I hope you’re enjoying the final day of 2018!
I love lists, however, the following was more difficult to put together than I was anticipating. Uff-da! Why would I want to rank my top reads for the year when my mind goes instantly blank when asked what my favorite book of all time is? As such, feel free take the order of my “Top 18 of 2018” list as a general guideline because it will probably be rearranged slightly tomorrow!
18. My Favorite Thing is Monsters, Vol. 1
by Emil Farris
Who ever thought I would pick up, let alone thoroughly enjoy a 400+ page graphic novel? This year I dipped my toes into comics / graphic novels and I’m now forever a fan of the format. This in particular, absolutely blew my mind. The topics are heavy, but they are tackled beautifully through 12-yo Karen’s eyes. Actually the whole thing is her notebook (written and illustrated by Farris) and it feels like you should read it in secrecy so she doesn’t catch you.
17. Aru Shah and the End of Time
by Roshani Chokshi
I’ve never read the Iliad or the Odyssey, but I thoroughly enjoyed Percy Jackson. It’s no surprise then that even though I’ve never read the Mahabharata, I thoroughly enjoyed Aru Shah! The balance between Aru’s and Mini’s personalities really topped the cake for me on this because I saw pieces of myself in both. It was a very fun read and I can’t wait for the rest of the books!
16. The Girl Who Drank the Moon
by Kelly Barnhill
Fyrian, the perfectly tiny dragon, is my favorite magical creature of the year! If anyone’s looking for him he’s keeping my pocket warm, which is very handy in the middle of winter. Speaking of winter, I was unaware until the author blurb at the end stated that Barnhill is a fellow Minnesotan, so this gets double the love from me!
15. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
by Jenny Han
In August, I signed up for a complementary month of Audible Romance. I haven’t read romance as a genre, but I felt like something light and fun for the end of summer. I picked out all of the contemporary YA titles I could find in the package and started with this one. Best decision ever! The sister dynamics were spot on and the fake dating trope is always a blast.
12-14. Wayward Children
by Seanan McGuire
Every Heart a Doorway ✦ Down Among the Sticks and Bones ✦ Beneath the Sugar Sky
Wow, McGuire is an enchantress with words! This series of novellas is the strangest twist on portals and I AM HERE FOR IT! They are part magical realism, fantasy, horror, mystery, and adventure thrown into the LGBTQIA+ blender and served on ice. The third book was my favorite so far and I’m eagerly awaiting what the rest of the series has in store for me!
11. A Princess in Theory
by Alyssa Cole
Remember how I said I don’t read romance? Well, turns out this year is swooping me into the top grossing genre in the industry, and for good reason! This was everything I could have hoped for and more in a sexy romance: a woman in STEM, a secret prince and the unknown princess, a humorous lesbian side character, and some wipe-the-sweat-off-your-brow chemistry!!
9-10. The Montague Siblings
by Mackenzi Lee
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue ✦ The Lady’s Guide to Pirates and Petticoats
How is it that I still don’t know why I love Monty? Oh yes I do: he’s simply my favorite bi disaster! I don’t need (have) anymore reason than that. Percy is the only cinnamon bun I’ve loved this year and he’s also Monty’s only redeeming quality. Felicity is one of my favorite fem protagonists ever!! I was so beyond excited when I found out she was getting her own story, and it did not disappoint! I had so much fun going on adventures with Lee’s crew and all I can hope is that there is more to come.
8. My Lady Jane
by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows
This was the most entertaining audiobook I listened to all year! I laughed so much it healed the tarnished edges of my soul. It reminded me of a Monty Python satire so of course I ate it right up. I loved the liberties that were taken and I’ll just pretend that history was officially rewritten with this book.
by Jennifer Mathieu
This was a love letter to my adolescent self. That anything I went through, I actually wasn’t alone even if I felt that way at the time. I think everyone should have this on their shelf. It’s not just for the girls, but it makes you proud as hell to be one.
6. The Poet X
by Elizabeth Acevedo
There is power in the word. Oh boy was I an ugly sopping mess over Xiomara’s story. This was my first book in poetic form that wasn’t assigned in school. Honestly the cover made me pick it up… and then there was no turning back. I also listened to the audiobook and I highly recommend it as it’s narrated by Acevedo. My heart still breaks when I think of this, but it’s also lifted at the same time. X is one of the strongest characters that I met this year and I’m looking forward to more from Acevedo.
3-5. The Illuminae Files
by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Illuminae ✦ Gemina ✦ Obsidio
How is it possible that one of my favorite characters of the year is a psychotic morally ambiguous lunk of 0’s and 1’s? AIDAN you bastard (of course I still love you if you can read this). This is hands down my favorite series! It was the most unique experience I’ve ever had while reading. I picked up the physical copies for this because I knew the format wouldn’t translate as well on e-book. I plan to re-read this on audiobook as I’ve heard amazing things about the full-cast performance. (There’s a massive queue at my library which is also an indicator!)
2. The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman
This was one of the best coming of age / character development stories I’ve ever read. I was not expecting to fall in love with this book like I did! I was as shocked as the mouse in the closet that a gasping sob broke out of me at that ending. I don’t think I’ll ever write a review, and for that I apologize. The more I love a book, the more I feel I could never do it justice.
1. The Song of Achilles
by Madeline Miller
I’m dead. It was wonderful knowing all of you. In lieu of flowers… fuck it, send flowers, I adore flowers. Xx
Moral of my reading year:
I’m a softie.
My former cynical self is rolling over in her grave, which is perfectly alright as I’m happily dancing over her, barefoot in the grass singing Bastille. Prior to this year, I only cried (okay sobbed) over two books more than a decade ago. As much as I was not an emotional reader, I am now and I love it! (No one is more shocked than me!)
What were some books that made a lasting impression on you this year? Any that are on my list? If you have a similar post, link it in the comments as I’d love to read it!