Julie’s Top Five Books of 2017


I read a lot. Probably close to 200 books a year. I enjoy the great majority of books I read, some more than others. But it takes something really special to catapult it to the top of my list, to make it one of the books I push onto friends, insisting they need to read it right now, RIGHT NOW.


This year, I know I read more than five amazing books that meet this criteria. But these are the five I’m still thinking about, in no particular order:


SMALL GREAT THINGS by Jodi Picoult. This was a tough read for a lot of reasons. It’s the story of a white supremacist family who refuses to let Ruth, the African American nurse assigned to them, tend to their newborn baby. When the baby suffers a medical emergency, Ruth must make a decision in an instant—follow the hospital directive to stay away from the baby, or save the baby’s life. It’s a complex story that forces all of us to confront some very uncomfortable truths that still exist in our society. This book is brave, bold and important. In a world that seems to be unraveling before our very eyes, SMALL GREAT THINGS should be required reading for all Americans.


WATCH ME DISAPPEAR by Janelle Brown. I am a huge fan of domestic suspense, and this novel did not disappoint. It’s the story of a woman named Billie who dies on a solo hiking trip, and how her daughter and husband grieve the loss of her. However, all is not as it seems, and soon we discover that perhaps Billie isn’t dead after all, that maybe she’s purposely disappeared. This book kept me guessing until the very last page, which doesn’t happen often.




THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS by Laurie Frankel. This is the story of Claude, a young boy who wants to grow up to become a girl, and how his family grapples with how they–and the world–see him versus how Claude sees himself. It’s raw and funny and honest, and it will both break your heart and give you hope for the future.






ARE YOU SLEEPING by Kathleen Barber. My editor sent me an ARC of this book last summer before it released, and I tore through it. Modeled after the Serial podcast, it’s the story of Josie Buhrman, who is running from her past—a father who was murdered in their home, the sister she’s estranged from, and a secret the family holds—until a podcast releases, picking apart the crime, interviewing people involved in the case, and forcing Josie to finally come to terms with the question everyone is asking: Who killed Chuck Buhrman? You will have to read to find out.


THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO by Taylor Jekins Reid. A reclusive Hollywood star is ready to tell her life story—think Liz Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. She chooses an unknown magazine writer, Monique Grant, to be her ghost writer, for reasons Evelyn won’t disclose. Yet. As Evelyn recounts her tumultuous life filled with glamor and scandal, we learn that Evelyn chose Monique for one very specific reason: a promise she needs to fulfill before it’s too late.




Author: Julie Clark

Born and raised in Santa Monica, California, Julie Clark grew up reading books on the beach while everyone else surfed. After attending college at University of the Pacific, and a brief stint working in the athletic department at University of California, Berkeley, she returned home to Santa Monica to teach. She now lives there with her two young sons and a golden doodle with poor impulse control. Her debut, THE ONES WE CHOOSE, will be published by Gallery/Simon & Schuster in May 2018.