Christmas is upon us and it’s that time of the year again when we start categorising all the books that meant a lot to us! We had a lot of fun thinking up the categories for the book awards and picking our favourite books.
We hope everyone has a happy holidays and a wonderful Christmas ahead!
Book That Gave Me All The Feels
Jenna: I’m a chronic book crier and most books will give me the feels in some sort of way but a standout for this year is definitely Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. I love WWII historical fiction and this one was magnificent. It was poignant and emotional and everything that I needed from it.
Jeann: It’s no secret that The Lunar Chronicles is one of my favourite series of all time, and Stars Above was an incredibly satisfying collection of short stories featuring characters from the series. The epilogue featuring a much anticipated wedding was pretty much the cutest thing ever and I had all of the feels. Can we have an epilogue of the epilogue now?
Aila: Well first of all, KHALIDDDD and second of all, KHALIDDDD. <3 This conclusion was all the amazing, and I adored it from beginning to end. Shazi’s character was thumbs-up all the way and everything was wrapped up so perfectly. Definitely one of the series of my hearts for this year. I know Jenna loved it as well, although Jeann wasn’t a big fan of the first book.
Book That I Couldn’t Shut Up About
Jenna: I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios is probably the book that I pushed the most this year (besides All the Light We Cannot See, which I’ll never ever stop pushing). Jeann will tell you that I pressured her to read the book for months. It’s so, so, soooo good and you should all pick it up!
Jeann: It’s not a surprise that Gemina is the book I couldn’t stop going on about for a whole month lol. I was so obsessed with it I think I posted about it everyday on Twitter. I even read it twice and started listening to the Illuminae audiobook. READ IT NOW GUYS.
Aila: Oh my life, I’m soooo in love with this book. SPACE BOOKS ARE INCREDIBLE and I’m happy to report that Jenna enjoyed it as well. Who would’t with a kickass heroine, a ragtag ship crew, and assorted adventures that await them? This is a space book that is out of this world.
Favourite Book That I Picked Up Because of My Co-Bloggers
Jenna: Aila recommended Starflight to us early in the year when she read it and I highly enjoyed it. I don’t know if it’s my favourite book that’s been recommended to me by Jeann or Aila (because, let’s be real, they recommend a lot), but I read Starflight just today so it kinda just sticks out in my mind! (Aila’s review)
Jeann: I was surprised by how much I loved The Forbidden Wish, which Aila gave 5 stars to. I had read a few reviews that mentioned the insta-love which is my biggest pet peeve, but it was such a beautifully written Aladdin retelling! My heart just soared by the end of the book and I loved the girl power. (Aila’s review).
Aila: Not only is this an OZYA book that both my co-bloggers enjoyed, but I also adored this one as a contemporary! Frankie was just such a gosh darn relatable character that I wanted to protect throughout it all. (Jenna’s review)
A Hidden Gem That I Proudly Discovered
Jenna: I don’t remember how I found Soppy by Philippa Rice. I must’ve just been browsing Book Depository and picked it up on a whim. But I highly enjoyed this graphic novel and I read it 3 times on the very first day that I received it!
Jeann: The author actually reached out to me for Freedom Swimmer, as a fellow Aussie who wanted to write about her father’s experience immigrating from China. This actually turned out to be one of my favourite books because of the bond between two boys trapped in the Mao state. It’s a story of friendship, hope, and the search for a better life. I loved the cultural diversity in this one!
Aila: I’m actually really surprised at how underrated this book is! Think of it like a historical, YA Da-Vinci code, full of twists and puzzles as the characters try to discover what message the main character’s father left for her. Action-packed with a swoony romance, you should definitely check it out!
Genre I Read the Most This Year
Jenna: It probably comes as a surprise to no-one that my most-read genre this year is contemporary. Most of the reviews that I do on here are for contemporary YA novels and it’s definitely what I enjoy reading the most.
Jeann: It was a close contest, but surprisingly I actually read more contemporary books this year than my favourite fantasy reads. This is mainly because a lot of diverse books are contemporary, which I tend to lean towards. Most of the books I read for #Ozyay, a monthly segment on ABC Radio was also contemporary.
Aila: Fantasy, always always always. I’m actually really surprised at how little science fiction I read this year (whoops) but fantasy will always be my #1. Though I do feel like I’ve been reading more contemporary this year than usual, which is saying something!
Favourite #LoveOzYA Read
Jenna: My favourite #LoveOzYA novel that I read this year is Corruption by Jessica Shirvington. It’s actually the sequel to Disruption, which I also loved. I just enjoyed this duology so much and Maggie and Quentin from these books is one of my OTPs.
Jeann: Summer Skin is definitely a book that I recommend to everyone, as an amazing feminist and empowering #LoveOzYA read that breaks down stereotypes. I love that it’s set in Brisbane which is where I live, and how it broke down harmful gender stereotypes about men and women.
Aila: This came out earlier in the year, but Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club was a surprisingly action-packed and enjoyable read that we all had fun picking up. Our discussion review is here, and I can’t wait to see more tentacle demons – err historical fiction blended with paranormal elements in the sequel coming soon!
Favourite Diverse Book
Jenna: I was completely unprepared for how much I would love The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten. I love mental illness books and this one had such a fantastic and accurate representation of OCD. I loved the characters and the plot and there’s nothing negative that I can say about it.
Jeann: A quiet sci-fi book set on a space ship that is less about the action and more about the discovery and dynamics of different alien races, The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet was done so beautifully. It talks about respecting the different types of diversity in not just a human sense, but inter-species, crossing into AI, sexuality and taboo relationships. I loved discovering all of the alien races and the world-building was done magnificently.
Aila: I absolutely adored The Star-Touched Queen and its companion sequel, which I read recently. While the purple prose writing may not be for everyone (and I have to admit, confusing at times), the gorgeous story and interwoven Indian mythology was amazing to see!
Most Beautiful Book
Jenna: The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee is probably one of the most beautiful books that I own. The packaging is just A+++++. It has not only a stunning cover but also a beautiful spine and naked hardcover. The endpapers are also super pretty. I love the way that this book looks and feels. I also really enjoyed the book, even though I know Jeann didn’t.
Jeann: Not only is the paperback absolutely gorgeous with foiled lettering of Crooked Kingdom and a metallic gold cover, but the hardback is absolutely beautiful as well with red sprayed edges. I could not stop admiring the book while reading it which totally added to the experience of it all.
Aila: Purple and gold are my new fave combo, possibly because of the design of The Forgetting, which tells of a story where everyone loses their memory every twelve years. The quiet main character had so much personality, and the story is as incredible as the hardcover, which is really pretty. The naked hardcover had perfect elements that corresponded with the story and the subtle design complemented it so well.
Best book of 2016
Jenna: My favourite book of the year is without a doubt Crooked Kingdom. I don’t think I need to explain why.
Jeann: I agree with Jenna, Crooked Kingdom just stole my heart and I don’t think I’ve ever ugly cried so hard over a book before. My heart was in shatters but it was also full of feels. With a fantasy based Russian mythology setting, diversity done THE RIGHT WAY and the most beautiful characters that stole my heart, this duology is seriously my favourite.
Aila: I hate these questions because it’s like – I have so many book babies and you want me to choose?! Not only did Rebel of the Sands win best debut for Goodreads, but I enjoyed the heck out of it. From the vast and magical world to the diverse characters, you don’t want to miss out on this one. It seems like my fave books usually end up being series-starters, hehe. Jeann liked this one as well!
Best series of 2016
Jenna: Of all the series that I completed this year, my favourite is the Six of Crows duology. But the others that I also completed and loved were The Raven Cycle, Wolf by Wolf duology, The Winner’s Trilogy and the Disruption duology.
Jeann: I finally read the Chaos Walking series this year and it was so good I binge read the whole thing. With aliens, the cutest doggy character, a sinister villain and dark mindgames, I absolutely LOVED this dystopian series and I can see why many people do for a reason! Here’s my review on the whole series.
Aila: *ugly sobbing because I will NEVER get over this book and these characters will live on forever in my heart.* But yes, Crooked Kingdom marked the end of a magnificent series that has probably struck the hearts of fans around the word. I certainly know it did mine.
What do you think of our picks?