I think that we can all agree that 2017 has been quite the year. It wasn’t the worst year ever, but at the same time, it wasn’t flawless either. Despite the various low points of the year, I still managed to find happiness in certain things, and I hope you all did too. In order to say goodbye to 2017, I’d like to share with you my favorite books, movies, songs, and television shows of 2017.
- Without a doubt, my favorite book of 2017 was Angie Thomas’ debut novel The Hate U Give. The novel’s protagonist, Starr Carter, is caught between two worlds: the predominately white prep school she attends and the impoverished neighborhood she lives in. She manages to keep these two parts of herself (she refers to these personas as “Williamson Starr” and “Garden Heights Starr”) separate, but when she witnesses her oldest friend, Khalil, get murdered by the police, everything changes. I honestly can’t find the words to describe how amazing this book was. Thomas is a masterful writer, and the characters she created are dynamic and utterly real, especially Starr. The story offers many different perspectives on police brutality and racism, and I personally think that everyone should read it. The book was sensational and I’ve reread it so many times this year.
- Follow Me by Sara Shepard. The second book in The Amateurs series, Follow Me picks up a few months after the first book ends. Helena Ingram’s alleged killer has supposedly been arrested, but Seneca and the Amateurs suspect that the true killer is still on the loose. When a social media star (and Helena lookalike) goes missing, Seneca and the Amateurs must race to find the killer before someone else gets hurt. This book is just as engaging as the first book (read my review of the first book here), and if you’re a fan of murder mysteries, I would recommend both books in The Amateurs series. Be warned: this book ends on a huge cliffhanger, and the next book isn’t due out until late 2018.
- The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas. This novel technically didn’t come out in 2017, but it landed in my hands in June of 2017. When she was nine years old, Tessa and her best friend Callie were key witnesses in a trial in their hometown of Fayette, Pennsylvania. Their testimony helped put a man in jail for the murder of Callie’s cousin. Tessa left her hometown shortly after the trial, but the gravity of it never quite left her, and she spent ten years asking questions y.and not getting any answers. At nineteen, she returns to her hometown and finds herself presented with another mystery, and this time, she won’t rest until she has all the answers. This book is very captivating, but it does have sort of a slow start. However, once the questions start to pile up, the story becomes more and more interesting. The story ends with a great twist, and overall, it’s a great psychological thriller.
- Get Out, Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, follows a black photographer, Chris Washington, as he goes to visit his (white) girlfriend Rose Armitage’s family for the first time. From the beginning, he is worried about what her parents will think of their relationship, but when he arrives at the Armitages’ house, a series of strange run-ins with both Rose’s parents and the hired help (who are all black) leads him to believe otherwise. This movie was great. It was well-written, well-acted, and expertly paced. I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that this was nominated in the comedy category for the Golden Globes. There’s nothing funny about racism, and at its core, this movie is about racism in a supposedly post-racial country.
- Wonder. I reviewed this movie a few weeks ago, and even though it’s the most recently released movie I saw, it’s still my favorite. Wonder is about a fifth-grader named Auggie Pullman, who has Treacher-Collins syndrome. When he’s getting ready to enter fifth grade, his parents decide it’s time for him to enter school for the first time, and the movie chronicles Auggie’s first year in a real school. The book is really true to the source novel, and it’s incredibly moving. I cried so many times while watching, and I loved this movie so much.
- Spider-Man: Homecoming. Until I saw this movie, I strongly believed that Tobey Maguire was the best Spider-Man. (I still think he’s pretty great!) However, Tom Holland as Spider-Man is a force to be reckoned with. This movie was comedic and action-packed, and the entire cast is incredible. The movie skips over the traditional origin story as well: from Holland’s first appearance as Peter Parker in Captain America: Civil War, he’s already had his powers. No origin story necessary. Also, the chemistry between the lead actors (particularly Holland and Robert Downey Jr.) is incredible to watch.
- The Bold Type (Freeform) follows three employees for the fictional Scarlet magazine: Sutton, Jane, and Kat. The women juggle personal issues and work problems all while continuing to support each other. Their friendship is really amazing to watch: it’s never toxic and they always build each other up, rather than tearing each other down. On the surface, the show looks like it lacks substance, but once you get to watching, you see that it’s actually quite the opposite. The writing is smart and the characters are three-dimensional. It touches on relevant political and social issues, and it’s been renewed for two more seasons. I can’t wait to see how much it grows when it comes back.
- Dear White People (Netflix) is about a supposedly post-racial (and predominately white) Ivy League college that is forced to reevaluate their ideals after a blackface party is thrown on campus. The blackface party and the events following it are the focus of the first five episodes, and each five follows the events from a different characters perspective. There’s a dramatic narrative shift at the end of the fifth episode: each episode is still being told by a different character, but it becomes about more than just the blackface party. The show is comedic and dramatic, and it’s intelligent, too.
- Andi Mack (Disney Channel) is about a thirteen-year-old girl (the titular character) who finds out on her birthday that her older sister, Bex, is actually her mother. After this reveal, the Mack family is forced to completely reexamine the dynamics of their family. On top of the news about her mother, Andi is also still dealing with normal middle school problems. It doesn’t sound like a conventional Disney show, but it’s really great. It’s not cheesy or melodramatic, it’s real and relatable. The characters on the show look and act like real teenagers, and they face real problems. A few months ago, the show was in the headlines for featuring the network’s first gay series regular (Cyrus Goodman, portrayed by Joshua Rush). In my opinion, it’s one of the best shows Disney has released in years.
Let me know your favorite books, movies, and shows in the comments! Happy New Year!