Best of 2016 – YA Standalones, Series, Authors, and More


Hello, fellow book junkies and happy last day of 2016! Before launching into an exciting new year, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the best YA books and authors I read in 2016. I surpassed my 100-book reading challenge by 18 books and met many five-star worthy reads but, ultimately, these are the books that left the most lingering impression. Here’s the best of 2016.

Favorite New Author

V.E./Victoria Schwab – Thank you, 2016, for introducing me to the writing genius of Victoria “V.E.”  Schwab. My gateway drug into Schwab ‘s amazing books was A Darker Shade of Magic, followed by: A Gathering of Shadows, Vicious, and This Savage Song. Oh, and I got to meet her at a book signing (my very first one). Yes, I am officially a Schwabling (at least I think that’s what they’re calling us diehard Schwab fans.)

Honorable mention: A.S. King – Her writing style is completely original and imaginative. I may not always love the plot, but I can’t get enough of her writing. I recommend starting with Reality Boy or Please Ignore Vera Dietz.

Favorite Series

Without question, my favorite series was The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater! It had everything: memorable characters, amazing writing, off-the-hook world-building, great plot twists. Once I started with The Raven Boys, I could not stop.

Books So Fun They Felt Like Reading Parties

Captain Marvel, vol. 1-6 by DeConnick and Lopez

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Best World-Building

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Honorable Mention: The Reader by Traci Chee

Favorite Indie Series

Mermaids of Eriana Kwai by Tiana Warner

Best Female Protagonist

Agnieszka from Uprooted by Naomi Novik. A complete original with a powerful gift for magic.

Honorable Mentions:
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Miss Justineau from The Girl With All the Gifts

Best Male Protagonist

Day from Legend by Marie Lu

Favorite New Book Boyfriend

Zach from Pretties (Uglies #2) by Scott Westerfeld.

Best Setting

Alternate, modern world, czarist Russia from A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray. Dreamy, wonderful, unforgettable.

Favorite Plot Twist

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Best Cover


Most Devastating Read

The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter. I usually avoid sad stories, but Kletter is stunningly talented, and this story about a broken girl really moved me.

Honorable mention: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. Zentner got me good on this one. Tears were running down my cheeks before I fully realized what was happening.

Favorite Audiobook

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella. Narrated in the best kind of wry, British style by Kathryn Kellgren. This fish out of water story made me laugh out loud, and the audiobook was perfect for listening to while putting around in the car.

Best Small Press Standalone

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. It took a few chapters for things to come together, but once they did, there was no looking back.

The #1 Book No One Else Seems to Like But Me

The Graces by Laura Eve – I’m so glad I got a hold of this deliciously deadly, atmospheric book early on as a Netgalley ARC because otherwise I might have been turned off by the low 3.23 rating it currently has on Goodreads. Here’s to teen witches and morally ambiguous characters.

I would love to hear about YOUR favorite books of the year. To step up this challenge and give a massive New Year’s shout-out to bloggers who have brought so much bookish joy and friendship to my year, I hereby tag:

The Orang-utan Librarian

Carolyn @ A Hundred Thousand Stories

Amy @ Every Book You Need to Read and More

Danielle @ Books, Vertigo & Tea

Brittany @ The Grisha Lieutenant

Ann @ Ann’s Reading Corner

Amanda @ Cover2Cover Mom

Melanie Noell Bernard

Naz @ Read Diverse Books

Rae @ BookmarkChronicles

Jesalin @ Blogging Everything Beautiful

Beth @ Betwixt These Pages

Lila @ The Bookkeeper’s Secrets

Morgan @ Hopeless Book Addict

Jocelyn @ 52 Letters in the Alphabet

Kim @ By Hook or By Crook

Kelly Deeny
Elena Johansen
Wallace Cass
Annika Perry
Pat Sherard
The Glitter Afficianado
Stephanie @ Eclectic Scribblings
Deby Fredericks
Nate Philbrick
Sabrina Marsi Books
Mackenzie Bates
Stephanie @ yourdaughtersbookshelf
Karen @ MyTrain of Thoughts
Erica @ Books the Thing
Beth @ Betwixt These Pages


31 thoughts on “Best of 2016 – YA Standalones, Series, Authors, and More

  1. Pingback: Best of 2016! – A Hundred Thousand Stories

  2. Pingback: Best of 2016 – YA Standalones, Series, Authors, and More | Ann's Reading Corner

  3. I am totally with you on The Serpent King. I was late to the party in reading it, but when I did, it just broke my heart. Absolutely loved it!

    I know horror isn’t your thing, but I’m still thinking about FROZEN CHARLOTTE by Alex Bell. 🙂

    Not sure if you’ve read Mindy McGinnis before, but she’s got a couple of new books – GIVEN TO THE SEA and THIS DARKNESS MINE – coming out in 2017 that I’m excited about. Two of her earlier novels that I loved are NOT A DROP TO DRINK and A MADNESS SO DISCREET (both YA.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! I’m planning to reading Mindy McGinnis’ Female of the Species? Do you think I should start with a different book of hers instead? Oh, Madeline, I’m so tempted by Frozen Charlotte, but my imagination runs so wild with those horror stories that if they’re super creepy I can’t shake them even when I’m not reading the book!


      • FEMALE OF THE SPECIES is good, just not my favorite of hers. It’s contemporary YA, while NOT A DROP is post-apocalyptic and A MADNESS is historical fiction. Those are more up my alley. 🙂

        I hate to say it, but maybe you should skip FROZEN CHARLOTTE. I don’t want to be responsible for recommending nightmares. 😮


  4. Super late to this because when you tagged me it got marked as spam! But anyway, thanks for mentioning me, you read a lot of great books this year! Clearly I need to check out this Ready Player One that everyone is buzzing about! Did you finish the Uglies series? Are you (or did you) enjoy it?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Happy New Year! Glad you found my tag despite the spam subterfuge. Ready player one is a gamer boy’s dream, gets slightly nerdy-techie at times but overall is a super fun read. I’m only up to book two in the Uglies series. Not altogether sure why I’m reading it. It’s not like I’m invested in the MC much at all, but I think what keeps me coming back is the hoverboardin–so exciting, something I’d love to do if I weren’t–y’know–terrified, ha.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Bumper Post of New Year Tags! | the orang-utan librarian

  6. Pingback: Weekly Wrap-Up: 1/2 – 1/8/16 | Cover2CoverMom

  7. Pingback: The ultimate wrap-up of all wrap-ups! | Every Book You Need To Read And More

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