Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Best Books I Read in 2018

Happy new year everyone! 2018 was a heck of a year for me, from being one of the most stressful years to being one of the happiest- there was some real ups and downs.
This year I graduated from college / university for the final time, traveled a little, went to festivals, had my first job rejection and managed to become a little happier and more positive.
Although there was great ups and downs, the year as a whole was wonderful. I wouldn't change it for the world.

As well as my personal achievements I managed to read some great books this year. I read 46 books, which is more than last year (link) and discovered some great books! I finally feel I am getting back into the swing of reading and blogging and hopefully can keep up a schedule of both for 2019.

Here's my favourites of 2018:

1) All The Lonely People  by  David Owens        [ REVIEW HERE ]

I absolutely adored The Fallen Children when I read it, and I was so happy to love this novel too. 

The novel centers around Kat, a girl who lives her life on the internet, who then becomes the target of a hate group. As a result, she shuts down all her social media and online presences to avoid the bullying. Slowly Kat begins to change, physically disappearing until no one can see her anymore or remember her! The only person who remembers her is her bully, Wesley. 

The characters in the novel were so well written. Every character and relationship jumped off the page and by the end you were extremely attached to all of them. Overall, such a wonderful engaging, fast paced, thought provoking novel. This novel will leave you with lots of questions about internet culture and its affects on young people but also fill you with warmth too. David Owen has done it again. I think I will need to automatically pick up anything he reads in the future!

2) Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow  by  Siobhan Curham    [ REVIEW HERE ]

The novel is told through the dual narrative and perspective of our main characters, Stevie and Hafiz. Although leading very different lives and coming from very different backgrounds, both Hafiz and Stevie are struggling through issues which ultimately bring them closer together and help solidify their friendship. 

Stevie is a carer for her mother who, since the death of her husband, has developed an extreme anxiety disorder and depression which prevents her from working and often times leaving the house. Stevie faces huge challenges living in such poverty to not only survive but also take on the parental role and be the carer of her mother. On the other side of this we have Hafiz who is a Syrian refugee who has come to the UK. He has been through extreme trauma and hardship to reach the UK as he has also had to travel alone. His parents and family are still in Syria and he has no way of contacting them or finding out how they are doing. On top of this Hafiz joins a new school, where he faces bullying, racism and prejudice. 

The novel explores friendship, child carers, refugee crisis and escapism in such a beautiful and well written story that will stay with you long after you finish the novel. 

3) White Rabbit, Red Wolf  by  Tom Pollock    [ REVIEW HERE ]

This book is the kind of book that swallows you up and then spits you out! The novel centers around Peter, a math genus with severe anxiety disorder. When someone tried to assassinate is mother, his world is thrown into disarray. He must adapt and begin a journey to try to understand just why his world has been thrown into chaos. 

I absolutely loved this novel. It may be one of the best novels I've ever read. I was gripped from the very first page and could not stop reading it once I had started. Even when I was not reading, I found my mind straying to think of the novel. This is definitely the book I will be recommending to everyone to read as soon as they can. 
You  do not want to miss out on  this novel ! 

4) The Last Olypian (PJO #5)  by  Rick Riordan    [ REVIEW HERE ]

The final book in the epic Percy Jackson and the Olympians series!

I had been putting off reading this book for ages, a few years in fact, and had finally decided to read it this summer. I loved being back in the world of Percy and the other demigods. The story was so action packed and gripping- I was hooked start to finish.

A great end to a phenomenal series. I hope to start the Heroes of Olympus series in 2019.

5) Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking #3)  by  Patrick Ness       [ REVIEW HERE ]

Another epic conclusion to one of my all time favourite series!

This year I re-read the first novel in the Chaos Walking series, The Knife of Never Letting Go, so I could then read The Ask and The Answer and Monsters of Men for the first time!

This book was just an epic tome of division, friendship, war and the strength of our main characters. The book was just utterly gripping and provided the best possible ending to the series I could ever have imagined. I hope the movie adaptation lives up to the novels.

6) Lobsters  by  Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison       [ REVIEW HERE ]

This was honestly one of the cutest, most realistic and laugh out loud books I have ever read!

Dealing with themes of change, toxic friends, relationships, virginity and hilarious situations, this book should be read by every teenage boy / girl. Full review to come.

7) The Loneliest Girl in the Universe   by  Lauren James      [ REVIEW HERE ]

I had not read a book by Lauren James before TLGITU, but  now I NEED to read all of her work.

The space setting of the novel was so well written and the protagonist was amazingly written. Great themes of loss, strength, loneliness and fandom. The plot was full of laughs but equally suspense and had me scared at some points! One of the best books I've read, an instant favourite!
Full review to come.

8) Dry  by   Neal & Jarrod Schusterman        [ REVIEW HERE ]

The novel centers around the "Tap-Out" where the water has stopped flowing for this town as the resources have run out. The novel shows us the affects of this water crisis through the eyes of Alyssa, her younger brother Garrett, neighbour Kelton, runaway Jacqui and Henry.

I found the novel made me think about not only climate change and its affects on the planet, but also human nature itself. In the novel we see as the crisis continues to go on, that people become increasingly desperate for water and to survive. Often times the need to survive overrides any other sense of morality or emotions a person would usually have. It was both interesting and slightly scary to see just how far everyone must go to survive a crisis such as this. An extremely gripping and thought provoking story that says with you. 

9) Release   by  Patrick Ness         [ REVIEW HERE ]

As you would expect from Patrick Ness, this novel was wholly beautiful.
The novels story unfolds between two points of view, firstly the protagonist Adam who is having to face a lot of truths and changes in this single day and secondly, the ghost. The novels point of view shifts occasionally between chapters back and forth between these characters who are both on a journey of their own looking for a sense of release from there burdens.

Everything about this novel gripped me. From Patrick Ness's wonderful plot design and writing style, to the characters, family dynamics and slight ghost story. A stunning story of love, LGBTQ themes, acceptance, growing up and a ghost.  Please pick it up! 

10)  Giant Days   by  Non Pratt     [ REVIEW HERE ]

Non Pratt can do no wrong! This book was a delightful mix of friendship, finding your sense of belonging and the most hilarious situations. The friendship group is this book is one of the best I've read in a while! The novel also deals a lot with themes of change, the movement to university and finding somewhere you feel you belong. I loved this book and was immediately sucked into the world and invested in the characters from the get go. 
Highly highly recommend this book!

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