If I throw us all back to the very first day of 2018, I posted my resolutions for the year just as the hangover began to lift and that New Year buzz really start to sink in. I think I did pretty well to keep to my goals but would say I have room to improve on each of my five resolutions… particularly the bookish one. I set the aim of reading 52 books by the time 2018 came to a close, but am writing this post with only 31 books under my belt and a couple of hours until 2019.
Although twenty or so away from my goal, I think it was a good enough attempt to pick out my top 10 favourite books of the year. I predict many, if not all on this list, will be on everyone else’s 2018 favourites but I guess that means they’ve well and truly earned their space on our bookshelves. If you feel so inclined, close the book you received under the tree this Christmas, and have a read of my rambly thoughts.
1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
2018 was a year of adoring young adult fiction for me. It was also working out that it is particular young adult fiction that I personally enjoy and, while everyone is different, some young adult fiction just isn’t for me anymore; it can be a little difficult to read without cringing a little. Nevertheless, The Hate U Give was my absolute favourite read of 2018.
You can find my full review of the book over HERE, but to summarise, The Hate U Give uses young adult fiction as a platform to explore police brutality, its devastating consequences and the white supremacy that sews it all together. The protagonist, Starr, uses her heartbreak and turns it into strength and we, as readers, are behind her all the way. The Hate U Give teaches the reader (particularly the white reader) to look past the headline of the story we’re being told. “He was a thug and would have ended up dead anyway” isn’t the message we should be taking from any kind of media coverage.
One of the first things I’ll be doing in 2019 is heading to the cinema to watch the film adaptation of this exceptional book.
2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
My tenth read of the year was one of 2018’s favourites, for me and so many others. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine was my second favourite book of the year for so many reasons. While the first few chapters pose a few question in the reader’s mind and you wonder whether you really care for Eleanor, you soon fall in love with her, much like your mum/best friend/work colleague promised you would.
While you can read my full review HERE, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely fine is about our (not instantly) lovable protagonist, Eleanor and the daily routine she is quite happy to follow. Soon, the novel explores her loneliness and the questions that shadow her past. This novel is hilarious, but so heartbreakingly poignant. Eleanor begins to step into another kind of life and, soon, it highlights just how lonely she has been.
I’ve never ready a book like it and I don’t think I’ll ever read one like it again.
3. Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks
As a very late addition to my Goodreads challenge, Every Breath stole my heart this Christmas. When I read the first few pages which outlined the background to Sparks’s most recent story, I knew I was about to fall head over heels, once again, with one of my favourite authors’ writing. For while Every Breath is a work of fiction, Sparks was inspired by a real life love story. The kind that I’m so glad was written down.
Every Breath is about Hope and Tru and their stay at Sunset Beach. Hope was staying at her family’s cottage for one of her best friend’s wedding; Tru was visiting America for the first time. But that wasn’t the only first of the trip; he was to meet the man who claimed to be his father. When the two collide, the kind of love forms that transcends the pages of this wonderful story.
Every Breath is possibly my favourite Nicholas Sparks novel. But don’t hold me to that; I might well change my mind by tomorrow.
4. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
One of Us is Lying is a book I read alongside my mum. It’s a teenage murder mystery that was the perfect read to soak up in the garden with the best summer’s sun I’ve seen in the UK, beating down on me. This book was addictive in a Gossip Girl meets Pretty Little Liars kind of way.
Although you can read my full review HERE, let me tell me a little more about it. Simon, creator of a high school app that spilled everyone’s secrets, dies in a detention room, surrounded by four other students. The school day started just as it always did, but it ended with a murder and four suspects.
It’s the kind of YA fiction that is my kind of YA fiction. It was gripping and intricate and delivered a conclusion that taught the reader about how we should be acting and to look beyond what we first believe is true.
5. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
My fifth favourite read of the year is, not only another young adult book, but one so many added to their Goodreads library this year. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda features a young gay protagonist who embarks on a coming of age story that I absolutely fell in love with.
My full review can be read HERE, as to summarise this book would be criminal. But, for the sake of a bookish round up, I’ll give it a shot. Simon has only told one person he is gay. And that person is “Blue”, a gay male student who also goes to Simon’s school. But Simon doesn’t know who “Blue” is and “Blue” doesn’t know Simon’s identity either. This “Who could Blue be?” mystery that runs throughout the novel hooks the reader just as much as it does Simon.
As much as Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is the story of Simon’s coming out and his sexuality, it’s in equal parts about his family and friends and how they all come together to make Simon’s life.
6. This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay
At this point, I can see why my top ten is starting to become a little predictable, but if you’ve read any of these reads, I think you’ll understand and verify their place on this list. This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay has taken 2018 by storm. I think it’s a book avid readers and novice readers alike can agree on.
My full review that does this book absolutely no justice can be read HERE, but, in short, the non-fiction book This is Going to Hurt, tells the very real story of a junior doctor and his experiences working for the NHS. We read about his outrageously funny encounters as a junior doctor, the toll it took on his personal life and the heartbreaking stories he has to tell.
Although for every tear you shed throughout this read, there are ten more laughs, This is Going to Hurt truly shines a light on what terrible conditions our doctors work in and, by extension, what real life superheroes really look like.
7. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
2018’s reading challenge begun with Milk and Honey, a book I devoured on New Year’s morning. Although I read it nearly a year ago to the day, it’s a book that has stayed with me throughout the whole of 2018, thereby deserving a place on my top ten reads of the year.
You can read more about my thoughts on this stunning collection of poetry HERE, and I’d urge you to pick this book up if you think poetry is just not your thing, but if you need anymore convincing, I’ll tell you a little more. Milk and Honey brings together four themes: the hurting; the loving; the breaking; the healing. These four sections watch over a selection of Kaur’s unique and delicate, yet powerful words.
Milk and Honey is so much more than I think I could ever describe.
8. The Humans by Matt Haig
The Humans by Matt Haig was my final read of 2018, a book I closed only a little while ago. I finally delved into more of Haig’s fiction this Christmas and I’m delighted I did.
The Humans is about an alien who visits Earth to complete a mission. To kill anyone who knows what Professor Andrew Martin worked out. And whose body would be better to inhabit to complete this mission than Professor Andrew Martin’s? Our unnamed protagonist learns all about Earth and the humans that surround him. He works out how to act normal (a little) and how the humans live.
This book is absolute genius; it’s hilarious but poses a lot of questions about humankind and the lives we all live.
9. Eve of Man by Giovanna & Tom Fletcher
Eve of Man is Giovanna and Tom Fletcher’s first part to their trilogy about the first girl born in fifty years. This dystopian novel reminded me exactly why I love this genre which, to me, is always driven by adventure, emotion and right & wrong. Eve of Man had all of these core elements DOWN, landing it as my ninth favourite book of the year.
I reviewed the book earlier this year HERE but, to summarise, as Earth’s only hope at surviving, Eve and the rest of the world has been waiting for her sixteenth birthday; the day where she is to choose between three different men. It is her duty to ensure the human race does not become extinct. Will she obey her duty or choose love?
I cannot WAIT to see what happens next.
10. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
I read Sharp Objects while in Cyprus, on holiday in September. I wasn’t expecting to love it half as much as I did and I definitely didn’t think it would end up in my top 10 of 2018. In Sharp Objects I found a new love in thriller fiction (and have since bought another one of Flynn’s novels to read in the New Year- so thanks to my best pal for helping me love a whole new genre!).
I reviewed Sharp Objects in full HERE but, my tenth favourite book of the year sees Camille Preaker head to her hometown to report on the disappearance of two young girls. Her investigation uncovers secrets and a history which reminds her just how twisted her hometown really is.
I will definitely be catching the series of this gripping story at some point in the next few months.
Although I may have failed my reading challenge (by quite a lot), I read some pretty epic books, not all of which I managed to review on the blog. You can, however, head over to my Goodreads account to check out what else I read this year.
I have decided to give this challenge another go in 2019 (I know, I hear myself) so will be picking up a book immediately tomorrow morning so I can get ahead of schedule. What were your favourite books of 2018?
Happy New Year!