This year saw a slew of excellent books – both local and international – released this year. We couldn’t fit them all into this list, so here’s an abridged version of some of the books we most loved this year.
Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land
The novel focuses on a young girl who desperately tries to get away from her abusive mother by forging a new identity and dealing with the guilt of giving up her serial killer mom to the police.
Marisa, our fashion and beauty editor, describes this book as “a fantastic psychological thriller for those seeking a glimpse into how abuse entraps, fractures and continues to haunt the victims even well after the actual abuse has ended.”
Reflecting Rogue: Inside the Mind of a Feminist by Pumla Dineo Gqolo
2017 has been a year filled with excellent non-fiction reads by our local women authors.
One of those books is Pumla Gqolo’s Reflecting Rogue, a collection of feminist essays that touches on culture and art, politics in South Africa, reconciling and navigating feminism in capitalist, male-dominated areas and so much more.
Read our review here
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
A novel that looks at the racial profiling, systematic oppression and police brutality that black people in the US are currently facing (and have been facing for centuries).
Yes, it’s US-centric, but the themes in this book are relatable and speak to us on a universal level. It’s a book that’s a visceral response to white privilege and injustice and one that provides a voice for every single person who is tired of fighting a system that refuses to care about them.
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
I’m actually a little conflicted about including this book on the list because in terms of structure, the plot of the book is actually quite thin.
But, here’s the thing, the characters and subject matter of Green’s first novel since his bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars is his most authentic and gut-wrenching yet.
His writing is a lot more stripped down – it’s a soul-baring read that takes an unflinching look at what it’s like to live with Obsessive Compulsive Order, and for this reason I think it’s a must-read of 2017.
The Blessed Girl by Angela Makholwa
Another SA hit, Angela Makholwa’s The Blessed Girl tells the story of fierce, ambitious and sassy Bontle Tau who embraces Blesser culture with fervour.
Between juggling different men in her life and dealing with family drama, Bontle’s life is never boring.
Afika, our reviewer had this to say about the book:
"Angela Makholwa does a great job of letting us decide for ourselves how we perceive blessed girls. At some points has us questioning if we should be judging at all.
"A read which captures the discord between appearances and reality so perfectly... as Bontle says, "Thanx for lying with me. Thanx for da fake life."
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Fans of the Night Circus will relish this gorgeous and lushly written fantasy novel where illusion is the name of the game and where the bond of two sisters will determine who survives in a game that may or may not have been rigged from the start.
No Longer Whispering to Power by Thandeka Gqubule
I can never praise this book enough – both the author and the incredible woman who is the focus of the book are phenomenal. Read it to remember and appreciate what Thuli Madonsela has done for this nation and read it for when you need a reminder that there are many people like Thuli who are still fighting for the people of South Africa.
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
The book that – hands down – wins in the category for the best plot twist ending imaginable. Seriously, that ending will knock you sideways.