If you’re a bibliophile like myself, you will understand that asking someone to choose a favourite book is like asking a mother to select her favourite child. In other worlds, impossible. It just will not happen. Trust me, I’ve spent many a school homework task in my pre-university days thinking for HOURS about how to answer the question…only to come up with a top ten list (or, even better, a top twenty). Choosing one is quite simply an unachievable feat.
So here is my compromise – an A-Z list of my favourite books I’ve read 2014/2015:
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.
- I finally decided to embark on reading this series after summer exams and I am so glad I did. It’s not my go-to genre but I like to think of myself as an open-minded reader and George R. R. Martin definitely didn’t disappoint. What I love most about these books is how the characters grow as people (before, yes, many are then killed in horrific and gruesome ways) and these characters really get to feel like friends. Cheesy, I know. But true.
Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.
- I know it’s cheating but I can’t not mention this book which, as you might have guessed from me including it, is an absolute gem. It’s witty and clever and will one hundred percent give you a case of severe wanderlust. This book will make ANYONE want to roadtrip in the USA (to the point that you will go to bed Googling all of the places in the novel and working out your own itinerary… Or at least, it will if you are as sad as me. Proceed with caution.)
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.
- No, before you ask, it has nothing to do with Christian Grey or a Red Room of Pain. I promise. This is one of my favourite historical reads of the year, hands down, and I would read it over and over again if only it didn’t make me cry quite so much each time. Set in the 1940s, this novel explores the harrowing journey of a family deported to Siberia from the perspective of 15-year-old Lina, a heartwarming and courageous protagonist who you will be rooting for from the moment you read the first page.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer.
- Incredibly unique, this story is a futuristic Cinderella involving cyborgs and a deadly plague, amidst the expected evil stepmother and handsome prince… Surely that is all I need to say to convince you that it’s worth reading.
Diary of a Crush by Sarra Manning.
- I have so much love for this book. So, so much. Sarra Manning can write romance, that’s for sure. I have religiously read every single one of her novels, but I think there will always be a soft spot in my heart for this trilogy. The moody, French artist Dylan and sparky female lead Edie are one of my favourite YA couples EVER. I shall say no more.
Every Day by David Levithan.
- Ok, David is a secret genius. I kind of wish I could have the opportunity to analyse his brain because his imagination is insane. Every single day a boy wakes up in a different body, forced to live a different life all while chasing after the girl he loves. And you thought you had issues with your relationship… Try having no body, no gender, no nothing except a name.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.
- OH MY GOD. THIS WOMAN. THIS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING WOMAN. ‘Fangirl’ is a completely magical reading experience, employing a kind of story-in-a-story technique whereby the fandom of imaginary hero Simon Snow is her life. According to Urban Dictionary, a fangirl is: a rabid breed of human female who is obsessed with either a fictional character or an actor. Do not fret, Cath is neither rabid or obsessive, just a very excitable, lovable, relatable (goodness knows how many more ‘able’ adjectives I could use to describe this girl) protagonist with an overwhelming love of fan-fiction.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore.
- One for you fantasy lovers. It’s not quite Game of Thrones, but it’s written in the same vein with powerful characters, vivid fight scenes and exquisite world-building. The love story buried beneath all the action and magic is also an added bonus… Can never go wrong with a bit of romance.
Hopeless by Colleen Hoover.
- Ok, I could say HARRY POTTER, HARRY POTTER, HARRY POTTER but 1) I didn’t read Harry Potter this year and 2) Harry Potter will always be at the top of any list, alphabetical or not. It just cannot be beaten. By anything. Ever. So…instead, I’m going to recommend ‘Hopeless’ because Colleen Hoover is just a romance writer who knows her genre and knows how to do it well. While this one isn’t my favourite (‘Maybe Someday’ is out of this world), it’s a close second and has everything required of a good romance novel without the predictability.
Isla and the Happily Ever After.
- Yet more romance. Apologies. But this one deserves a mention. If you’ve ever read Anna and the French Kiss, you will understand how incredible Stephanie Perkins’ novels are. I expected great things from ‘Isla’ and it delivered. It’s a cutsie, enjoyable read that leaves you all happy and oddly emotional at the end. #winning.
Just One Day by Gayle Forman.
- A beautiful, touching story about chasing dreams, finding love and travelling to amazing places. I devoured this book in one, and the sequel, which was of equal quality. There’s just something so real about this novel that you can’t help but be drawn into the tribulations of a very lovely protagonist and the places to which she goes. With lots of Shakespeare thrown in too, I couldn’t have been more happy…
A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke.
- I struggled to find a ‘K’ because I haven’t read all that many titles beginning with this letter. I guess you could say this was the best I could think of. A gripping read, it’s definitely capable of raising eyebrows and challenging preconceptions. Yet it’s extremely raw and edgy too, with an emotional intensity and vulnerability only Cat Clarke could capture with such ease and ability. Worth a look, if nothing else.
Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison.
- This is a spectacular example of a co-written book. It’s hilarious, fresh, original and the characters are quirky and interesting, as would be expected from a romance novel with a title like this one. An absolute joy to read, and one every girl with a secret love of YA romances should pick up and devour. Not for any particularly swoon-worthy reasons, just because the viewpoints are so down-to-earth, so funny and true-to-form that you can’t help but love it. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover.
- Oh, my life. I could rave about this book forever and ever and ever. Even though I’m not going to, I just wanted to let you know that I could. So easily. This is without a doubt one of my absolute all-time favourites. I have never read a romance with so many twists and turns, so much hilarity, depth and emotion. The male protagonist happens to be a deaf guitarist (yes, deaf. This, my lovely readers, is what makes this book so damn unique) whilst the female lead is pretty standard. Their relationship, however, is glorious to read about because it’s portrayed as so real, so human, but, at the same time, completely magical.
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen.
- This is a beautiful book (another romance, I’m sorry) which challenges standard conceptions of beauty. What does it mean to be beautiful? How is it that someone with a port-wine stain on their face cannot be considered beautiful because of it? Justina Chen writes a novel that assures many self-conscious people beauty is within, and that a physical imperfection of any kind does not make you uglier than anyone else. A treasure of a book.
The One by Kiera Cass.
- I adore ‘The Bachelor’, I can’t lie. I love it. So when I realised that Kiera Cass was writing a series of books about a royal version of ‘The Bachelorette’ I was SO PSYCHED! I read the entire series unbelievably quickly because they are seriously just so addictive. It’s fun YA and I love it, even more than the TV series (which is quite an achievement, I assure you…)
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles.
- It’s like this woman climbed inside my brain and wrote a book based on exactly what I would put in one if I had the choice: a troubled love-struck couple of teens, hot Latinos, Spanish, heart-racing action scenes and steamy romance. This trilogy is damn near perfect. And Simone Elkeles, for that reason, should be worshipped.
- I’m stumped. It’s actually quite difficult to find any book with a ‘Q’ in the title that doesn’t involve queens. I was going to say ‘Quidditch Through The Ages’ but I promised myself I wouldn’t list any Harry Potter, so that feels like cheating. Though I guess leaving it blank is kind of cheating too…
Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot.
- Ahem, see other blog post for full review…
Stolen by Lucy Christopher.
- I’ve chosen to list this book purely because its originality blows me away every time. Written in second-person, via a series of letters to her kidnapper, ‘Stolen’ reveals how Lucy is taken from an airport to a harrowing desert landscape and expected to love her captor. Pure gold.
Tidal by Emily Snow.
- Having finished this only yesterday, I can say that this is probably the most recent review to date. I’d never heard of Emily Snow, or any of her books, until a spontaneous Amazon rampage left me with this novel in my basket, for which I can’t thank the internet enough. A perfect summer read, ‘Tidal’ is set in the beautiful locale of Hawaii (cue wanderlust) and involves a rough-around-the-edges surfer and up-and-coming actress fresh out of rehab. This is one for your holiday to-read list for sure.
Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover.
- Another Hoover romance. For this, I’m not going to apologise. It’s COLLEEN HOOVER. Surely that’s enough?
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen.
- Sarah Dessen’s YA novels are the most touching, realistic novels of the genre, it goes without saying. She manages to pack a load of emotion, romance, family dramas and personal journeys into every single one of her books. ‘What Happened to Goodbye’ is no different. It’s not for people who like fast-paced reads, but for those who are partial to a sob story or character evolution, this is the perfect book.
And this is where I give up and go to lie down. With a coffee. (And maybe a book…)