2019 has been my best reading year ever. I am currently at 53 books, passing my Goodreads goal of 50, and beating my record for books read in a year. The most I’ve ever read in a year before has been 27, so I’ve almost doubled the books. I know the reasoning is that my last two semesters of college allowed me more time to get my reading done and also, my mental health is way better than it has been in past years. Since I read a decent amount of books this year, I decided to finally do my Top 10 Favorite Books of the Year.
Not only did I read more books this year, but I’ve also expanded the types of books I read! I typically stick to contemporary or mystery, but this year I was able to read a few fantasy books. I started to love the genre and I hope I’m able to read even more next year!
10. Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo
I can’t believe it took me so long to read this series. At the time that I read this book, I had only ever read Six of Crows by the author, which is one of my favorite books of all time. I wanted to immerse myself more into the Grishaverse so I finally picked up this series. The first book was wonderful, in my opinion. I loved the introduction of characters and I was able to learn more about the world Bardugo created. I sadly did not enjoy Siege and Storm as much (except for Nikolai because he’s the best), and haven’t picked up the third book in the series yet. I will in the next couple months so I can reread Six of Crows and finally read Crooked Kingdom. Also, anyone else super excited for the TV series??
9. No, We Can’t Be Friends – Sophie Ranald
I read this ARC this past month and absolutely adored it. The story moved a lot slower than I expected but in a good way. I expected most of the book to be about the main character moving on from her divorce, but the divorce didn’t happen until almost halfway through the book. I thought it was a great decision because readers get to see more of what the character is going through. Definitely recommend everyone picks this up when it comes out on January 10, 2020!
8. Illuminae – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Wow. That’s all I can say. I honestly did not think I would enjoy this book as much as I did. I’ve never really been into science fiction but I absolutely loved this book. The formatting is so unique and different. I couldn’t put the book down. Probably one of my new favorite series.
7. With the Fire On High – Elizabeth Acevedo
This was originally a cover buy for me because come on, the cover is STUNNING. I honestly didn’t know too much about the actual story when I bought it, but I started seeing it gain some hype around the book community so I started to read it. I adored this story and love that the book wasn’t centered around a romance like these types of books typically are. It was about a single, teenage mom who was trying to follow her dreams while also raising a child. Fantastic story.
6. Ninth House – Leigh Bardugo
This book started off confusing and slow for me. It took me a long time to get through the first half of the book, only because there’s so much backstory and name dropping happen. I could barely process where the story was taking place, even with the map at the beginning of the book. Once I finally started to grasp the setting, the society and different characters (it took a lot of rereading pages), I finally started to get more into the story. The last half of the book was great and all I can say is DARLINGTON BETTER BE BACK IN THE SECOND BOOK BECAUSE I NEED MORE OF HIM. Can’t wait for the sequel and I’ll definitely be rereading this to hopefully grasp more of the story.
5. The Cruel Prince – Holly Black
As someone who is new to the YA Fantasy genre, this book worked wonders for me. I have never read a book with faeries and I loved the world that Holly Black created. I couldn’t put the book down and ended up reading the sequel, and the third book when it was released. I personally didn’t love the Cardan and Jude relationship, because I just didn’t get it (I will say though that when I finished the third book, I needed more of them). This was a wonderful introduction to YA Fantasy and it made me even more interested to read more of the genre.
4. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
This, sadly, was one of the only classics I read this year. I read this book earlier in the year after hearing so much about the TV series. I read a lot of classics throughout my years as an English major and honestly got burned out by them. Luckily, before reading this book, I hadn’t read a classic book in almost a year and surprisingly, reading The Handmaid’s Tale made me miss reading classics. I loved the writing and the story was so fascinating. This story is an important, cautionary tale and it made me think about where America’s future is going. I do wish the ending wasn’t ambiguous though. I am not a sucker for ambiguous endings. I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.
3. The Whisper Man – Alex North
I could not put this book down. This was probably one of the best mystery/thrillers I’ve ever read. I don’t get creeped out easily but this one creeped me out to the point where I had trouble falling asleep. I love that when something is creepy enough to do that to me! The ending was the only thing that made me roll my eyes a little bit, but even then, I still was obsessed with this story. It’s a very basic serial killer thriller, but the writer’s development of characters and his ability to create a creepy setting made this book stand out.
2. A Nearly Normal Family – M.T. Edvardsson
I made the terrible decision to start reading this while on a family trip to Duluth, Minnesota. Terrible because once I started reading it, I literally could not stop. My mom yelled at me to put the book down on more than one occasion and I was still sneaking it around. A Nearly Normal family is written in the perspective of three characters: first the father, then the daughter, and finally the mother. In each perspective, you learn a little more about the murder the daughter is on trial for throughout the book. One downside is that the father tends to be really unlikable, but I loved how the author portrayed him. He thought his daughter was perfect because of him, and it was really interesting to see his reality torn apart. By the end, I was shocked at where the story went. I found out later on that the story was translated from Swedish, and there are a few parts of the story where the English didn’t translate the greatest, but still a fantastic read. Also, as a crime lover, learning about the Swedish justice system was so fascinating. The author did a wonderful job at explaining the system and I was shocked at how much it differed from America’s. I couldn’t stop talking about this one after it ended (sorry to my boyfriend who had to listen to it).
1. Gemina – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
The number one book I read this year won by a landslide in my opinion. This book gave me all the feelings that the first one did, but it dove a little bit deeper. I loved the characters of Illuminae, but the newly introduced characters in this book I loved even more. There’s badass Hannah who kicks the butts of the enemies on the ship and there’s Nik, who isn’t as “dangerous” as he’s initially made to seem. I also just enjoyed the action in this book a lot more than the first book. I still haven’t read Obsidio (I have a major fear of third books in a trilogy, because they always seem to disappoint me), but if it’s as good as the first two, I’m sure I’ll be impressed. I recommend this series to anyone who hasn’t yet read it. You won’t be disappointed.
Whew. That was a lot, but there are my top 10 books I read in 2019. I hope to read even more books in 2020 and I’m excited to see what’s in store for the new year. What are some of your favorite books you’ve read this past year? Leave them in the comments!
Until next time, xx.