What I read in 2016?

Before I start reminiscing about the pros and cons of my 2016 reading list I have to admit that this is more of a half year review. I started logging my reading list around July/August, which is also when I got hooked on bookstagram. It is also more or less when I started my bookish Instagram channel.

But looking back at my reading list I cringe a little because I see a lot of YA, and most of those I did not like. So I can’t help but feel like I wasted a lot of precious reading time. The YA genre is exceptionally well represented on bookstagram and many of the titles are over-hyped, in my opinion. I ended up picking many of them up only to feel disappointed by how substandard they were.

This is coming from someone who always gravitated towards heavier reads, mostly classics. I guess disappointment was inevitable. Thankfully many of the books were borrowed from the library so at least I didn’t spend money on them and I don’t have to stare at them every day. Looking back at my actual purchases, they are mostly classics! Bah! Amalia, you are so silly! Have I read those classics, you may ask? Well, no!

I bought 32 books since June 2016 and only read 8 of them. Four of which were nonfiction. This has to stop! In 2017 I am going to be much smarter! I’ll make a plan.

As mentioned, most of my YA reads were books from the library. I did purchase 3 YA books, the Red Queen and Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard and Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. After I read and loved ACOTAR and ACOMAF I felt safe buying the first book of her previous series.

Actually, ACOTAR and ACOMAF were the only YA books I loved in 2016. Sad, I know! I’ll get over it, don’t worry.

So what else I read?

  • Two books by Lauren Oliver, Vanishing Girls, and Delirium. Both were pretty decent. I did not see the end coming in Vanishing Girls and Delirium was a typical dystopian novel. Nothing extraordinary about it.
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell was bad. I felt it should have been more about the bond between the sisters. Instead, it’s this mush of things which don’t make such a strong story.
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green has not touched me emotionally even though it’s a story about cancer. Does that make me a bad person? It bore me.
  • To All the Boys I Lived Before by Jenny Han was cute and that’s about it. Nothing noteworthy about it.
  • Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson is again cute. So what? A puppy is cute! I don’t want to read cute books!
  • Sing by Vivi Green was straight bad. Superficial! I needed more depth in every way, plot, characters, scenery… you name it, it wasn’t there.
  • Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan was actually an OK one. I stumbled upon it at the library and picked it up because I remember thinking I haven’t it on bookstagram. It had some interesting twists and turns and felt like a bit of a fresh read since I haven’t seen it anywhere on Instagram.
  • ACOTAR and ACOMAF by Sarah J. Maas are both amazing, and I would urge everyone to pick it up and start reading immediately.
  • Cinder and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer were OK. I enjoyed Cinder more than Scarlet. It was my first sci-fi YA and that made it a bit more interesting. I like the idea of mixing sci-fi and fairy tales but I fell like they should have had a stronger plot or better characters.
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater I did not enjoy. I did not go into this completely blind because on top of all the bookstagram ‘Raven Boys’ rave I have read other books by the author, which I have enjoyed. This one disappointed me. It felt like a puzzle where you force some parts to fit together while loosing others.
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo was a book I felt was written in a rush. It had some good ideas and characters but ultimately more, more, more and then some more was needed to make it a great read. This one really disappointed me because everyone is in love with Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom so I felt this must be a good one two. No more such assumptions, Amalia, no more!
  • This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab had a promising beginning. It has a Sin City kind of vibe, which I loved, but ultimately I did not hold my interest. Meh!

Will I be more careful about the YA books I pick up in 2017? Yes! Will I still read books I won’t enjoy? I think that’s inevitable. I think the goal of 2017, in general, will be to try to read more diverse books and to head deeper into adult book territory stopping occasionally for a YA book.

Were there any books I really loved, you may ask. The answer is yes, I did read some great ones, like Charlotte Bronte’s Shirley, Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones and Sofi Oksanen’s When the Doves Disappeared. But more about those at a later time.

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