Every year, I eagerly look forward to the Goodreads Choice Awards, and every year I am confronted with the reality of just how many nominated books I didn’t read.
This year is certainly better than last year, when I read only a handful of front list titles and nary a single one that was nominated for an award. I’ve read eighty-something books so far this year and a fair number of them are new releases. That said, I’m trying to cram as many of the year’s most popular front list titles into my reading schedule between now and December 28th, when I will compile my best books of 2016 list.
I’m also trying to cram a few of the nominees for the Goodreads Choice Awards into the next few days, when voting for the final round ends.
So, who will win the Goodreads Choice Awards? I may not have read all (or even most) of the nominated titles, but I do have some predictions. I think half the fun of the whole thing is trying to guess who will win each category, so I’m going to give it a go.
The nominees (the ones I’ve read are in bold):
- The Girls by Emma Cline
- All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
- Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
- What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
- Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
- Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
- Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley
- Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
- My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
- The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Of the nominees that I haven’t read, there are three that are on my TBR list: What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours (which is currently sitting on my nightstand waiting to be read), Eligible (I have the audiobook and would very much like to listen to before the end of the year), and Commonwealth (which was strongly recommended to me by more than one book blogger).
The Girls was a total flop for me and I know that reviewers had mixed feelings about it, so I don’t think it will win.
Small Great Things is amazing and I think it has a fair chance, especially considering the current political/cultural climate.
I half want Truly Madly Guilty to win just because the author’s name is Moriarty, which is extremely badass.
Predicted winner: Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
Winner: Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
Mystery & Thriller
- Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben
- The Trespasser by Tana French
- Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
- End of Watch by Stephen King
- The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
- All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
- Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
- A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny
- Brotherhood in Death by J.D. Robb
- The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Of the nominees I haven’t read, the only one I am really dying to read is A Great Reckoning. I’ve wanted to start reading Louise Penny for a few years, but for some reason I keep putting it off. I love a good mystery and I’ve heard such great things about her writing. I’d like to start reading the Chief Inspector Gamache series next year.
The Woman in Cabin 10 is a fantastic fast-paced thriller. I don’t know if it will win, but I certainly enjoyed it.
The Couple Next Door is an intelligent psychological thriller with a bevy of labyrinthine twists and turns. I don’t think it will win, but I’m glad it made it to the final round.
Predicted winner: End of Watch by Stephen King
- The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin
- The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee
- America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie
- The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
- Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory
- Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
- Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
- The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson
- A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
- The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Of the nominees I haven’t read, The Queen of the Night and A Gentleman in Moscow (which I own) are at the top of my TBR list. I also wouldn’t mind reading The Wonder, though I strongly doubt I’ll get to it this year.
Homegoing is a spectacular debut, and I sincerely hope it wins. It certainly deserves to.
Everyone I know who read The Underground Railroad loved it, but I wasn’t as crazy about it as I thought I would be. That said, it won a National Book Award and I think it will probably win at the Goodreads Choice Awards as well.
Predicted winner: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
- All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
- Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews
- Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop
- Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs
- The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon
- The Curse of the Tenth Grave by Darynda Jones
- Feverborn by Karen Marie Moning
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
- The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
- A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
Why is it that fantasy authors always have the coolest names? Darynda. Ilona.
Anyway, I hate to say it, but I think Cursed Child is going to win. I guarantee more people have read it than any of the other books on the list. The Goodreads Choice Awards are, after all, a glorified popularity contest.
Also, A Gathering of Shadows wins for best cover!
Predicted winner: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
- One with You by Sylvia Day
- It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
- Kings Rising by C.S. Pacat
- Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
- Beard Science by Penny Reid
- The Obsession by Nora Roberts
- Storm and Silence by Robert Thier
- The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
- The Beast by J.R. Ward
- Paper Princess by Erin Watt
At least there are no books with the words “rake,” “scandal,” “duke,” “lord,” “wicked,” or “sin” in the title. Progress!
I know very little about the romance genre, but I do know that Sylvia Day, Colleen Hoover, and Nora Roberts are mega-authors. If I’m not mistaken, Sylvia Day writes in a similar vein to Fifty Shades of Grey. Since that sort of rough and tumble (emphasis on the rough) is all the rage right now, I’m guessing she’ll win.
I also would like to nominate Beard Science for best title of a romance novel ever.
Predicted winner: One with You by Sylvia Day
Winner: It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
- Morning Star by Pierce Brown
- Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
- Bloodline by Claudia Gray
- A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain
- Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
- The Last One by Alexandra Olivia
- The Long Cosmos by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter
- Lies, Damned Lies, and History by Jodi Taylor
- Crosstalk by Connie Willis
- Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters
I really want to read Underground Airlines and Dark Matter (I have the audiobook).
Judging by the buzz, I think Underground Airlines, Dark Matter, and Sleeping Giants have the best chances of winning.
Predicted winner: Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters
Winner: Morning Star by Pierce Brown
- Fellside by M.R. Carey
- A Time of Torment by John Connolly
- The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
- My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
- The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison
- The Fireman by Joe Hill
- Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff
- Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger
- Wicked Little Words by Stevie J. Cole & BT Urruela
- Over Your Dead Body by Dan Wells
I have no idea what’s going on in the horror genre these, but I keep seeing The City of Mirrors around the web, so I’m betting on that.
Predicted winner: The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
Winner: The Fireman by Joe Hill
- I’m Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi
- I Want My Epidural Back by Karen Alpert
- It Gets Worse by Shane Dawson
- Dan and Phil Go Outside by Dan Howell & Phil Lester
- Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
- Based on a True Story by Norm MacDonald
- The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer
- Mother, Can You Not? by Kate Siegel
- You Can’t Touch My Hair by Jessica Williams
- Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson
Celebrity humor sells, so I think Anna Kendrick, Mara Wilson, and Amy Schumer have the best chances of winning. I personally find Amy Schumer kind of annoying and Anna Kendrick kind of boring, so I’d like to think Wilson has a shot. She is, after all, Matilda, one of the greatest female characters in all of fiction.
Predicted winner: Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson
Winner: The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer
- Adnan’s Story by Rabia Chaudry
- Evicted by Matthew Desmond
- The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman
- Originals by Adam Grant
- The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley
- But What If We’re Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman
- The Lonely City by Olivia Laing
- Dark Money by Jane Mayer
- Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda & Jeremy McCarter
- Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein
I’m currently reading Girls & Sex. I’m still near the beginning, but it’s great so far.
Evicted is pretty high up on my TBR list and I’m also interested in Originals and But What If We’re Wrong?.
The cult status of Hamilton makes me think the Hamiltome could take home the prize, but with the cultural conversation about race and poverty going on right now, Evicted might have a better chance.
Predicted winner: Evicted by Matthew Desmond
Winner: Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda & Jeremy McCarter
Memoir & Autobiography
- The Rainbow Comes and Goes by Anderson Cooper & Gloria Vanderbilt
- Buffering by Hannah Hart
- Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
- Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
- Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
- The Only Pirate at the Party by Lindsey Stirling
- Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
- Hungry Heart by Jennifer Weiner
- Shrill by Lindy West
This is a tough one. There are so many great books in this category.
Lab Girl is totally amazeballs. Anyone with an interest in science or women’s role in the scientific community needs to read it.
When Breath Becomes Air is an incredibly wise book, but I’m not sure if it will win.
There is so much buzz about Hillbilly Elegy since the election. It’s high on my TBR list and I think it might come out on top.
If the mommy bloggers come out en force, I think Love Warrior could steal the prize. It’s an Oprah’s Book Club pick, which will no doubt give it a boost.
I’ve heard a lot of good things about Shrill and Hungry Heart, but I’m not convinced either will win.
Predicted winner: Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
Winner: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
History & Biography
- First Women by Kate Andersen Brower
- The Midnight Assassin by Skip Hollandsworth
- Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt
- White Trash by Nancy Isenberg
- The Romanovs by Simon Sebag Montefiore
- Killing the Rising Sun by Bill O’Reilly
- Blood Brothers by Randy Roberts & Johnny Smith
- Leonard by William Shatner
- Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
- All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister
Star power + Star Trek = a winner. Leonard might just take home the prize.
There’s been a lot of buzz about Hidden Figures; I think it could be a strong runner-up.
Predicted winner: Leonard by William Shatner
Science & Technology
- The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman
- Idiot Brain by Dean Burnett
- The Big Picture by Sean Carroll
- Patient H.M. by Luke Dittrich
- In a Different Key by John Donvan & Caren Zucker
- Into the Magic Shop by James R. Doty, M.D.
- The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee
- Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe
- Grunt by Mary Roach
- Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal
I am so excited about the science & technology category this year! In a Different Key, The Gene, and Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? are at the top of my TBR list right now. In fact, I just checked out the latter two from the library today. I just wish I had time to read ALL of these books!
Grunt was my first exploration into the wonderfully wacky work of Mary Roach and I loved it, but from what I’ve heard, it’s not her best work.
Predicted winner: The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Winner: Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal
Food & Cookbooks
- The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book by Loren Bouchard
- Alton Brown: EveryDayCook by Alton Brown
- Outlander Kitchen by Theresa Carle-Sanders
- Skinnytaste Fast and Slow by Gina Homolka
- Layered by Tessa Huff
- Oh She Glows Every Day by Angela Liddon
- Raw. Vegan. Not Gross. by Laura Miller
- Real Food/Fake Food by Larry Olmsted
- It’s All Easy by Gwyneth Paltrow
- Cravings by Chrissy Teigen
Of the tasty offerings in this category, I think Cravings has the best shot of winning. Teigen has a big name and I’ve heard good things about her cookbook.
I think Outlander Kitchen could come in second, or possibly the latest installment of the Oh She Glows series.
Predicted winner: Cravings by Chrissy Teigen
Graphic Novels & Comics
- Adulthood Is a Myth by Sarah Andersen
- Black Panther #1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Dark Night: A True Batman Story by Paul Dini
- Monstress, Volume 1 by Marjorie M. Liu
- Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5 by Wilson Miyazawa & Leon Alphona
- Lumberjanes Vol. 3 by Noelle Stevenson
- Orange: The Complete Collection, Vol. 1 by Ichigo Takano
- Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
- Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan
- Saga, Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
I always say that I want to read more graphic novels, but I never seem to make time. This year’s selection looks great. I’m particularly interested in Monstress. I also think it’s cool that Ta-Nahisi Coates’ is branching out into comics.
Predicted winner: Adulthood Is a Myth by Sarah Andersen
- Booked by Kwame Alexander
- Graffiti (and Other Poems) by Savannah Brown
- Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately by Alicia Cook
- Today Means Amen by Sierra DeMulder
- Beautiful & Damned by Robert M. Drake
- Quarter Life Poetry by Samantha Jayne
- The Universe of Us by Lang Leav
- The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace
- Then Come Back by Pablo Neruda
- La Douleur Exquise by J.R. Rogue
I have no idea what’s going on in the poetry world today, but just by virtue of title, I’m rooting for The Princess Saves Herself in This One.
Predicted winner: The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace
Debut Goodreads Author
- The Mothers by Brit Bennett
- A Promise by Amanda Bouchet
- Like a Boss by Logan Chance
- The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
- Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
- The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
- Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
- Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
- Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley
- The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
I’m currently reading The Mothers and I think it will probably win this category. Everyone I know has been buzzing about it lately.
Predicted winner: The Mothers by Brit Bennett
Winner: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Young Adult Fiction
- The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
- A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
- A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole
- The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
- This Is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
- Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
- If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
- Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
- P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
- The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
The Sun Is Also a Star and Holding Up the Universe have been the center of a lot of Internet chatter lately. Both are in my audiobook queue. A Study in Charlotte looks like a fun spin on Sherlock Holmes.
Predicted winner: The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Winner: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction
- Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
- Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
- The Crown by Kiera Cast
- Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
- A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
- Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
- Heartless by Marissa Meyer
- Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
- The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
- A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
Earlier this year I interviewed Cait from Paper Fury, who raved about Maggie Stiefvater in general and The Raven King in particular. I’ve read a lot of positive reviews of her books, so I think she’ll probably take home the prize in this category.
Predicted winner: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
Winner: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Middle Grade & Children’s
- The Bronze Key by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare
- An Author’s Odyssey by Chris Colfer
- Summerlost by Ally Condie
- Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
- Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics by Chris Grabenstein
- The Apprentice’s Quest by Erin Hunter
- Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
- Pax by Sarah Pennypacker
- The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
- The Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan
I don’t keep up much with children’s books, but I do have Raymie Nightingale in my audiobook queue. I also read the profile of Tahereh Mafi and her husband, Ransom Riggs, in Time Magazine a few months ago, and was quite impressed with what I read about Furthermore.
Then of course there are not one but two Rick Riordan books nominated and I have no way of knowing which one is a bigger hit with kids and their parents.
Also, I LOVE the cover art for Pax, but I don’t think it will win.
Predicted winner: Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
Winner: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
- Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
- Otter Goes to School by Sam Garton
- Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke
- A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers
- We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen
- Ida, Always by Caron Levis
- Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat
- They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
- The Thank You Book by Mo Willems
- What Do You Do with a Problem? by Kobi Yamada
I heard about A Child of Books on Jen Campbell’s YouTube channel and it looks gorgeous. Seeing as Goodreads is a community of book lovers, I think a picture book about books is probably going to win at the Goodreads Choice Awards.
Predicted winner: A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers
Winner: The Thank You Book by Mo Willems
Phew! So that’s it, guys. All 200 books nominated for Goodreads Choice Awards and my predictions for who will win. After the winners are announced, I will update this post and we’ll see how many I guessed correctly.
12/6 update: Welp, it looks like I’m not fantastic at guessing the winners of the Goodreads choice awards! Out of the twenty categories, I only guessed seven correctly. Better luck next year!
Which books do you think will win Goodreads Choice Awards?