The Best and Worst Books I Read in 2016
I know that we’re already a week into 2017, and a lot of people will feel like last year was forever ago now, but I read so much more than I used to last year that I really wanted to write a blog post about it. Reading has always been a habit of mine, but until I properly got into Goodreads last year (you can follow me here), I had no way of tracking just how much I was reading, and it was easy to forget what I thought of the books once I’d put them down.
According to Goodreads, I read 16 books in 2016. Although that doesn’t sound impressive, I had only set a goal of reading ten books last year because of how busy I was, so I’m proud of my achievement nonetheless.
One of my favourite things I read last year was actually a series, consisting of four books
altogether—although it was originally a trilogy, with the fourth book offering an alternative point of view of the third book. What am I talking about? The Divergent Series, of course!
This series initially follows the story of Beatrice ‘Tris’ Prior, a sixteen year old girl who lives in a world divided into five different sections based on personality traits they exhibit. When she finds out she is ‘divergent’, meaning she holds traits from all five sections, she must make a decision to stay in the section she was born in to keep her parents happy or spread her wings and join another for a chance at being happier. Once she’s made her choice, she ends up meeting a character called Tobias, nicknamed Four, who is also divergent. This story largely focuses on how the two of them navigate in a world that is, quite literally, falling down around them.
I rated the first two books in this series, Divergent and Insurgent, five stars. They were action packed and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. I found it so difficult to put these down that I read both of them in a matter of three days. It took me slightly longer to read the final book in the series, Allegiant, and I only gave that four stars, but it still complimented the series. I rated the optional final book in this series, aptly named Four, at five stars. I really liked getting into the mind of another character and seeing things from another point of view.
One book I’ve raved about to everyone since I finished reading it in the beginning of October is On The Edge of Gone by Corrine Duyvis. This book centres around a sixteen year old, autistic protagonist in the literal end of the world. The way this author managed to make the world come alive in my brain as I was reading was a great skill, especially with the futuristic qualities involved. More than this though, the author is autistic herself and managed to project a lot of authentic autistic struggles into her character and the story, which feel completely realistic in the situations she finds herself in throughout this book. Unsurprisingly, I gave this book a five star review on Goodreads.
I really enjoyed most of the books I read last year, but one book I read towards the end of last year really disappointed me, especially after the hype there had been surrounding it. This was The Casual Vacancy by J.K Rowling. Having not read anything else of hers before, and knowing the fan base surrounding her widely popular ‘Harry Potter’ series, I couldn’t wait to get on with it, and was disappointed once I had.
Even before I started reading this book, I wondered how a story could keep someone entertained considering the length of it. Once I started reading it and realized the first three hundred pages were meant to introduce the characters and the setting, I was even less thrilled to continue on with it. This took me almost the entire month of December to finish, because there was nothing to keep me drawn in for the first three hundred pages and therefore my reading sessions weren’t that long. However, I will admit that the last two hundred pages were read in one sitting and really drew me in. Had the first three hundred pages been condensed down to one hundred pages, I might’ve enjoyed this more. In the end, I rewarded this book with a measly two stars.
So that we don’t end this post on a bad note, let me mention yet another series I read this year that I really enjoyed: The Once Series, by Morris Gleitzman. I originally started reading the first book of this series so that I could help my younger sister with a homework project she had to do based on it. I’d say it’s a middle grade book, aimed at children from aged 8 to about 13, so I didn’t think I’d enjoy it very much, but immediately after finishing the first book I looked into buying the other four in the series so that I could read them all.
This series focuses on a young Jewish boy living in Poland when World War 2 broke out. It goes from a boy who knew very little about what was going on around him and why he had to pretend he was something he wasn’t, to a boy who is all too aware of his surroundings and knows the stigma around simply being who he was, and the consequences that came with unveiling that to the world around him.
I enjoyed this book so much that I gave the first, second, fourth and fifth books a five star rating on Goodreads. These are the ones which focus on Felix himself, whereas the third in the series, Now, is told by his granddaughter when Felix is old and the war had long passed. I gave Now a four star rating, mostly because it didn’t really fit in with the rest of the series. If you are going to give this series a read, I’d definitely recommend saving that book for last!
So, there are my favourite and least favourite books/series of 2016. Do you have a favourite (and/or least favourite) book that you read in 2016? If so, be sure to let me know below!
Until next time,