As we enter into the second half of 2019, we took some time to reflect on all the wonderful new books that the past six months has brought to us. We have been moved to tears and laughter by a great many reads. While we are always looking forward to what is next, we can’t help but appreciate what we’ve read this year so far.
In no particular order, The Young Folks staff share the top 10 books of 2019 so far. From thrilling space odysseys to transatlantic romantic comedies, our top 10 is an eclectic mix of genres and voices that we absolutely enjoyed reading this year.
The Art of Breaking Things shows a frighteningly raw depiction of the effects of abuse and the lengths to which a survivor of sexual assault will go to suppress the trauma. With the intent of escaping her hometown and the unforgettable memories that come with it, Skye has her eyes set on attending art school. However, things change when her attacker returns and she fears that he will now target her younger sister. Silence is no longer an option. The author spares no details as she gives survivors of sexual abuse not just hope but a voice. – Leigh-Ann Brodber
The second series debut by the powerhouse team, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, Aurora Rising is epic. Told from multiple point of views, the story unfolds in at a cinematic pace. I became attached to the characters entirely and found myself slowing down my reading so that I could spend more time with them. By its breathless conclusion, I was desperate for more and will be awaiting anxiously for the sequel. – Brianna Robinson
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Told as an oral history (or the best episode of VH1’s Behind the Music to never exist, you decide), Daisy Jones and the Six chronicles the legendary—and brief—magic that occurred when the dreamy, magnetic Daisy Jones joined rising stars The Six on a whirlwind of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. With vibrant characters, complex female friendships, and prose that perfectly captures the zeitgeist of the 70s rock scene, you’ll breeze through this account of fast-burning fame so fast, you’ll want to flip to the beginning and start it all over again immediately. – Bri Lockhart
Bloodleaf is a novel that truly has it all: an intricate and thrilling plot line that entrances; realistically drawn and fleshed-out characters; and a distinctiveness that makes it stand out amongst others in the fantasy genre. It engrosses with its magic, mystery, and suspense while investing readers in the characters and the trials they face. A heartrending tale of love and sacrifice, Bloodleaf stays with you long after it ends. – Gina Webber
Set in a breezy Florida town of Port Coral, Nina Moreno’s debut is simply magical. It effortlessly creates a longing for a place that doesn’t exist. I want to live in a town that smells of citrus, where neighbors line up at Mimi’s window for miracles, viejitos post updates on their Instagram and a boy with a boat bakes guava and cheese pastelitos. At its heart, the book captures what it means to be a child of two worlds as many of the diaspora are. It also captures the echoes and reality of grief in a way that made the hope that sang through the book even louder. – Brianna Robinson
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
Possibly one of the best Young Adult novels out this year, On the Come Up is another masterpiece crafted by Angie Thomas. Told from the perspective of Bri, a sixteen-year old upcoming rapper who is eager to prove herself and finally step out of her hip-hop legend father’s shadow, On the Come Up explores themes that most YA novels veer away from. Similar to Thomas’ previous novel The Hate U Give, this book is a necessary truth that needs to be told. – Leigh-Ann Brodber
What do you get when the first son falls in love with the Prince of Wales? The queer rom-com of our dreams, and the perfect thing to fill the hold The Royal We left in our lives! With their witty dialogue and majorly swoon-worthy moments, Alex Clermont-Diaz, Prince Henry, and their loved ones will immediately win over your heart. – Bri Lockhart
We Hunt the Flame harbors not only a riveting story, but also a powerful message: hope always burns, even in the darkest and direst of circumstances. With its multifaceted characters and the expectations placed upon them, this book beautifully illustrates the importance of shaping the life you want to live, free from the mold society and others enforce. Alongside its takeaways, there’s a plot that enthralls, characters that inspire, and a world you’ll want to revisit. – Gina Webber
The highly anticipated sequel to Truly Devious, The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson is a killer second book in the trilogy. One of the best parts of the Truly Devious books, and The Vanishing Stair in particular, is that Maureen Johnson lays out the clues for the reader as Stevie is making new discoveries and as the stakes rise for Stevie, the tension rises for the reader. The Vanishing Stair is an excellent novel for fans of mystery and true crime. With a powerful ending, and a tense cliffhanger to boot, Johnson will leave you eagerly awaiting the third book. – Excerpted from a review by Lauren Wengrovitz
The Wicked King by Holly Black
Some sequels in a trilogy suffer from book two syndrome—this sequel to The Cruel Prince certainly does not. By betraying her family and binding the cruel prince Cardan to her, Jude protected her brother Oak for the time being and became the power behind the throne of Faerie. With a traitor in their midst, Jude quickly realizes that each situation getting more deadly, her relationship with Cardan is getting more complicated (and more importantly, sexy), and that the only thing harder than gaining power is keeping it. – Bri Lockhart
What is your favorite book of 2019 so far? Sound off in the comments.