I read a ton of books in 2017. Some of you who know me might be asking where I find time to read? My answer is, I don’t have a whole lot of time to read in the traditional sense of sitting down and looking at a book. Instead, I discovered a little trick that has allowed me to quadruple my reading time. I learned how to make my iPad read to me. That little trick and a big shift in my job responsibilities in my 9 to 5 job that has me traveling 2 or 3 days a week has allowed me to rediscover my love of books, especially well-written science fiction. Below I’ve compiled my 10 favorite reads from 2017. Please note that the books on my list are not necessarily books that were published in 2017. There are a few from ’17 but most are from other years, though all are fairly recent. This is simply a list of my favorites that I read during the calendar year of 2017. I’d also like to point out that all of these can be classified as Young Adult novels. Some of them have content problems, so I would recommend those for older teens and up. One final point that I’d like to make is that I read many more books that did not make this list. That’s my way of saying, every book on this list is a great book. I’d recommend any book on this list to anyone who is looking for a great read.
10. Space Drifters, The Iron Gauntlet (2016)
This is the second Space Drifters book in the series by Paul Regnier. Both books are good but this is my favorite of the two. These stories combine a space opera storyline with comedy reminiscent of some of the old sitcoms that were funny and clean. Mr. Regnier also throws in a dash of Christian teaching in between the one-liners and the narrow escapes from deadly alien creatures. It’s a fun mixture that makes for an enjoyable read. Content concerns: none. Read my review of the first Space Drifters book here.
9. Ms. Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (2013)
I liked this book, written by Ransom Riggs, because of its unusual story that involved some dark quirky characters and a creative means of time traveling that made the whole thing work. I definitely, recommend the book over the movie. Another cool thing about the book is that it includes lots of real photographs from the early 1900s that the author claims were his inspiration for the book. The book is clearly a work of fiction, but the photographs give it a foothold in reality that’s kind of creepy. Content concerns: none.
8. TYR, Children of Dreki (2016)
TYR, Children of Dreki by N.R. Tupper is a well-written space opera along the lines of Star Trek or Firefly. I liked it because it has a great cast of characters including a female Captain who is spunky yet vulnerable. I also really enjoyed the original storyline which includes some cool space dragons. Content concerns: occasional cuss words.
7. The Scorch Trials (2011)
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner is part two in the Maze Runner series. The mystery of the maze was resolved at the end of The Maze Runner, so when it came to writing the sequel, Mr. Dashner did what he had to do to keep the series entertaining. He completely reshuffled the deck and dealt us a new hand in the Scorch Trials. The characters from the first book are back, but they are forced to undergo a whole new series of warped tests. The element of mystery and some great characters made this sequel almost as great as the first in the series. Content concerns: some violence.
6. The Fifth Wave (2015)
The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey is a riveting story of a teenage girl struggling to survive in a world that has been overrun by a race of aliens. It has great characters, especially the main character, Cassie. She is a strong, smart, vulnerable teenager who can kick-butt when she has to. It even has a love triangle that manages to be fascinating without ever falling into the goofy high school zone. Content concerns: some cussing.
5. Golden Son (2015)
The Golden Son by Pierce Brown is part two in the Red Rising saga. Note that my number one pick for the year is Red Rising, the first in the series. That book was so good and had such a satisfying ending that I doubted that its sequel would measure up to the high standard set by Red Rising. I was wrong. The Golden Son keeps the same great characters and the impossible mission of the main character, Darrow, remains the same. But, The Golden Son maintains complete freshness by moving the action in a totally different direction. This book continues one of the greatest stories I’ve ever read about good triumphing over evil. Content concerns: some cussing and several violent scenes.
4. The Maze Runner (2010)
The Maze Runner, by James Dashner is the beginning of a great trilogy. I read all three of the books and two of them made my top 10. Honestly, the other one, The Death Cure would probably have been my #11. But, I liked The Maze Runner the best, mostly because it had a great element of the unknown. The reasoning for the existence of the maze and the question of why the boys (and one girl) are stuck in the middle of it is all a big mystery that is slowly unfolded throughout the story. It had strong characters and great substitute words for cuss words that worked really well. The Maze Runner books remained clean enough for kids but they still had a raw edge that came from the unique way the boys talked. Content concerns: some violence. Read my full review here.
3. The Factory (2017)
The Factory, by Amanda Dacycszn is set in a small town, in a dark and dreary future. A mysterious factory appears in the middle of town along with a list of 50 names of townspeople. Those unlucky people must go into the factory and stay for a number of days until there are only six of them remain. As the story unfolds and we follow three characters moving through the horrors inside, it quickly becomes the kind of book you can’t put down. Great characters and great storytelling. Content concerns: occasional cuss words and some violence.
2. Driven To The Hilt (2017)
Driven To The Hilt, by D.G. Lamb is a wonderful story about an eleven-year-old boy who finds himself alone on a hostile planet. He not only learns to survive but he eventually thrives in a harsh environment that includes man-eating spider creatures and a colony of humans that are sometimes scarier than the aliens. The story is intricate, completely unpredictable and overall, brilliantly written. Content concerns: none. Read my full review here.
1. Red Rising (2014)
My absolute favorite read of last year was Red Rising, by Pierce Brown. It grabbed me from the early chapters and held my imagination until the very last page. It’s a story of a man from the lowest part of society single-handedly bringing down the evil god-like upper class. Even though it’s a science fiction, set in the future, most of the story plays out like a medieval battle between castles. Red Rising gives us lots of strong characters who are not only relatable but also really fun. The main character, Darrow, is a true hero. The kind of hero that legends are built upon and parents tell their children about. Content concerns: occasional cuss words and several violent scenes. Read my full review here.