In no particular order…
Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge
This book has gone right up there with my all-time favourites. It’s a bonafide classic, and for me, sits in the same league as The Secret Garden or Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights. It’s a children’s book that I want everyone to read, no matter their age. Gorgeous writing, super-creepy magic and a heroine that will horrify as well as inspire you. Read this book. Whoever you are, just read it.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
So. Here’s the deal. I read an early copy of Shadow and Bone, told EVERYONE to read it, and then never got around to reading the sequels, which have since become a smash hit trilogy. And then Leigh comes over to the UK to promote this one and I only go and fall in love with her a little bit. Having ascertained that I didn’t need to read the whole Grisha trilogy before embarked on this one, I read Six of Crows with unabashed gusto. What a terrific read! I don’t usually do thrillers, but I was entirely pulled in by the characters (of which I seriously can not pick a favourite) and the world building. I want to write like this one day.
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
I began this book with apprehension… alternate world Nazis and magical shape-shifting powers? Yeesh. But Graudin pulls it off and created a story that I was happy to fully embrace. This is a fantastical, magical joyride, powered by some pretty incredible sentences.
The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle
I am truly startled that this is a debut, because Fowley-Doyle manages to write with so much confidence, and perfectly balances a world hinged on maybe-magic. A slippery mystery where nothing is quite what it seems to be, I was hooked by the darkness and the romance. I can’t wait to see what Moira does next!
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
The Sky is Everywhere is an all-time favourite read of mine, and I feel like I’ve been waiting for this, the second book by Nelson, for years. Well, it didn’t disappoint. I must have reread the incredibly swoon-hot ending about a dozen times, and it inspired me to take up art classes after a decade of barely drawing a thing. The writing is lyrical, beautiful, and powerful, and once again, Nelson took my breath away. Now hurry up and write another!
Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
This was just ‘OK’ for the first quarter, and then the tables turn and this book EXPLODES. I feel like it might just sit in the same world as Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone novels, which, trust me, is one of the highest compliments I can give. And it was so refreshing for me to read about a mythology thats not so wholly rooted in Western culture. I’m hungry for more, and although I’m loving Willow Wilson’s comic output at the moment, I really hope she manages to find some time to write another novel!
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
This book is perfect. PERFECT. It’s a boundary-breaker, a rule-shaker and a wonderful joyride of fun and malevolence. Don’t be fooled by the simplistic style. This book has more nuance and heart than anything else out there, and I’m now crazy obsessed by Stevenson’s cute and quirky brain!
Vicious by V.E. Schwab
OMG this book is evil. EVIL. It’s delicious and wicked and sexy and a masterclass in plotting. I’ve read two books by Schwab this year, and the other, A Darker Shade of Magic, only narrowly missed out on my top ten. I picked this one over that mainly because of its central anti-heroes, who I love, and because I think that there’s more glorious things to come from Schwab’s other series. It’s probably also worth noting that V.E. Schwab is now up there in my pantheon of writers who I aspire to write like one day, alongside Laini Taylor, Maggie Stiefvater and Libba Bray.
One by Sarah Crossan
This is one heck of a read. Not to be entered into lightly, and one you’ll need to give yourself time to digest. I honestly don’t know how Crossan has managed to do this. It’s a breathtaking journey through tragedy and hope, and one that left me in tears. Not only is the story a fine example of Crossan’s talent, but the style, written in a series of poems and vignettes, demonstrates that she’s operating at a level of genius far beyond me.
Ms Marvel Vol.1 (written) by G. Willow Wilson
I didn’t want to include more than one entry for any of the authors I’ve read and reviewed this year, but I couldn’t have a top ten without a Marvel title, and out of everything I’ve read this year, Ms Marvel is up there as my definite favourite. I feel like this comic was written for me, and the only thing I’m annoyed about is that I’m only finding this as a woman in my thirties. Imagine what it must be like to be a teenage girl discovering this brand new superhero. I’m well jealous of all of them.
- The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
- Saga Vol.1 by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples
- A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
- SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki
- The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine
- Remix by Non Pratt
- In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Gut by Giulia Enders