2019 Favourites

The last day of the year has finally arrived and with it brings the inevitable - looking back at the memories, the moments and of course, the books. I started out the year with the intention of reading at least 80 books and the secret hope that I would hit 100 for the second year running. I managed 112 and honestly I have no idea how. I'm a fast reader yes but still, 112?! That's more than I've ever read in one year before in my life. I'm actually stupidly proud of it. 

Even though I read so many books this year narrowing down my favourites was surprisingly easy. For every ten books I read, one of them stuck with me long after I turned the final page. Looking at my bookcase this past week I was prepared to struggle but instead I found myself drawn towards the following nine. I could have included a few more, and I do have a little honourable mentions list at the bottom but ultimately these are the books that wiggled into my heart and stayed there. The books that I want to shout from the rooftops about and recommend to every single person I know, starting with you.

Song of the Dead - Sarah Glenn Marsh. The second book in the Reign of the Fallen duology, my favourite fantasy of all time and one of my favourite books - of the year and ever. Honestly it is FLAWLESS. Song follows a bisexual necromancer who is falling for someone she thinks she shouldn't (but wants to anyway) whilst also finding her own place and path in a world she thought didn't need her. The setting, the description, the characters, everything is so beautifully put together and just writing about it makes me want to dive head first back into the world again. This is truly a book that carries you away, pages turning faster and faster as the story unravels.

The Story of Lizzy and Darcy - Grace Watson. A Pride and Prejudice retelling between two women, based in the publishing industry and featuring the best side characters. Grace perfectly balanced the original story with her own words and the result is stunning. I truly believed in these characters and, despite knowing the plot of P&P like the back of my hand, was still pleasantly surprised at how the story unfolded.

Tell Me How You Really Feel - Aminah Mae Safi. One of my most anticipated reads of the year and it did NOT disappoint! Also known as the Rory and Paris AU of my actual dreams this book has everything you could ever wish for in a YA contemporary romance. Turning the page draws you further and further into the characters world - an L.A that was so vivid I could picture the streets as clear as my own village despite having never even set foot in America. It's honest, hilarious and the warmest, most comforting book I have ever had the privilege to read.

Going Off Script - Jen Wilde. When I say that this book ticks every single box I promise there isn't even a droplet of exaggeration. It is the nerdy, funny and effortlessly sweet book of my heart and I adore it beyond words. The big dramatic moments are perfectly balanced against the soft, quiet ones and both are given equal focus. This is truly the 'follow your dreams, stay true to yourself' kind of story that I would read a thousand books to find. Also there are lesbians so it gets extra bonus points.

Red, White and Royal Blue - Casey McQuiston. The most realistic portrayal of an early-twenties human I've ever read - messy and complicated with the unshakeable feeling that everyone else is killing it while you're just floating around trying to find the guide book. I laughed, cried and told half my friends to read it before I'd even finished. There are multiple plot threads and they all weave together so beautifully that you barely even realise just how many side characters and little mini arcs flow through the book, supporting and tangling around the main storyline.

Perfect Rhythm - Jae. Asexual lesbian alert! I couldn't even get through the dedication without crying and the rest of the book did not let me down. I was pretty sure I would love this book but I totally underestimated just how much I would love it. With a truly beautiful underlying message, an amazing arc for each women that doesn't revolve solely on the romance and some of the best dialogue I've read this book is both charming, hilarious and so respectfully and beautifully written. In short, it's stunning and I adore it and I would like everyone to buy it and read it please.

Her Royal Highness - Rachel Hawkins. With a romance arc of enemies to lovers between a lesbian princess from Scotland and a bisexual scholarship student from America this book is 100% my cup of tea. The fact that it's one of the most genuine and realistic romance arcs I've read in a YA book just adds to that. The friendships were given equal focus to the romantic relationship and the humour & dialogue flowed so beautifully that I never wanted the book to end. Also the girls go camping, bicker like an old married couple and they were roommates!

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali - Sabina Khan. This book broke my heart in a million different ways but did it so beautifully that I didn't even mind. The setting, descriptions and characters all jumped off the page and ran wild, tangling my emotions into the plot so completely. Everything about this book is so stunning!

One of Us is Lying - Karen McManus. Murder, mystery and a plot twist that genuinely made me gasp and stare at the page for a good few minutes while my brain attempted to process the sheer genius that Karen has. The multiple points of view grab your attention from the very first page as the four characters lives begin to knot together, all of them staying stubbornly true to themselves even when faced with a dark situation. The perfect balance of humour, intrigue and incredible writing meant that not only did I love this book but it also didn't creep me out so much I couldn't sleep.

Honourable Mentions:

The Space Between - Meg Grehan

The Deepest Breath - Meg Grehan

Here We Are Now - Jasmine Warga

Moonrise - Sarah Crossan

The Truth About Keeping Secrets - Savannah Brown

Second Chances - A. E Radley

Small Town Hearts - Lillie Vale

Dear Martin - Nic Stone

What were some of your favourite reads of 2019?

eloise x

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