My favourite books of 2018 is coming to you a little differently this year. As most of my reading year consisted of me re-reading and picking up books outside of my comfort zone, I thought I would share with you some unexpected favourites.
I’ve only chosen 5 but I believe they are definitely worthy of this top ranking, having been rated either 4.5 and 5 out of 5 stars. They were all so good!
Let’s just get into the books!
In Paris With You/Songe à la Douceur by Clémentine Beauvais. Translation by Sam Taylor.
I never did a full review of this book but I should have done because there are so many amazing aspects I want to talk and rave about. I’ll try to do this rather quickly so as to give ample time to the other books but I loved this for its structure (written in verse), the amazing translation, the ‘what happened’ romance between Tatiana and Eugene and its subsequent dual timeline. I also loved that the original French took inspiration from the poetry of Charles Baudelaire because he is one of my favourite French poets.
What strikes me the most about this book is that if it hadn’t been for YALC, I doubt I would have even heard of Clémentine Beauvais as an author, and I wouldn’t have picked it up. YA romance is not my cup of tea so it was refreshing to discover one that worked and continues to amaze me on a daily basis.
A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge.
I’ve heard a lot about Frances Hardinge’s masterful way of imagining creepy stories and weaving in history with the supernatural, but I never realised she was that good until now. A Skinful of Shadows is the first book of hers I’ve read and everything about it blew me away. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time I was listening to this on audiobook, each character kept their individuality and voice, and the story was incredibly well crafted. I don’t think I’ve read a book quite like it and until I pick up another Frances Hardinge book, I don’t think I ever will.
The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James.
This book has been on my blog a few times since I read it back in March but it was such an important book for me in terms of discovering more sci-fi and sci-fi that is accessible to me. It wasn’t overly complicated and I could get into it without feeling too lost. It was fun and easy, and I wish there were more sci-fi books like it. However, what completely took me by surprise was the rapid change in pace about 150 or so pages from the end. It went from being fun and cruising, to what-the-hell-just-happened in just a click of a finger and OMG it was crazy. I want more.
Wing Jones by Katherine Webber.
YA Contemporary seems to know I’m not reading much of it nowadays because it keeps coming out with books that want to pull me back in. Wing Jones is one of these because it took everything I need in a Contemporary and mixed it all together to create something special and heartwarming – strong family dynamics, perseverance, hope, the desire to be a better person, a romantic arc that doesn’t detract anything from the main plot…
I remember saying in my April wrap-up that this book gives me hope that there will always be a YA Contemporary out there for me, and I still hold to that.
The Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles.
I was debating between this and two other books but this one just pipped them to the post because I’m still in awe of how Lydia Ruffles managed to weave everything in at precisely the right moments. It’s a story of discovery, recovery and finding your place in a world that is forever changing. I did have a couple of issues with the pacing at first but once I got past that and delved into the mystery, I was hooked. Some people might think that the big twist is underwhelming, and I can totally see why that might be the case, but for me it made a lot of sense and I liked that the event felt realistic and in place with today’s world. I know I dive into books to escape reality but sometimes we need books like this to make sense of a changing world and see that our thoughts, opinions, and feelings are valid. This is definitely one of those books for me, and I’m glad I gave it that chance.
Unintentionally or not, I think I had a bit of a YA Contemporary theme going on here because even though I didn’t read that many, all of them had a profound impact. They were all fantastic reads.
Anyway, that is it for my 2018 unexpected favourites.
Do you have any books that took you by surprise this year?
Did you also read any of these books? What did you think?
As always, thanks for reading and have a brazzle dazzle day!