. I don't care if that's because they read a book I reviewed positively or if they saw something they personally enjoy in a negative review I wrote. It is not too much to say that books can inspire us, change us, even save us at times, and I hope everyone finds the book that they need.

GR: What advice would you give to a book lover who might be a little shy about writing a review?

EM: I would tell them to first and foremost write for themselves. Approach every review from the standpoint of "how did this book make me feel?" and try not to worry too much about what other readers will think. When you start to review yourself, and scrutinize every word you put down, it becomes impossible. There will always be someone with a different opinion from you. It's a cliché, but true: You really cannot please everybody. So stop trying (maybe one day I will take this advice, too). And if you feel like you're the only person in the world who liked or didn't like a particular book—I guarantee, you are not. There's a whole bunch of people out there, like you, who have or haven't connected with a book for whatever reason, and your review could be exactly what they need to hear to feel like they're not alone.

GR: What books do you find yourself recommending the most?

EM: To be honest, I actually think I'm pretty good at recommending books specific to the individual asking. There have been many books I haven't enjoyed but have passed along to my mum, dad, or a friend because I know it's more their thing.

Just in general, though, I take great pleasure in recommending authors I perceive to be underappreciated; for example, Marcus Sedgwick, Abigail Haas, Jodi Lynn Anderson, Kathleen Duey, and Melina Marchetta. Some other authors I recommend a lot are Tana French (for mystery and thriller fans), Neil Gaiman and N.K. Jemisin (for fantasy fans), Courtney Summers (for YA contemporary fans), Roxane Gay (for fans of short stories), and Margaret Atwood (for literary fiction fans).

GR: Are there any interesting book trends you've noticed in 2017? Do you have any predictions about trends in 2018?

EM: Absolutely, but I don't think I have anything particularly enlightening to reveal. YA has moved away from all the fairy tale retellings and is now becoming all about superheroes. It's been slowly building for a while with [Brandon] Sanderson's The Reckoners series and [G. Willow Wilson's] Ms. Marvel graphic novels, but now, this year, we've already seen [Leigh] Bardugo's Wonder Woman: Warbringer and [Marissa] Meyer's Renegades. Also of note is the lesser known Dreadnought by April Daniels that has a transgender superheroine. Next year the buzz will undoubtedly surround [Marie] Lu's Batman: Nightwalker and [Sarah J.] Maas' Catwoman: Soul Stealer, too. With such major authors all writing in the superhero genre, I would be surprised if many others didn't follow suit shortly after.

There's also been a huge increase in diverse books published by major companies since the start of the We Need Diverse Books campaign. 2017 has been the year where I've really seen the difference the movement has made. It's so wonderful to finally be able to go to the new YA releases and find characters of all skin colors, sexualities, and gender identities, plus characters with physical disabilities or mental illnesses. I had very few diverse books growing up; I am thankful my kids will have more.

GR: What were your top 10 reads of 2017 and why? What impressions did they leave on you?

EM: This is such a tough question, but I somehow whittled it down to these (in no particular order):


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I love, love, love historical epics that just tell a really great story. Boyne's latest is a sad and funny tale about the life of a gay man, from his conception in small-town Ireland to 1980s Amsterdam and later New York City in the middle of the AIDs crisis. It's a very bittersweet story.




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This deserves 100 percent of the hype it has been getting. It is a dark, beautifully written ghost story set in modern-day Mississippi. Ward is really great at evoking emotions through her dreamy descriptions of each scene, and all of the complex characters are the kind who stay with you.




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The Hate U Give is so important. And so good. And important. I don't know which to sell to you first. It's a much-needed story for our times about a very real and relevant issue, but it's also a great look inside the mind of a scared teenage girl.




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I'm obsessed with this series, and I can't wait for the third book. It instills in me that sense that I am tiny and the universe is so much bigger and more dangerous than I could have imagined. It reminds me of all the things we do not, cannot, know. Reading books like this is an overwhelming and breathtaking experience.




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I am a huge Laini Taylor fan, and her latest book is no exception. She creates such complex and interesting fantasy worlds, and she's one of the few writers who, in my opinion, can get away with writing purple prose. I don't know; it just seems to work for her.




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Gay is one of my favorite writers writing today. She knows how to use words to perfectly set a scene, create an emotion, and leave a lasting impression. In her memoir, she discusses her relationship with food and her body, and how the world sees her. Without self-pity or manipulation, she shows how society sees a woman—and a fat woman in particular—as someone taking up too much space.




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Returning to a fantasy world after six years wouldn't work for many authors, but Turner is just so good at what she does. And what she does is write slow-building, complex fantasy full of political machinations and character dynamics. It's clever and full of twists and turns.




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Look, I had to include a fast-paced, guilty-pleasure book on this list. And, you know, I don't even really feel guilty about it. White has reimagined Vlad the Impaler as a woman, and this sequel to And I Darken tells of the fall of Constantinople and the reclamation of Wallachia. It's all very dark and dramatic—of course I loved it.




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I always say that the books that hit me the hardest are the ones that are subtly sad. The ones that, on the surface, might be funny and entertaining, that don't feel like they're trying really hard to make the reader cry. That's this book. It's the kind of book you don't realize is sad until you're tearing up. And Eleanor is such an unforgettable character.




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I almost didn't read this because, if I'm being honest, the cover and title didn't grab me, but it turned out to be a really fantastic family saga set in Korea and Japan. I really love these multigenerational family tales, especially when set in regions or during time periods that don't often appear in mainstream fiction. Really fascinating.




You can find more of Emily May on her blog, "The Book Geek." Be sure to also follow her on Goodreads, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.


In Defense of Love Triangles
Posted by Hayley on December 09, 2017

Beware the Wild author Natalie C. Parker knows you probably have thoughts about love triangles…but she's here to smash your previously held conceptions. In the upcoming young adult anthology Three Sides of a Heart, top YA authors—including Veronica Roth, Garth Nix, Renée Ahdieh, and more—put their own suprising spins on the much-debated trope. Goodreads asked Parker, who edits the collection and writes one of the 16 stories, to share her thoughts on the past, present, and future of the love triangle.



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Two years ago, I didn't think I cared much about love triangles.

I don't even recall the first one I encountered. Was it Luke-Han-Leia in Star Wars? (I was a child of the '80s and managed to experience the triangle free of spoilers.) Was it Phantom-Christine-Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera? (I was a child of the '80s, and I loved all things Andrew Lloyd Weber.) Or was it Olivia-Viola-Orsino in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night? (This has nothing to do with being a child of the '80s.) It could have been one of those or one of dozens of others. Whichever was the first, I grew up with stories that wielded love triangles marvelously.

But even though I was a consumer of the love triangle, I didn't think I had an opinion—good or bad—about it as a trope. At least not until I noticed the criticism directed toward manifestations of the love triangle in young adult literature. I doubt you could find a topic as polarizing as YA love triangles. Critics use the trope to trivialize YA fiction as a whole, and readers include love triangle warnings in their reviews of individual novels.

When I encountered this debate, I basically "Hulked out" with a rage I didn't fully understand—and spent a good 15 minutes shouting at my friends about tropes and feminism and romance.

So, it turned out, I did have a few feelings about the love triangle. And when I descended from my private rage planet, I realized the best way to engage with the conversation about love triangles and YA literature was to build an anthology. Now, as the anthology is about to be released, I'm just as excited to be joining the debate as I was when I pitched the project.

The love triangle has suffered from a stagnant definition in recent years. In fact, the minute someone mentions "love triangles" and "young adult" in the same sentence, we can't help but think of Edward-Bella-Jacob and Peeta-Katniss-Gale. They have come to fix our notion of the YA love triangle as one girl (usually white, cisgender, and heteronormative) choosing between two boys, each representing the version of herself she wants to be.

These manifestations of the love triangle are like the sun. They fill up the sky so completely, we sometimes forget that there are millions of stars out there offering a different quality of light.

Yes, there was an explosion of love triangles in the wake of both Twilight and The Hunger Games, but be wary of discounting the love triangles of the future.

This is a trope with so much more to offer.

I invited my anthology contributors to twist, expand, or explode the love triangle in a short story genre of their choice, and they delivered in full force. This collection demonstrates the multifaceted potential of the love triangle. I won't claim that it's a comprehensive compendium of all possible love triangles because 1) it's not and 2) I sincerely hope the possibilities of this trope are endless. What I will claim is that these love triangles take the trope through its paces. These stories are romantic and angry, they are political and introspective, and they are adventurous and heartbreaking.

In the process of editing this anthology, I discovered something I suspected all along: that as young adult literature strives toward stories that are inclusive and that challenge the status quo, the tropes we're so familiar with will change before our eyes.

The love triangle is a narrative tool. It's part of the emotional fabric of the story, and as YA expands in a thousand new ways, I suspect the love triangle will, too.


Three Sides of a Heart: Stories About Love Triangles hits bookshelves on December 19. Add it to your Want to Read shelf here.