What I Read: Favorites of 2017
Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult
(from Goodreads) With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion and doesn't offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.
This is How It Always Is - by Laurie Frankel
(from Goodreads) This is a novel about revelations, transformations, fairy tales, and family. And it’s about the ways this is how it always is: Change is always hard and miraculous and hard again, parenting is always a leap into the unknown with crossed fingers and full hearts, children grow but not always according to plan. And families with secrets don’t get to keep them forever.
All The Light We Cannot See - by Anthony Doerr
(from Goodreads) This is a stunningly beautiful instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
Columbine - by Dave Cullen
(from Goodreads) What really happened April 20, 1999? The horror left an indelible stamp on the American psyche, but most of what we "know" is wrong. It wasn't about jocks, Goths, or the Trench Coat Mafia. Dave Cullen was one of the first reporters on scene, and spent ten years on this book-widely recognized as the definitive account of this heartbreaking tragedy.
Homegoing - by Yaa Gyasi
(from Goodreads) A novel of breathtaking sweep and emotional power that traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way also becomes a truly great American novel. Extraordinary for its exquisite language, its implacable sorrow, its soaring beauty, and for its monumental portrait of the forces that shape families and nations, Homegoing heralds the arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction.
Station Eleven - by Emily St. John Mandel
(from Goodreads) An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.
All the Bright Places - by Jennifer Niven
(from Goodreads) This is an exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die. Beautifully written but heartbreaking.
In a Different Key: The Story of Autism - by John Donvan and Caren Zucker
(from Goodreads) In a Different Key takes us on a journey from an era when families were shamed and children were condemned to institutions to one in which a cadre of people with autism push not simply for inclusion, but for a new understanding of autism: as difference rather than disability. (This book taught me so much about autism I did not know and I am a mother of two sons on the spectrum and work professionally as an educational advocate. I highly recommend it to parents, family members and professionals who have any contact with people with autism)
Stay with Me - by Ayobami Adebayo
(from Goodreads) Unravelling against the social and political turbulence of 80s Nigeria, Stay With Me sings with the voices, colours, joys and fears of its surroundings. Ayobami Adebayo weaves a devastating story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family, the wretchedness of grief, and the all-consuming bonds of motherhood. It is a tale about our desperate attempts to save ourselves and those we love from heartbreak.
The Hate U Give - by Angie Thomas
“The Hate U Give is an important and timely novel that reflects the world today’s teens inhabit. Starr’s struggles create a complex character, and Thomas boldly tackles topics like racism, gangs, police violence, and interracial dating. This topical, necessary story is highly recommended for all libraries.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)