It’s been a exciting year both in terms of books and in terms of NetGalley – thank you so much for all your reviews, and your support of NetGalley.co.uk!
As is traditional, we’ve compiled our rundown of the books we – and you! – loved the most this year. It’s a varied and eclectic list, and one we hope you’ll find interesting and stimulating as you compile your own end-of-year roundups. Enjoy!
BOOK OF THE YEAR
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
One of 2017’s most reviewed novels on NetGalley, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine stole everyone’s hearts – and went on to become a huge Sunday Times bestseller.
This is the story of the irrepressible Eleanor and her perfectly ordered life. Everything is in place, everything just so. Except perhaps it isn’t. Perhaps it might just take one thing to change everything completely. And maybe that thing has just happened. A random act of kindness Eleanor could never have predicted…
Funny, wise and warm, this is fiction at its most affecting.
When it was Book of the Month for April, we described Reservoir 13 as “a shattering, exceptionally written novel that is destined to be one of the most celebrated works of fiction this year.’ And after being critically lauded, long-listed for the Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Goldsmith’s Prize, we’re sticking with our judgement. It is a staggering achievement – the depiction of a community reeling from the disappearance of a child is simply stunning – from one of the UK’s very finest writers.
Hodder & Stoughton
Back in January, we were all very excited about Stephanie Garber’s Caraval and even after a brilliant year for the fantastical in literature, it remains a firm favourite. Earning early comparisons to The Night Circus, Caraval is far more than just more of the same magical showmanship – this is a wonderfully deft, mesmerising and beautifully told tale of love, loss and the impossible. Scarlett’s search for her missing sister, and the truth behind the mysterious Caraval show, is one to savour.
The Girl Before
There were so many brilliant psychological thrillers in 2017, we could have filled this roundup several times over with great examples of the genre. In the end, however, The Girl Before won out. In our February Books of the Month we described it as a ‘spellbinding Hitchcockian thriller’ and NetGalley members agreed, with hundreds of five star reviews. The creepy premise – the perfect house, the scary landlord, a dark secret – and precision suspense made this the cream of the crop.
The Long Drop
Winner of the 2017 McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year, The Long Drop was described as a masterpiece by the Daily Telegraph. Based on a real life murder in the 1950s, this unsettling, uncomfortable and compulsively readable take on justice and retribution is the real deal. Perhaps not the easiest crime drama of the year, but certainly one of the most rewarding and intelligent.
City of Saints & Thieves
Natalie C. Anderson
Rock the Boat
This unbearably tense YA thriller earned comparisons with The Hunger Games and The Thief Lord, but the compelling and richly drawn setting of Kenya made City of Saints & Thieves stand out as a brilliantly accomplished work in its own right. It was a bumper year for YA and Teen, with many worthy contenders, but for us, Natalie C. Anderson’s novel burnt most brightly.
Sing, Unburied, Sing
Winner of the National Book Award in the US, Sing, Unburied, Sing arrived in the UK with a certain amount of expectation – expectation which was met and exceeded when we finally came to read it. This is an urgent, important and often troubling depiction of the African American experience, written with intensity, verve and power. It is a novel that haunts, and one never to forget.
How to Stop Time
Matt Haig was already one of the UK’s most beloved authors – and the author of Reasons to Stay Alive and The Humans did it again with How to Stop Time. This clever, witty, warm and wise tale of a man who has lived for centuries resonated with readers and critics alike, and made for a novel of unalloyed delights.
A Man of Shadows
Jeff Noon is probably one of the most original writers currently working in what one might call speculative fiction. This genre-defying novel is part Sci-Fi parable, part noir thriller, set in a world split into zones based on light. Atmospheric, brooding, yet compulsive in its plot, A Man of Shadows is Noon at the top of his game.
This is Going to Hurt
This Sunday Times bestselling account of a junior doctor’s life was one of the big breakout successes of 2017 – and certainly one of the funniest books about the most serious of subjects. This is a life right at the very frontline, and Kay is a brilliant tour guide to the service we take for granted, in all its hope, joy, pain and frustration.