I’m so excited for today’s post! As the title says, I’ve asked around 18 book bloggers to share their fav reads from 2018. At first, I tried to limit it to one 2018 new release. Ahem, that’s a hard request.
So, instead of just one, some bloggers are sharing their fav 2018 release AND their fav backlisted title! Eeekk, so many GREAT book recs! I’ve read alot of these titles, but I’m so excited for book rec and favs, especially books that I haven’t read this year! I’ve also linked to the bloggers socials and webpages, so check them out!
Briana @ Bri the Bookworm
Reading this book was such a whimsical and extraordinary experience. After loving Strange the Dreamer, I had my doubts that the sequel would be just as incredible, but this book ended up exceeding it’s predecessor in so many ways. From Laini Taylor’s extraordinary writing, to the masterful world building, to all the character development: I was in complete awe from page one. This book was a masterpiece and I honestly wish I could relive it.
I don’t say this lightly, but this book significantly changed my life. It’s a poignant story about grief and loss, but it’s also an exploration on mental illness. Reading this had an enormous impact on my personal life; it actually encouraged me to start addressing my own mental health issues this year. I’m extremely thankful for this book because of how much it inspired me and I always hope it has that same effect on others. This was definitely an instant all time favorite.
Ezell’s brilliant debut, Nothing Left To Burn, blew me away. This book is a compelling, fascinating story you’ll want to read in one sitting.
Taking place in the span of 24 hours, as fires are raging in the main character’s neighborhood, Nothing Left To Burn is filled with tension, switching between past and present as we discover what happened, what will happen next, turning the pages in anticipation. It is reading itself like a puzzle you have to put together, filled with incredible, fleshed-out, flawed and real characters I adored. It’s gripping from page one to the very end of it all and deserves all of the hype.”
After reading and enjoying Alice Oseman’s sophomore novel, Radio Silence, I was SO excited to see that she was releasing another book in May of this year: I Was Born for This! IWBFT is such a genuine, emotional, and relatable book, and I honestly can’t express how much I enjoyed reading it.
It’s so casually diverse, and I absolutely adored it. Angel Rahimi, one of the main characters, is a hijabi Muslim teenager, who is questioning but may be on the aro/ace spectrum. The other MC, Jimmy Kaga-Ricci, is gay and trans, who struggles with anxiety and is biracial (half-white, half-Indian). There was also so much diversity among the side characters! One of my favorite side characters was Bliss Lai, who is bisexual, biracial (Chinese and white), and atheist, which was honestly amazing to see!! I saw so much of myself in her. IWBFT is a book about fandom, boybands, and online friendships, and it takes an important look at the good (and bad) sides of all three. This is truly a millennial/Gen Z book (and reminds me of Emma Mills’ Foolish Hearts, which is also an incredible book), and I adore it so much. Thank you so much, Alice Oseman, for writing such a diverse and beautiful novel that made me feel so represented and understood!!
“But despite everything in the world being terrible, we choose to stand by The Ark. We choose hope, light, joy, friendships, faith, even when our lives aren’t perfect, or exciting, or fun, or special…In an otherwise mediocre existence, we choose to feel passion.”
I picked up The Exact Opposite of Okay on a whim. I’m still not sure how it ended up on my kindle – probably on one of my random buying sprees. The cover was pretty and I reluctantly opened it up when I felt a slump coming along. Maybe a random book I’d never heard of would pull me out of the aforementioned slump? It did, only to dump me into another one.
The Exact Opposite of Okay is a beautifully crafted story that features so much sex positivity. The main character is someone who enjoys sex and feels no shame for it. However, when conversations and photos leaks of her the whole world seems to think they can shame her. While leaving the boys completely unscathed.
There are so many important conversations about sexism throughout and I felt that it just smashed it out of the park. There are supportive female friendships and a touch of romance sprinkled in that doesn’t take over the story. This book deserves more hype because Lauren Steven is a genius.
I had tried to read The Diviners by Libba Bray previously and I just couldn’t get into it. Until I picked it up via audiobook. Oh. My. God. I have never walked my dog so far in my life trying to listen to as much as I can of a book. The audiobooks of this series set the mood so well. They have such a atmosphere to them that it just pulls you the heck in.
The paranormal setting within a diverse cast set in the 1920’s is so incredibly well written. The ships in this book had me squealing and just the fact that I actually got in to a paranormal book which is so rare. I can’t help but rave about this series and anxiously join the wait with everyone else for book four!
There is so many fantastic relationships throughout as well and the fact there are numerous POV’s mean you never get bored – nor does it get confusing! I desperately need to read more by Libba Bray.
It was one of the most unique and original fantasy book I’d read this year. I never read a book that has very great writing like this one before and glad that I picked it up.
I love that the book mostly focused on a brother-sister relationship and how family is so important and it played a huge part in the storyline with the history of gods and goddesses being thrown into the mix. There’s something special about this book that makes it different than the other books. This book really taught me a lot of important lessons, and the main girl in the book is so relatable.
This was the most surprising old book I’d read this year. I never read any historical romance books before, and I tried this one because I saw it was free on iBooks. And it was completely unexpected. I enjoyed the sweet romance between the two main characters, and also these two characters are so very different from most characters I knew. It had some plot twists which makes it even more interesting.
I will never ever get enough of this cute romantic story of a duke and a lost young woman. Thanks to this book, now I’m looking for more historical romance books to add to my list.
Ember in the ashes is one of my favourite series of the year. I love fantasy books mixed with suspense elements and this one was just the perfect one. It was so well written and such amazing characters that I always recommend this book to everyone.
I read all the three books back to back not only because it was so good but also because it was highly addictive. I can’t wait for the fourth book next year!!
I love this book. I adore this book. Ngan gave us a queer love story without the tired tropes usually associated with f/f romance. The love between Lei, the main character, and Wren happens so naturally, so beautifully, I fell in love with Wren along with Lei. The book has beautifully detailed and fleshed out characters, even those we didn’t get to see very often.
The whole setting of the book is beautiful as well. The Asian setting isn’t done a lot in fantasy, but it definitely works. Ngan painted such vivid pictures of Lei experiencing her surroundings I could almost see and smell Ikhara myself. The pacing was solid and there was always something going on.
The book raises awareness of a lot of modern issues as well, such as slavery, abuse and rape. Lei most certainly does not have an easy life, as most women do, and I love the fact that the book does not shy away from harsh topics.
For a while, I found myself curious about Victoria Schwab. A lot of readers/bloggers seemed to be really obsessed with the writer; so when I saw the plot of City by Ghosts, I knew it was the perfect time to dive in. Let me tell ya, it did not let me down.
City of Ghosts follows Cassidy Blake and her parents to Edinburgh, Scotland as they film an episode of their new ghost-hunting show, The Inspectres. Unlike her parents, Cass can actually see ghosts, and her best friend Jacob, happens to be one. City of Ghosts is a perfect mix of a well-told story, interesting & developed characters, and an amazing creepy atmosphere. As this story is aimed at middle-graders, I feel it’s not only a perfect fit for those who love horror/anything spooky (like me!), but also for those who want a ghoulish read without the over-the-top horror that can be found in books aimed towards adults.
I’ve read The Gentleman’s Guide twice this year & yet, I still want to read it one more time before the year ends. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a historical fiction novel that’s filled with escapades, a precious romance, and pirates.
I absolutely fell in love with this entire cast, and especially with Monty’s shenanigans. Plus, the character development that occurs in this novel is better than I’ve read in most books. There’s also bisexual representation, which is very important to me!
Honestly, this book will be one that I recommend to anyone, anytime they ask for a book to read (& even when they don’t ask)
It would be simple to lump this book in with the fairytale retelling trend that is currently
going on, but this book is special. In one fell swoop, Alexandra Christo reclaims sirens as the dangerous creatures they are, flourishes her rich world building with multiple kingdoms, sprinkles in various tributes to traditional mythology, and gives us an independent female protagonist to love and fear.
The maturity of the characters and Christo’s beautifully wicked
prose made this a story that I couldn’t put down. Unlike the original tale, Princess Lira isn’t
looking to save a prince, she’s looking to save herself.
I read this book earlier this year and it blew me away. This was my first read by Holly
Black, and it quickly became a favorite. What I loved the most about this book is that all
the characters or at least most of them have done terrible and cruel things, and yet, they
aren’t given excuses for doing them. Holly Black created a world that I didn’t realize I’d
be so attached to. The ending was a shock and I definitely did not see it coming.
Trigger Warning: Bullying and abuse.
This was the strangest and yet most beautiful book I think I’ve ever read. The world of
strange the dreamer is absolutely unique. Laini Taylor’s writing was so lyrical. It was so lush and beautifully written and It just made me fall in love with the book more and more. Everything was so detailed and vivid and rich, and exactly what everyone’s imagination needs. Laini just built the most complex and breathtaking world. It was beautiful and freighting all at the same time. This book quickly became a favorite, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop recommending it.
Trigger Warning: Sexual violence isn’t detailed but it is mentioned a few times and
My favorite book this year is The Astonishing Color of After by Emily XR Pan. I love how this book brings so much awareness about mental health and depression within Asian culture.
Also, as a Taiwanese American myself, my heart was so full at each description about Taiwan and its culture too. The representation was wonderfully done, and I think this book touches so many important topics and addresses them in a beautiful way. The writing is also phenomenal and colorful.
So, I’ve thought long and hard about this and it wasn’t easy to pick a book that I really liked and what book I didn’t like. Even though it was supposed to be a 2018 book, sadly I didn’t find one book of 2018 that I liked. But, I did finally pick up the first book of Harry Potter. (Thanks to my secret Santa).
Even though I listened to the audiobook during an eight-hour drive, I finally got to sit down and read it for myself. By far, this is my favorite book of 2018 even though I’m super late on the Harry Potter books.
The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic is my absolute favorite series because it was the first I’ve ever read that I physically couldn’t put down. I think I finished the entire thing in one weekend?????? Then, as soon as I finished I automatically reread the entire thing.
I was so obsessed with Neil Josten’s tragic backstory, his trash found family, and his slow burn gay romance with Andrew Minyard. It was also my first book with demisexual rep!!! Being demi myself, and NEVER seeing that represented in a book, I was //overjoyed// and ready to protect Neil at all costs.
Darius The Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram is my favorite title published in 2018 because Darius is SO HIGHLY RELATABLE. I love his Star Trek obsession, the depression rep, and how much he adores tea. The story also features friendship, a beautiful platonic bond that cost me endless tears.
It’s such an underrated book, but I would recommend to everyone! Especially if you’re interested in learning about Persian culture; I personally learned so much!
This book slayed me in the best of ways: it was my biggest surprise and the first book that I ever upgraded to physical from a Kindle copy! I was captivated from the first sentence to the last, deeply invested in the characters, their plight, and super interested in the world that Foody crafted.
Magic, sleight of hand, and betrayal. Plus the best girl gang squad is forming and I am all for strong female characters that are also soft. Ugh, I love this book so much and want to re-read it but my soul cannot handle it until the sequel King of Fools is released.
This is another book that I picked up on a whim because it sounded interesting. Like Ace of Shades, I didn’t see much hype around it and was absolutely blown away! This was a buddy read with Taylor @ Nerd Narration and Becca @ Becca Leigh Anne, and all of us were essentially fangirling the entire time. It was my favorite reading experience and forged amazing new friendships… and inspired the formation of a buddy read squad!
But more about the book… this is science fiction at its finest. I loved this book with every ounce of my being and it set my soul ablaze, leaving me anxious to devour its pages but wanting to savor every word. AMAZING characters, engaging plot… this is a must read!
One of my favorite books of the year, or actually, my favorite book of the year, is Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake. It’s one of the most beautiful, poignant books I’ve read, and I adore it so much.
Not only is it a heart wrenching tale of falling and healing, of learning how to survive, of empowering both yourself and others, but it’s also achingly beautiful and so delicately written. (And it features an amazing f/gq romance that owns my entire heart!) I read it earlier this year, and it was the first book that made me cry in over a year. And just a few days later, I reread it, because it was so mind blowing that I couldn’t get it out of my head.
I truly think that this book isn’t talked about as much as it deserves to be, and I hope that everyone, especially those who need it, get the chance to read it.
(TWs: rape, sexual abuse/assault, pedophilia, abuse, depictions of grief; it’sall very heavy so please make sure you’re in the right mindset to read this!)
Another favorite book I’ve read this year is Radio Silence by Alice Oseman. I fell in love with Oseman’s writing voice with this book, and I just feel so deeply connected to her characters because of it. This book is about discovering who you are and what you want, and living your life the way you want to. It’s about friendships and fandom, and it’s somehow so subtly emotional.
It’s just about teenagers trying to live, and it’s that simplicity that makes it so relatable and meaningful, and I love it. Quite honestly, Radio Silence is a book I was put on this earth to read, because it feels like it was written about me yet also for me, and I truly, truly hope everyone gets to read this book, because it is absolutely a gift.
(TWs: parental abuse, implications of depression/suicidal thoughts, invasions of privacy on the internet)
I absolutely adored THE BRIGHTSIDERS. If I had to describe it in two words, it would be “queer magic.” The thing I loved the most about this book was how positive the queer rep was, and how joyful it made me feel to see my own sexuality represented in a book as good as this one.
I am also a total sucker for YA celebrity books, and this one fit the bill perfectly while also putting its own twists on the trope in a way that made it seem new. THE BRIGHTSIDERS made me feel so warm and fuzzy and hopeful and that is a feeling that immediately makes a book a favorite for me.
I’m not going to lie this post was so a ton of work. And I don’t recommend planning a post that takes a ton of formatting and planning during finals week, but oh well!
I survived despite near all-nighters and this post is finally published! Yay! But for all the many hours this post took, it was definitely worth it!
Very worth it, because so many GREAT BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS!
Also, good news, I’m ALMOST done with finals! And they’re going so well! Have I mentioned I only have one semester of college left????? This is so exciting!!!!!!!!!!
What are your book recs from your 2018 reading? Were any of your fav 2018 reads on this list? Do you tend to read more new books or backlist reads? Also, do you follow all of these amazing bloggers? because you totally should!