This beautifully illustrated book is about a unicorn named Kelp who knows he is different from his narwhal friends, but they accept him anyways! After being swept away by the ocean and discovering that he is actually a unicorn, Kelp learns that he doesn't have to be one thing or another and unites his friends in a party on the shoreline. It is a classic story of accepting what your differences are and being true to who you are! ~Amanda
Found Audio was a breath of fresh air this year, something completely different, something strange. ~Amy
Dusti Bowling's charming middle grade novel is packed with diverse characters, mystery and humor. Aven is a spitfire of a character. Her spunky personality and can-do attitude is reminiscent of Anne Shirley -- one of the greatest literary heroines from my own childhood. She reminds us that it doesn't matter who you are or what your challenges are in life, if you try your best and believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything. ~Brandi
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Alternate realities, time travel, wit, what's not to love about this book? Tom Barren comes from a technological utopia. That is until he screws up reality by a time travel mistake and creates the reality we live in now. Thanks a lot Tom. Told in first person narrative directly to the reader, Tom gives a hilarious recap of his many mistakes and his bumbling attempts to make things right. Told in short chapters, you'll find yourself saying,"Just one more chapter," until you find that there are no chapters left. Not since The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy have I laughed so much. So, pick up a copy, read and enjoy! ~Brandi
That event that happened in the past that changed the way we think and live today? It never happened. Well, technically, it DID happen, but not the way it happened the first time that it occurred. Time travel is a tricky deal. Just be careful where, and WHEN you go. Don't ruin it for the rest of us. ~Jeff
A punch to the heart lies at the center of History of Wolves—a punch readers may not see coming until some critical point when they look up from the page and realize what Fridlund has been doing to them all along: setting them up to knock them down. Hard. In this tremendous debut, she writes with unbelievable craft and depth of feeling about girlhood, sexual awakening, guilt, belief, and above all the shattering limits of faith. The result is a novel of huge power, one destined to be among the most talked-about of the season. ~Brandon
Becky Chambers continues to impress in this follow-up to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. While the previous novel will add to the experience, it is by no means required reading to enjoy this deep space romp. Her ability to create small, personal stories in the backdrop of a massive universe of aliens and AI kept me hooked the whole way through. I consumed this book with fervor. Part of the book follows an artificial intelligence being reborn and facing persecution, while the other half puts you in the shoes of a young escaped clone, as she lives among the toxic wastes of an alien planet. Fans of Firefly, Titan A.E., or Mad Max: Fury Road will all find something both fresh and familiar from this second novel in the Wayfarers saga. This book is thought-provoking, full of heart, and always engrossing. ~Cameron
Despite having read this book way back in January 2017, and having read some really great stuff this year, The Natural Way of Things stands out against every other book. In a year when The Handmaid's Tale was all the rage, (partially because of the TV mini-series and partially because of current politics), Atwood fans may have overlooked this ferocious whirlwind of a novel, and they should remedy that right now. I read this novel in one day, I literally could not stop thinking about it. It's a brutal tale of slavery, sexism, rage, and retribution. My adrenaline was pumping as I turned each page, I felt almost drunk on the anger and desire for vengeance coursing just beneath the grimy, bruised skin of the main characters. The book is a brutal analogy of the position of women's bodies in society: a thing apart from the actual woman, an object to be looked at, desired, touched, taken, a thing wanted yet hated, a thing to be controlled by others. Want a real mind f*ck? This novel is based on a true story! ~Camilla
This is a collection of stories that you can feel in your bones-- erotic, disturbing, strange, gorgeous. It pulses with both freshness and resonance (which, in my opinion, is hard to do!). ~Caroline
Carmen Maria Machado is nothing short of extraordinary. She writes with astonishing emotional depth and profound insight into the body and soul of what it means to be a woman. The stories she tells in this haunting collection are as surreal as nightmares and as intimately personal as diary entries, disturbing with their horrors even as they enchant with their seductive beauty. Her Body and Other Parties is a treasure chest full of dark marvels, a Pandora's Box you'll want to open again and again. Go ahead: take a peek inside. ~Jason
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Thank you Misha Blaise! With colors like a night sky or deep woodland fuchsias, drawings that swirl with life, essential truths and other stunning things we know about our universe, this book makes me the happiest in 2017! I truly feel that I’m stepping into a magical world as I turn the pages; I’m delighted to be reminded of its wonders. This book does it for me...as true as a walk in the woods, I emerge from it with my own sense of awe recharged, my heart and eyes delighted by this book. ~Claudia
I'm a big fan of the Jack Reacher novels, and always look forward to the next book. This collection of short stories, including one new one, gave me a nice Reacher fix, and filled in some of the gaps for stories I had missed. Why am I a big fan of Jack Reacher novels? Oh, that would take me to deep in to the darker reaches of my mind. Better not to go there! ~Dan K.
Wonderfully weird and sad, Mrs. Caliban is about a grief-stricken woman who falls in love, and cheats on her husband with, a strange fish monster-man. The monster is on the run from the lab he was being kept at because he killed the scientists who were abusing him. If it sounds odd, it is, but it's also beautifully written, and achingly tragic while maintaining a pitch-perfect sense of humor throughout. ~Danny
Everyone knows who Leonardo da Vinci is, but nobody really knows anything about the man behind the legend. That's where Walter Isaacson with his biography about the quintessential renaissance man steps in. Isaacson does a masterful job of untying the Gordian knot that is the figure of Leonardo da Vinci, by following a semi-chronological narrative of his life focusing on the many works (some unfinished) that Leonardo created throughout his life. Leonardo is shown less as a superhuman painting god, and more as a deeply inquisitive man, who was fascinated by almost every aspect of life. The book shines brightest when it covers the details of Leonardo's greatest works, dispelling them of any otherworldly quality, while revealing a very human deliberation behind them. Reading Leonardo da Vinci makes one feel that they too should observe one's world with the eye of a master, and with patience even we may describe the tongue of the woodpecker. ~Elijah
Debut novelist, Leah Weiss, impresses with her ability to make the residents of the fictional Baines Creek in Appalachia come fully alive. They are each in their way tenacious, complicated, infuriating, knowing, and utterly believable. You will not be able to resist giving them your heart. This novel positively sings. It's like a classic country song come to life (an opinion of which I'm sure Ms. Sadie Blue would approve!). ~Elisa
Such a lovely picture book! The sparse text reads almost like a poem, and the illustrations are kooky and funny, with surprises with every turn of the page. I love that this book celebrates mistakes -- as opportunities, as inspiration, as the secret to stumbling upon even bigger and better ideas. ~Emmy
If you read My Name is Lucy Barton and loved it but were left wondering who Lucy Barton truly was or where she might have gone when she left the small town in Illinois where she grew up, this new novel by Elizabeth Strout will fill in the blanks. Strout is a brilliant writer, her prose is read out loud beautiful and her characters totally believable and memorable. There is intense emotion in these connected stories, complicated lives, interwoven and overlapping drama that leaves you wanting to start the book over from the beginning because there is a chance that you missed a few bits the first time around and missing anything Strout has to say would be a travesty. ~Gayle
I listened to this masterpiece on Libro.fm when it was released in January, and no other book this year made such a lasting impression on me. I spent the first bit of the audiobook confused, then entranced, then dazzled. When it ended, I went right back to the beginning and listened to the whole thing again. Saunders uses history to draw the lines of his story, and then colors them in with fantasy. That Man Booker prize was well-deserved! ~Jalen
This book is so much more than I ever expected it could be. Yes, it is all that people claim it is, but it goes deeper than that. It paints a picture of a town's deep and troubled history, and shows us that sometimes the horrors of life are scarier than anything you could dream up. Even if you've seen an adaptation of this I highly recommend reading this for the full experience of the town of Derry and Pennywise the Dancing Clown. ~Kaitlyn
Written in such a personable way you feel like these women could be your neighbors and friends. Delightful, funny and poignant this book swept me away right into the world where these ladies stuck by each other in very trying times and showed how extraordinary they were. ~Kay
This book is action-packed, and not very heavy. It sucks you into a world filled with time travel, aliens, and mechanized battle suits. It's also not very long, so you can read it in one sitting. ~Kevin
Everyone I knew read this excellent novel in the 80s. Except me. But after hearing Margaret Atwood interviewed last week, I knew it was time. Devoured it in 3 days, non-stop. Atwood just wrote a new intro for it in 2017 in which she compares what we're experiencing "in the wake of the recent American election" to the conditions that led up to the dystopia she depicts so brilliantly in The Handmaid's Tale. To see what she envisioned now playing itself out in our lives is both scary and essential if we are to resist and derail such a future while there's still time. As one reviewer advised, "Read it while it's still allowed." Tip--the new intro is great but it contains spoilers. Save it for last. ~Bob