Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.
It’s January! Honestly, if it weren’t winter this would probably be my favorite month of the year. It’s all new beginnings and starting over and we celebrate it with a wonderful party (hopefully). It’s also the month of my birthday, so that’s exciting as well. I’ve finally ended my Goodreads challenge–quite a large number of books higher than my goal had been–and as a result I’m going to increase my goal this year and hopefully overshoot it as well. But now that 2018 has come to an end, it’s time to really narrow down the best books of this year.
10. Briar and Rose and Jack by Katherine Coville
It wasn’t the story I expected. The pacing was far different from something I’d normally read and I certainly don’t usually put up with present tense in writing. And yet, I really enjoyed reading Briar and Rose and Jack. It was a clever mix of Jack and the Beanstalk and Sleeping Beauty in a way I never would have imagined on my own. The story took a long time to get through, I’ll say that, and it’s this piece that will be the hardest piece for most readers. I also don’t think it really fits a middle-grade audience, largely due to the language that just seems far too advanced for such ages. I was also really satisfied with the ending.
9. Happily by Chauncey Rodgers
This one just had one of the most fun “Cinderellas” that I’ve ever read. She was super quirky, wonderfully sassy, and had one of the best stories to tell that I never could have imagined, which is such a shame because this story was crazy impressive. It’s not the best story I’ve ever read, but it is a deeply enjoyable Cinderella retelling that has a number of fantastic twists which ultimately lead into a 100% new fairy-tale that I can guarantee you’ve never seen before in your entire life. If you haven’t read this one, there’s really no question that you’re missing out.
8. Tigerlilja by Erin Michelle Sky and Steven Brown
I had initially thought, do novellas count for this? But at the end of the day, I think I’d rather have an exceptionally well-written novella on this list than a novel that didn’t quite live up to the brilliance of a shorter story. And it’s for this reason that I’ve placed Tigerlilja on this list. Ironically, this is the second book for these authors that has managed to find a place here, which I frankly think is rather impressive. The prequel to its companion novel, The Wendy, Tigerlilja follows the origin story of Peter Pan and the introduction of a quite wonderful character. I can be pretty picky about the Peter Pan retellings that I end up liking, so it’s pretty amazing that two of them are on this list.
7. Queen Song by Victoria Aveyard
The second novella to have managed a spot on the best books of 2018 list, Queen Song was just majorly impressive to me in its darkness. I don’t often find stories like this that are well-written, deeply thought-provoking, and tragic in a way that just makes me fall in love with it. I greatly encourage everyone to read Queen Song even if they haven’t read Red Queen. Honestly, the first book in the series seriously pales in comparison and you ironically don’t even really need to read the first book to enjoy this one. You just need to know a little bit about the world…which, if I recall correctly, you get? Either way, this one’s definitely worth spending some of your time on.
6. A Day in the LIfe of Marlon Bundo by Marlon Bundo with Jill Twiss
I really just couldn’t not include Marlon Bundo on this list. I mean, it was an amazing book even without the fact that it was a giant snub to the disgusting man we have as a Vice President right now. That was just a bonus, really. But one of the best things about this book was the fact that it portrayed a beautiful relationship between two male bunnies and how democracy, when everyone is voting, can really improve the world. And at the end something even cuter happens and you definitely need to read the book. There’s also the added fact of the proceeds being donated to really amazing organizations which I think they’re still doing?
5. The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
I loved this story so much. It was super impressive in a number of ways and made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I don’t want to give too much away about this book, really, but I can promise you that it’s 100% worth reading and if you haven’t you’re definitely missing out. A story about a young dressmaker and a young prince who wishes to wear them, the social commentary that this amazing graphic novel brings into focus is a wonderful one that I can’t wait for more people to be exposed to.
4. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
If you don’t consider The Belles to be one of the best books of the year, I’m not sure you and I read the same book. The thing about the Belles that really makes it so amazing comes with all the underlying pieces that really bring about an intelligent commentary about a number of different issues from slavery to the beauty industry and even racism. And to have these all brought to light by such an intriguing and grabbing story is nothing short of amazing.
3. The Wendy by Erin Michelle Sky and Steven Brown
I’ve made no secret of my love for this book (and subsequently it as a series) over the past year since I found it. I hope I’ve done a decent job in bringing attention to this book as it was (and maybe still is) one of those unknown treasures within the world of YA that I truly believe deserves more attention. I really loved reading this novel, have loved reading the companion novella, and truly hope that others will have similar experiences with this book.
2. The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork
Nutcracker, Nutcracker, Nutcracker. Honestly, I just loved this one so much for how amazing of a retelling this was. I’d been on the lookout for a retelling of this story that really matched all that I needed from the number of different renditions that I’ve read over the years which all never quite reached the level of building so perfectly the emotions and pictures that I had merged together in my head until I found this one. I have far too much love for this book and while I can say that it’s likely that The Belles should be in this number one spot, the emotions brought about by this book really just sold it for me as the most wonderful book I’ve read all year. It made me really feel and hear the story in a way I’ve never experienced before. The whimsy that this story brings your emotions is reason enough to fall in love with it.
1. To Best the Boys by Mary Weber
This book was actually a last minute addition, finished just at the tail end of 2018 and a book so immensely wonderful that it blew every other book I’ve read this year completely out of the water. I had such a wonderful time reading this one and I was so impressed with the deep intricacies of the entire story that it ended up being my favorite book of the year. A multitude of social commentaries find a home in this novel in the best of ways. I loved each and every one of the characters whether it was for just how they were personality wise, what they added to the story, or simply the development they went through. This book surprised me in a great number of ways, but also in the final twist at the end which is something that doesn’t often happen for me after all these years spent reading so many books throughout the course of my entire life. It’s really nice to be surprised every once in a while and I’m so glad I found and requested To Best the Boys.
I’m honestly amazed that we’ve finally reached the end of 2018. It was a year of a lot of books, a lot of busy work, and taking on a crazy amount of responsibility from my puppy to promotions at work. And I’ve really managed to grow this blog in the process of it which has honestly felt so amazing. I’m looking forward to an even better year for 2019.