Best Books of 2019
Now that the dust has begun to settle on the previous year’s publishing; I have compiled a list of the most popular and acclaimed adult books from 2019. Many of these titles have won awards, and they all have at least a 4 star rating and jillions of reviews on Goodreads. I have included books from the major fiction genres and non-fiction. I excluded sequels and anything that would not have broad appeal. Starred titles have been added to my personal To Be Read List and I am in varying stages of reading and reviewing several of these books. Here are some of the most inspiring, intriguing, frightening, funny, realistic and outlandish titles from 2019.
Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah - After the loss of her mother and her own battle with breast cancer, Joanna Teale returns to her graduate research on nesting birds in rural Illinois, determined to prove that her recent hardships have not broken her. Her solitary routine is disrupted by the appearance of a mysterious child who shows up at her cabin barefoot and covered in bruises. The girl calls herself Ursa, and she claims to have been sent from the stars to witness five miracles. As the summer nears an end and Ursa gets closer to her fifth miracle, her dangerous past closes in.
Fantasy and Science Fiction
Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher - When a beloved family dog is stolen, her owner sets out on a life-changing journey through the ruins of our world to bring her back in this fiercely compelling tale of survival, courage, and hope.
*Middlegame by Seanan McGuire - Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story. Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math. Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realize it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Not entirely. Not yet.
Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E Harrow - In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls. Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. (Review in process)
Wanderers by Chuck Wendig - Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. They will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them, the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. No Spoiler Book Review Here.
*Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes - Set in Depression-era America, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond. When a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically. She will be joined by four other singular women who become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky.
Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead - As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is "as good as anyone." But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South in the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called The Nickel Academy.
Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell - Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them. (Review in process)
*Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides - Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.
Whisper Man by Alex North - In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.
Flatshare by Beth O’Leary - Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. They’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window. (Review in process)
*Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston - When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Prince Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations.
Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren - Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. When an entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds. She doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of... lucky.
*Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb - With startling wisdom and humor, Gottlieb invites us into her world as both clinician and patient, examining the truths and fictions we tell ourselves and others as we teeter on the tightrope between love and desire, meaning and mortality, guilt and redemption, terror and courage, hope and change.
Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates - If you want to lift a society up, invest in women. Convinced that all women should be free to decide whether and when to have children, Gates took her first step onto the global stage to make a stand for family planning. That step launched her into further efforts: to ensure women everywhere have access to every kind of job; to encourage men around the globe to share equally in the burdens of household work; to advocate for paid family leave for everyone; to eliminate gender bias in all its forms. No Spoiler Book Review Here.
*Over the Top by Jonathan Van Ness - Before he stole our hearts as the grooming and self-care expert on Netflix's hit show Queer Eye, Jonathan was growing up in a small Midwestern town that didn't understand why he was so…over the top. From choreographed carpet figure skating routines to the unavoidable fact that he was Just. So. Gay., Jonathan was an easy target and endured years of judgement, ridicule and trauma—yet none of it crushed his uniquely effervescent spirit.
*Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell - Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don't know. And because we don't know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world.
Summary excerpts from goodreads.com
Do you have plans to read or have you read any of the above books? What was your favorite book published in 2019? Comment below: