So 2019 has been a really weird year reading wise. I read a lot of books, and enjoyed most of them, but the way I feel about reading has really changed drastically in these past six months or so. I just don’t feel the same inclination to read that I used to and I struggle a lot to connect with what I’m reading. I’m not sure if that is a product of the books I’m reading or if has something to do with me, but it’s something that I’m trying to figure out. With that being said, I read some really phenomenal books this year and I just wanted to talk a little bit about them.
1. The Start of You and Me by Emery Lord
This was such a strong contemporary. It had one of my favorite tropes where “the love interest was right under the mc’s nose this whole time” The chemistry was amazing. The friend group was wonderful. And there was some really beautiful hard hitting moments. It was the perfect mix of serious and fluffy, and I loved every second of it. The novel ended in a very satisfying manner, but I also read the sequel this year and while The Start of You and Me stands on its own, think that the Map From Here to There really elevated the overall narrative. Highly recommend both of them.
2. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
You know sometimes I think that I’ve read every possible iteration of a WW2 novel that’s possible and that nothing can shock me, and then books like The Nightingale go prove me horribly wrong. This was such a fascinating novel and I loved every second of it. It was beautiful and tragic and everything I could hope for in a historical fiction book. The characters were so incredibly complex and flawed and I loved seeing their development throughout the book. The ending broke me and had in tears which is really all you could ever ask for in a book.
3. This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills.
I read Foolish Hearts two year ago and fell head over heels with Mills’ characters, romance, and writing. I finally got around to reading her other books and I am in completely in love. She is a master at writing contemporaries. The way she balances the family, friend, and relationship dynamics is exquisite and I love how multi-faceted all of her books are. Out of the three I read this year, This Adventure Ends was definitely my favorite (though Small Town Hearts and First & Then are equally amazing). It had serious The Perks of Being a Wallflower vibes which made the love the book all the more. Sloane was such a relatable character and I just loved her so much. Emma Mills is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and I can’t wait to read her new book next year.
4. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I’m always scared to read books that are hyped in the way that The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Everyone on Twitter is obsessed with this book and I was really worried that I wasn’t going to feel the same way. Thankfully, this book not only met my expectations, but also exceeded them. This was such a beautiful historical fiction novel and Evelyn Hugo was such a believable character. She felt like so real. This book had me in tears multiple times and I just loved every single second of it.
5. The Wise and the Wicked by Rebecca Podos
Lately I’ve been having more and more trouble reading anything that has fantastical elements, but this book blew me away. It was such a beautiful and lyrical book that had me enthralled from start to finish. It was thematically interesting, the characters were really well developed and the love interest was incredibly swoon-worthy. All in all an amazing magical realism book.
6. The Mighty Heart of Sunny Ste James by Ashley Herring Blake
I’m really not a big fan of middle grade novels simply because I find it difficult to look past the juvenile writing and appreciate all the other elements. But this book broke me. It was so bittersweet and wonderful, and I would’ve loved to read a book like this when I was younger. The romance was so cute and adorable and there needs to be more middle grade books that feature LGBTQ characters. My favorite part was definitely the complex relationship she had with her mom and seeing it play out throughout the novel was absolutely heartbreaking. It was such a lovely book and I would recommend it to people of all ages.
7. Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Another twitter favorite that I was worried that I wasn’t going to like. But damn was this good. I don’t typically read New Adult books but I’m really glad that I made the exception for this one. The humour and banter of this book was impeccable and I’m so excited to see what Casey McQuiston writes next. The dynamic between Henry and Alex was on point and their chemistry was to die for. It was just such a fun read and one of those books that was a blast to read from start to finish.
8. Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale
If I had to pick a favourite it’d probably be Small Town Hearts. It’s such a beautifully atmospheric summer read that had me yearning. The main character, Babe, was iconic. The love interest was swoon-worthy. The setting was perfect and had me wishing it was a real town. It was everything that I could possibly ask for in a contemporary novel and more. I honestly haven’t heard many people talk about this one, which makes me sad because it’s such a great book. It deserves more hype and is the perfect read to make you forget the cold weather outside.
9. With The Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
I finally got around to reading both books by Elizabeth Acevedo and damn is she amazing. Her prose are lyrical and exquisite and had me hanging on to her every word. She captures the raw emotions and feelings of her characters so well. She’s phenomenal. I loved Poet X a lot as well, but this one had stellar food descriptions so I favour this one just a little more. She deserves all the accolades she has received and more. I can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeve next.
10. Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi
This is the sapphic enemies to lovers book of my dreams. It had everything I could possibly hope for in a book like this and I loved every single second of it. I absolutely adored seeing the two MCs go from hating each other to falling in love with each other. Enemies to lovers is always a guaranteed win for me and then add in a romance between two girls and you’ve just found my next favourite book. I also just want to revel in the glory that is the cover. I really hope 2020 is the year where we see more covers like these; the only thing better than a f/f book is a f/f book with an explicitly sapphic cover.
How was your 2019? What were your favorite books? Did you read any of the ones I mentioned? Let Me Know In The Comments Down Below!