A Few of My Favorite (Book) Things

If you’re anything like me, as November turns to December, you start thinking about the holidays (and, more importantly, holiday gifts!). Growing up, we had a saying at Christmas that “books don’t count”–not because they weren’t important, but because they were essential (like socks) and so my mom didn’t count them towards our regular gifts. Every year, she would take us to the university book store during their holiday sale, and use her employee discount to buy us books. Christmas Eve, we each got to unwrap one of those books, and I read happily late into the night. It’s one of my favorite memories from growing up.

Now, one of my favorite things to do is gift books. Only slightly behind gifting books is recommending books. Since I write YA, and consequently read a lot of YA, I will focus my recommendations on that category, though I’m happy to throw out other recommendations in the comments if you ask for them. (In the interest of brevity, I’m focusing my recommendations on newish releases–many of them by debut authors. It hurts my heart to think of how many books I’m leaving off this list).


Some of the best contemporary novels I read this year dealt with hard-hitting social issues (probably best for older teens).

Angie Thomas, The Hate You Give

Nic Stone, Dear Martin

Tiffany Jackson, Allegedly

S.K. Ali, Saints and Misfits

Jeff Zentner, Goodbye Days

Contemporary Romance

Contemporary Romance is one of my favorite genres to read–who doesn’t love a good happy ending? These are fun and flirty, with just enough depth to ground them.

Kasie West, By Your Side

Sandhya Menon, When Dimple Met Rishi

Jilly Gagnon, #famous

Francesca Zappia, Eliza and Her Monsters (not as light as the others, but a fantastic story)

Contemporary Mystery

My favorite thing about mysteries are fascinating characters and a plot whose twist I don’t see coming, and these had that in spades.

Karen McManus, One of Us Is Lying

Danielle Mages Amato, The Hidden Memory of Objects


Really, this should probably just say fantasy, since that’s what I gravitate toward. I like my fantasy with strong heroines, rich worlds, and stories that stay with me.

Elly Blake, Frostblood

Erin Summerill, Ever the Hunted (the sequel releases December 5!)

Margaret Robertson, An Enchantment of Ravens

Katherine Arden, The Bear and the Nightingale (the sequel also releases December 5)

Julie Dao, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

Axie Oh, Rebel Seoul (the sole sci-fi on my list!)


I’m partial to a well-researched historical with a great ambiance.

Gwen Katz, Among the Red Stars

Emily Bain Murphy, The Disappearances

Mackenzi Lee, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue


Katie Nelson, The Duke of Bannerman Prep (Great Gatsby)

Kate Watson, Seeking Mansfield (Mansfield Park)

McKelle George, Speak Easy, Speak Love (1920s Much Ado)

I’d love to know what some of your favorite book recommendations are! What were some fantastic books you read this year you think everyone should know about? And if you’d like a specific recommendation, please pose a question in the comments.



2 thoughts on “A Few of My Favorite (Book) Things

  1. Pied Piper by Nevil Shute – (this is older, I’m so out of the loop with new titles!) This beautiful story follows John Howard, a grieving 70 year old man, who escapes to a fishing vacation in France, after the death of his son in the RAF. It’s summer 1940 and he craves quiet, avoiding all the talk of war and death in England. Little does he know what he is headed for! This was a BEAUTIFUL, heart-wrenching tale that blessed the socks off of me. It was written in a plain, straight-forward style, and yet I was right there with Mr.Howard through every step of this extraordinary journey.


  2. Pingback: Best Books of 2017: A List of Lists (and What to Do with It) | Thinking Through Our Fingers

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