As June comes to a close, I wanted to take a moment and look back over my five favorite books I read for the first time in the first six months of 2018.
Note – not all of these are YA, and, indeed, a couple of them might not be a good fit for younger readers. This list is pulled from all my reading, not just the books I review on this blog.
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
I listened to the audiobook version of Furiously Happy, and I strongly recommend that as the best way to experience this book. Blogger, writer, general funny person Jenny Lawson, the author, reads the book in its entirety in her sweet, lightly accented voice.
Furiously Happy, the only nonfiction book on this list, is part memoir, part essay collection that explores Lawson’s affinity for taxidermy, life as a writer, and, most importantly, struggle to find joy in the face of mental illness. It’s sweet, honest, occasionally tear-jerking, and terribly, terribly funny.
Artemis by Andy Weir
From the author of The Martian, Artemis is another character-focused science-fiction adventure, this time about a young smuggler in the first city on the moon.
I don’t read a ton of sci-fi, so I’m frankly easily impressed, but I couldn’t get enough of the detailed, clever worldbuilding. Weir fleshed out Artemis, not only scientifically, but also economically and socially in a way that was engaging and realistic without ever being too detailed or explanatory.
Sometimes a book with great visuals or action sequences makes you imagine the story as a movie. This is the first book I’ve read that I found myself picturing as a video game. I was rooting for Jazz on her journey every step of the way as she lies, steals, and almost accidentally destroys her home.
See, there is YA on this list! Nicola Yoon’s second novel is even more intelligent heartfelt than her first, Everything, Everything.
This is an unflinchingly real and tremendously compassionate book about optimism, serendipity, physics, race, and first love. I rarely buy into insta-love stories, but this story of one day in New York City had me falling in love with Daniel and Natasha.
The Power by Naomi Alderman
I can’t believe I’m not hearing more about this book! It got buzz when it was first released, but I think it deserves to be making lots of lists of best books of 2017.
This book is a fascinating story about, well, power–how is it gained, maintained and more importantly, can it ever truly shift?
This one definitely belongs on the adult lit shelf – watch out for some pretty heavy themes and several distressing scenes of sexual violence.
War Storm (Red Queen #4) by Victoria Aveyard
War Storm makes my list not as much for the book itself as for the entire series, which is one of my favorite YA series ever.
A little bit dystopia, a little bit fantasy, the Red Queen series has always been a mash-up of some of YA lit’s favorite tropes, but War Storm really took the story to the next level. RQ’s strength has always been in the interesting, complex character relationships, and War Storm made skillful use of perspectives to capitalize on the diverse cast of strong characters. You can read my essay about POV in War Storm here.
What’s on your mid-year favorites list?
Let me know in comments!