The end of the year is here and it’s time to spill the tea! I read a total of 100 books in 2019. I’m so impressed with myself. So which novels made it onto my top 10 best and worst list? Which ones blew me away and which ones made me want to throw them across the room? I’m not going to review them or tell you what they are about, I’m simply going to express why they made my list. They aren’t in any particular order by the way. Also, I’ve only added some bookish photos below, not all. Let’s not delay! We’ve a lot to get through!
Quick disclaimer: If I mention a book on here that you loved in my worst section, please don’t get offended. It’s just a personal opinion. It does not mean the book is bad or wrong.
THE TOP 10 BEST BOOKS OF 2019
10.) The Valentine Trilogy by Jodi McAlister
Okay this is cheating…but I’m going to name an entire trilogy. This year I devoured Valentine, Ironheart and Misrule by Jodi McAlister. I had zero expectations going into this series, and I only picked up the first book because I had received a copy in an old YA Chronicles Box. I ended up loving every freaking second. The best part is, these novels are written by an Australian author! The plot is dark, eerie, full of action, steamy romance and shocking twists. I needed to lie down after finishing them. Honestly, give them a go. You won’t be disappointed.
9.) Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky
In 1999, Stephen Chbosky wrote a book called ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ which became an instant classic and was adapted into a film starring Emma Watson. This had been his only book…until this year, when he released his second novel ‘Imaginary Friend’, which to my delight was a horror! It is a 700+ page book which was bothering a lot of reviewers. Many said it was too long and dragged. I felt the exact opposite. I wanted more and the pacing was fast. This is without a doubt, the scariest book I’ve ever read. It freaked me out in the best way possible. I was captivated by the beautiful writing and the intriguing storyline, which has many religious undertones. I loved it. It’s honestly a masterpiece and worth the long wait from Stephen.
8.) Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I wrote a whole review of Daisy Jones and the Six which you can read here. In 2018, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was my favourite read, so I knew I would love Taylor’s latest novel. It was not as good as Evelyn Hugo (in my opinion) but not far behind it. I loved how it read as a music documentary and the way it touched my heart. The characters were so flawed and troubled, you just wanted to give them a hug. The ending had a nice little twist and the band felt so real, I honestly Googled them. Please read this book if you haven’t already. It’s being adapted into a film I believe.
7.) The Seven 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
At Blackheath Manor, Evelyn Hardcastle is shot and killed. The next night and the night after that, she is shot and killed again. Aiden, a guest at the party, is forced to relive the same day over until he can solve the mystery behind her murder…but there’s a catch. Each day he wakes up in the body of a different guest and has to experience the events through their perspective, until midnight when he moves into the next body. Can he catch the killer before it finds him too? Time is running out…
Okay I had to rehash the plot for this particular book because it was the concept that drew me in in the first place. I will say this, if you’re a fan of Agatha Christie (like myself) you will adore this book. It was one big mystery from start to finish. The final reveal was very satisfying. I was completely hooked and felt the author did a brilliant job tying everything together. A book like this would’ve been very difficult to write (read it and find out why) so I commend him. It was so enjoyable.
6.) Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff
Darkdawn is the third and final novel in the Nevernight Trilogy. The first two books made it onto my top 5 best of 2017, so it’s no surprise that this one made it onto my 2019 list. I can’t say much without spoiling anything, so I’ll just note that the conclusion was so phenomenal and well-written. Everything came together in the best way possible. I had a serious hangover after this series came to a close. It was an intense journey. 10’s, 10’s, 10’s across the board!
5.) Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios
I never would’ve picked this book up if it wasn’t for one BookTuber who said it was her favourite read of 2019. I went into it not expecting much, but holy-moley, what an impactful story! The writing was flawless. Never has an emotionally abusive relationship been captured so perfectly. Heather wrote in a way that made me, as the reader, feel manipulated by Gavin. Even though I knew he was bad news, I felt myself getting caught up in his charm. That is top notch writing. It was so real, raw and full of despair. I really liked the way it ended and the messages strewn throughout. There are triggers warnings for rape, OCD, physical abuse, emotional abuse and stalking. The pacing was excellent. It starts out like a fairytale and then piece by piece, he slowly pulls her apart. It’s almost subtle the way it happens. I also love the way it is written. She is addressing Gavin the entire time, so he’s referred to as ‘you.’ It’s such a powerful point of view.
4.) The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
For my best friend’s 30th, she told me to buy her a book that meant something to me this year – so I bought her this one. Written in verse, The Poet X tells the story of a girl fighting to be heard. It really is as incredible as everyone says and even my best friend fell in love with it. It’s so full of heart, fire and passion. A great read for anybody, but particularly women.
3.) The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
The Hating Game is everything you could ever want or need in a book. If you are down, or in a slump, read this. You’ll fly through it and be so happy by the end. It’s saucy, steamy and so damn good. It is being adapted into a film which I CANNOT wait for! It blew me away. I just can’t even describe what makes it so amazing, but it has one of my favourite tropes: enemies to lovers. Hot, Hot, Hot!!!!
2.) Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
This book unexpectedly took my breath away. I read it in January and knew straight away that it would be one of my favourite reads of the whole year. It is more of a character-driven story than a plot-driven one, but it’s the characters that give it all of the heart and depth. There is fantastic representation and many moments that will bring a tear to your eye. I just love it so so much.
1.) IT by Stephen King
And now for my number 1 read of 2019 and my actual favourite book of all time – IT by Stephen King. You can check out more about why this novel means so much to me here. This book is a journey. I annotated my entire copy and it made the whole experience so much more enjoyable. I love the film adaptations (both past and present) and I adore this story. I’m forever a fan…
THE TOP 10 WORST BOOKS OF 2019
10.) A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
Ahhhh, this book was so disappointing. I’m a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes, so I figured I would love this YA series. Nope! I can see why others liked this book, but personally I found the pacing way too fast. Everything was rushed from beginning to end and the characters themselves, whilst interesting, were less descendants of Holmes and Watson and basically mirror images of them. I just didn’t enjoy the story and I don’t want to read the rest of the series – sorry!
9.) The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
The cover is stunning – that is the book’s one redeeming feature. Ouch! This book was beautifully written and a very unique story BUT…I was so bored! It was such a chore to read and finish. The pacing was beyond slow and there was a lot of filler that didn’t seem necessary. I felt no connection to any of the characters. I just didn’t enjoy it at all.
8.) Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
I’m sad about this one, because I thought I was going to love it. I actually thought it would be in my top ten best, not worst. The concept was interesting, but it was executed poorly. I was confused, bored and not interested in any of the characters. It all fell so flat for me. I can appreciate the author’s beautiful writing but I was not invested in the story.
7.) Release by Patrick Ness
This book had so much potential to be fantastic, if Patrick Ness hadn’t ruined it by trying to add in random chapters with confusing magical realism. The contemporary story was interesting and I wanted more of it. The crossover sections were so strange and really pointless. It was such a big no from me.
6.) Frogkisser by Garth Nix
I received this book in a YA Chronicles Box, otherwise I never would’ve picked it up. It’s a middle-grade retelling of The Frog Prince. I just didn’t like it. The ending was rushed and the rest was just blah. It wasn’t memorable to me. Others may like it but it’s not to my personal taste.
5.) Descendant of the Crane by Joan He
This was our May Books With Friends pick. I had such a headache after reading this book because I was so confused and really unsatisfied by all of it. I thought I knew where the plot was going and it went in a completely different, odd direction. Even when a main character died, the writing was so strange that I wasn’t even really sure it happened. I struggled to get through it. It wasn’t good.
4.) Frankly in Love by David Yoon
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! I thought I was going to love this book!!! It committed so many cardinal book sins in my opinion!
Firstly, there is never any excuse for cheating. I hate that Frank cheats on Brit. It’s never okay, but it’s even worse when the person is kind and loving and really doesn’t deserve it. He feels bad for like a second and then moves on with Joy.
Secondly, the book promised to be about fake dating, but it only happens for a couple of chapters then becomes something else entirely.
Thirdly, Q doesn’t reveal he is gay until the last couple of pages. This should’ve been explored earlier and not just as a ‘oh by the way I’m gay and I’ve had a crush on my best friend for years’.
Fourthly, and this is the biggest offender: Frank’s parents disown their daughter for being in a relationship with a black man. It isn’t until the father is on his deathbed that he basically apologises. NO NO NO! It should not take cancer for a parent to re-accept his child. If he hadn’t gotten sick, they still would’ve ignored her. It’s so so wrong and I’m really mad.
3.) Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak
If you compare this novel to The Book Thief and The Messenger (two of my favourites) you’re going to have a bad time. This was nothing like them and it was boring as hell. I’m not interested in gambling or horse-racing, so I felt my eyes glazing over a lot of the time. The family dynamics were confusing and I’m still unsure what this book was even about. It was super disappointing; especially because it was written by the talented Markus Zusak.
2.) We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
I hated this book. Hated! It got a 1 star from me. Tommy’s other novel: Thanks for the Trouble was one of the best books I read in 2017. How could his other novel be one of the worst? I hate when that happens! What a hot piece of misogynistic garbage! There was so much slut shaming in this book and even a transphobic comment. Plot points were introduced and never touched on again. It was all over the place and took such a strange turn that I did not enjoy in the slightest. I couldn’t find anything slightly positive about this book – sorry to be harsh!
1.) The Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil
My biggest disappointment of 2019 was The Secret Science of Magic. I met Melissa Keil in 2017 and she signed my copy for me. I adore the cover and that’s where the positivity ends. I just really didn’t like this book at all. There was no plot. It was all over the place, messy and convoluted. The characters felt like cheap knock-offs, the parents were not present at all and the side characters were barely touched upon. I didn’t connect with the story and I felt that it could’ve been so much better. The biggest thumbs down.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Tell me some of your best and worst reads of 2019. Did you agree with any of the ones I listed? Thanks for reading! I wish you all a safe and happy new year!
Peace & Love xoxo