It’s hard to believe that it’s already mid-December, and another year has come and gone. But doesn’t it feel like that every year?
Anyway, with the close of one year, it’s time to look back on the year’s best reads. Here are my picks for the Best YA Books of 2018 (roughly in order of release date):
Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen
Elemental powers, a desert-inspired forbidden romance, and a simmering rebellion. I just recently re-read this lush fantasy before diving into an ARC of the sequel (in stores next month), and I loved it just as much the second time around.
Blood & Sand by C.V. Wyk
This book had me hooked from the second I read this tagline: “What if the legendary Spartacus was a woman?” And after I actually read the book? SWOON! I am in love with this intense, gritty story about forbidden love in ancient Rome, and I’m dying for the sequel.
Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
I confess, I only mildly enjoyed Scythe and didn’t even realize it was the first in a series until a review copy of Thunderhead landed on my doorstep. Intrigued, and with the author visiting soon, I started reading — and holy mother of Zeus, am I glad I did! This book blew me away, and I can’t wait to see how things wrap-up in the third book.
The Prince & the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
An utterly charming story about love and being true to yourself, this graphic novel will wrap you up in warm feels and just make you feel happy.
More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer
I loved last year’s Letters to the Lost, so this companion novel following fan favorite character Rev was a no-brainer. It was just as wonderful as the first book.
Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
The highly-anticipated conclusion to the Illuminae Files did not disappoint. New characters won my heart, and seeing everyone from the first two books come together for an explosive and fist-pump-inducing finale made this a blast to read. If you haven’t read these books yet, now is the perfect time for a binge-read of the completed trilogy.
Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi
This year, I was really in the mood for sweet, touching romances — and Emergency Contact is definitely one that delivered, while also balancing out the swoony with some serious subjects, making for an overall book filled with substance and heart.
Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner
Cosplay and fandom culture collide, as a troll-fighting fangirl fights back by dressing as a boy — all so she can shop at the local comic book shop without getting harassed by the dudebro who works there. Things get complicated when she starts befriending the geeks who play D&D there, and develops a major crush on one of them.
Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton
This book was an unexpected delight. Packed with wonderful characters, warm humor, and some emotional surprise twists, this quiet book is full of heart.
Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
This may have been Jenn Bennett’s third YA romance, but it was my first time reading her books — and I fell instantly and immediately in love, and quickly devoured both of her previous YAs (and even one of her adult romances, too). This book is sweet, clever, and sex-positive.
The Brink of Darkness by Jeff Giles
I adored this conclusion to The Edge of Everything duology even more than the first book. X and Zoe’s story comes full circle, and every epic moment of their journey makes for a stunning read. The balance of epic fights and fantasy realms, with the real-world and things like friends and curfew and a mom makes for a unique feel.
Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider
If there was any buzz about this book, I missed it — but holy hell, I LOVED THIS BOOK. Sweet, funny, romantic, and charming, Invisible Ghosts reads largely like a contemporary … except the main character can talk to her brother. Who is a ghost.
Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
This is a beautifully written coming-of-age story dealing with mental illness, and one teen’s struggle to understand his heritage and figure out who he wants to be.
Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
Last year, Strange the Dreamer swept me away — and this year, the conclusion to this stunning duology secured this series as one of my all-time favorites. Muse of Nightmares picks up right where the first book left off, and hurtles the reader into a story lush with romance, mythology, history, and war. It’s epic in scope, but intimate in feel, and the surprise connection to Laini’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone series was the cherry on top.
Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
This book took me utterly by surprise, but it was so delightful! Hilarious and mad-cap, Little White Lies felt like a breath of fresh air. It’s different, truly laugh-out-loud funny, and focuses on strong girl characters with a fun, twisty plot.
For the Comments: What were your favorite YA books of 2018?