Happy New Year and New Decade!!
Since 2019 has come to a close, it’s time to wrap up my year.
Let’s ignore the fact that this post is coming 5 days late.
I ended up taking a little unplanned break this month: I had full intentions to come back to blogging and draft all the year-end blog posts, but life really got me this month. I was just really busy and when I had time, I simply didn’t have the energy or the motivation to blog.
I think I’ve been in a little bit of a blogging slump in the last quarter of the year, and I didn’t really notice or acknowledge it? I’m kind of questioning a bunch of things and trying to ease back into it, but I do miss the interaction of it all and I do love blogging, I just need to re-spark that flame again.
Okay, enough about me – I’ll talk more about this in my December Wrap Up, but yeah!! On to my favourite books of the year.
You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman
God, this was so relatable, poignant and brilliant, and I want to give this to so many high school students. Like, actually. This is one of the most relatable, if not, one of the top 5 most relatable books I have ever read in my life. Ariel was a character that was so distinctly relatable to me (I’m not at his level though, damn). The academic pressure to be fantastic at everything and to only be accomplished/valid when you are pushing yourself to the limit is the case for many students in many schools (which includes myself!) and I have NEVER seen this represented in YA, especially since YA contemporary has a tendency not to represent school realistic. This standard of perfection is really quite unhealthy and can lead to so much burn-out, and we need to talk about this more. The family dynamics here are excellent, and the relationships are done so well. This is not a perfect book; but that’s the point. It shows imperfections in such a raw manner, but it was just so perfect for me. And if it tells you anything, I nearly sobbed at the ending. Yeah.
Imagine Us Happy by Jennifer Yu
This book is just so magnetic and electric and I could not put it down, and I LOVED it. I don’t know what about it made me love it so much, but I think this was great and did so many things SO well. Rarely have I had such an intense reading relationship with a book: I picked it up on a whim in class and finished it in the same day. It was absolutely intense and so poignant and showed the progression of an unhealthy relationship so well, and it was SO interesting to see. I felt so invested in Stella’s life, the characterisation of both main characters felt so real and I loved how they weren’t villainised, but fully portrayed as real people with human issues. And teens being portrayed as the messy people they are? Yes. Please.
Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
If you’ve been on my blog for any thing longer than 3 seconds, you know how much I absolutely ADORE this book.
I thought it would be best to get the obvious out of the way.
It’s part of my blogging legacy, honestly. My blogging brand. And I’m proud of that.
Without a doubt (and to the surprise of absolutely nobody), this book is my favourite book of the year. It just hit in a place way too close to home and just meant a lot to me. I absolutely love this book so much, and this just made me sob like a baby in the last 50 pages.
Honest depiction and representation of clinical depression is not easy to find, and this made it so much more real and raw and beautiful. I love this book with my whole, entire heart, and I genuinely cannot find a single thing to nitpick about it. The depiction of male friendship and solidarity among queer characters was so, so beautiful to see, and Darius’s struggles with him being biracial, trying to connect with his Persian side, his familial relationships and his journey of self-discovery were so poignantly depicted.
I’m just so in love with this book, will continue to shout from the rooftops about it.
I am beyond ELATED to read the sequel and (if it gets greenlit) the adaptation of it. I am so glad to see it getting more and more love.
Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
If you can’t tell, I just love books that emotionally destroy me and characters that I have very strong connections with!
Yeah, I’m that predictable. It helps that this cover is gorgeous, though.
Okay, but for real. This is a book where the beauty of the cover reflects the beauty of its content. The portrayal of grief was so beautiful and poignant, and it was pushed to the forefront so well, which was complemented by the Hawaiian setting (which was A+).
But what made the book for me was Rumi. She was just such a great character for me. She’s definitely an unlikeable, rude and SUCH an angry MC, but I found her so raw and real and I fell for her so hard. I just felt for her and her pain and how she felt so alone just really, really deeply and I cannot shut up about it. The exploration of Rumi being on the ace/aro spectrum was so beautifully done, and I loved how it was incorporated.
The side characters were just absolute perfection, especially the ones in Hawaii, were just great. I just really need to do a reread soon.
Kingsbane by Claire Legrand
If you would ask me what a perfect sequel is, you can bet this is one of them. Clearly, I loved it so much and I am truly incapable of shutting up about this series. This was SO much darker than Furyborn and I was worried I wouldn’t like it as much (because of so many aspects), but surprise! I was SO wrong. This was great. I loved the character development and the feminist aspects of this series – feminist fantasies are becoming more prevalent in literature, and I’m such a huge fan. It changed my mind on so many things on this world and the characters, which is absolutely insane? And when I say changes, I mean they were CHANGES.
I don’t know what else to say since it’s a sequel, but just. PLEASE. Read this series.
Love from A to Z by S.K Ali
This is a book about a romance, but it’s also more than that. It’s a book about angry teens, Islamophobia, family, MS, connection and so much more. Obviously the romance was done so well, but what really made the book for me was the characters. It absolutely pulled at my heartstrings and I just don’t have enough good things to say about it. The themes were great and the writing was so powerful and beautiful.
Hungry Hearts edited by Elsie Chapman and Caroline Tung Richmond
I’ll be the first to admit that this was one of the most anticipated releases of 2019: an interconnected anthology about food and culture sounds like everything I ever want. But this absolutely blew my sky-high expectations out of the water, and that was such a great feeling.
This is the best short story anthology I have ever read in my life. It is so well-edited, the stories and characters were perfection, and the food!! Makes me so hungry whenever I think about it. I need to get a physical copy, and I desperately want to reread.
What are your favourite books of the year? Any common favourites? Have you read these books, and what did you think of them? How was your reading year? Any recommendations?