Owing to my career choice I read many more books than your average Joe. Most of them are YA because I write YA, which figures. As I read so much, though, I like to make a little list of my favourites to keep track. Thus, in no particular order, here are my best books of 2018.
- The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue/ The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, by Mackenzi Lee.
I’ve mentioned Gent’s Guide many times this year and tried to recommend it to everyone. Not only did it contain my exact brand of humour, a diverse love story, the best anti-hero, beautifully handled heavy topics, and a tropey adventure around Europe (complete with pirates), I read it at the exact time in my life when I needed it. That sounds cheesy as all heck, but I listened to Gent’s Guide on Audio whilst working sorting resources in a cupboard for 12 weeks. Any book that makes you laugh as you sit in a dark cupboard for hours deserves a place on a favourites list. It was also the second book I read after writing The Pairing Fire and is one of my query comp titles (two agents requested just because of my comp titles so…it’s good stuff!).
- This Monstrous Thing, by Mackenzi Lee.
Sticking with the Mackenzi Lee theme here. I’ve never been a huge fan of steampunk, and had at the time never read Frankenstein, but this book was so different, so underrated, and the characterisation was great. I find myself thinking about random parts of this book every now and again so knew I had to find a little spot for it on this list.
- Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli.
I know, I know, I was so late to the game with this one. It is the gay coming of age story everyone needs to read. The love story is cute AF, there’s a freaking adorable dog (which should make you want to read it straight away), and a whole plethora of Harry Potter jokes. What’s not to love? I’m a really slow reader but I read Simon in a day and enjoyed every moment.
- Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes, by Holly Bourne.
Mental health rep in YA? Yes please. The story follows a young girl in a new mental health centre with other young people suffering with mental illness. It’s a very voice driven book (which I love) and doesn’t sugar coat mental illness (which I also love). The teenagers seem realistic, as opposed to the cutesy teens some authors write in YA fiction, and is written by a fabulous UK author! Go read it.
- There Goes Sunday School, by Alexandra C. Eberhart.
Alexandra Eberhart’s books was so good. A grittier, own voices version of Simon vs, it follows a boy from a religious family trying to hide the fact he’s gay—until he’s found out by the pastor’s son, who is also gay, and all the conflict that undoubtedly follows. It was recommended to me by my bestie and cover designer and was another book I read in a day. (I tend to go into books recommended to me warily so for it to end up on my best of list is good going!). Super excited for his new release next year!
- The Hate You Give, by Angie Thomas.
I don’t think I really need to say much here as it’s already been said before by people more eloquent than I. It’s a good book though, okay?
- My Name is Leon, by Kit de Vaal.
Earlier this year Kit de Vaal funded my place to the Get a Job in Publishing conference and later, in August, I managed to meet her at the Edinburgh Book Festival. She is the nicest human around and her writing is stunning. My Name is Leon follows a young boy going through the care system and it is heart-wrenching in places, joyful in others, but fraught with emotion throughout. At the risk of uttering a cliché it is one of those books that really does stay with you after you turn the last page.
- Strange the Dreamer/ Muse of Nightmares, by Laini Taylor.
This series was so hyped up I put it off for AGES. I was terrified of being that one person who didn’t like it. Alas, this was not the case. I took Strange the Dreamer to Edinburgh with me and I read my way through that large tome surrounded by gothic architecture. The story is one I couldn’t compare to any other—it’s just so different—and I love an anti-hero. Could you tell? There’s a sensitive man who is still strong whilst never becoming violent or controlling or any of those toxic male traits seen too often in fiction, so many strong women, and beautiful world-building I shall forever be envious of. Don’t be afraid of the hype. Read it.
- Kingdom of Ash, by Sarah J. Maas.
It was after reading the first few Throne of Glass books, and watching an interview with SJM where she said to write what you want regardless of anyone else, that I started planning my own fantasy book (I always thought I wasn’t clever enough to write fantasy…). That little book of mine got me into Write Mentor and has had several full agent requests. Sooo…the final ToG instalment was always going to be on here. Aelin is as badass as ever, Chaol is still the nicest, and I can’t really say more without spoilers…
*If you want to read any of the books above please, where possible, support an independent bookstore. If you don’t have the money to purchase books use a library (as libraries still make sure authors get paid for their work!). Do not under any circumstances pirate books. For every book you pirate a fairy and two puppies die. Do you want that on your conscience?*