Hi, and thanks for stopping by.
I've saved my favourite post of the year for last. It's probably the post/video I look forward to reading/watching from other people, too. There is something so special to me about us bookworms, who might read hundreds of books in one year, being able to narrow it down to a small number of serious wonderfulness. To read 200 books and pick just 5 is pretty hard, but choosing which order to rank them in is harder - I've been thinking about this all year long, as I go, adding books to the list and taking others away. This is what I've managed to come up with - I hope you enjoy reading the last day of Blogmas.
5. Akemi Dawn Bowman’s Starfish
I am so glad to have discovered Akemi Dawn Bowman this year, as you'll know from my Top 5 Authors post. Starfish is such a beautiful book; it's hard to do it justice in words so I'd really recommend you just read it for yourselves and enjoy every single word, as I did. It tackles some really difficult painful topics, particularly in its representation of emotional & sexual abuse, so please do read with caution. But all of the writing is sensitive and incredibly poignant (although I cannot speak to its accuracy in terms of those aforementioned themes). Akemi Dawn Bowman's writing has this musical quality and when I was reading Starfish, it was just one of those books I was so engrossed in, I never wanted to set it down and do something else. I also really love YA books where characters actually have hobbies (this is SO lacking in YA and I have no idea why?!) and there is so much about art in here. Brother-sister relationships, suicide, falling in love for the first time, travelling and self-discovery are just a few of the other themes expertly handled in Starfish.
4. Gayle Forman’s Just one Day
I was so, so surprised by how much I fell in love with this book. Now, at its centre is this gorgeous storyline about a girl and a guy spending an amazing day and night together in Paris and yes, that part is brilliantly written with a great romantic relationship, lots of chemistry and laughs but... it's the rest of the novel that astounded me. There is so much in this book about doubt and anxiety around university and the future, low self-esteem, depression and self-discovery. I found this part of the story to be so relatable and poignant and, once again, just written so, so well. Gayle Forman is absolutely an expert at her craft and I can't recommend this book enough. By the way...that ending!!!
3. Francesca Zappia’s Made You Up
Francesca Zappia's writing isn't really like anybody else's that I've read or experienced. Made You Up follows Alex who has schizophrenia; she is a paranoid, unreliable narrator but I absolutely adored her. This story has such an interesting, engaging romance in it; if you don't like cliches in YA contemporary, you'll love the relationship here, I think. The plot is a little complicated and definitely different from other contemporaries I've read (I think the schizophrenia contributes to this a lot; Francesca Zappia's writing of the condition is stunning, although I cannot personally speak to its accuracy) but nevertheless I found it easy to keep up with and so more-ish. There is a plot twist towards the end that I guarantee will leave you very, very surprised but more importantly, heart-broken...
2. Francesca Zappia’s Eliza and her Monsters
I found it pretty hard to decide which Francesca Zappia book to put as 3 and which as 2, but I ended up putting Eliza and her Monsters just above Made You Up for reasons I can't really put my finger on!! This story, plot-wise, reminded me so much of Alice Oseman's Radio Silence (if you liked one, you'll absolutely like the other, although this one has the edge in my opinion!). If you like reading about fandom, fan-art, fanfiction and the like, you'll definitely enjoy this book - it has all of these fantasy elements within it through those themes, whilst remaining a contemporary novel in itself, which I think is really cool. Once again, Francesca Zappia's female protagonist here, Eliza Mirk, is so sympathetic and interesting; the differences between her online persona and her actual, real-life self are huge and really quite sad. So much to be commended here; family relationships, online and real-life friendships, anxiety, secrets, lies, betrayals... cannot possibly recommend this enough!!
1. John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down
So, here we are!
The best book I read in 2019 is, hands down, Turtles All the Way Down by John Green.
This book literally stunned me. I had had it on my bookshelf for months! I bought it because, well, it's John Green, right?! But when I actually read the blurb, I was like oh dear, that doesn't sound like my kind of thing at all... I ended up reading it on a train journey to university and completely falling in love. Please don't be put off by the whole "fugitive billionaire search" blurb they've given this book, because it does it no justice at all! The main amazing thing about this book is the story it tells of living with OCD (most of which comes out in this extremely severe health anxiety) - I cried several times reading Aza's story and struggles. I believe that John Green lives with OCD himself, so I understand now why it is so brilliantly written. I suffer myself with some far milder health anxiety and I know how debilitating that alone is, so my heart really ached for Aza throughout. The ending of this book is one of my favourites ever, so brave and different...I honestly just absolutely adored this book. I cannot wait to reread it!
So those are my five favourite books of the entire year of 2018. I'd love to know what yours are; please leave a list of however many favourites you have down below in the comments section. I can't wait to hear from you!!
I'm going to say Happy New Year now because I'm not sure if I'll upload again between now and then - I can't wait to see what 2019 brings.
Till next time