6 Must-Read Books of 2017


By Casey Rose Frank

2017 is likely to be another roller coaster year as we navigate a new political landscape. But as we move forward, let’s celebrate all the good that has yet to happen, including another year of great books. The first third of the year promises some great new books that I have had the pleasure to read in advance of their US publication and highly recommend.

My personal preference for mystery and YA is definitely evident in this list, so you’re in luck if you like unreliable narrators and young characters tackling new paths.

Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia

(January 3)

Mejia lets you know up front that Hattie Hoffman is dead. But the “how” and “why” of her death is what the reader has the pleasure of unraveling as you discover what an impeccable actor Hattie was in every aspect of her life. The ending packs quite a punch, wrapping up the “whodunnit” aspect in ways I hadn’t expected with a kind of insight and grace in the final moments that felt wholly natural and yet completed unexpected.

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

(January 24)

As soon as we’re dealing with a super-house run by a mysterious demanding owner, you know that something bad is going to happen. But as the tension continues to ratchet up chapter by chapter, and you discover that our narrators may not be exactly who they seem, you’ll wonder just how bad the final reveal will be. Delaney doesn’t disappoint.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

(January 31)

Reading this in 2016, I was already certain that this would be one of my favorite books in 2017. There is a great cinematic quality to this magical and mysterious book, as the readers wonder what in this world is scripted and what is not, and what is true magic, or just a clever illusion. And while the story reveals a great many satisfying things at the end, it’s obvious in the final moments that Garber is planning a long and delicious game in a series to come.

Vigilante by Kady Cross

(March 28)

While some of the writing is a little repetitive, the messages at the center of this book continue to be important. Cross demonstrates that there’s nothing taboo about girls being interested in consensual sex, that males need to be taught not to rape, and that there is power in community. There’s also a healthy dose of tit for tat against male offenders that wouldn’t be morally acceptable in real life, but that feels like the kind of female empowerment of which we often dream and delight in.

Gone Without A Trace by Mary Torjussen

(April 18)

This is one of those rare books that made me angry and frustrated while I was reading it and thrilled about the experience of that anger when I was done. You’re not always meant to love a character, and inciting that kind of intense response in a reader means the author has done her job well.

I Found You by Lisa Jewell

(April 25)

I enjoyed “The Girls in the Garden,” but loved this book even more. As you alternate between 1993 and present day, you discover that there is more than one mystery to be unraveled. This story has characters that you can’t help but desperately root for, even as you grow more and more uncertain about who the villains are.

Check back for more recommendations as the season continues!

Casey is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click HERE.

{featured image via we heart it}