It’s that time of year already. I’m back with my top ten reads of the year and I’m pleased to report that I found my reading mojo again this year, which means I managed 32 books vs last year’s 14. At one point, I made a real effort to use my phone less and read 12 books in two weeks. I should probably do that more often!
It wasn’t too tricky to narrow down my 32 books to a top ten. I had 13 five star reads but three of those were rereads (I read the entirety of The Selection series again because I hadn’t read the final book yet. It’s still one of my all time favourites).
That should mean I have ten five star reads in this list, but… Caraval. Well, we’ll talk about that when we get to it, shall we?
In reverse order, here we go:
10. How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne
I had no idea this was the second in a series until this very moment in time – it can be definitely read as a standalone. In this YA romance, Amber is sent to spend the summer at a camp in the US with her mum. Think outdoors and campfires, family dramas and terrible decisions. It’s a hilarious and heart-warming easy read that managed to capture me even though I’m twice the age of its target market.
9. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
If you think about this book in too much detail there are far more questions than answers, but there is no doubt it’s captivating and the romance is as mushy as they get. It’s a bit dark, a bit peculiar, and I have no idea where this series is going to take me next, but I’m looking forward to finding out.
8. The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon
I’ve been a Paige Toon fan for a while now and am nearly up to date with her releases. I read four this year and this was among my favourites. Every Paige Toon book hits me in the feels, with fun, friendly characters navigating life and love. The Longest Holiday follows newlywed Laura who is far from living in bliss.
7. Birthday by Meredith Russo
A clever and insightful book about childhood friends that were born on the same day, told over six birthdays as they grow together (and sometimes part). At its core, it explores what it’s like to be transgender, and how being transgender can affect one’s friends and family members too. This book brought me to tears, some sad and some happy. I loved it.
6. Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
I didn’t expect to enjoy this as much as I did, so I was pleasantly surprised to give it a five star rating when I’d finished. Another YA romance but this one has a bit of a twist in that our two main characters (it’s an alternating narrative) are falling for one another via anonymous letters whilst simultaneously hating one another in person. It’s a story about preconceptions and how damaging they can be, and deals with some pretty hard hitting topics. I read it in a matter of days.
5. Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Oh, Caraval. A four star read among the fives. It may seem strange that I’ve got a four star read at number six, but despite my frustrations with it, I have been thinking about this book long beyond the final page. A magical, mysterious game with clues and the threat of death or madness? Count me in. That is the kind of book I want to read. Twists, turns and a swoon worthy romance? Sold. On paper, this is a bit of me.
I couldn’t give it five stars though, because it felt like such a missed opportunity to be absolutely epic. The whole time I thought this would be my top book of the year, then I finished it and reflected on it and realised… what!? I can’t say much more without spoiling things, but if you want to read my review in a bit more detail you can do so over on Goodreads.
I’ll definitely be reading the next book and I’ll really look forward to it, but I’m keeping everything crossed that some of the weaknesses from this first book are fixed in the second.
4. Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt
I can feel tears threatening to spill just thinking about this book. It’s a tiny 183 pages but man do those pages hit hard. You will have your heart broken by Orbiting Jupiter, but somehow it’s worth it. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.
3. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
This needs to be a movie! Actually, I think I read something about a TV series coming out at some point. It’s sci-fi and mystery and thriller wrapped into one, a parallel universe exploration like no other. It’ll have you on the edge of your seat. So, so good.
2. After The Fire by Will Hill
It was a very close call between After The Fire and Everything Everything for the number one spot, I’d probably say I enjoyed them both equally, but they’re very different to one another. If you’ve seen Keep Sweet and Obey on Netflix, After The Fire will feel quite familiar. A group of children and teenagers escape a terrifying cult and we learn their stories as they relive them during therapy.
1. Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon
I loved this book. It’s an easy read but that’s not to say its subject is light. It’s deep and thought provoking and twisty, about a girl called Maddy with a condition that makes her, essentially, allergic to the world. She’s confined to her home and endures extreme measures to protect herself from death every single day. Then of course she meets a boy, albeit through the window, and this book is what follows.
If you want to see my previous top 10s, check them out in the list below: