Hey everyone, it’s time to list the best books I’ve read this year! There were some really great ones and I hope you find something you like in these recommendations. I won’t be able to be blogging about YA books next year because of my Printz duties – eeeeeek! – but I’ll try to write more about library programming and adult books.
I hope to have a personal update posted soon.
The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry – You know I love a historical fiction about a supposed heretical Christian sect in 13th century Province? Don’t you? I guess I didn’t know I needed that in my life, but this is incredible. It treats the issues of Christian women mystics, the abuses of the Catholic church, and faith in general with such tact and skill.
The Reader by Traci Chee – A fantasy where reading is outlawed and has a sweet meta-narrative. I can’t wait to read the sequel.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee – Need an 18th century Continental gay road trip novel? Of course you do, read this.
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds – Jason Reynolds can do no wrong. Every book he writes is a winner. This one is a verse novel about a teen taking a long elevator ride trying to decide to whether or not to avenge his brother’s murder. Heartbreaking, real, incredible.
I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez – A great novel about not fitting in. Perfect for anyone who has ever felt way that. I have a feeling there’s a lot of people like that.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – If this doesn’t win the 2018 Printz I’ll scream. Incredible story about family, police brutality, friendship, and more. Everyone should read this.
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner – Another great one about feeling like you’re destined for better places, but don’t know how to get this. It will probably break your heart.
Best Adult Books
How to Read a Dress by Lydia Edwards – Utterly fascinating with beautiful pictures. Great for anyone interested in fashion even in the slightest.
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby – Some of the most hilarious writing about anxiety, staying inside, and falling in love.
The Stone Sky and the whole Broken Earth series by N.K Jemisin – This is a great conclusion to the series. If you’re not on board with N.K. Jemisin and you like fantasy and sci-fi, you’re seriously missing out.
The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Leznevich – A hard, sad book that mixes true crime journalism and memoir. Not for the faint of heart or those not willing to examine their feelings about the death penalty and the nature of evil.
H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald – You wouldn’t think a book about training a hawk and T.H. White would be so emotionally resonant but really is. Also, the author reads the audio book and it is very lovely.
Best Series – not necessarily my favorite on their own, but consistently great series
Giant Days by John Allison – This comic consistently makes me laugh out loud. The characters are such gems. Perfect for anyone who has friends.
The Expanse Books by James S. A. Corey – It’s always fun to see what scrapes Holden, Amos, Naomi and company are getting into. Every book is better with characters like the foul-mouthed UN ambassador Chrisjen Avasarala and huge marine and badass lady Bobbie Draper.
Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers – A deceptively simple and fun sci-fi series that ends up being more heart-felt and deep than it appears. If possible, I liked the sequel even more than the first one and can’t wait for book three.
Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jomny Sun – A cute, weird little book that would melt the coldest heart.
Spinning by Tillie Walden – A beautiful comic memoir about figure skating, friendship, and coming out.
Unstoppable Wasp by Jeremy Whitley – Nadiya is the cutest and it’s a shame this was cancelled. As they say, “Comics will break your heart.”
Clank! – I love this game. It’s a bit goofy but I like the card drafting aspect as well as the movement around the board. Lots of stuff going on, but super fun.
Century Golem – Cute golems and quick to learn gameplay = a sure hit for me.
Gloomhaven – I wasn’t sure I was going to like this at first because the box is very large and that’s intimidating. But it’s like a premade, RPG-light game that is easier to grasp and more fun than I anticipated.
Elevenses – Yes, it’s a game about having tea but somehow my friends and I have managed to turn it into something very obscene. I don’t know how, but it’s a delight.
Cat Lady – Cats! In a board game! What more do I need to say?
Other great things:
The Adventure Zone and other McElroy products – If you’re looking for a D&D podcast that is both hilarious and very emotional, check out the Adventure Zone. It’s so great. The McElroys seem like such good, good brothers if I ever find out they’re sexist or racist trash I’m going to be heartbroken.
Kesha’s Rainbow – Friends, this album is soooooooo good. It is legitimately good. Don’t discount it because you don’t like pop music, Kesha has pipes and the writing is top notch. Thanks to Renata for getting me to listen to this all the time!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Amazing! If you didn’t like it because you wanted it to be like the original series, then fine. But you gotta accept that a franchise is going to evolve… Anyway, I loved it. Rey is a badass, Luke was a real character with motivations and demons, Rose WAS THE GREATEST, Poe was still super hot, Finn was a delight, and I loved how a main message of the movie was to listen to women and people of color.