Finally time for my first post of the year! I hope you have all had a lovely holiday period and I wish you all the best for 2018. May all your dreams come true. I have been reading more the past year and so I thought it was finally time to write another book round-up post.
I read plenty of books in 2017 and these 8 are my absolute favourites. I would absolutely recommend reading any of these. They have all touched my heart and I cannot stop thinking about them. Don’t forget to add these to your own ‘to read’ list too!
8 Books to read in 2018
TRIGGER WARNING: Some of these books deal with topics such as depression, anxiety, mental illness and loss.
1. The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa
I am just going to start this list with what may possibly be the best book I have ever read. I may or may not have picked this book up because it had a cat on the cover and I loved the title but I couldn’t be happier that I did. It tells the story of main character Saturo and his cat Nana who go on a road trip together and meet all of these interesting people along the way.
This book is not only unique in the way it tells stories so effortlessly but it is also written in both the perspective of Saturo and Nana. It will make you laugh, cry, fall in love and break your heart all at the same time. I must admit, more than a few tears were shed while reading this book but please do not let that stop you from reading this masterpiece. I cannot recommend it enough!
2. If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout
I only finished this book during the Christmas holidays but I just had to include it in this post. It focuses on Lena Wise, a 17-year-old struggling with typical teenage problems. That is until one night changes her entire life. I don’t want to give too much away by saying anything more but this is yet another heartbreaking story.
This book will destroy you. It will make you want to curl up into a ball in bed and only eat ice cream for the whole weekend. It is definitely aimed at younger readers (teenagers) but I love myself a good contemporary youth novel.
3. One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
From one teen novel to another, I really wanted to add One of Us Is Lying to this list. This was the only book in the list that I picked up because I saw so many people raving about it online. And luckily, it didn’t disappoint. It is a fast read, once you get into the story it’s hard to put the book down. If this was a tv series, I would binge it in one weekend.
In matter of fact, this book has a Pretty Little Liars vibes to it (the first few seasons, when it was still good). It is kind of like The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars. It focuses on five students who all happen to go to detention together one day. But only four walk back out. I found the murder mystery effect very well done, even though I knew who did it pretty much from the start. I enjoyed it nevertheless!
4. Boo by Neil Smith
I picked Boo up on a weekend away this summer when I forgot to bring my own book. There wasn’t a great choice of English books so I picked it up with mixed feelings. I wasn’t completely convinced I would enjoy it. However after finishing this book I was deeply impressed by the story and would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a new read. Don’t be taken aback by the synopsis as that is what threw me off initially. I promise you, it is worth a read!
13-year-old Oliver wakes up in heaven. He discovers he has been murdered and that his killer may also be in heaven with him. So he goes on the lookout for the kid who ruined his life. A dark but oh so creative story, with plenty of plot twists to keep you entertained.
5. Jonathan Unleashed by Meg Rosoff
I have been a long-time fan of Meg Rosoff’s books so when I saw this book in my local bookshop I just had to pick it up. Jonathan Unleashed is probably the most light-heartened book of the whole bunch. It tells the story of Jonathan whose life hasn’t been going how he expected it to be going. He doesn’t like his job, his apartment is a mess and relationship-wise things aren’t going well either. But then, one day his brother asks him to babysit his 2 dogs for 6 months and things start to change.
I could relate to the main character a lot and it was definitely the best book for me to read last year. I somehow keep on picking up books that break my heart but this was one was a nice positive change for once!
6. A Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland
I cried so many times while reading this book that I lost count. I need to stop reading emotional books on the bus because people really don’t want to see me crying in public. But back to the book. This book deals with sensitive topics such as depression, anxiety and suicide in a remarkable way. And at first I was on the fence about it but when I got further into the book I realised that this was just the perfect way to portray it.
The author took these difficult topics, that are so close to my heart, and somehow made them easier to read about. I think about this book a lot. It was emotional for me to read but it also made me fall in love with the characters and their stories. It is a book that will touch your heart, it will touch every fiber of your body. I found it really heard to put my feelings into words after reading this book but I hope I described it well enough so you would give it a chance as well!
7. How Not To Disappear by Clare Furniss
Our memories are what make us who we are. But without them we are nobody.
Hattie is a teenager who has just found out that she is pregnant with her best friend’s baby. She has never met her great-aunt Gloria until one day a letter arrives in the mail and Hattie goes out to find gloria. It turns out that Gloria has dementia and is forgetting more and more. Hattie decides to take Gloria on a road trip to confront some secrets of Gloria’s past before she forgets them all.
This is another book, another story, that hits really close to home. I have a family member with dementia and this book described it so perfectly. Both main characters are brave, strong women. They both have to deal with upcoming changes in life and find comfort in each other. How Not To Disappear is a wonderful story and an absolute must-read in my opinion!
8. The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
17-year-old Flora Banks has amnesia. Her brain resets itself every few hours and that’s how it has been going for the past few years. Until that one day, she kisses someone on the beach and the next day she remembers. And that is all she remembers. She kissed someone.
I really liked the main character, Flora, and how she tries to deal with new situations even though she has no memory of how they happened. I loved that this was a fast read, I immediately wanted to know what happened next and found it hard to put down. The last few chapters almost brought me to tears. It is a beautiful story with an emotional yet inspiring ending.
It seems that I have shed more than a few tears while reading these books. I have never felt this passionate about a book post before. Some stories broke me. Really broke me. But is it even a good story if it does not make you feel anything? Even though I have finished most of these books a while ago, the characters and their stories have not let me go. I often find my mind wandering to these stories. Like they were real. Like I knew the characters. Like they were my friends, family.
And THAT is how good these books were. I cannot recommend them enough.
Do let me know if you end up picking any of these up!