Welcome to the Badass Best of 2016. Take a look below for our 4 favorite reads in the mystery and realistic fiction genres with a few honorable mentions.
Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta || Published Oct 11th, 2016 by Mullholland Books || 5 STARS || Review
Synopsis: Bashir “Bish” Ortley is a London desk cop. Almost over it. Still not dealing with the death of his son years ago, as well as the break-up of his marriage. Across the channel, a summer bus tour, carrying a group of English teenagers is subject to a deadly bomb attack, killing four of the passengers and injuring a handful of others. Bish’s daughter is one of those on board. The suspect is 17 year old Violette LeBrac whose grandfather was responsible for a bombing that claimed the lives of dozens of people fourteen years ago; and whose mother, Noor, has been serving a life sentence for the part she was supposed to have played in the attack. As Bish is dragged into the search for the missing Violette, he finds himself reluctantly working with Noor LeBrac and her younger brother, Jimmy Sarraf. And the more he delves into the lives of the family he helped put away, the more Bish realizes that they may have got it wrong all those years ago, and that truth wears many colours. Especially when it comes to the teenagers on board the recent bus bombing. Including his daughter. Tell the truth. Shame the devil. Bish can’t get Violette LeBrac’s words out of his head. But what he may get is some sort of peace with his own past as the worlds of those involved in two bombings, years apart, collide into the journey of his life.
Why We Love It: Melina took such a horrid subject matter, the racial and religious divide that exists all over, and she turned it into a story of hope.
The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen || Published Jun 7th, 2016 by Macmillan || 4.5 STARS || Review
Synopsis: Taylor Simmons is screwed. Things were hard enough when her single-minded dedication to her studies earned her the reputation of being an Ice Queen, but after getting drunk at a party and waking up next to bad boy surfer Evan McKinley, the entire school seems intent on tearing Taylor down with mockery and gossip. Desperate to salvage her reputation, Taylor persuades Evan to pretend they’re in a serious romantic relationship. After all, it’s better to be the girl who tames the wild surfer than just another notch on his surfboard.
Why We Love It: A fun, flirty, low-angst read.
The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder|| Published Jun 7th, 2016 by Simon Pulse || 4.5 STARS || Review
Synopsis: In this ode to all the things we gain and lose and gain again, seventeen-year-old Penelope Marx curates her own mini-museum to deal with all the heartbreaks of love, friendship, and growing up. Welcome to the Museum of Heartbreak. Well, actually, to Penelope Marx’s personal museum. The one she creates after coming face to face with the devastating, lonely-making butt-kicking phenomenon known as heartbreak. Heartbreak comes in all forms: There’s Keats, the charmingly handsome new guy who couldn’t be more perfect for her. There’s possibly the worst person in the world, Cherisse, whose mission in life is to make Penelope miserable. There’s Penelope’s increasingly distant best friend Audrey. And then there’s Penelope’s other best friend, the equal-parts-infuriating-and-yet-somehow-amazing Eph, who has been all kinds of confusing lately. But sometimes the biggest heartbreak of all is learning to let go of that wondrous time before you ever knew things could be broken.
Why We Love It: Keats has a crooked grin, loves reading and said things like, “Which book chose you.”
The Bourbon Thief by Tiffany Reisz || Published Jun 28th, 2016 by Mira || 4.5 STARS || Review
Synopsis: It’s 1986, and what should have been the greatest summer of Nate Bradford’s life goes sour when his parents suddenly divorce. Now, instead of spending his senior year in his hometown of Austin, Texas, he’s living with his father in Warren, Wyoming, population 2,833 (and Nate thinks that might be a generous estimate). There’s no swimming pool, no tennis team, no mall—not even any MTV. The entire school’s smaller than his graduating class back home, and in a town where the top teen pastimes are sex and drugs, Nate just doesn’t fit in. Then Nate meets Cody Lawrence. Cody’s dirt-poor, from a broken family, and definitely lives on the wrong side of the tracks. Nate’s dad says Cody’s bad news. The other kids say he’s trash. But Nate knows Cody’s a good kid who’s been dealt a lousy hand. In fact, he’s beginning to think his feelings for Cody go beyond friendship. Admitting he might be gay is hard enough, but between small-town prejudices and the growing AIDS epidemic dominating the headlines, a town like Warren, Wyoming, is no place for two young men to fall in love.
Why We Love It: Ms. Reisz is an excellent storyteller. Each tidbit of information is slowly revealed, leaving the reader thirsting for more.
Other Badass Best of 2016 Lists
Romance – Contemporary
Romance – Paranormal, Historical & Erotic
Most Anticipated Reads of 2017
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