The Goodreads Choice Awards are known as the only major awards in which the reading public have their pick of the year’s best books, and this year, the people have spoken: women win.
Female authors won a whopping 80 percent of Goodreads’ 2017 awards, prevailing in 16 out of 20 categories, including Fiction, Nonfiction, Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, History & Biography, and Poetry. Goodreads users cast more than 3.8 million votes, selecting two Canadian women, both of whom are of Punjabi descent, among their 2017 honorees.
Noteworthy winners include Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere (Best Fiction), Paula Hawkins’ Into the Water (Best Mystery & Thriller, which the Girl on the Train author has now won two years running), The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Best Young Adult Fiction—Thomas also won Best Debut Goodreads Author), J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay (Best Fantasy), The Martian author Andy Weir’s Artemis (Best Science Fiction), Stephen and Owen King’s Sleeping Beauties (Best Horror, which the elder King has won many a time before), Hillary Clinton’s What Happened (Best Memoir & Autobiography, her first win) and Rupi Kaur’s The Sun and Her Flowers (Best Poetry, with a record-setting 38,500+ votes).
Find Goodreads’ full breakdown of this year’s winners below, interspersed with reactions from a couple of writers, and follow the links we’ve added for more on these authors and their works.
Celeste Ng first came to readers’ attention with Everything I Never Told You, a 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for best debut novel. In 2017, her sophomore effort, Little Fires Everywhere, takes home the prize for fiction, narrowly beating out Fredrik Backman’s Beartown. Set in Ng’s hometown of Shaker Heights, Ohio, in the 1990s, this novel explores family bonds, race relations, and what we ultimately owe to those we love.
Best Mystery & Thriller — Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
She’s done it again! Two years after winning the Best Mystery & Thriller award for her juggernaut debut, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins takes home the same prize for her second novel, Into the Water. The gripping tale of psychological suspense sweeps readers away to a small town where one woman’s death dredges up a dark history of secrets, scandals, and murder. Not surprisingly, Hollywood already has plans for the thriller—DreamWorks Pictures, the same studio that turned Hawkins’ first book into a big-budget adaptation starring Emily Blunt, bought the film rights earlier this year.
Best Historical Fiction — Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
The Goodreads Choice Award winner for Best Historical Fiction tells a riveting story about family, injustice, and the power of redemption. Here, author Lisa Wingate masterfully draws her inspiration from the real-life scandal of a Memphis-based adoption agency that stole and sold children to wealthy families. With thirty novels under her belt, this latest New York Times and USA Today bestselling novel is the first Goodreads Choice Awards win for Wingate.
Best Debut Goodreads Author AND Best Young Adult Fiction — The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
2017 was the year of Angie Thomas. Not only did she scoop up two Goodreads Choice Awards (one for Best Young Adult Fiction, the other for Best Debut Goodreads Author), but her book The Hate U Give was optioned for a film (starring Issa Rae, Regina Hall, and Common) and has spent nearly a year on the New York Times bestseller list. The novel follows Starr Carter, a 16 year old who finds her voice after her unarmed childhood best friend is fatally shot by the police. A timely and heartbreaking read.
Best Fantasy — Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling
Never underestimate the power of the wizarding world fan base. Beating out previous Goodreads Choice Award winners Neil Gaiman and Brandon Sanderson, J.K. Rowling wins Best Fantasy with her screenwriting debut. Stepping away from the adventures of Harry Potter and company, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them follows magiczoologist Newt Scamander as he arrives in 1920s-era New York City…and proceeds to lose more than one of his mischievous, magical creatures. The film adaptation of the screenplay premiered last year and starred Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterson, and Colin Farrell.
Best Romance — Without Merit by Colleen Hoover
All hail our queen of contemporary love stories. For the third consecutive year, Colleen Hoover is a Goodreads Choice Award winner for Best Romance. She began her streak in 2015 with the sweet and sexy Confess and won last year with the heart-wrenching It Ends with Us. This year she put readers under her spell with Without Merit. Grappling with guilt, family drama, and a growing web of lies, the novel’s unforgettable heroine risks losing the man she loves after revealing a devastating secret. Hoover’s skill at crafting powerful romances is indisputable. The only question: Can she continue her winning streak next year?
Best Science Fiction — Artemis by Andy Weir
Readers clearly love Andy Weir to the moon and back. After winning Best Science Fiction in the 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards for his thrilling debut, The Martian, he receives the same honor for his second book. Part space adventure, part exhilarating heist tale, Artemis follows young smuggler Jazz Bashara as she scrapes out a living on the first and only city on the moon. When she takes on a risky job, she suddenly finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy that stretches across the stars. Following the success of the film adaptation of The Martian, Fox and New Regency have already picked up the movie rights to Artemis.
Best Horror — Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King
Over the years, Stephen King has won his share of Goodreads Choice Awards (most recently in 2016 for End of Watch, the propulsive finale to his Bill Hodges trilogy), but this is the first win for his son Owen King. The father-and-son duo squashed the competition with their first co-written novel Sleeping Beauties, a nightmarish account of what happens when all the women in the world (save one supernatural beauty named Evie) go to sleep and immediately become enmeshed in a coma-inducing, cocoon-like gauze. What does a world without women look like? Only these Kings can tell the tale.
Best Humor — Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham
The readers laughed, and then they voted. Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between from actress Lauren Graham is a collection of witty essays about growing up and starting out in Hollywood. It’s also a love letter to what Graham calls the “role of a lifetime,” playing Lorelai Gilmore—first on television’s Gilmore Girls and nine years later, on the Netflix miniseries Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Graham garnered a new voting record in the humor category with 48,000 votes, beating the previous record-holder Amy Schumer who had 41,000 votes to win in 2016.
Best Nonfiction — How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh
YouTube star and comedian Lilly Singh is better known by her username ||Superwoman||. She has more than 12.7 million YouTube subscribers, 7 million Instagram followers, was first on Forbes’ 2017 Top Influencers List in the entertainment category, and is a bestselling author. Singh wins the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Nonfiction for her debut book, How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life, where she shares the secrets to her stunning success.
Best Memoir & Autobiography — What Happened by Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton was nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award for her memoir Hard Choices in 2014, but this year’s win for What Happened is her first. Goodreads members cast their vote for the autobiography which chronicles her run, and ultimate loss, as the first woman nominated for president by a major party in U.S. history. The book is more than just a political play-by-play, though; it’s also a revealing look into the former Secretary of State’s pre- and post-election life.
Best History & Biography — The Radium Girls by Kate Moore
Taking place under the shadow of the first world war, bestselling author Kate Moore’s The Radium Girls traces the lives of the hundreds of young women who toiled and suffered amidst the radium-dial factories. What follows is a true story of awe-inspiring strength in the face of scandal and gruesome corruption. This is Moore’s first nomination in the Goodreads Choice Awards and her first win in the Best History & Biography category.
Best Science & Technology — Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Lauded as one of America’s most beloved astrophysicists, Neil deGrasse Tyson has received many accolades throughout his career including the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal and the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication. This year, Tyson’s New York Times bestseller Astrophysics for People in a Hurry was a shining star in the Goodreads Choice Awards, capturing a win in the Science & Technology category. His passion for the cosmos, combined with his down-to-earth wit, expertly guides casual readers into the great beyond in the shortest amount of time.
Best Best Food & Cookbooks — The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Come and Get It! Simple, Scrumptious Recipes for Crazy Busy Lives by Ree Drummond
Two time Goodreads Choice Award winner Ree Drummond is back with a third Food & Cookbook win with her latest, Come and Get It, a recipe book made for people who love to whip up hearty, satisfying fare, but don’t have a lot of time to devote in the kitchen. Drummond has casual cooks covered with more than 120 meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert)—all of which can be made with minimal effort, fuss, and ingredients.
Best Graphic Novels & Comics — Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen
Last year she was a newcomer to the Goodreads Choice Awards; this year she was the defending champion. Anderson won Best Graphic Novel & Comic for her 2016 debut, Adulthood Is a Myth, and now the book’s follow-up, Big Mushy Happy Lump, is also a winner. Featuring all-new content from her popular Sarah Scribbles webcomic, the collection includes illustrated personal essays about Andersen’s real-life experiences with anxiety, work, and relationships—as well as the challenges and joys of “bookstore-ready bodies and Netflix-ready hair.” The third book in the series, Herding Cats, is due out in March.
Best Poetry — The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
Rupi Kaur, the 25-year-old publishing phenomenon, is perhaps the best-known of the new breed of poets dubbed ‘instapoets.’ She has 1.8 million followers on Instagram where she shares her verses. Her first book, Milk and Honey, began as a self-published book that went on to sell 2.5 million copies. She wins the 2017 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Poetry for her second collection, The Sun and her Flowers, which debuted at No. 2 on Amazon’s bestseller list. She also easily set the new voting record in the Goodreads Choice Awards’ poetry category, with more than 38,500 votes (beating the previous record by 13,000 votes).
Best Young Adult Fantasy — A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
Sarah J. Maas returns as the reigning champion of YA Fantasy. A nominee in this category since 2012, it’s no surprise that Maas has garnered another win for A Court of Wings and Ruin. This is the third installment of her smash hit series about a young huntress embroiled in the mysterious world of the fae. The second installment, A Court of Mist and Fury, was also a winner in last year’s Goodreads Choice Awards.
Best Middle Grade & Children’s — The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan
A titan in the Middle Grade & Children’s category, Rick Riordan claims another victory for The Ship of the Dead, book three in his Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series. No stranger to mythological reimaginings, Riordan continues the story of a once homeless teen and his epic transformation into one of Odin’s chosen warriors. This is the second time this series has been nominated, and marks the seventh consecutive Goodreads Choice Awards win for Riordan.
Best Picture Books — We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio
Inspired by her middle grade book Wonder (a 2012 Goodreads Choice Awards nominee and 2017 film starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, and Jacob Tremblay), R. J. Palacio set out to write—and illustrate—a picture book with the same “choose kind” message featured in Wonder. In We’re All Wonders, we follow Auggie and his dog Daisy on an out-of-this-world adventure which ultimately encourages even the youngest of readers to see beyond Auggie’s extraordinary exterior and into the person he is inside.