My Top 10 Books of 2017

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If you have read all of my What I Read in 2017 blog posts (if you have, thank you!), then you may have already guessed what my top 10 books of 2017 were.  However, I’m always up for recommending books and sharing the love where I can, so I’m bringing all my 5* rated books together in one blog post.

Instead of using my favourite quotes from the books, I have decided to use the first line; I hope this introduces you to some new reads.

My Top 10 Books of 2017

Top 10 Books of 2017 - Dont Bend the Spine, UK Book Blog

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough | Counting Stars by Keris Stainton | Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy | Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates | How To Be a Grown Up by Daisy Buchanan

Pinch myself and say I AM AWAKE once an hour.  Look at my hands.  Count my fingers.

Behind Her Eyes was one of the first books that I mentally added to my favourite reads of 2017.   When lonely, single mum Louise meets the handsome David in a bar, she can’t quite believe her luck.  However, she soon learns he was too good to be true when she finds out he is married, and her new boss.  When she becomes friends with David’s wife Adele, Louise realises that there is more to David than she originally thought.  Behind Her Eyes was a deliciously addictive read.  If you like unreliable narrators and a #WTFthatending, please pick up a copy and let me know what you think. 

Anna wondered if she could maybe give her mum the slip.

It took a lot of restraint not to include multiple Keris Stainton novels in this blog post; in 2017 she’s quickly become one of my favourite authors.  It was a difficult choice picking just one and in the end, Counting Stars won.   Anna moves to a houseshare in Liverpool in order to take a job at a local theatre instead of going to university.   There she meets her new flatmates, who each have their own stories to share.   I loved Anna’s story of leaving home for the first time; it really resonated with me as that was what I was going through at the time of reading.  In true Keris Stainton style, Counting Stars was hilarious, relatable and of course, had lots of cups of tea. I would love a sequel!

I am four and a half years old, going on five, hiding in my special place behind the armchair in the parlor, brushing my doll’s hair, listening.

When Sylvia Perlmutter told her niece Jennifer Roy of her childhood growing up in the Nazi-occupied Lodz ghetto, Jennifer knew her aunt’s story needed to be shared.  As a published author, she found it hard to express it in a traditional sense.  After listening back to the tapes of their conversations, Jennifer wrote the story in free verse.   This style of storytelling adds a child-like voice and innocence to Yellow Star, and I was moved by this unique account of a childhood spent in fear.

Everybody Has a Tipping Point.  The funny thing is that when mine came, in March 2012, it wasn’t something dramatic or extreme, or even particularly out of the ordinary.

In 2012, the Everyday Sexism project was created to document women’s experience of harassment and sexism.  From the “little” things such as catcalls and wolf whistles to the “big” things such as groping and assault, the project has collected over 25,000 entries.  Using these entries to form this book of the same name, Laura Bates examines society’s growing problem of sexism.   With chapters such as Women in Public Spaces, Women in the Media and Women in the Workplace, Everyday Sexism is essential reading for men and women.   Reading this book made me feel angry.  It made me feel sad.  But most of all, it gave me hope that with enough voices, we can make a change. 

The first time I ever felt consciously confident – properly, clear-eyes-full-hearts-can’t-lose sure of my own efforts and abilities, I was ten years old and dressed as Eva Peron, aka Evita, the wife of infamous Argentinian dictator Juan Peron, and singing ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’.

Even though 2017 was the year I became a grown-up, I didn’t feel like it.  At all.   Luckily for me, a copy of How To Be a Grown Up found its way to me, giving me a much-needed pep talk and confidence boost.   With chapters such as “How to have friends“, “How to make and manage money“, “How to survive at work“, “How to fall in (and out of) love“, and even “A few words about washing your hair“, Daisy shares the lessons she has learned, with plenty of humour and heart.

Top 10 Books of 2017 - Dont Bend the Spine, UK Book Blog

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas | Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard | Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood | It Only Happens in The Movies by Holly Bourne

I shouldn’t have come to this party.

When I heard about The Hate U Give, an #OwnVoices novel inspired by the #BlackLivesMatter movement I knew I had to read it.  Whilst driving home from a party, Starr and her friend Khalil are pulled over by the police.   When things quickly escalate, an unarmed Khalil is shot in front of Starr.  An emotional and powerful novel, The Hate U Give is unlike like anything I’ve ever read before, and a book that I would recommend to all.

When a couple of years ago a friend of mine from childhood, who’d grown into a brilliant, strong, kind woman, asked me to tell her how to raise her baby girl a feminist, my first thought was that I did not know.

Dear Ijeawele is a letter Chimamanda wrote to her friend, offering advice on how her friend could raise her baby daughter as a feminist.    Inspiring and gentle, but truthful; I am in awe of Chimamanda’s way with words.

Millie Gerdavey cheated on her boyfriend again.

When I think of how long it took me to read A Quiet Kind of Thunder, I could literally kick myself. Selective mute Steffi is chosen as the buddy for the new boy in school, Rhys, who is deaf.   Rhys can’t hear, Steffi can’t talk, but they find a way to communicate via sign language A Quiet Kind of Thunder was a sweet depiction of teenage love, but it also has a serious side.  Steffi has a severe anxiety disorder, and it was refreshing to read a novel that showed her receiving ongoing help and taking medication for it.   I also loved how the chapters started with the BSL alphabet above them, and I hope this encourages people to look into learning BSL.  I hope to do a full review of A Quiet Kind of Thunder soon, so I have an excuse to read (and fall in love with) this story all over again.

I’m calling it.  This year is officially my most rubbish year yet.

I know I am probably sounding like a broken record, but I loved Big Sexy LoveOlive Brewster has to step outside of her comfort zone of fish markets and box sets to hand deliver a letter to the mysterious Chuck Allen.  It’s not just any ordinary letter; its a letter written by her dying friend, Birdie.  Big Sexy Love had me crying with laughter and with sadness, as well as mentally booking trips to New York.  The world needs more novels by Kirsty Greenwood, and I cannot WAIT to get my hands on her upcoming novel, Worst Girlfriend Ever.

I wasn’t expecting candles.

Another year, another Holly Bourne book in my top 10 books.  Who is surprised?  Not me.  When her parents split, Audrey takes a job working at the local cinema to escape the tension at home.   Even though she is warned about ladies man Harry, Audrey finds herself falling in love.  Audrey knows first hand how love isn’t like the movies, but can Harry prove her wrong?   This hilarious and relatable takedown of movie cliches is one that could have only been told by Holly Bourne.  It Only Happens in the Movies brought back my own memories of falling in love for the first time; if only I had been able to read this book then…

What were your favourite books in 2017?

Daniella x


14th January 2018
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  • Reply Shell Senseless

    A Quiet Kind of Thunder has been sitting on my shelf for ages… I really liked Beautiful Broken Things so I really need to pick it up soon! Great list, How to be a Grown Up sounds like a fun read, will add to my tbr x

    15th January 2018 at 11:02 am
    • Reply Daniella

      Ah you definitely need to read A Quiet Kind of Thunder! x

      11th March 2018 at 2:00 pm

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