Thursday, December 20, 2018

Best Reads of 2018 - YA, J Fiction & The Best of the Rest!

As promised, I'm here with even more books from 2018 that I loved.

First off, I maintain a love of YA. There were three books I read this year that I especially adored and would highly recommend to y'all.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz was just a beautiful story of a relationship. It is so well-told, and to see how the connection between Aristotle and Dante evolved made this an incredible and wonderful read. 

Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson is a book that will break your heart. Claudia's friend Monday is missing, and no one seems to care. This book explores how broken systems fail the people who need them. It is an emotional and necessary read on an important issue.

Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke is the story of Jane who is expelled from high school and finds her way into the cast of a reality television show being made by an aspiring filmmaker at her local community college. I LOVE reality television, so I was all about this one as Jane navigated her actual reality and the experience of the show.

A genre I read more of then ever before was juvenile (aka kid's) fiction. I found some chapter books that were absolutely incredible. It reminded me of where my love of reading began, and I found these books are still great for a thirtysomething bibliophile.

The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern is first of all my favorite cover of the year. The story inside is even better as I adored Maggie as a character. As she writes her memoir, she brings so much humor and heart even in difficult circumstances. This is just one that made me smile. Also, Maggie totally reminded me of, well, me.

Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson has so many feels. When Ms. Bixby becomes sick and unable to teach, three of her students set out to let her know how special she is to them. This was such a beautiful tribute to the power of people, especially incredible teachers who go above and beyond. I will say that this one was emotional, but it's such a meaningful and powerful read.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate is a unique story in that it's told by a gorilla in a mall zoo. In his voice, you learn about his world - his animal friends, his human connections, and how he sees the world. This book is incredible. It's an ambitious premise, and it is done so, so very well.

Mac Undercover by Mac Barnett is just a fun read. It's the (allegedly true) story of a kid spy in the eighties. It's a great throwback read for kids today. It also does a good job of popping in some history and facts for its readers. This was just a fun graphic novel that I ended up loving way more than I expected.

Finally, I obvs couldn't name all the books from 2018 as my favorites. I wanted to spotlight just a few more quickly that I thought needed a bit more of a signal boost/endorsement from me.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is a beautifully told story of the tragedy of a dystopian future. It is mesmerizing which is a feat given its subject matter.

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman is another masterwork by the author. This dude just knows how to write characters and stories that make you feel all the feels.

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger is plain and simple just a well-written novel. This recommendation came to me via a stranger, and I'm so grateful it did as it's such a compelling story.

Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins is a wonderfully told story about self-love. It explores how this self-love is impacted by others, as well as how this can impact relationships. 

Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris is an exploration of the reasons we don't think we meditate or be mindful and how to overcome those barriers and excuses. It's a book that makes the practice more accessible and achievable.

Love, Rosie by Cecilia Ahern is just a wonderfully told story. It's all correspondence - letters, emails, and IMs, and it tells the story of Rosie and Alex through these mediums over the course of years. It's quirky, and I was so here for that.

I'll be back at the end of the year with an all-out summary of each and every book I read this year (and I'll continue sharing quartets of reviews if I can squeeze in a few more), but for now, I hope you'll get to reading many of these incredible books. Enjoy y'all!