Another a year, another almost impossible task trying to each choose our Top 10 Reads of the year! And since it’s the end of the reading year, don’t forget to enter our “Twelve Days of Christmas” Giveaway! Today I’m going to countdown my favorites reads, ten to six.
Pick Number 5: “Lethal White” by Robert Galbraith
I waited three long years for this book to finally be released, and not only did it not disappoint, it became my favorite of the Cormoran Strike series! Cormoran and Robin’s continuing adventures as detectives in London have never been longer, but they’ve also never been more satisfying. This time they take on the privileged class when a politician may have ties to a potential murder from decades past. “Lethal White” is a showcase of how much Galbraith has grown as a mystery author since the series debuted, and it is also a good reminded that Galbraith is a great master of characterization. All we need now is for Cormoran and Robin to finally start figuring out their feelings for each other, though I know we’re probably still a few books away from that. If you haven’t started the Strike books, you absolutely should, because “Lethal White” pays off big.
Pick Number 4: “The Outsider” by Stephen King
Speaking of masters within their field, I was so happy to see that Stephen King returned to his horror roots this year with “The Outsider”. When a young boy is molested and murdered in a small town, the cops think that they have an open and shut case when DNA evidence points to a local little league coach. But all is not what it seems, as the coach has not only an air tight alibi, but video evidence of being hundreds of miles away at the time of the murder. The monster in this book is one of the most unsettling that King has ever created, but it’s the appearance of his character Holly Gibney that really sold this book for me. Throw in some homages to “Dracula” and a number of likable characters, and “The Outsider” is just another example of the new Golden Age of King we are living in.
Pick Number 3: “Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles” by Mark Russell and Mike Feehan (Ill.)
The best graphic novel of my reading year was also one of the most unique concepts I’ve seen put to comic page. I myself would have never thought to take the Hanna-Barbera character of Snagglepuss and make him a symbol of LGBTQIA+ resistance during the Lavender Scare, but Mark Russell did just that and MAN did he create a powerful tale. In this universe, Snagglepuss is a successful playwright who lives a life of glamour and glitz as the toast of Broadway. But when those around him start getting targeted by the Government for their sexualities, Snagglepuss has to decide if he wants to be a sign of rebellion, or to play ball. This book was a powerful and all too relevant tale about Othering, and it gave an emotional story to a character that was decidedly not emotional in his original conception. Bring tissues to this one though. You will probably cry.
Pick Number 2: “Sadie” by Courtney Summers
Honestly, we’re basically in crying territory from here on out, because “Sadie” almost wrecked me. But it’s power and rage and devastation is what makes it so good. When Sadie’s younger sister is murdered, she is determined to hunt down the man she is convinced killed her and get her revenge. Meanwhile, a podcast about Sadie’s disappearance and the murder of her sister is telling her story to thousands of listeners, and two narratives converge to tell a larger picture about love, misogyny, poverty, and loss. Summers doesn’t hold back any punches as Sadie goes on her mission, and she faces awful circumstances and hardships along the way. She is a tough and gritty protagonist that you root for, and her story is absolutely soul crushing in it’s realism. But it’s hands down one of the best YA books I’ve ever read.
Pick Number 1: “Providence” by Caroline Kepnes
It probably comes as no surprise that one of my favorite authors made the top of the list this year! Caroline Kepnes may be well known for her disturbing Joe Goldberg books, but “Providence” is more of a tragic romance with speculative fiction thrown in for good measure. Jon and Chloe are teenage best friends, but when Jon disappears the romance that was blooming stops. When Jon reappears a few years later, something about him has changed, and his very presence is lethal for those around him. I fell in love with Jon and Chloe, I rooted for them and their star crossed relationship, and I loved the Lovecraftian influence that Kepnes brought into this book. It had me filled with suspense, elation, and woe, and when I set it down I knew that she had once again kicked me in my feels and left me raw. “Providence” is a WONDERFUL book, and it’s my favorite book of 2018.
So there’s my complete list! What were your top five reads of 2018?