2017 has come and gone (thank goodness) and there were so many wonderful books that came out last year. So I have done you all a favor and picked out my top 10 young adult books that were published in 2017. These books range in topics and genres, but they are all young adult books. Please note that some books may be part of a series and you should totally check out the whole series . All books on this list are worthy of your read, so without further ado, here we go!
10. Agent of Chaos (the X-Files Origins #1) by Kami Garcia
Fun fact about me, I love The X-Files. Aliens, the paranormal, mystery, all of it. I love it so much. So it made perfect sense for me to immediately purchase Agent of Chaos in January 2017 just days after it was released. I mean how could I not? This book follows a young Mulder on his journey to how he became such a believer. Mulder, with the help of his high school best friends, sets out to find who is killing children in his town. The murders are gruesome and chilling. This is a tale packed with action and just a dash of alien conspiracies and such a strong plot, it will have you up reading past your bedtime and keeping the lights on too. Seriously, the story felt so real and good, I left the lights on in my house for like 3 days. Scary, but so good! I love this book because while it’s about a coming of age tale with Mulder dealing with figuring where to go to school and what the future holds, it’s also about taking chances and stepping into the unknown to help others and how that can change every thing. You don’t really need to know much about The X-Files to enjoy this book. It is pure thriller at the core while being true to what young Mulder would have been back in the 1970’s. Once you finish, you’ll be saying “the truth is out there” and “I want to believe”.
9. House of Furies by Madeleine Roux
This is another book with some mystery and spookiness in it! It’s a perfect read when you want some Halloween level spooky in your life before October. This book is set in 20th century England and follows an orphan girl who gets a job as a maid in a house that serves as a hotel. She quickly learns there is something otherworldly going on in this house. Odd co-workers with strange powers, the head of the house always seems to know everything and gives off the creepiest vibe, and guests are disappearing. Who is killing them? And why? Not to mention a dash of paranormal with the “neighbors” in the attic with their secret book. It’s all so mysterious and creepy! I loved that this book is full of so much mystery and intrigue and that literally something interesting and new happened in each chapter. I never knew what to expect. This book had me coming back for more with every free moment I got. And the characters are witty and smart. Just when you think you’ve got a character figured out-BOOM!-they do something you weren’t expecting. I loved this book because it had me guessing to the last page and then a cliff hanger! Ugh! If you love a good spooky story, this book is perfect for you.
8. Ringer by Lauren Oliver (#2 in the Replica series)
My fellow Stranger Things fans, this book and series is for you! First of all, this book and the first book are really cool because of the way the author set them up. The story follows two girls, so the author split the book in two. One part is about Lyra. If you flip the book over, you get Gemma’s story. The stories can be read in any order or in interchanging chapters. How cool is that?! Ringer continues the stories of Lyra and Gemma. Lyra is a medical experiment from Haven (major Eleven vibes, anyone?), where they tested many drugs on her and the other Replicas. (Spoiler alert) Lyra has escaped Haven, but the head Doctor at Haven wants her back and will stop at nothing to get her. In this book, we see how Lyra does in the real world with fellow Haven escapee Callum and how their relationship grows as they search for the truth about Haven. Gemma’s story is that of a normal young woman until she learns about her families connection to Haven and about confronting the truth, exposing Haven, and trying to save Lyra. I love how this story was done with each girl having her own story, while showing that stories can cross over. And I adore badass women helping other badass women. I am here that. This book (and the first book-this series is a duology) will tie you over until season 3 of Stranger Things.
7. Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab (#2 in the Savage Song series)
This book is also the last book of a duology. The city of Verity is full of monsters, the ones that you can see and the ones inside your head. The story continues to follow Kate and August, a human and monster respectively, as they fight the monsters of the city and the ones inside their own heads all while trying to not become monsters themselves. So much happens in this book. I’m talking action-packed fight scenes, love scenes, explosions, life and death, and so much more. I couldn’t put this book down. But underneath all the fighting and monsters, this story is a coming of age tale for two very similar, yet so different young adults. It’s also about how to fight your monsters and that sometimes giving in is all you need to do before you become a monster too. This book is dark and gritty, but will have you asking for more. When I finished this book, I was unaware it was a duology. I finished it and begged the internet to tell me when I could get the next book and be in this dark and captivating world again. Imagine my upset when I found out I had just finished the last book. I highly recommend this series because it mixes fantasy and action and mystery all in one book, but also because this book and series is unlike anything else out there in the book world.
6. Little Monsters by Kara Thomas
Another thriller book! I got this book at YALLFest in 2016 and it was one of my first reads of 2017. This book follows the new girl Kacey and her two best friends, Bailey and Jade. Bailey and Jade begin acting distant and stop inviting Kacey out with them anymore. Then one day Bailey doesn’t make it home, forcing Kacey and Jade together to find Bailey. Kacey immediately starts to mistrust everyone around her and rightly so. It seems like everyone in Kacey’s new town has secrets and some connection to Bailey that she didn’t know about. When some of Bailey’s items turn up, it seems more like someone was after Bailey. This book was so good, I read it in a day and a half. I couldn’t stop, I had to find out what happened. This book gives you so many suspects and you think you have the answers figured out, but you don’t. It’s not until the very last pages of the book that you find out who done it and I am here for thrillers that take me a wild ride and make me think that anyone can be a monster, anyone is capable of horror. This book did a number on me in such a way, that I immediately went out and got Kara Thomas’ other book that was published a few years earlier. I just had to get my hands on anythings she wrote because… Wow! The writing is dark and deep, while having a main character that you are equally rooting for and suspicious of her intentions and showing the manipulation and actions teen girls can do to one another. Fans of Gone Girl will love this book.
5. Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather (#2 in the How to Hang a Witch series)
Adriana Mather is bae! This book continues to follow Samantha Mather and her adventures in Salem, MA (If you love witches and the Salem witch trials, check out the first book in this series, How to Hang a Witch. It’s all kinds of good and involves an interesting paranormal romance. In this book, Samantha thinks things are finally going to go back to normal, but when you live in one of the most witchy and magical cities in the world and are a descendant of one of the men who helped bring about the Salem witch trials, is anything ever going to get back to normal for you? Samantha begins to have dreams of the Titanic, of those who were trapped on the boat as it sank. She even starts to see ghosts of the Titanic as she tries to live a normal life. She is being drawn to the Titanic and she doesn’t know why. Only she and her friends, “The Descendants” (because they are real decedents of witches from the Salem witch trial) can figure out this mystery before Samantha gets trapped in her dreams on the Titanic. This book is rich with history of both Salem and the Titanic. Adriana Mather is a descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the leading men involved of accusing witches in the Salem witch trials, and had a distant relative who was on the Titanic and survived! So, she weaves her own personal histories into this book and it helps everything feel more real and connected. The plot line is also paced very nicely and doesn’t feel fast paced, but just fast enough to move you along from chapter to chapter. The world Mather has created will suck you in and leave you wanting for more. It’s magical and has just enough of mystery, action, and just a dash of romance. Who doesn’t love a good witch story?
4. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. Mc Manus
I also got this book at YALLFest 2016 and picked it up purely because it was described to me as “The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars.” How could I not want to devour this book as soon as possible? The story follows Bronwyn “the brain”, Addy “the beauty”, Nate “the criminal”, Cooper “the athlete”, and Simon “the outcast”. All five meet in detention one day and before detention is over, Simon is dead and everyone thinks the remaining four have something to do with his death. It doesn’t help that Simon posted detailed and juicy gossip of all four teens that would give them motive to murder Simon. As they work to conceal their secrets from their families and friends, this rag tag bunch will have to come together to clear their names. The chapters are told from alternating perspectives and the author sets it up so that while you’re rooting for each character, yet you also are suspicious of everyone. I loved this book because it was similar to The Breakfast Club and Pretty Little Liars, but also because it did have a gay character who is struggling with their identity and coming out. I love books that have some diversity in them. You’ll never guess who killed Simon, not until the very end. The characters are well written and real, and the way they deal with being accused of murder is realistic. No one has a quick fix for their problems, they don’t disappear over night, or are solved by throwing money at the problems. I have mad respect for any YA book that doesn’t create unrealistic characters or storyline. This was one of my absolute favorite books of 2017. I want to see much, much more from Karen M. Manus.
3. Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
Space! Androids! Badass girl! Shoutout to the TheNovl.com for sending me a copy of this book in their March 2017 Novl Box that was curated by Claudia Gray herself! This space epic follows Noemi who is sworn to protect her planet, Genesis, at all cost even if the cost is her life. When a fight breaks out and her best friend is injured, she takes shelter in an abandoned Earth spaceship that has been floating around Genesis for the last 30 years. While trying to save her best friend, she discovers an android named Abel who wants nothing more than to get back home to Earth to his creator who also created all androids. These two work together to serve each others purposes. Noemi wants help to get her best friend healed and safe and back home to Genesis. Abel wants to get back to Earth. Somewhere along the way this odd pair ends up exploring the galaxy in search of parts for the ship to make it back home. This adventure is a roller coaster from start to finish, with bumps along the way that will have you holding your breath and crossing your fingers for a happy outcome. There’s a lot of books out nowadays that try to conquer the space world, but most fall short. Defy the Stars is the best space book I have read. The descriptions of the planets and surroundings are so well done, I truly felt like I was there. And the characters are so lovely. Noemi is fierce and loyal and strong, but also ready to pursue her own dreams and wishes. Abel is rough at the beginning, but he turns out to be kind and encouraging and so innocent you just want to squeeze him. These two cruising the galaxy is something I wish I could experience every single day. This book does not disappoint. I’m currently reading Defy the Worlds, book two in this series (publication date April 2018) and it continues to hold up in terms of amazingness.
2. Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
Another badass lady! I received this book in an Owlcrate box in February of 2017. If you’re looking for an amazing YA book subscription service, I highly recommend Owlcrate. I’ve been getting their boxes since 2016 and they never disappoint. Daughter of the Pirate King‘s main character, Alosa, has been described as “the female Jack Sparrow.” And that statement is so very true. Alosa is the queen of badassery and all should bow down to her. Alosa is sent on a mission by her father, the Pirate King, to find a map to a hidden treasure spot. She has the perfect plan: allow herself to get captured by her enemies and suspected holders of the map and search their ship. Alosa is extremely smart and is quickly outwitting her captors. Well, all of them except the equally fierce and oh-so-dreamy Riden. Riden suspects Alosa is up to something and refuses to fall for any of her tricks, putting a few bumps in Alosa’s otherwise smooth path. There’s sword fights, betrayal, and even some romance. This book has everything! And if you like badass, smart, and strong female characters, this book is for you. Alosa is amazing and I want to be best friends with her. The scenery was also incredibly well depicted and had me captivated from the very first page and ready to set sail. I can’t wait to dive back in to this world in book two, Daughter of the Siren Queen and see what happens next. February 27th can’t come soon enough.
1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Everyone in the whole world needs to read this book. We live in a time where police brutality is becoming all too common. The Hate U Give confronts this topic with honesty, realism, and a heated passion for change. Star lives with her dad, mom, and 2 brothers. One night she goes to a party with her friends and when a fight breaks out at the party, her lifelong friend Khalil offers to give her a ride home. On the drive home, their car is pulled over. Khalil is frustrated because he knows he is being pulled over because of his race and not for violating the law. He is told to get out of the car and while the cop goes to run his license and registration, Khalil leans down to ask if Star is okay and the police officer shoots and kills Khalil. Khalil was unarmed and not threatening in any way possible. Soon stories are spreading in her neighborhood and on the news that Khalil was a drug dealer and the cop thought he had a gun therefore somehow justifying killing Khalil. The author discusses police brutality, racial profiling, and the media’s way of twisting the story to frame the minority as the villain. I cried so many times while reading this book. For fictional Khalil, for Eric Garner, for Emmett Till, for Trayvon Martin, and the list goes on and on. I also cried for all my friends and loved ones who have to walk through this society of prejudice and hate. The author does not shy away from these difficult subjects and I am so grateful to her for writing this book and putting it out in the world. The writing is beautiful and deep and witty. The characters are so real and honest and kind and brave. I normally read books quickly, trying to devour every word as quickly as possible, but with this book I took my time. I wanted to take this story, this message, and let it sink into my soul. I like to think of myself as a woke person, but this book opened my eyes to even more hateful and wrong doings going on in our society. This book made me a better, more understanding, more empathetic, and ready-to-work-for-change person. Read. This. Book. And please Angie Thomas, give us more of your words. The world needs them.
Those are my top 10 picks from YA books published in 2017. Did you read any amazing books in 2017? Let me know what they were in the comments below! And check back on Friday for my list of top 10 YA books to look forward to in 2018.