My Top Ten Books for 2019

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As ever, I’m tremendously excited to talk about my favourite books from this year (pretty much bouncing off the walls!!!). And as ever, this is a really mixed list in terms of genre- though all of them are top quality! Of course, not all of these were released in 2019, though there are a few! And of course, I’m not including rereads. All book covers link to reviews as well. Okay, I think I’ve covered all my bases- let’s just jump into it and talk about some *brilliant books*!!!

number 10

skyward

Skyward– here’s a joyous read to kick off the list. Spensa has stolen my heart and become one of my all-time favourite heroines. This was so much fun and drama from beginning to end- really recommend this space opera and can’t wait to continue with the series!

number 9

wolf in the whale

Wolf in the Whale– this deliciously dark and highly unusual captured my imagination. A wintry fantasy, where Vikings meet Inuit culture, has been a bit of a divisive new release this year. And I get why- some of the events were pretty chilling, so obviously it’s not going to be for everyone. Yet, I found this completely absorbing and was impressed that it wasn’t afraid to show the past as it really was.

number 8

wayward son

Wayward Son– this very late addition was another book that brought me joy (though not always joyful). Really though, given how I’ve carried on about Carry On over the years, is it any surprise I had a soft spot for this second Simon Snow story? Guaranteed to satisfy long term fans and make you smile- even through tough times.

number 7

radio silence

Radio Silence– this book just meant so much for me. I know that there a lot of people who say “this book spoke to me”, but guys, this book really felt like it was speaking to me. That’s the magic of a truly relatable story- somehow it connects with so many different people, from all different backgrounds.

number 6

Impossible Times trilogy– aka One Word Kill/Limited Wish/Dispel Illusion– yeah, yeah, I know I’m cheating by counting this as one book, but I do it every year, so are you surprised? 😉 Also, you can whizz through them so fast you may very well feel like it was one book/you have a time machine 😉 To be honest, every book in this series earned its place here. No other book series has entertained me as much as this in 2019! And I was blown away by the cleverness. I know that in the future, I’m gonna look back on this with nothing but happy memories 😊

number 5

winter of the witch

Winter of the Witch– Arden *one hundred percent* managed to stick the landing. The Winternight series has easily become one of my favourite series of all time. A perfect ending to a perfect trilogy. What’s amazing is how good the other books were to beat this out of the top three. Any other year and this easily could’ve taken the number 1 spot, which is just my way of telling you to get excited about the books that are above this on the list 😉

number 4

beowulf

Beowulf– I loved every second of this. I’m so happy I finally picked this up- but even more grateful I read the Seamus Heaney version, thanks to Joelendil, because it truly was a masterclass in translation.

number 3

in order to live

In Order to Live– now we’re getting to books that made me emotional. I don’t have a full review for this one, because I just struggle to find the words, so I’m gonna try my best to describe how poignant, powerful and important this book is. This memoir was a memorable portrayal of life in North Korea. I learnt so much from it and was moved to tears. It’s just one of those *must-read* books, so you must read it if you haven’t already!

number 2

the man in the white sharkskin suit

Man in the White Sharkskin Suit– this is another book which made me cry. It’s the story of the 1950s Jewish Exodus from Egypt, told in a very personal way, where Lagnado really showcases her relationship with her father. Rather sadly, Lagnado passed away this year, after a lifelong struggle with cancer. Her voice survives in this beautiful book.

number 1

sadie

Sadie– ahh this book- I can’t seem to stop recommending it! Beautifully told and immensely powerful, the reason this book is so good is because too often serials/podcasts/true crime focuses on the perpetrators. I think it’s time we gave the victims a voice and no book could have done a better job than this. It also introduced me to the wonders of a well-done audiobook- for which I am immensely grateful. And yes, it made me cry (a lot).

So, have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? And what was your favourite book(s) of 2018? Let me know in the comments!

Make Some Noise for Radio Silence!

radio silence

Hearing about this all over the internet, I have to admit, I wasn’t sure this was going to be for me. It sounded a little like a typical contemporary YA, aimed at a not-quite-me audience, and trying to be something it wasn’t. Despite my reservations, I decided to pick it up annnnd BAM!

bam friends

This hit me like a ton of bricks! I could not have anticipated how much this book about fangirling over a podcast would hook me. Fascinating and nuanced and layered- it’s a proper coming of age story, with all that entails. And yet does none of this in the usual way!

Tuning in, the tone was instantly relatable and captured the tone of modern Britain. The writing simultaneously managed to be well written and also get the lingo down. The speech in particular was incredibly natural- like listening in on actual teens- like looking at a snapshot of people’s actual lives.

All the characters in this felt super real. There wasn’t a single weak link- there were so many lovable friendships and family relationships crammed into one book (Frances’ mum in particular is a Rockstar of a character!). And I loved the contrasting vibes I got from everyone- it was such an eclectic mix of people. Obviously, I was also a massive fan of the *online friendship meets real life* storyline- it just made me absurdly happy. And really liked how Aled wanting to keep his identity secret wove into other themes.

At the same time, this wasn’t just light and frothy all the way. This dealt with a TON of important issues. In fact, I was particularly impressed by how this handles the topic of abuse. What I especially liked was that it made a strong case for not knowing what goes on behind closed doors. The ass-umption is that Aled is privileged for going to a good uni and running a successful blog- but people don’t know what really goes on in his life. The exploration of this was handled sensitively, whilst not beating around the bush. I cannot express how much respect for this book for doing this justice.

I’m also glad that this doesn’t present uni as all sunshine and roses. Not that I want people to be put off, but too many books do that. Too often we are bombarded with the “best time of your life” line and that it’s the “be all and end all”- which can be hard to live up to. It is refreshing to tell some different stories for a change: plenty of people don’t go, many are rejected, lots of people hate it, some are pressured into doing subjects they don’t want to do, a fair few drop out/change courses (or go through a mixture of the above). Somehow, this book managed to explore a lot of those options.

And that’s just one of the reasons I think this is a seminal book for this generation. Everything from the highs and lows of fandom to being an anxious young nerd to coming to terms with who you are was given space on the page to develop. It really spoke to me on a deep and personal level- yet what’s most amazing about Radio Silence is seeing on Goodreads how many people found different parts relatable. As much as I felt Oseman was personally talking to me, tens of thousands of other people felt the same way. And that’s just brilliant.

While I’m not sure it will be for everyone, I can safely say this is an accurate portrayal of what it’s like to be a teen in the UK in the 21st century. I didn’t know it before I read it, but I legit *needed* this book. I’m all abuzz with excitement for Radio Silence- so let’s raise the roof and give it:

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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So have you read this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!