This year has felt like an eternity in many ways, and yet, it’s already halfway over. Today we’re sharing our Books Editor’s top five books released in the first half of 2018.
Leah On The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
The companion to Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Leah on the Offbeat is a fun, emotional, humorous, and sweet return to Creekwood High.
A relatable look at senior year of high school, when friend groups begin to struggle and the stress of prom and college starts to add up, Albertalli doesn’t beat around the bush. As Leah deals with the things that make her different from her peers – having a young single mom, being bisexual (but not yet out, even to her gay BFF, Simon), and being less privileged – she struggles to find herself and her place in the world. And when she begins to fall for one of her friends, all kind of new challenges surface.
I loved this book with all of my heart. I loved getting to see returning characters from SIMON VS. and really enjoyed spending more time with Leah and watching her grow. I’m still reeling from the feels. Featuring wonderful LGBTQ+ relationships, Leah on the Offbeat is a must-read for fans of contemporary YA.
Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Once again, Kaufman and Kristoff have plotted a story that will keep you on your toes. Between the fast pace, intense plot, and creative format, this 600+ page book flew by. I wanted to savor the story but I just couldn’t help continuing on – I loved the new characters and wanted to know how all of the ends got tied up in this crazy, dangerous, action-packed sci-fi story. Thanks to evil geniuses, Amie and Jay, Obsidio keeps you guessing. The twists! The turns! The reunions! The betrayal!
Obsidio is a heartbreakingly satisfying end to the Illuminae Files trilogy. I cannot recommend this series enough, and I can’t wait to see what Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff do next.
American Panda by Gloria Chao
Mei is a Taiwanese-American teen in her freshman year at MIT, where she’s struggling with her parents’ desire for her to be a doctor, her fear of germs, and her love of dance. When she reconnects with her estranged brother, she begins to reckon with everything she’s grown up to know.
I loved American Panda. It’s sweet, funny, and heartbreaking. Mei’s story is relatable and diverse and so important. One of the rare YA books in a college setting, I can’t recommend American Panda enough.
Legendary by Stephanie Garber
The sequel to 2017 hit Caraval, Legendary picks up not long after, except this time Tella is our narrator. As Tella gets caught up in a new game of Caraval – where the stakes may or may not be more real than ever before – secrets come into the light and lives are changed forever.
Legendary is intricately plotted and Garber’s storytelling has grown. I didn’t want to put this book down and I’m very glad to hear that there is a third book in the series coming.
From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon
Twinkle Mehra is an aspiring filmmaker who gets her big shot when fellow classmate Sahil Roy asks her to direct a film. It seems like the perfect opportunity for Twinkle, who happens to be in love with Sahil’s twin Neil. But, as these things go, the more Twinkle gets to know Sahil, the harder she falls for him instead. Twinkle must decide whether she can get over her dreams of Neil to truly be with Sahil.
Menon’s When Dimple Met Rishi was one of my favorite books of last year, and TWINKLE now holds the same title for 2018. A super sweet contemporary romance, you won’t be able to resist falling for Twinkle and Sahil and rooting for their success. It also made me cry on Amtrak, so what else can you ask for?