The arrival of a brand new reading year means that it is time to reflect back on the many stories I consumed in 2018. Sadly, it is not a year will miss as I spent most of it in a big old slump. More often than not, I’d find a gem I adored, finish it and be left thinking “now what?” So, while those standouts were few and far between, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t worthy of a place on this list.
The Extinction Trials: Books 1 &2 by S.M.Wilson
Yes, it’s cheeky to start my summary with two books not only from the same author, but from the same series. But it’s my list and I make the rules!
The Extinction Trials tells the tale of two continents: one inhabited by humans and the other by dinosaurs. The human continent is vastly overpopulated and vital supplies such as healthcare are in short supply. Every year citizens are invited to volunteer to take part in a series of trials to prove that they are worthy of being sent to the dinosaur continent, Pilora, in search of more sustainable resources. Stormchaser and Lincoln both have their reasons for joining the cause.
This book is just so vivid and well written with an incredible cast of characters, all of which you can sympathize with. Oh, and of course dinosaurs. Lots and lots of dinosaurs.
How To Stop Time by Matt Haig
A book that would have completely passed me by if it wasn’t shoved into my hands by a friend, How To Stop Time follows a man who has a rare condition meaning that he has been alive for centuries. Every few years he is forced to change everything in his life in order to avoid detection, while also searching for his missing daughter who also has the same condition.
A beautiful, though-provoking read that tackles history and importance of identity, wrapped up in breath-taking prose.
The Loneliest Girl In The Universe by Lauren James
Sci-fi is a genre that I have tried many times to dip my toes into but just don’t get on with. However, I kept hearing a lot of buzz in the YA community about this book. So I went into the reading experience hoping it would prove me wrong, and boy it did.
The Loneliest Girl In The Universe follows teenage girl Romy as she flies a spaceship to a new Earth in the hopes of starting new life. Besides the mundane ship maintenance she carries out every day, her existence revolves around the emails she receives – a year after they were sent- from a woman at Nasa.
It’s isolating, character driven brilliance and I found myself sharing Romy’s excitement every time she got the notification that a new message had arrived. I still think about this book every day.
Paper Girls: Volume 1 by Brian K.Vaughan and Cliff Chiang
Another genre I’ve always struggled with is graphic novels. It’s such a big intimidating corner of the bookstore and I always feel like other shoppers can tell that I clearly don’t know what I’m doing or looking at. But one day I noticed this face out on the shelf and something about the cover just made me go “yes please!” I started reading and knew I had to buy it; despite being skeptical that it was by the same writer of Saga which I hated.
Paper Girls is… well about a group of paper round girls in the eighties who come together on a night when all manner of weird things begin to happen. I love all their different personalities and the artwork is simply gorgeous!
A Very Large Expanse Of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
Tahereh’s step into YA contemporary sees her putting a lot of her experiences as a fashion obsessed, breakdancing muslim teenager into the character of Shirin. The story takes place a year after the events of 9/11 and documents the shift in how she is perceived in the world.
Shirin is an amazingly well-rounded character and while I can’t relate directly to her story, I felt so hard for her when she opens up to the reader about what she expects from those around her. So imagine her surprise when a rather attractive boy called Ocean (yes, Ocean) starts paying an interest in her.
It’s been such a long time since I’ve felt such a weight of emotion in my chest finishing a book. I can’t remember the last time I finished a book and wanted to read it again straight away.
So there you have it! That’s my round up of 2018.
Did any of your books make my list?
What were some of your standouts?