I’ve been more than a little obsessed with reading every top books of the year list I’ve been able to find online these last few weeks. Sometimes I think I might like reading about and finding amazing sounding books more than I like actually reading. You can never be disappointed in a book if you’re only hearing about how great it is! But don’t worry – reading will NEVER not be a part of my daily life. 🙂 It’s just terribly exciting to know how many amazing books are out there waiting for me to discover!
This year’s list of favorites is another eclectic mix of genres and writing styles. YA continues to be at the top of my list because I often find it delightful and tingly, without all of the hardship and realism that comes with adulting. I’m also discovering how much I enjoy memoirs. Basically, I fall in love with any book that completely manipulates my emotions to the extreme. I love books that make me cry and books that make me laugh out loud. I crave books that I can’t put down and yet want to read as slowly as possible to savor every delicious word. I don’t read a ton of literary fiction, so my top book list looks a lot different than most of the more official lists out there. But I’m confident that just about any one of these books would be loved and adored by most. So check them out!
180 Seconds by Jessica Park
This list isn’t in any particular order, but I will say that this was my all time favorite of the year. Perhaps favorite of all time? It made me cry over and over again. For beautiful and tender and joyous reasons! It’s the kind of book that will restore your faith in mankind because it is just so GOOD. Read it.
The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner
This is an extremely powerful memoir that you’ll have a hard time believing is actually true. It reads like a novel and is completely fascinating. You’ll follow the childhood of Ruth and her family as they struggle heavily in a Mormon polygamist colony in Mexico. It’s heartbreaking yet uplifting. It’s an amazing book that I will never forget.
Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
This book almost wrecked me. It followed my favorite trope of characters writing letters to each other while not knowing who the other person is in real life. But it’s deep. And so heavy. Which maybe doesn’t appeal to a lot of people! It’s probably not what I’d want to hear in a recommendation. But it’s also beautiful and lovely. You can read my whole review on it here.
Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
So give me any book where the main characters fall for each other both through anonymous letter/email writing and in person and I’m probably going to adore it. I liked this one because Bailey was actively trying to slueth out her mystery man, going so far as to move across country to where he lived, without telling him. It was a lighter read, but had great character development that left me truly rooting for the best of each person.
The Secret Wife by Gill Paul
Historical fiction is not my favorite. Fiction is that spans multiple generations is also something I actively avoid when picking out a book. But this one? It has both and was incredibly captivating. It’s a story about the Romanov family during the war and a young soldier named Dmitri who was immensely in love with the daughter Tatiana. You follow Dmitri, as well as his great-granddaughter who is trying to piece together his secrets with very few clues to go on. It was a great read.
Salt to the Sea by Ruth Sepetys
Last year Sepetys’ book Between Shades of Gray was also one of my top reads. Both explore things that happened during WWII that I was completely unaware of and never heard about in a single history lesson. This is about a ragtag group of people who walk across Germany trying to catch their freedom on a boat across the Baltic Sea. It’s harrowing and heavy, but will stay with you for a long time.
The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld
I don’t read many mysteries, but when I do they always surprise me. This was a really great one about a woman who is known for finding missing children. Chapters alternate between her and the eight year old girl she is looking for, who has been lost for three years. It’s surprisingly imaginative and hopeful despite the dreary circumstances that bring them together. Truly a fantastic book. Read my full review here.
Without Merit by Colleen Hoover
Colleen Hoover for the win! Again! Her books are all my favorites. This one strayed from her typical romance a bit and revolved more around a dysfunctional hodgepodge mix of a family. The characters were highly flawed, but incredibly relatable. Her books always give me all the feels and this was one of the best. Full review here.
Making Faces by Amy Harmon
The theme of this book is about how much stock you put into your own physical beauty (or lack of) and how it shapes you as an individual. It’s a beautiful story about friendship, love, and loss. The characters were all amazing. If you can get past the third person point of view which was a little odd, this book is amazing.
My New Crush Gave to Me by Shani Petroff
This is my third time writing about this in the last week or two, but it was truly one of my favorites of the year. It was just so incredibly delightful! It was also exciting that I never would have found it if I weren’t wandering around Barnes and Noble one night. My window shopping trips through bookstores can sometimes result in a treasure! I mean, this isn’t the great American novel by any means. But it was a really fun and laughter filled Christmas book that I look forward to reading again next year!
And that’s my list! I guess I actually kept it to my top ten! What have been your favorites this year??