I set a pretty lofty goal of reading 50 books for my Goodreads challenge. Suffice to say, that didn't happen. But still, 30 or so isn't bad. FYI, my list skews towards YA, which is such a problematic labeling but whatever. I just find that books that are marketed as "adult literature" often end up being depressing as fuck (see: every single adult book I read this year). Life is depressing enough, you know? I read books to ESCAPE real life.
Here we go, my top 10 favorite books I read in 2018, with links to Amazon to read em!
1. Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
I read these books twice in a month. That's how good these are. The characters are my best friends now, I follow the fandom tag on tumblr, I am all in. Really all you need to know about this series is that its like if Oceans Eleven got an amazing Game of Thrones-style reboot. Even if you're not a fan of fantasy, or even YA for that matter, you will love this series.
2. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
Dare I say it? I liked Hank Green's book more than John Green's last one! I can't believe it's Hank's first book. I adored it, finished it in two days. It reminds me of some of Scott Westerfeld's early books in that you end up learning a lot of super cool (and useless) facts about stuff you've never cared about before. I loved April May's voice, the wider concepts of internet culture, fame, and xenophobia, and how it was the perfect blend of modern and sci-fi.
3. Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
I don't know what it is about this goshdarn book but it crept into my heart and is now permanently camped (pun intended) there. I went back and read again it like a week after I finished it. It has a very romance novel-y plot with all the steps you'd expect, but my god can Jenn Bennett write fully dimensional, believable characters. It's the perfect summer read, a story about friends to not friends to more than friends who get caught in a camping near-disaster. Reading this absolutely took me back to my 16 year old self, in all my crush-having glory. It even made me want to go camping, which honestly is such a feat in itself.
4. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
I actually read this book after my boyfriend started reading it. It seems like its been everywhere this year, what with the Reese Witherspoon production and all. This one definitely falls under "slightly depressing adult fiction". The characters are wonderfully complex, and the writing is beautiful. An interesting, respectful examination of suburbia.
5. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
This one gave me the most adult contemporary vibes. If the characters were just a little older it would definitely be marketed as such. I loved the shifting points of view, the beautiful writing, and the realistic portrayals of immigration in the US.
6. The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee
Call me sexist, but I often find it hard to get into books that are written from a male POV. I have no idea why, it's probably because I've been so conditioned from YA. Anyway, I adored this boy, a rapscallion 18th century libertine who is in love with his (male) best friend, going against not only his societal norms but his desire to be a free-spirited rake. The writing style actually reminded me quite a bit of Three Men in a Boat, which is I'm pretty sure the funniest book written in the 19th century.
7. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
I just finished this book this week! It's a sprawling fantasy with evocative writing, a Romeo and Juliet style romance, and subtle influences from South Asian and Middle Eastern cultures that never get too orientalism-y.
8. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
I'm a sucker for trope-y YA. Give me all the lovable rogue pirates, the snarky heroines, the maybe redeemable sons of Evil Kings. I'm all about it. What's particularly awesome about this one is that the main characters are all Black! I was thinking about the YA I read in Junior High and High School a few days ago and realized the amount of books I read with a black lead were...0. None whatsoever. How fucked up is that? Luckily things are changing for the better, in fact POC are main characters in half this list!
9. The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke
This book broke my heart. I think it was the only book to do so this year. But yeah. Read it when you're looking for a good cry. It's about communist-era East Berlin in the late 80s. Features a bit of magical realism as well, for fans of that.
10. Warcross by Marie Lu
Idk what it is about Marie Lu books, they are predictable as fuck but I LOVE THEM. Her world building is unparalleled. Also the main character is a coder with long rainbow hair, what's not to love?