A Highly Unsurprising Favourite and Least Favourite Books of 2018

I know that most people have separate posts for their favourites and least favourites of the year, but just due to scheduling, it just didn’t work out. So I just decided to put both of these into this one post, because it’s better like this than never, ya know?

2018 was a solid reading year. I discovered more about my own bookish tastes, discovered lots of old favourites that wasn’t as great as I remembered, and read a lot of good books, aka 4 to 4.5 stars. Though new 5-star books were far and in between, which I hope to rectify in 2019, books I didn’t really like (aka gave 2 stars and below) were also far and in between, which is great!

I’m ranking my favourites of the year, because for me it’s very clear. However, I’m not ranking my least favorites because I just can’t, so I’ll just be writing about them in a random order. I’ll have honourable (and not-so-honourable) mentions because why not?

Anyway, I’m rambling, what’s new so let’s get into the post!

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I know it’s tradition to start off with my favorite books, then talk about my least favourite books, but I figured that I may as well get the negative out of the way and end on a positive note.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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This was the only book I DNFed this year. This is something on my owned TBR AND my 2018 TBR, so I was really hoping to enjoy it. I just found the characters to be bland, one-dimensional, and I just could not bring myself to care about anything. The whole thing was so boring and meh, and I was listening to the audiobook, for goodness sake. After I wrote that I DNFed it in my July Wrap Up, some people told me not to waste my time, and honestly? Good thing I didn’t. And to think of how it uses mental health as a plot device?

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A mood.

Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie

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I wanted to read all the Hercule Poirot books, and since I wanted them to read them in publication order (I haven’t read the Mysterious Affair at Styles but let’s ignore that, shall we?), I decided to give this one a go. The mystery is honestly so plain dull and lacks the sophistication and intrigue of other Agatha Christie novels I’ve read, even though this is one of her earlier ones. All the characters, except Poirot IMO, fell very flat and were trying way too hard to be interesting, and it came off as pretentious occasionally. And the reveal of the murderer did nothing to make me care about this story at all.

Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

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This was meant to be interesting – a summer contemporary about making ice cream and with a strong sisterhood? Yes, please! But it truly wasn’t. This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and I found so many issues and discovered a lot of problematic elements. The female friendship was incredibly catty, the writing was so dry, and the romance was just so misogynistic that it made me legitimately mad. Amelia (the MC) and the ice cream deserve better. My full review (on Goodreads) is here.

Son of the Dawn, Learn About Loss and A Deeper Love by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Kelly Link, and Maureen Johnson (Ghosts of the Shadow Market: #1, #4, #5)

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If you guys know me, you know that I’m Shadowhunter trash. The Ghosts of the Shadow Market novellas sounded so interesting, and while most of them were good, these ones were boring, disappointing and dragged so much. Son of the Dawn was just disappointing and it doesn’t really help that I don’t care that much about Jace, to be honest. I felt like Learn About Loss had 0 plot, and though I do realize some significance about it, I had so little emotional investment in it. A Deeper Love sounded so interested, but I felt that the synopsis was a thin veil for some Jessa romance. So, a case of false advertisement. *sighs eternally*

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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Honestly, this made it here because I needed a final book to make 5 least favorite books of the year. I didn’t hate this and did enjoy it in part, but I truly can’t understand why this series gets so much love. I don’t know whether it’s just me, but can someone tell me the X-factor in this series? I know you all love this series, so please don’t come at me. I may or may not try the Wicked King when it comes out next month, we’ll see how it goes.

(Dis)honorable mention: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

I’m still salty about my disappointment with this book.

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This list was quite easy to put together as I only had five new five star reads the whole year. I’m putting A LOT of honorable mentions after my top 5 favourites, as I still really enjoy those books, even if they weren’t 5-stars for me.

If you haven’t read any of these, add them to your TBR for 2019.

You’re doing yourself a favor, I promise.

5. Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

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I absolutely love the Wayward Children series and have given every single book in this series 5 stars. This series is so magical, whimsical, and does more in 100 pages than other books can in 500. This book felt like the aesthetic of the game Candy Crush in a book. I appreciate how this series has so much representation, and I’m absolute trash for the audiobooks.

4. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

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I’m just going to use this section to plug in my love for Leigh Bardugo, especially for the Six of Crows duology (Crooked Kingdom ahhhh). Leigh Bardugo’s writing is so lush, and she is just oh so good at writing these short little fairytales. I really love how she takes traditional, older tales, adds a unique twist, and manages to fit it into the Grishaverse. This book is so beautiful inside AND outside: have you guys seen the art and the cover? If not, do it now. Leigh Bardugo, you know what you did in When Water Sang Fire.

E X C U S E  M E.

I did not ask to be this shook.

=2. American Panda by Gloria Chao

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I genuinely cannot decide between this one and Always Never Yours, so I decided to make a compromise and put them as my tied second favorite of the year. I have a full review of this book here, but this book meant so much to me and spoke to me on such a deep level in a way that other books haven’t. This book honestly catered to my tastes so well, because on this blog I stan YA diverse contemporary rom-coms. I think what’s preventing me for bumping this up to a number 2 spot is that the writing was kind of chunky and rough at times, but I still did give this 5 stars, so.

=2. Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

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I will always continue to stan this book, and it makes me so happy whenever I see someone pick this up! I picked this up after it being recommended by Hailey @ Hailey In Bookland, and it was such a good impulse pick! My inner Shakespeare nerd was screaming at how it wove in Shakespeare into the story, the romance was so adorable, the theatre aspect was fantastic, and I just love it so so much. I also appreciated that Megan is not your typical special snowflake, and found it very fresh. I absolutely cannot wait for all the books this duo is going to publish (their next novel, If I’m Being Honest, is going to be published next year and I can’t wait!)

I now need to read the Taming of the Shrew and watch 10 Things I Hate About You before reading If I’m Being Honest (yes, I’m that person who hasn’t watched that movie yet, oops).

1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Look, no one is surprised by this choice. I have announced my obsession for this book everywhere, and Evelyn Hugo is one of the most nuanced and developed characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. Not only is this story so entertaining, it really delves into so many themes, for example, how Evelyn has to quash her Cuban heritage in order to make it in 1950’s Hollywood. And seeing how each husband impacted her life. I also found a new favorite author through reading this, but this is her best work yet. This is just a masterpiece. This will not be up for debate. Read it for Evelyn, read it for everything I just mentioned: you won’t regret it.

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Honourable Mention(s): Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan, Save the Date by Morgan Matson, Furyborn by Claire Legrand

Other 2018 Favourites aka some other great books you should check out: Meet Cute edited by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills, Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli, Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake, Here We Are edited by Kelly Jensen, Crooked House by Agatha Christie, I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman.

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I’d love to know about your reading in 2018! What were your favourite and least favourite books of 2018? What were the main surprises and/or disappointments of this year? What books in this post have you read, and what are your thoughts on them?

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11 thoughts on “A Highly Unsurprising Favourite and Least Favourite Books of 2018

  1. It’s so relieving to see that someone else didn’t like All the Bright Places! I read that book years ago and every time I look back on it, it makes me mad. The characters weren’t well written, and mental health was handled so poorly. ughhh I hate that book

    But all your hype for Evelyn Hugo has made me push that book higher to the top of my TBR list! I just recently bought it and I’ll for sure have to read it sometime early next year. Great post Taasia and I hope you have a happy new year!! 🎉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brianna, you’re way too sweet! It’s always nice to hear some similar opinions! Honestly, amen to everything you said about All the Bright Places! I’m glad I didn’t push through, because from what I heard, it isn’t worth it.

      Yes yes yes read Evelyn Hugo in the New Year! It’s so good and I hope you love it! Have a wonderful New Year, and I hope everything goes smoothly in 2019! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a good list! I’m so happy to see Always Never Yours on here, I adore this book so, so, so very much. I also had such a good time reading American Panda and Save The Date 🙂
    I NEED to check out Foolish Hearts next year, I’ve heard so much about this book, I can’t wait to get to it and hopefully love it, too. Oh and Girls of Paper and Fire, too. SO many books to read haha 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Marie! I’m so glad that we love Always Never Yours, it’s such a great book! I absolutely agree with what you said about American Panda and Save the Date, I found them just so easy, addictive and incredibly fun to read.

      I hope you love Foolish Hearts! I personally found that it did friendships very well and I loved the theatre aspect. Girls of Paper and Fire were just so great! I literally could NOT put this book down. Our TBR piles are literally conquering us all, haha. Happy reading and have a lovely New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, All the Bright Places. I feel like this is such a polarizing read. When I first read it, I think I was so overwhelmed by the hype – this is a very popular book in my country – that I probably rated it higher than I should have. I remember feeling like the story had a very problematic ending, but then also reading comments on people with mental ilness talking about how the book changed their lives. I believe everyone has different experiences, but even if I don’t struggle with any mental health issue like the ones our main characters went through, I still found the book to be problematic and not the type of story I was looking forward at all. I’m lowkey happy that you DNF-ed it and didn’t waste much of your time with it, hahah.
    Now that I look back on it, I only had two books this 2018 that severely disappointed me, which I think would make the year a good reading one. On the other hand, I only had one five-stars book that was not a re-read, so I don’t know how to feel about it. Hopefully, 2019 will have a lot more reads that really blow my mind!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think every single one of your points about All the Bright Places are extremely valid, Lais! Though I do have my problems, I can just say that this isn’t a book for me, but I’m extremely happy for the people who did love it and/or found solace in it. However, this book does have problematic elements and that needs to be acknowledged. I think you had a pretty good reading year, and I hope you have an even better one in 2019! Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. honestly i GET why you wouldn’t love the cruel prince, sorry it wasn’t for you, but definitely valid. i tried reading stay sweet but idk, there’s something with me and the author, i never get along with her books, so i didnt put too much effort into trying to finish it oops :p
    IM SO GLAD YOU LOVED BENEATH THE SUGAR SKY!! seriously loved it so much, its like walking through candy land, just more morbid. lol american panda was amazing x10, i found it so relatable and hilarious and heartwarming, really a great book. and ofc taasia we totally all expected evelyn hugo as #1

    Liked by 1 person

    1. may, i’m glad you enjoyed the cruel prince more than i did – i can see how so many people love it, just don’t really get it i guess? don’t bother with stay sweet, for me it just got worse and worse and i got sadder 😦 SUCH a disappointment smh

      YAYAYAYAYAY so glad you loved beneath the sugar sky! it was so good and maybe even my 2nd favourite of the series? you made me so happy with the american panda comment sksksks

      yes i’m so predictable and no one is surprised at my #1 fav? i’m honestly incapable about shutting up about evelyn hugo oh my god. i just reread it for the new year, it crushed my feels and i was so sad at the end 😭 happy reading and blogging this year may!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your list, though I have to say, I’m highly offended to see The Cruel Prince being part of any ‘least favorites’ list (kidding). What I love about the book is that it’s one of those books, at least for me, that doesn’t just say it’s going to be dark and kinda screwed up, but it actually goes there. Tbh, I’m an avid Holly Black fan, so a bias is VERY possible haha. (I’m really bothered about Jude and Cardan being a ship for loads of readers though, but that’s another story.) Anyhow, Evelyn Hugo is 1000% my top book of 2018! I managed to read a loot last year, and a lot of those were excellent books, but this one is in a league of her own. The Language of Thorns is another favorite of mine – such a beautiful, magical book. All the Bright Places I read when the hype was HUGE, and like you I ended up skimming through it after the halfway mark – or maybe just reading the end? I can’t even remember – such a disappointing read. Great post! 🙂
    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Veronika! I didn’t despise the Cruel Prince – I do get why people love it so much, but not why people loved Cardan and Jude so much, you know? Your point about it going dark places is totally valid, because a lot of YA Fantasy says it goes dark places, but it doesn’t. Yay so glad to hear that you loved Evelyn Hugo so much! It is truly a gem and a treasure ro this universe, and I just reread it to beckon the New Year. I’m so glad that you loved the Language of Thorns too – it’s phenomenal and gorgeous both inside and out. I’m glad I’m not alone in All the Bright Places – a lot of people are telling me is that it wasn’t worth finishing. It was disappointing and I’m glad I didn’t finish it. Happy reading!


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