2016 has seen some thrilling releases, from the highly-anticipated sequel to summer blockbuster Me Before You , to the return of the spellbinding world of Harry Potter and friends. Selected from the bestselling books of the year, here are our top picks for 2016.
After You by Jojo Moyes, £5.99 ( was £7.99) | Waterstones
The much-anticipated to sequel to the bestseller-turned-blockbuster,
Me Before You, this novel highlights Moyes’ ability to make the reader laugh in the gloomiest of circumstances, as Lou struggles to deal with Will’s death 18 months on. As warm, big-hearted and charming as the book which made her famous.
Before The Fall by Noah Hawley, £14.99 | Waterstones
The stand-out thriller of 2016 comes from the Golden Globe-winning creator of
Fargo. A plane plunges into the sea and the only survivors are Scott Burroughs, a down-on-his-luck painter, and a four-year-old boy, who happens to be the last surviving member of the family of an immensely wealthy media mogul. This sharp narrative weaves between the aftermath of the crash, and the backstories of passengers and crew, as odd coincidences begin to point to conspiracy…
Harry Potter & The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, £15.00 ( was £20) | Waterstones
While hardcore fans will relish the chance to catch up with Harry and co., this script exposes the difficulties of recreating the enchantment of the stage show on the page. Without the spectacle, new characters often fall flat and the flaws in the sometimes disjointed plot are exposed. However, don’t think too hard about the time travel element, and this book is still an enjoyable dip into Potter nostalgia.
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, £13.49 ( was £14.99) | Waterstones
This powerful account of a childhood spent in a poor Rust Belt town offers a probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class, and its impact on the once-unthinkable victory of Donald Trump. A family saga and passionate analysis of a culture in crisis, Vance writes “Poverty is the family tradition”. This is an illuminating perspective on a deeply complex and pressing issue.
Killing The Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan by Bill O’Reilly And Martin Dugard, £20 | Waterstones
The newest edition to the compelling
Killing series from US television host and political commentator, Bill O’Reilly, and historical novelist, Martin Dugard. Part novel, part historical analysis, this book examines the final days of the Second World War in enthralling detail. This book asks one of the most important questions of the 20th Century: whether to use the most deadly weapon known to humanity. A perfect gift for history buffs.
Night School Jack Reacher 21 by Lee Child, £20 ( was £15.99) | Waterstones
One of Jack Reacher’s more subdued adventures – but nonetheless immersive, this prequel sees our hero take on neo-Nazis and a $100m conspiracy in a world before the web and mobile phones. Child’s observant and ironic prose continues to lift his work above the constraints of the genre.
The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, £12.99 | Waterstones
The bestselling debut novel of 2016 is a feel-good, easy read. Four siblings are faced with a huge windfall following their father’s death – and all show an outrageous, and entertaining, failure of responsibility. Predictable, maybe, but ultimately harmless and rounded off with a nice warm moral lesson.
The Whistler by John Grisham, £15 ( was £20) | John Grisham
Grisham is onto his 29th legal thriller, and happy to stick to a tried and tested formula – but that won’t diminish the enjoyment for his fans. A tale of good versus evil which draws on Grisham’s background as a lawyer for its winning detail, this book is a noticeable improvement on his last effort, ‘Rogue Lawyer’. Despite patches showing the faults in Grisham’s style, his characters shine through and revelations keep the plot turning.
Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty, £9.99 ( was £12.99)) | Waterstones
Moriatry’s most popular book,
Big Little Lies, is soon to be released as a star-studded Netflix series, and much of the devices are rehashed in her latest offering. While mostly fun and full of suspense, the frivolous barbecue setting prevents Moriarty from delving as far into the psychology and unresolved rivalry between her lead characters, Erika and Clementine, as she would like.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, £9.99 ( was £12.99) | Waterstones
Kalanthi became a neurosurgeon because of what he calls its “unforgiving call to perfection” and direct confrontation with death. This book, written shortly before his death from lung cancer aged 37, is a thoughtful, deep and learned meditation on the meaning of life, drawing on his experiences of death as a doctor and patient, as well as a vast well of literary knowledge. The best book of the year.
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