Friday, December 14, 2018

Best Books of 2018

Everyone's got an opinion. I'm sort of over everyone critiquing everything as if they were Pauline Kael. And this year has been full of way too many serials -- a year of Laura Lippman, Alafair Burke, Mo Hayder. But I wanted to add to my body of favorites...for the historical record as it is. Here goes!

For Younger Readers

Monday's Not Coming (Katherine Tegen, 2018) by Tiffany D. Jackson

Totally transporting and a little mind-bending, this slide of D.C. life deserves a lot more love.

I've got my fingers crossed for midwinter.

Ghost Boys (Little Brown, 2018) by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Real racial justice talk for middle grade readers, bonus Emmett Till.

Nate Expectations (Simon & Schuster, 2018) by Tim Federle

After E.T.: The Musical folds, Nate returns to Jenksburg and goes in for production in a big way.

The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the best burger in Los Angeles) (Sky Pony, 2018) by Amy Spalding

The fashionista details, the L.A. locale, the sweet sweet romance are all top-notch.

Mystery and Suspense

Sabrina (Granta, 2018) by Nick Drnaso

The aesthetic and palette are kitschy, but the mystery is well handled, anxiety palpable and the product is ambitious.

Give Me Your Hand (Little Brown, 2018) by Megan Abbott

Megan Abbott makes her regular appearance.

This science-y one more than passes the Bechdel test.

Sunburn (Harper Collins, 2018) by Laura Lippman

Top-notch noir in an out-of-season Maryland beach town. I have read it three times already. The nods to James M. Cain are triumphant. It led me into the world of Tess Monaghan, and now I spend as much time thinking about Baltimore as Alabama.

Bluebird, Bluebird (Little Brown, 2017) by Attica Locke

Faulkner-worthy Southern communities with twisty, intergenerational and interracial relationships? Yes, please. I was late to this party, but Locke is stellar. This one is my favorite of hers.

#FashionVictim (Crooked Lane, 2018)  by Amina Akhtar

This book could have been frothy social media satire, but there was just enough Patrick Bateman-y rage and truth in the shifting sands of Anya's relationships to make it stand out.

The Woman at 72 Derry Lane (Harper Collins, 2017) by Carmel Harrington

I read a lot of frothy, soapy women's fiction, but this one has just enough intrigue, with its backdrop of the 2004 tsunami in Thailand and intergenerational support, to stick with me. 

Health, Mental and Physical

My Year of Rest and Relaxation: A Novel (Penguin, 2018) by Ottessa Mohfegh

It's literary fiction, but a primer for everyone who's ever wanted to check out, as our protagonist crawls towards 9/11.

Hey, Kiddo (Scholastic Graphix, 2018) by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

This tale of connection and loss and addiction will leave you teary, and it is all too relatable for too many people.

Heavy: An American Memoir (Bloomsbury, 2018) by Kiese Laymon

One of the modern south's most interesting voices does a sustained memoir. I've heard the audiobook's a treat, too.

Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer (Grand Central, 2018) by Barbara Ehrenreich

I love a good Ehrenreich, and this one's a top-form take-down of the medicalization of older age. National treasure. 

Here's to another year of reading!

Best Books of 2017

Best Books of 2016

Best Books of 2015

Best Books of 2014

Best Books of 2013

Best Books of 2012

Best Books of 2011

Best Books of 2010
Best Books of 2009