The 2017 Oscars, But for Books

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Deepali Agarwal

Staff Writer

Deepali Agarwal has a Master’s in literary linguistics, which means that every person she’s ever known has, at some point, asked her to ‘edit a thing’ for them-- ‘just see if it reads okay?’ She doesn’t mind, because she believes that the world can be fixed one oxford comma at a time. Deepali lives in Delhi, the capital of India, where cows are sacred, but authors and poets exist and write brilliant things. She works as an editor with OUP India’s School ELT division, where she moves apostrophes, looks up pictures of cats, and talks about children’s books for eight hours. The rest of her day is spent reading, thinking about Parks and Recreation, and wondering if there exist jobs for English majors that pay more than peanuts. Twitter: @DeepaliAgarwal_

Hello, and welcome to this prestigious Book Riot awards ceremony where we honour the best of the best 2017 releases. These are like the Oscars, but for books!

The Happiest read of the year

When Dimple Met Rishi

by Sandhya Menon
A fun, well-written, one-sitting read that will leave you with a soaring heart and a silly grin on your face. Dimple and Rishi’s romance is honestly something I have held on to during the especially bad days this year gave us.

Runners up:
From a Certain Point of View by various authors
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Best Sequel/Prequel

The Rules of Magic
by Alice Hoffman
“For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.”
This prequel to Practical Magic is arguably even more enchanting, and the Owens family is the witchy coven we all wish we could join.

Runners up:
Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan
Righteous by Joe Ide

Hot Mess Detective

Aza Holmes from Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Aza’s trying to solve the mystery of a fugitive billionaire, but her obsessive thought spirals make her unable to focus or pay attention to anything outside of her own brain, which makes her a terrible detective.

Runners up:
Dangerous Ends by Alex Segura
Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast: The Case of the Stinky Stench by Josh Funk

Best first-timer novel

The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas
This book, this story, the Carter family: it took my breath away, and I don’t think there’s ever been a faster movie adaptation! Angie Thomas truly deserves all the accolades she has received for a stunning debut.

Runners up:
The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

we want to go to there, aka fictional world to move to

Exit West
by Mohsin Hamid
When I first read an advance copy of this book in 2016, Nadia and Saeed’s world was not this real to me, and I wouldn’t have wished it on anyone. Given the year that we’ve had, however, we might as well get the magic doors along with all the tragedy.

Runners up:
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder

Best Protagonist

Mina, from Girls Made of Snow and Glass
by Melissa Bashardoust
In most Snow White retellings, the evil stepmother is clearly evil and unsympathetic. But instead, Bashardoust presents us with a nuanced, brilliant antagonist in Mina, the “evil” stepmother, and by doing so creates a feminist, subversive retelling.

Runners up:
Rhy Maresh, A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
Janna Yusuf, Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

Best Love Story

Mateo and Rufus from They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
These two go from being complete strangers at the beginning of the book, to two people deeply in love by the end. It never feels forced or unrealistic. Just moving and heartbreaking!

Runner up:
Marguerite and Marcel from
Now Let’s Dance
by Karine Lambert, translated by Anthea Bell.
A lovely love story about two adults in their later years, both bereaved.

Book Most Worthy of Adaptation

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
by Erika L Sanchez
There just isn’t anywhere near enough Latina representation and this is a fantastic story, with a great teenage Mexican girl. If this was set around a white family, the movie rights would have been sold before the book was even published.

Runners up:
The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston

WHat the f*** just happened

Behind Her Eyes
by Sarah Pinborough
This book twisted in ways that had me thinking “what the f***” multiple times, and I’m still not sure if it was in a good way, or a bad way.
I’ve definitely never read anything else like this, though.

Runners up:
The Changeling by Victor LaValle
Universal Harvester by John Darnielle
Gone Without A Trace by Mary Torjussen

Worst Bookish Hangover

Difficult Women
by Roxane Gay
Around the second or third story in this book, I knew this was going to happen. I knew I would have a tough time recovering from this. This book will break your heart and stitch it back up, and leave you sore for days.

Runners up:
What Happened by Hillary Clinton
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Most Satisfactory Ending

Bluebird, Bluebird
by Attica Locke
“A powerful thriller about the explosive intersection of love, race, and justice.”
This is a mystery, so we can’t say nothing about nothing, buuuuut there’s something “extra” that’s really good.

Runners up:
The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

Most Quotable Book

One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter
by Scaachi Koul
True story: this Rioter sat down to read the book, and without looking up, got up from her bed to grab a pencil for some serious underlining, promptly banging into her bedroom wall.

“I like being present in spaces where I am not welcome because you do not deserve to feel comfortable just because you’re racist or sexist or small-minded.”

Best Opening Line

We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates“This story began, as all writing must, in failure.”
We Were Eight Years in Power
by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Runners up:
“She’d nearly reached him when the brawl started.” from Dark Deeds by Mike Brooks

“I’m on the toilet at the 9:30 Club, and I’m wondering how mermaids pee.” from The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Best Art In a Comic

Ms Marvel Issue 16 by G. Willow Wilson; art by Takeshi Miyazawa‎ 

Runners up:
Black Bolt Vol. 1 by Saladin Ahmad; art by Christian Ward

Winnebago Graveyard #2 by Steve Niles and Alison Sampson

a final note

My fellow contributors and I have put these together after a meticulous nomination and voting process, so these are 100% the real deal; the judges’ verdict is final and no discussion will be entered into regarding their decision. JK, JK, tell us your picks for these categories in the comments.

P.S. Authors, artists, and creators, all acceptance speeches can be emailed or tweeted to us. We promise to not cut you off with music.