I’m sure no one is surprised by this, based on my reading, but 7/10 of my Top 10 for this year are some kind of fantasy, and of the 3 leftover, 2 are nonfiction, so that doesn’t really leave a whole lot of room to discuss my favorite contemporary reads of the year. Because of that, we’re going to take a quick second to do so because of the 167 books I’ve read (so far) this year, 15 of them were contemporaries, and that deserves a little notice!
As always, a few rules:
- It doesn’t have to be published in 2019, just read in 2019.
- Rereads don’t count, and only one book per author.
- Only one book per series, as well!
They’re arranged alphabetically, and all of these were five star reviews for me. Each will contain a Goodreads link so you can read the summaries if you’re intrigued on the why they made this list, and then I’m going to try to hook you with one sentence. There was also the potential for a repeat with my Top 10 of this year, so if it looks like a book is glaringly missing, that’s why.
What: The Weight of Stars by K. Ancrum
Why: After nearly dying over The Wicker King last year, I was fully prepared to die over this, as well, and it didn’t disappoint. Not only did I flail immensely when we got a look at future August & Jack, but I absolutely adored the new MCs in this world. Watching Ryann & Alexandria fall in love over space is basically everything I’ve ever wanted in the world, and Ancrum is a spectacular writer on top. This was equal parts dark and light, and I loved every single second of it.
Hook: When Ryann is the accidental cause of Alexandria falling off a roof, she devotes herself to helping Alexandria continue to collect radio signals from space, though she has no idea the secret Alexandria is keeping when she stares up at space.
What: Permanent Record by Mary HK Choi
When: This book hurt me, and I’m still not quite over it. I actually had to put it down at one point because it was stressing me out so much with its discussion of money and debt, but I guess that’s a sign of a really well written novel! Choi killed me with Emergency Contact, and she’s right on track to keep doing so in the future. It wasn’t even really the characters or their story, either, that made this book stand out so much, but Choi’s fantastic writing. I think I’ve said this before, but it shows that she’s a Deadpool writer, and that’s the highest of compliments.
Hook: In the most unlikely turn of events, a celebrity walks into a corner store and something like love unfolds.
What: In a Perfect World by Trish Doller
Why: This is such a sweet little book. I never thought to want something like this, but when I finished it, I felt such a sense of satisfaction and yes. It was such a good discussion on different cultures coming together, and how self-centered most Americans are when it comes to understanding other people. It was also a great discussion on female empowerment in different cultures, and that hit home in a lot of ways. The romance in this is honestly second to everything else for me, but it still made me gush and yell hopelessly.
Hook: When Caroline finds out she’ll not only be spending her summer in Egypt, but her senior year of high school, she’s anything but excited.
What: Heartstopper, Vol 1 by Alice Oseman
Why: Again, this is my if I had to pick one book, it would be this book! This just about destroyed me in every possible way. I laughed, I cried, I flailed, I flung myself on the floor in misery and then immediately went to preorder the next book. I read a lot of this on Tumblr without realizing there were books, so I have yet to read the second physical volume, but damn damn damn. This is so cute! That’s really the best way to describe it. My face hurt from smiling so much, and every time I think of it, I just about die inside all over again.
Hook: A soft, awkward boy has a mega crush on a tall, athletic boy, and reciprocated feelings are the last thing he expects to happen.
What: Frankie by Shivaun Plozza
Why: This book took me by such surprise because I went into it expecting a romance (which, fair, it’s there a little), and I’m not really sure why, but it’s really about family and survival, and it’s so damn good. Plozza’s characters are excellent, and I need to read everything she’s written so that I can just fall in love with every single person she tries to hurt. The level of relatable in this, even when I’ve done literally none of the things Frankie has, was astounding, and I found myself nodding along a lot. I love the different relationships Frankie tries, and sometimes fails, to build, almost as much as I love watching her try to piece together who the heck she is.
Hook: Frankie Vega hates school, hates her life, and is prepared to hate the random kid that pops into her life calling himself her half-brother, but hate is a hard thing to hold onto.