My top books of 2016

paper trail diary best of books 2016

Ahh, here we are, at the long-awaited (by me) best-of list! Because I am a huge nerd, I have been thinking about this list since I made my 2015 list. And you better believe I’ve already got a title or two reserved for my 2017 list. I’ve known of a few titles that would be on this list since early in the year, but a lot of them didn’t come until the last few months. It’s been hard assigning numbers to them, which is kind of meaningless, but I’ll do it anyway. I feel like a lot of them could change depending what mood I’m in, but isn’t that life? *strokes chin*

One thing I’m really proud of is that I set my goal to be 40 books this year, and I’ve read 70. I was hoping to make it 80 by the end of the year, but that’s not going to happen ūüėČ This is still the most books I’ve ever read in a year (at least as an adult). Some reasons for¬†my numbers increasing beyond expectations: The Georgia Nicolson Readalong, being a book blogger and receiving a load of books and wanting to read them all, starting an internship at a publishing company which inspired me to read even more, and being unemployed for a few months, which has given me some more time to read!

Oh, on that note — good news! I got a job! Starting in the new year, I will be the Marketing Coordinator for Playwrights Canada Press, a small press that publishes fantastic new Canadian play scripts. If you’re interested in blogging about that kind of book, let me know ūüôā I am so happy about this, I’ve been wanting to work in publishing for a long time, so my relief and excitement for a fresh start in 2017 is almost unbearable :p Plus, I’ll get to keep blogging about all these kinds of books, but you’ll probably hear about some cool plays ūüôā

Back to the list. When I was going over the 70 read books to decide which would be my top 10, I realized there were maybe about 15 that I would even consider for the list. Which doesn’t seem like great news to me. Every once in a while I’ll go back and look at my previous lists, and realize I’ve even forgotten about some of the books. It just reinforces me actively trying to read books that really affect me, and to put down books that aren’t making much of an impression. There were plenty of books I liked but I would never be interested in reading again, you know?¬†Hopefully I’ll have more book love in 2017!

There were also some books I read this year, that if they had been released in 2016, they definitely would be on the list. Those books are Me Before You, Room, and Every Day. I absolutely adored those books.

So, here we go. My top 2016 books that came out in 2016!

female of the species paper trail diary

1. The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

To say this book has left an impact would be a simple statement. It made me hold back tears, it made me sick to my stomach, it made me want to tell everyone about it. With such complex, confusing, yet endearing characters, who are thrown into really tough but realistic events, The Female of the Species has set itself as one of the most important books in the young adult genre about rape culture. Read my full review here.

the museum of heartbreak paper trail diary

2. The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder

Hands down, this is the cutest book I read all year.¬†I loved Penelope, I wanted to hug her as if she was my little sister, but also I saw a lot of myself in her. Also, Eph makes for a great ‘book boyfriend.’ (Though saying that makes me feel kind of gross.) This book just made me feel so warm and giddy, and made clear to me one of the reasons why I love young adult books so much: because I think back on my high school years as misguided and boring, I like to live vicariously through them. Read my full review here.

gena/finn via paper trail diary

3. Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson

I look back on this book fondly, as I know that it gave me heart eye emoji face, internal squeals, and tears. I adored the relationship between Gena and Finn, the way they communicated (the book is in the style of emails, texts, etc), and everything they became. I seriously want to re-read it soon, though I know I’d still be wishing for a sequel! This does make me look forward to reading the spring title¬†Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde, which is in a similar nature of¬†girl/girl relationships through fandom. Anyways, *squee*! Read my full review here.

girl mans up paper trail diary

4. Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard

This is one of those kinds of books that I’ve been talking about for months. (M-E, you’re probably so sick of me by now.) It just has everything going for it, and it’s an incredible debut for an author who has so much more to give. (Excited!!) Pen embodies what it’s like to know the direction you want to go in, but feel hindered and judged by those who are close to you. It’s queer, Canadian, edgy, and so passionate. Adore. Read my full review here.

witches of new york paper trail diary

5. The Witches of New York by Ami McKay

Welcome to my most recent book hangover. I finished this weeks ago, but I’m still sad it’s over.¬†The Witches of New York is not the typical kind of book I’d read in the simple facts of it’s historical fiction and it’s a bigger book (I have this thing about being daunted by bigger books because they’ll take longer to read). I am SOOO glad I read it though. I didn’t want it to end! I was so comfortable wading into this world. It’s about three witches in the 1800s in New York City – the youngest one arrives to the tea shop the others own and starts to see ghosts. A lot of the book is just purely the characters and their world, but things do go down when the girl suddenly disappears. I want more!! I loved how witchy and feminist it all was, the quirks and qualities of the three women, and just learning more about how witches were perceived back then. I definitely want to go read Ami McKay’s other titles now. *Swoon*

replica paper trail diary

6. Replica by Lauren Oliver

Replica might be the most fun book I read this year! It’s kind of a play on choose-your-own-adventure, in that you pick how you read this dual-sided book, which cleverly makes you really think about the story more. I am so excited for the sequel,¬†which should be out next year. It’s told through two characters – Lyra and Gemma – one knows she’s a clone that has grown up in a mysterious research facility, and the other has until now, led a safe but boring life, until she decides to try to figure out why her parents are somehow connected to the facility. As soon as the two meet, the story ramps into gear and runs with it, and you’ll be running right along side of it. Read my full review here.

cursed child paper trail diary

7. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne and John Tiffany

It feels weird to have a Harry Potter title not be the #1 on my list, but here we are. I just don’t assimilate this script to be on the same level as the seven novels, however, I did really like it. What made me absolutely love it was seeing it in person, which I know was very privileged for me. I can tell you that what seems dry in a script comes across as magical on stage, because so much lies in the directing and acting. I thought the way the story went was clever and kind of like fan-fiction, and it was interesting to see how it all wove together to play out. Read my post about seeing the play here.

the best kind of people paper trail diary

8. The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall

This is one of those kinds of books that has the power to destroy you. It’s the Indigo Heather’s Pick of the year, a huge Canadian title for 2016, which was nominated for the Giller Prize (and was the one I was really rooting for). A story of a teacher accused of sexually assaulting his young students is not exactly unique to the public, when¬†real life stories like this happen all the time. What was so special and interesting about this book was that it wasn’t¬†really about him, it was about what happens to his family after he is accused. The wife, who can’t escape the public’s ‘wouldn’t she have known this was going on?’ opinions and doesn’t know what to do with herself now that she’s alone. The daughter, who is pulled in different directions, is confused, and knows there’s a possibility what happened with her father was true. The son, who refuses to believe the worst, but in that, alienates those around him. It’s fascinating and heartbreaking. You come to care for the characters, and wish them the best, but know that nothing can ever be easy for them again. I highly recommend!

the thousandth floor via paper trail diary

9. The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGhee

I won’t forget how this book left me shaking. My heart racing, my eyes bulging. It starts and ends with someone falling off the tallest building, an epic thousandth-floored sky scraper above Central Park in NYC. It’s in the future, and focuses on six high school graduates as they navigate their floors of privilege and poverty. It’s ridiculously dramatic and kind of weird, and very comparable to Gossip Girl, which isn’t something I’ve touched since my teen years, but I really enjoyed reading this. This is definitely the start of a series that I will keep reading. Read my five reasons why you need to read¬†The Thousandth Floor here.

shrill lindy west via paper trail diary

10. Shrill by Lindy West

If you’re not reading Lindy West’s articles on sites such as The Guardian, you should be. Lindy is real, blatantly honest, and a pure treasure. Whether she’s writing about being plus size, getting an abortion, politics, or rape jokes, you know what you’re getting is going to be good. She makes you think about things in a way you may not have yet, and even if it’s dark, she can find a way to make it comfortable. This is the kind of book of essays that you can read all at once or pick up and put it down and pick it up again. Lindy will be there for you. And good news, it’s being optioned for television! I have no idea how that’s going to be adapted, but it’s something to look forward to! Read my¬†full review here.


Looking back at the list, I realize that it’s not very diverse, besides 9 of the 10 titles being written by women. (I actually rarely¬†read books by men these days.) There are only two main characters of colour (and one of them is in a book of 5¬†main characters, The Thousandth Floor).¬†Four titles¬†have queer main characters. (And again, one is from¬†The Thousandth Floor.) Though there were books with these kinds of characters that didn’t make my top 10, there weren’t enough. I will definitely make reading diverse books¬†more of a priority in the new year. Check out this great resource, a list of diverse books to read in 2017!

Other random observations about my 70 read titles… I read eight titles that were the first in a series. I don’t think in the past I have read many series, and only a few of these I’ll continue the series with, but I thought that was kind of interesting. Six titles were non-fiction or autobiographical. 44 books out of 70 were young adult. Seven were grip-lit or suspenseful. I could keep going but I think I’m the only one interested in this! I like to keep my trends in check so that I can set new goals for the next year.

Now, to books that I’m really excited about in 2017. I’ll have upcoming posts that go by months, but I can say that on them, some of the titles will be:¬†The Upside of Unrequited,¬†The Hate U Give,¬†Always and Forever Lara Jean, Under Rose-Tainted Skies,¬†and¬†When Dimple Met Rishi. (!!!)

Thanks for reading along with me this year! I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these books if you read them, and what you chose for your favourites this year! Here’s to great reading in 2017.

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