Thank goodness 2018 is over! I’m ready to accept all the greatness that 2019 has to offer and part of that greatness is reading as many books as possible! But before I can do that, I want look back on all the wonderful books I read in 2018. I was able to read 43 books in 2018, so this list is the top of the class. Not all of these books were published in 2018, but they came into my life in 2018. These books were the ones that made me laugh, cry, swoon, understand myself and others more, made me think, hope, and want to fight for a better world. These books stayed with me long after I finished reading them and those are the best kinds of books. Without further ado, here is my list of the top 10 YA books I read in 2018*.
*Not in any particular order
1. The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand
First and foremost, I love this cover. So simple, yet stunning. I love it. I got this book for Christmas in 2017 and started reading it ASAP and ending up finishing shortly after 2018 began, making it the first book I finished in 2018. The Afterlife of Holly Chase, follows Holly Chase and her life as a spirit of Christmas and her job that produces real life A Christmas Carol ghost scenes for those who need to turn their lives around and stop being Scrooges. Holly was a Scrooge herself, but was unable to turn her life around and therefore died and began trying to help others. She meets a boy who needs saving and develops a huge crush on him. Holly must either choose this boy or do what is right and help save his life by helping him become a better person. A Christmas Carol is my favorite Christmas tale ever, so I adored this book. Perfect for reading around the holidays, I highly recommend it.
2. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
This book is near and dear to me. I have anxiety with OCD tendencies and reading this book was one of the first times I felt myself represented in a book and represented really well. The main character Ava, deals with anxiety and OCD and she’s trying so hard to be a good friend, a good daughter, a good student, but it can be hard with anxiety and OCD. Ava and her friend Daisy, get swept up in trying to figure out the mystery of the millionaire neighbor, that Ava gets lost in the struggles of her own mental health with the obsessive thoughts and actions that come with anxiety and OCD. Thank you John Green, for writing a character who struggles with mental health, for showing the good and bad and the highs and lows and the importance of taking care of yourself and your mental health. If you have someone in your life who struggles with anxiety or OCD, I highly recommend you read this book. It can help you understand them just a little bit more.
3. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
This book has been out for years, but I just read it in 2018, I know, I’m late to the party. But oh my god, this book is so wonderful. Simon struggles with his sexuality and when and if he should come out when a school bully threatens to out him if Simon doesn’t get the bully a date with his friend. Chaos ensues as Simon tries to find first love and deal with someone trying to out him before he’s ready. A beautiful and often funny tale of coming out, why it’s important for someone to define their own terms of coming out, but also love and friendship. I am here for more diversity in books, and Becky Albertalli delivered! Yes, to more LGBTQIA main characters! Yes, to more people of color! Yes, to more unique and important stories! I want more diversity in YA in 2019!
4. Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare
Let’s get one thing clear, I love Cassandra Clare. Like a whole lot. I had stopped reading for fun for awhile because college literature classes are no joke and class related reading took up a lot of my time. But the summer of my sophomore year in college, The Mortal Instruments series was recommended to me and I fell in love with the characters, the world, and the writing. Cassandra Clare could write a grocery list and I would devour it. In 2018, I read Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy and it did not let me down. It follows Simon, a main character from The Mortal Instruments series, as he joins the Shadowhunter Academy to train, learn, and prepare for his ascension to become a Shadowhunter. Simon is hilarious and I highly enjoyed reading of his tales, triumphs, and a few tribulations. I also just finished reading The Lord of Shadows and loved it and just started reading Queen of Air and Darkness and I can’t seem to read it fast enough. Cassandra is releasing 3 books in 2019 and I can hardly wait!
5. Warcross by Marie Lu
I finished this book in 3 sittings, that’s how good this book is. Warcross is an extremely popular online virtual reality game. The story follows Emika, who is struggling to make ends meet after loosing her father. Emika works as a bounty hunter, catching Warcross players who’ve betted on the game illegally. The Warcross Championships begin and Emika is in a tight spot for cash and decides to hack into the championships to steal a highly coveted item to sell for money. This hack would change her life. If you love a fast paced story and video games, you’ll love this book. And bonus, the second and final book in the series is out so you can binge them back to back!
6. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Oh, buddy, Dread Nation is amazing. This story follows Jane, a young black girl in the middle of Civil War Era America. But the soldiers aren’t fighting anymore because the dead have started to rise. Jane is trained to kill the zombies, or shamblers as they are called in the book, swiftly and quickly. All Jane wants to do is get back home to her mother. But with the dead rising frequently and town officials hell bent on getting Jane out of their town, Jane goes on a journey where she travels across the country fighting shamblers, protecting her friends, and kicking all the ass. Jane is a fierce, sassy, and strong main character. An actual queen and icon. The book is so very well written, it will have you begging for more long after you’ve read the last page.
7. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Fair warning, this one made me cry, like ugly cry. This story follows two boys, Rufus and Mateo, who have received the Death-Cast call that they are going to die today. They don’t know how or when, but it’ll be today. They find each through an app and together they try to make their last day a good one. These boys are kind and scared and hopeful and just want to leave the world a better place than how they found it. This story is unique and thought provoking. Also, diversity alert! We have characters who are people of color and some LGBTQIA representation! I love it, I’m here for it, we stan diverse literature! Please check out this book if you’re in the mood for a diverse contemporary story that is sure to bring you joy and also make you cry.
8. Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne
It’s Jane Eyre, but in space! I got this book at Y’allFest 2017 and I was so pumped! It took me forever to finally pick it up and read, but when I did, this book did not disappoint. This story follows Stella, a space ship engineer who also teaches the students on the ship and how she takes a new job on the Rochester private ship as a nanny and tutor to one child. When Stella boards the ship, she quickly becomes fascinated by the young ship captain, Hugo Fairfax. But not is all as it seems on the Rochester. Things are going bump in the night and Hugo isn’t telling the whole truth about things. Will Stella stay and figure the mystery out or will she run back to comfort and security? A wonderful retelling of Jane Eyre that actually made me swoon at some points.
9. Sadie by Courtney Summers
I loved this book, but be warned there are mentions of sexual abuse and physical assault. This book is told in interchanging chapters of Sadie’s point of view and a podcast about Sadie. With these chapters, we’re trying to figure out two things, who murdered Sadie’s little sister and where did Sadie go. Sadie loved her little sister so much and she practically raised her. When her sister is murdered, Sadie is crushed and broken, but she thinks she knows who killed her sister and she’s out for revenge. Sadie leaves the only home she’s ever known to go out and find her sister’s killer, but where is Sadie now? Is she still out there? The story is so powerful and strong and unique with the chapters about the podcast about Sadie. It really is an amazing and well written story, but it is not for everyone. The subject matter is really triggering and dark. Check it out if you can.
10. You Owe Me a Murder by Eileen Cook
Last, but not least is You Owe Me A Murder. This book comes out in March of 2019, but I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC at Y’allFest. I first heard about this book from a podcast I listen to, My Favorite Murder (which you should definitely check out if you like creepy murder stories and super funny and smart ladies) so I was really pumped that I was able to get a copy. In this book, Kim has just been royally dumped and is now about to go on an international class trip with said ex-boyfriend when she meets Nicki. Nicki listens to Kim and sympathizes with her about her recent break up. Almost as a joke, Nicki tells Kim she’ll kill her ex-boyfriend if she’ll kill Nicki’s drunk mom. Kim laughs and brushes it off, but a few days into her trip, her ex-boyfriend winds up dead and now Nicki is coming around to collect on Kim’s end of the deal. This book was really good and so interesting. Definitely recommend if you want a fast paced thriller!
And that’s my list! Have you read any of these books? What were your favorite books that you read in 2018? Let me know in the comments below! Thank you for reading!
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