The Best Books I Read in 2017 (Part One)

Last Updated on May 3, 2020 by Taylor

I read some incredible books in 2017, but for one reason or another, 16 of the 40 stood out above the rest. These books were so good that I will beg you to read them if I have to.

So if you’re looking for a great book to pick up, I’ve got you covered.

stack of books with a plant

I’ve broken this post down into two parts by genre. Part 1 includes General Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Mystery/Thriller. 

I decided not to write out full descriptions of each book, because you can find those anywhere (Goodreads is your friend!). Instead, I’ve given you a quick review and short list of words/phrases that describe the essence of the story. I find that’s all I need to spark my interest in a book!

Without further ado, here are my picks (drum roll please):

The Best Books I Read in 2017

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Historical Fiction)

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid book cover

I read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo in two days. That should give you an indication of how good it is. It’s filled with intrigue, romance, fame, and passion – all the makings of a story with star power, plus a little something extra.

[About: Old Hollywood glamour, secret pasts, flings & friendships] 

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks (Mystery/Thriller)

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen book cover

This one has gotten a lot of media buzz, and for good reason. It was an entertaining, twisty, and addictive psychological thriller. It’s so well crafted. I can almost guarantee you will be caught by surprise at some point while reading it (likely more than once). Every time I had to put it down, I kept wanting to go back to it, because I had to know if it would deliver on its teaser to “assume nothing”. And if you’re wondering: it did.

[About: eerie relationships, secret pasts, redemption]

You by Caroline Kepnes (Mystery/Thriller)

You by Caroline Kepnes book cover

Written in the perspective of an opinionated stalker (don’t worry – that’s not a spoiler), You is one of the most addicting reads I’ve ever had the pleasure of tearing my way through.

Half the time you can’t decide who you’re rooting for, but you’re so entertained that you don’t really care. There are uncomfortable moments, and there are parts that make you laugh out loud. I’ve never read a book like this one. 

[About: unhealthy attachment/obsession, New York, POV character with an extremely unique and unsettling world view]

Beartown by Fredrik Backman (General Fiction/Young Adult)

Beartown by Fredrik Backman book cover

I’ll be honest: I never thought I’d read a book about hockey, let alone enjoy it. But this story isn’t just about hockey.

It’s about families and teams and the community they represent. It’s about mistakes and pain; redemption and love. Tearing each other down and building each other up. It will make you care about its characters, and, yes, about hockey – even if you didn’t think you could.

[About: hometowns, community, coming of age, hockey/sports as a uniting force]

Arcadia by Lauren Groff (General Fiction)

Arcadia by Lauren Groff book cover

An interesting premise with a lyrical flow to its prose. The story follows the life of a young boy born into an off-the-grid commune, and how his family and their unconventional lifestyle shape his life. Completely mesmerizing.

[About: communes, coming of age, unusual family dynamics]

The Muse by Jessie Burton (Historical Fiction)

The Muse by Jessie Burton book cover

This story has dual timeframes: one of a historic Spain in the midst of a violent revolution, and the other a young aspiring writer in the present day, digging into mysterious secrets surrounding a particular painting.

[About: the power of art, rural Spain, family secrets, writing]

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (General Fiction)

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan book cover

A fascinating story chronicling a passion for music in different stages of life. Reading this was like listening to a wonderfully rhythmic song, with ups and downs and everything in between.

[About: rock-and-roll, life changes, family, music production]

In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, Book 1) by Tana French (Mystery/Thriller)

In the Woods by Tana French book cover

In the Woods is incredibly atmospheric, with tightly-drawn characters. I was looking for a mystery to suck me in, and this one did the trick. It really stood out in the sometimes overcrowded detective mystery genre.

Tana French layers plot and character in perfect harmony, and now I can’t wait to read the other books in this series.

[About: secret pasts, detective squads, rural Ireland]

That wraps up Part 1 of my favorite books I read in 2017. Time to go add all these books to your TBR list (let’s pretend it isn’t already a mile long!).

Check out Part 2: Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy here!

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