I had a really disappointing year for reading back in 2014 – a combination of reading academic texts and being generally out of touch with fiction. What fiction I did read ended up being almost entirely rereads. So one of my resolutions for 2015 was to read more new books!
I don’t think I did too badly! To say I also wrote two books and entered the world of querying, I’m pretty pleased with how I did. I’ve not pictured rereads (and I read Harry Potter every year, and His Dark Materials), the books I bought on Kindle, and there were two books I bought that I couldn’t bring myself to finish – I gave those to new homes so they’re not pictured.
My Top Ten:
A no-holds barred look at rape culture, this book made me cry, and get what I called ‘the wild stares’ for a long time. I was furious after reading it, at the world, mostly. A must-read contemporary novel for all young adults.
I generally struggle to get into contemporary books, but I fell into Am I Normal Yet? because Evie’s voice was so compelling. The Spinster Club is a great invention, and the book made me laugh at it’s honesty and true-to-life portrayal of being a teenager.
In my opinion, this is one of the most underrated books I’ve come across. Ruby’s journey in the poisonous climate of the UK is gripping, and terrifying. It also has Simon – one of The Best portrayals of a parent in YA literature that I’ve ever come across.
The Wolf Wilder deserves to be on this list for the beauty of its prose alone. The imagery and world of pre-revolutionary Russia is brought to life so convincingly, and Feo would give Lyra a run for her money. A wonderful MG story with magic in the words.
I’m still furious about this book. I was (and am) utterly invested in this story, in the beautiful characters. But oh my god that ending. A fantasy novel that delivers more than a simple love triangle, and delves into the concept of identity. I cannot wait for the sequel next year.
What if the Nazis had won the second world war? The world-building in this alternative history is staggering. Writing goals. Jess is a flawed and yet beautiful character, and the concept of false memories and gaslighting done by characters ‘in control’ is cleverly woven in until the unreliable narrator is lost in a web of falsehoods and half-truths. Read it.
A second entry on my top ten, but hardly surprising as Louise O’Neill is a total genius. This dystopian future plays on society’s current expectations and views of women. Everything seen in this dystopian is happening now, to some extent, and this is what makes Only Ever Yours so compelling. I read this four times this year.
Another book that deserves more hype. SEED is the most frightening book I’ve read for many years. The cult of Seed is Pearl and Kate’s home, and they do not question it – they revel in their existence. Until newcomers arrive, and a new light is shone on their closed world. The ending of this book is truly some of the best writing I have ever come across, and I have no idea how some of it was allowed. I can only assume it was (rightly) heavily fought-for.
There are millions of reviews for this book, so I’ll be brief: Noah is the most beautiful character I have come across in years.
The only book this year to make me WEEP. And I mean BAWL into a cushion. I picked this up on a whim because I likd the cover, but oh my days. A fantasy historical romance, with anthropomorphised mythical characters. Two canonically queer POV-characters. An MC who is a woman of colour. Another female POV-character who goes through a remarkable change that is nothing to do with a man. This book is everything. I loved it. For 2015, it is my Number One.