So, yea. This is a little late. We’re two months into the new year and I’m finally just getting around to choosing my best books of 2018. I really didn’t even prepare for this, so while writing this post, I went through all the books I read last year to find my absolute favorites. I realized there were a few books that I rated 5 stars that I don’t think deserve that rating. Sometimes I feed a little too much into the hype, and end up rating a book higher than I would just because I know people are raving about it (don’t worry, I have now adjusted all of my ratings to reflect how I really feel.)
I also have an issue that if I’m in a reading slump I’m afraid I will under rate books just based on the fact that I don’t feel like reading them, not that they’re actually bad. But these ratings only reflect how I felt about a book while I experienced reading it (maybe someday I’ll revisit them and give them the 5 star rating everyone seems to think they deserve.)
Regardless, I’ve compiled some books below that I literally can’t stop thinking about even months after finishing them. They made me laugh, they made me cry, they made me act like a crazy person. If you haven’t read any of the books below, I HIGHLY recommend that you do. (and as soon as possible)
*warning* I drank a lot of caffeine before writing this, so I may seem a little enthusiastic
I was sitting in my bed with the flu on New Year’s Eve when I realized I has not yet completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge like I thought I had. Somehow I had recorded reading a book twice when I had actually only read it once. I was distraught. With mere hours left of the year, I had only 149/150 books read?! I could not live with that. Luckily, I realized I had Check, Please sitting on my shelf. I heard some amazing things about it, but never got around reading it because, hockey. I wasn’t that excited to read it despite literally everyone online raving about it. Oh My God. I can still remember how much I was freaking out while reading this book. It was magical! I was laughing, I was crying, my heart was hurting. Ngozi makes you care for characters like few authors can. The friendships give you that feeling when you see a baby or a puppy and you just want to crush it because it’s so cute. I WANT TO CRUSH THIS BOOK! It’s so freaking cute and fuzzy.
Must read if you like: m/m romance, college setting, baking, hockey, cute af friendships
This is a book I will reread multiple times over the course of my life. There’s just something about Beck Chamber’s writing that gets. me. good. She somehow uses multiple alien species, cultures, genders in a made up universe to speak about our world?? And she does it without sounding preachy or annoying. I literally have no idea how she does it. She’s a freaking genius. Even if you aren’t a fan of science fiction, I think literally everyone in the world could benefit from reading her books. They’re about cultural sensitivity, exploring new worlds, friendships, love and the mundane parts of working on a spaceship. I’m doing a terrible job of selling this book. Just please read it. It will be worth it.
Must read if you like: science fiction, complex relationships, character-driven stories, space
This is the only graphic novel I can think of that has made me cry while drinking a matcha latte in public. It’s probably the most simple, straight forward book I’ve ever read, but it is amazing. I really don’t understand how this book touched me quite as powerfully as it did, but I’m not mad about it. It’s heartbreaking while also being reassuring and kind. Yet another book involving aliens that I believe everyone must read at least once in their lives.
Must read if you like: graphic novels, aliens, cuteness, just read it
This book is about Leigh, a girl who travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents after her mother, who she now see in the form of a bird, dies by suicide. It’s heartbreaking an so so emotional. This is not even close to a light read, so please be aware that is contains mentions of suicide, depression, and the death of a parent. This was hard to read, but a million times worth it. The writing is lyrical and truly pulls you into the story. If you believe you can handle the heavy content, I 100% recommend that you give this story a try
Must read if you like: magical realism, Taiwanese American mc, art, creative and beautiful writing
I’d be surprised if you hadn’t already seen this book on a million and one other favorite lists of 2018. This book blew up in the book community, and for good reason. The writing is so smart, and the story is entirely captivating. I’m not the biggest fan of historical fiction, but this book told Evelyn Hugo’s story so expertly that it immediately draws you in and won’t let go.
Must read if you like: historical fiction, old hollywood, f/f romance, juicy secrets!
This book unexpectedly had my sobbing my eyes out without the slightest warning. I heard Booksandlala talk about it in a wrap up or maybe a haul, and when I saw it on Book Outlet I thought I would give it a try. It freaking broke me! The writing is so beautiful and complicated and everything I love in a book. I’m not going to lie, this book is confusing. It will have you wondering what the hell you are reading up until the very last chapter. Nothing makes sense and that is the beauty of it. This is my favorite type of book, and I’m so lucky i decided to buy it last year on a whim because I probably never would have read it otherwise.
Must read if you like: speculative fiction, folktales, impossible love stories
Vengeful | V.E. Schwab ★★★★★
This book man. This book is genius. The writing, the timeline, the pacing. Everything is so expertly placed. The characters are so complex and well developed. They are far from perfect and that’s what makes them so engaging and captivating. Marcella in particular stole the show in this book. I never realized how badly I needed a strong female villain ready to burn down the whole world just to get her revenge. I absolutely loved it. I can remember frantically reading this on the subway trying to get every bit of story in my brain before I had to get off. 10/10 would recommend.
Must read if you like: villains, super powers, complex characters, intricate plots
I’m sorry, but I’ve decided to include all three books as one for the purpose of this list. This series snuck up on me so hard. I legitimately don’t understand why everyone isn’t screaming about this series. It’s probably one of my all-time favorite series I’ve ever read. I’ve never been so mobile while reading a book (??) Like, the plot twists in this series had me literally reeling. I was flailing my arms like a crazy person because I couldn’t wrap my head around what Sabaa was doing to me (her characters.) They’re so freaking devious! I’m probably going to cry when the last book comes out because I need to read it so bad, but also don’t want this story to end.
Must read if you like: rebel spies, magical world building, so many SECRETS
I waited. A whole freaking year after reading Illuminae to read this freaking book. WHY! Ugh This series is good. It’s some of the most creative storytelling I’ve read in a long while. Each book is it’s own story, but they all fit so nicely together in the larger picture. WOW! I’m so impressed. The characters are so snarky and mean, but I’m freaking here for it. They are all problematic in their own way, but like I love it? I’m getting tense just thinking about how enjoyable this read was. I realize when I really like a book, I act like David After Dentist and get SO TENSE and hyped. Maybe there is something wrong with me. Or maybe every book should aspire to invoke that sort of reaction from its readers.
Must read if you like: creative storytelling, stories set in space, fighting, AI
This is another freaking book that I picked up from the library having not a clue what I was getting myself into. I’m what you would call a mystery lover. I do not love mystery books, usually, because they never live up to my expectations. Plot twists, spot them from a mile away. Killers, so obvious. Detectives, always stupid af. This book, however, blew me away. It might be due to the fact that I had little to zero expectations for it, but I think I would have loved it just the same. It’s smart, it’s just a little spooky, and it’s a mystery for the modern age.
Must read if you like: dual timelines, cold cases, Hercule Poirot, boarding schools