I recently wrote about my ten least favorite books of the year so far, so it seems only appropriate to write about my ten favorites, as well. I’m quite fortunate this year, as I already have over ten five-star reads, and several of them are new favorites of mine. It has been a good year so far, and I can only hope that the second half is even better. In the near future, I will be writing a larger reflective piece where I discuss the first half of my reading year in more detail, as well as set goals to guide what I read for the second half of the year, so keep an eye out for that! My hope is that this top ten is totally different at the end of the year because I found tons of new reads that I love just as much or more than the ones on this list. For now, however, all I can do is show off the amazing books that I have read so far!
Note: If you are interested in any of the books I am discussing, I will be including an Amazon associate link for each one. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I’ll get a small commission at no additional cost to you.
10. You Asked For Perfect – Laura Silverman
You Asked For Perfect is the textbook example of a lucky find. I picked it up on NetGalley simply because the cover looked nice and I’m so glad I did, as I’m not certain if I ever would have found it otherwise. This book has the best description that I have ever seen of the pressures that come with constantly striving to overachieve in high school. The protagonist is constantly struggling with his need to be the best as he attempts to navigate his senior year of high school, while also wanting to just have fun and pursue friendships and romances like many of his peers do. It’s a short and quick read that I would highly recommend, and I have more details in my full review.
9. Better Nate Than Ever – Tim Federle
Over the past few months, I’ve been working on an experiment where I read the books that Goodreads recommended to me based upon my favorite and least favorite reads. Better Nate Than Ever is a recommendation given to me based upon my love of George by Alex Gino, and I couldn’t be happier for the push in this book’s direction. For one thing, it cemented my newfound love for the middle grade genre, and for another, Nate is one of the most adorable protagonists that I have ever read about. His dialogue is true to how children his age would actually talk and he’s so full of energy. He has a goal of making it onto Broadway and he will do anything and everything in his power to make this happen. This is the start to a trilogy that follows Nate, so I will definitely be checking out the rest of the series this year.
8. Saga, Volume Nine – Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan
I was about ready to give up on Saga before I read the ninth volume. While I enjoyed the series at the start, as more characters got added in and the plot focused more on the politics and less on the star-crossed lovers that I initially signed on for, I began to lose interest. This ninth volume was going to be the last one I read, as the series has gone on a hiatus and it seemed like a logical stopping point. When I made this plan, however, I was not accounting for the fact that the ending of this collection stabbed me right in the chest with a huge plot twist and left me needing to know what happens next. While I’m not entirely certain that I like the direction that this series is headed, I can’t deny that this entry left me emotionally gutted and needing to know how everything turns out.
7. Paperback Crush – Gabrielle Moss
Paperback Crush has a narrow niche that it caters towards, and anyone outside of that group isn’t going to get the appeal. This is a nonfiction reference guide that outlines the history of the Young Adult book genre, with most of its attention dedicated to the 80s and 90s. As someone who has read nearly every book prefixed with “Sweet Valley” and constantly daydreamed about being Claudia’s best friend in The Baby-Sitters Club, this book is probably the best thing that has ever happened to me. I got to relive my entire childhood, learn quite a bit about how the YA genre got to its current form, and even dragged up some old memories of books I forgot I had read. For example, I totally forgot about my entire phase where I read Lurlene McDaniel’s sad books about kids with horrible diseases that often die at the end, but now I remember and learned a lot about how The Fault in Our Stars came to be so popular.
6. The Immortalists – Chloe Benjamin
I knew from the second I laid eyes on the publisher’s description for The Immortalists that I was going to love this book. Four siblings go to a fortune teller and find out the exact day that they are going to die. From there, they spread out and live their lives with this information. Any story that discusses fate or time is one I immediately feel drawn to because I love the complexities of the conversations involved. For example, if some of the siblings learn that they are going to die young, were they going to die at that age regardless, or did they begin to live more recklessly because they knew their days were numbered? Would they have all lived happily to the age of ninety had they not gone to the fortune teller because that act, in itself, determined their fate? These are the sorts of questions that I pondered through the entirety of the time that I was reading this book, and I loved every second of it.
5. Roller Girl – Victoria Jamieson
As I stated with Better Nate Than Ever, I have been diving into the middle grade genre a little more than usual lately and been having pretty good results. Roller Girl is a coming-of-age tale told in the graphic novel format about a young girl who decides to try taking up roller derby. It’s a sweet book that I found myself flying through in a single day due to its vibrant art style and relatable characters. I find that, in a lot of respects, middle grade books are actually easier to relate to as an adult reader than their young adult counterparts, even though they are written with a far younger audience in mind. They contain less angst and are more about the sorts of topics that any age can relate to, such as learning to fit in or following your dreams. I will discuss this more in my reflective post, but I think transitioning to prioritize adult and middle grade titles over young adult for a while would probably result in enjoying a higher percentage of the books I read.
4. Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
It is a goal of mine to read all of the major children’s classics in my lifetime. In my experience, children’s classics like Charlotte’s Web have all of the same symbolism and messaging that their adult peers have, but they’re a lot more fun to read. The friendship between Charlotte and Wilbur was adorable and I couldn’t believe that it took me so long to get around to such a sweet story. As an adult, I loved it, but as with all children’s books, I’m sad I didn’t get a chance to read it as a kid, as I would have treasured it years ago. E.B. White has a sizeable collection of titles that I still need to read, so I highly doubt that this is the last I will ever see of him.
3. Scythe and Thunderhead – Neal Shusterman
I decided to put Scythe and Thunderhead together, as I liked them an equal amount and didn’t want to take up two entries on this list. Shusterman’s new series is shaping up to become one of my favorites of all time, so long as the conclusion out later this year turns out to be the same level of quality. It’s dark and tackles some very real societal problems, such as what happens when we do overpopulate the world, and how would people cope in a world where they aren’t actually needed for anything? I have a whole (spoiler-filled) discussion about where I want the series to go for the finale, and it is safe to say that The Toll is my most anticipated book of the year.
2. My Sister, The Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite
A lot of people were talking about My Sister, The Serial Killer because it was nominated for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. I love a good thriller, so I picked it up immediately, and it was not what I expected at all. As the title suggests, this is a book about a woman whose sister is a serial killer. It isn’t much of a thriller, however, as it instead explores the complicated relationship between the sisters and why they would be willing to do anything for one another, even though one has a love for stabbing people. While it wasn’t what I expected, it’s still one of my favorite reads of the year and definitely my most pleasant surprise.
1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid
I feel like I’m behind on this one, but words cannot express how much I love The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. It took me a while to get around to reading it because I was scared off by the hype, but that turned out to be a silly fear. This is one of the best-written books I have ever read. Every detail put in the writing builds one of the most realistic portraits of a complex woman that I have ever read. If Taylor Jenkins Reid came up to me tomorrow and told me that Evelyn Hugo was a real person, I would believe her because it can be really difficult to remember that she’s fictional while reading the book. Obviously, I am always hoping to find a book that I love more than my current favorite because it means I’m reading lots of books I love, but it’s going to be difficult to top this masterpiece.
That’s it for the books that I have read and loved so far this year! I can’t wait to see what the second half of 2019 has in store for me. What are your favorite books of the first half of the year? Let me know in the comments below!