It’s become a tradition for us to share with you our choices for the Goodreads Choice Awards. Every year the competition is fierce – and for the 3rd year in a row, we’re highlighting the books we’ve read (and want to read) in each category + predicting who we think will win. Voting for the final round occurs between Nov. 13-26, and winners will be announced on December 4th.
✤ Tanya ✤ – I read 2 books in the running for Best Fiction – Us Against You, Frederik Bachman and An American Marriage, Tayari Jones. It was such a difficult decision to choose between the two, but ultimately my choice is Us Against You for the win. It’s a phenomenal book which will completely suck you in. It’s character driven, and the backstory is hockey – but trust me, you don’t have to care one bit about hockey to enjoy this book. Ultimately, it’s about grabbing on to the things you love – finding out what’s most important to you – and finding yourself and your truth. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Marin Ireland, who was able to bring this story to life!
After everything that the citizens of Beartown have gone through, they are struck yet another blow when they hear that their beloved local hockey team will soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in Hed, take in that fact. Amidst the mounting tension between the two rivals, a surprising newcomer is handpicked to be Beartown’s new hockey coach. Soon a new team starts to take shape around Amat, the fastest player you’ll ever see; Benji, the intense lone wolf; and Vidar, a born-to-be-bad troublemaker. But bringing this team together proves to be a challenge as old bonds are broken, new ones are formed, and the enmity with Hed grows more and more acute.
✤ Tanya ✤ – The Woman in the Window, A.J. Finn and The Outsider, Stephen King are the two books I read that are nominated in this category – and my favorite is clear – The Outsider, Stephen King. King twisted me up inside with this one as I followed along with the plot – and yes – for bringing Holly into the drama (from Mr. Mercedes). Listen to the audiobook if you can. The narration by Will Paton is amazing – he portrays the characters, the emotions, the suspense in a such a masterful way that you will be transported by this novel.
An eleven-year-old boy is found in a town park, hideously assaulted and murdered. The fingerprints (and later DNA) are unmistakably those of the town’s most popular baseball coach, Terry Maitland, a man of impeccable reputation, with a wife and two daughters. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland coached, orders an immediate and public arrest. Maitland is taken to jail, his claim to innocence scorned. Maitland has a foolproof alibi, with footage to prove that he was in another city when the crime was committed. But that doesn’t save him either.
✤ Kim ✤ I read The Death of Mrs. Westaway, Ruth Ware and Force of Nature, Jane Harper and The Woman in the Window, A.J. Finn from this category. It was so hard to choose because I really enjoyed them all. In the end I went with The Death of Mrs. Westaway because 1. I’m a sucker for a fantastic gothic mystery and 2. the story was just so unique and fun that it really stood out to me.
On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money. Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.
Best of the Best
✤ Tanya ✤ – The “Best of the Best” is a new category this year, and of the 10 books in the Finals, I’ve read 5. It was another hard decision here, but I voted for The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas. The Help, Kathryn Stockett would have been a close second, followed closely by Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn and then Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins. And The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman … well, I probably wouldn’t pick that one at all. I chose The Hate U Give overall because this book tackles a serious subject but it tackles it with heart, and love, while still showing the hate, and anger as well. I don’t know how the author did it, but she wrote a brilliant complex novel and made it relatable / educational for everyone.
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
✤ Kim ✤ I love this new category but it was so hard to choose that I almost didn’t get my vote in on time for this last round. I’ve read 8 of the 10 books. I read The Fault in Our Stars, John Green and really enjoyed it, but – (unpopular opinion coming) – I sometimes feel that Green’s books are a bit overrated. I also read Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins. That series remains a favorite of mine but I didn’t choose it. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn was awesome was so damn twisted that I passed on it too. The Help, Kathryn Stockett; The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas; and All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doer were so phenomenal. Man, this was hard! In the end I chose The Martian, Andy Weir because that book gave me a bit of everything in such a big way. It was funny, scary, heart-racing and heart-wrenching. I love sci-fi and it had all the nerdy science-y stuff that appeals to me. It was clever and made me laugh and cry in the same paragraphs. I also knew it probably wouldn’t win and so I kinda just wanted to show it some love because it’s such a damn good book.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Except Mark isn’t ready to give up and wait to die just yet.
Best Science Fiction
✤ Tanya ✤ – I’ve only read 1 book in the Finals for this category – and I went ahead and voted for it, because it’s a helluva book … and series – The Night Masquerade (Binti #3), Nnedi Okorafor. There are 3 novellas in this series, and in The Night Masquerade, you will continue to be awed by the World building which is so vibrant, and detailed. The characters and the story are also on point … but – I did think there was a bit of a cop-out (you’ll know what I mean when you read the book) … but I still enjoyed reading.
Binti has returned to her home planet, believing that the violence of the Meduse has been left behind. Unfortunately, although her people are peaceful on the whole, the same cannot be said for the Khoush, who fan the flames of their ancient rivalry with the Meduse. Once again it is up to Binti, and her intriguing new friend Mwinyi, to intervene – though the elders of her people do not entirely trust her motives, and try to prevent a war that could wipe out her people, once and for all.
✤ Kim ✤ I’m actually a little surprised about this category. I read a ton of science fiction this year but I haven’t read any of the nominees. I did read the first book in Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries and thought it was awesome. I’m guessing the second book, which is the one nominated is even better. And I guess I need to read on in Pierce Brown’s Red Rising series because I’m still not understanding all the love it’s getting. I read the first book and was bored to tears.
Best Debut Author
✤ Tanya ✤ – I read 3 books nominated in the final round – The Chalk Man, C.J. Tudor, The Woman in the Window, A.J. Finn and my clear favorite, i.e. the book I voted for – Children of Blood and Bone, Tomi Adeyemi. This book gave me a reading hangover!
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction
✤ Tanya ✤ – I’ve only read 1 book in this category … same book I voted for in the Best Debut Author category – Children of Blood and Bone, Tomi Adeyemi.
Have you read any of the finalists in these categories of the Goodreads Choice Awards? Who’s your pick to win?