Putting together a year’s best list is inherently weird.
Do I use books I read in 2019, or books that came out in 2019? Since I read ARCs early, it seems unfair to only do the former. But if I only do the latter then I miss older books, and I believe in supporting backlist. Especially since I haven’t gotten to all the books that came out this year that I want to read! (Like, I’m sure A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay would be listed if it wasn’t, you know, still on my TBR. >_<)
I also remain confused by people who were posting these in, like, November. Great for holiday shopping I guess, but I’ve read a dozen books since then! IN THIS HOUSE WE ARE EXCESSIVELY THOROUGH WHERE BOOK LISTS ARE CONCERNED and also honestly just in general.
So this is a mix, basically. But all books are available to purchase as of the end of 2019! I did cut sequels from the list, too: all these are stand-alones or beginnings of series.
More importantly, all of them are books not just that I enjoyed casually, but that I will yell about in an alarmingly enthusiastic fashion to anyone I can convince to hold still long enough.
These are, of the 150ish titles under consideration for 2019, my favorite reads. The top 15%, more or less. You may have heard me shout about them before, and you certainly will again. Requisite caveat that these are necessarily my personal taste, and I read primarily for character arcs and always want stories about powerful women.
So with that in mind, here they are in alphabetical by author’s last name order, genres all mixed together because I had too many edge cases XD; you can search by age or genre category as you like. All links go to IndieBound in the interest of supporting independent bookstores, so if you want to know more about any of them, just click!
(If we’re mutuals and you’re curious whether a particular book might be a good fit for you, you know how to reach me! Otherwise, if you want me to sell you books in person, you’d better register for Sirens Conference. >=D)
I’M LATE TO THE PARTY SORRY
- Aru Shah and the End of Time, by Roshani Chokshi (MG SFF)
- The Black God’s Drums, by P. Djèlí Clark (adult SFF novella)
- One Night in Boukos, by A.J. Demas (adult; SFF / romance)
- The Silence of Medair, by Andrea Höst (adult SFF)
- Peasprout Chen: Future Legend of Skate and Sword, by Henry Lien (MG SFF)
- Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin (MG SFF)
- Finnikin of the Rock, by Melina Marchetta (YA SFF)
- The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, by Patricia McKillip (adult SFF)
- Trade Me, by Courtney Milan (contemporary romance)
- Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, by Nahoko Uehashi (…SFF technically published as MG in the US, but this is a strange choice and might be better in adult honestly)
NEW IN 2019
- Snow White with the Red Hair Vol. 1, by Sorata Akizuki (shoujo manga; SFF / romance)
- The Candle and the Flame, by Nafiza Azad (YA SFF)
- Can’t Escape Love, by Alyssa Cole (contemporary romance)
- Empress of Forever, by Max Gladstone (adult SFF)
- The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday, by Saad Z. Hossein (adult SFF; novella)
- Dragon Pearl, by Yoon Ha Lee (MG SFF)
- Spin the Dawn, by Elizabeth Lim (YA SFF)
- A Memory Called Empire, by Arkady Martine (adult SFF)
- Red, White & Royal Blue, by Casey McQuiston (m/m contemporary romance)
- Polaris Rising, by Jessie Mihalik (SFF romance)
- Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir (adult SFF)
- The Merciful Crow, by Margaret Owen (YA SFF)
- Sorcery of Thorns, by Margaret Rogerson (YA SFF)
- Empire of Sand, by Tasha Suri (adult SFF)
- The Beast Player, by Nahoko Uehashi (YA SFF)
- The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics, by Olivia Waite (f/f regency romance)
- Ship of Smoke and Steel, by Django Wexler (YA SFF)
First, this was an incredible year for space opera for me across genres. If you only read one book off this list, make it Empress of Forever. Trust me.
Second, this is more YA than I’ve been excited about in ages–I’ve gone through a dry spell with YA for several years, so I hope this isn’t an outlier and 2020 will bring more of the same!
Also, that’s like… six whole books by dudes lol. If you’re looking for more books by and about women, nonbinary and trans people, people of color, queer people, neuroatypical and disabled people, I’ve got you fairly well covered!
Next year I plan to keep broadening my reading in middle grade and romance, but what I’m really hoping for is an adult epic fantasy series I want to yell at everyone about. We’ll see how it goes!