Happy National Book Lovers Day, everyone!
In honor of this very important holiday (and because I love talking about books), today I’m going to be listing 20 amazing books that I’ve read in 2018. There’s also a fun book-themed freebie if you stick around until the end of the post. 😉
So far, I’ve read 64 books in 2018. That may not seem like a lot, but considering how busy this year has been for me, I think it’s pretty good! My goal is to read 100 books by the end of the year, so I would love any and all book suggestions that you guys have for me! Let’s take a look at the books, shall we? All synopses are from Goodreads. 🙂
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Synopsis: “Miranda is an ordinary sixth grader, until she starts receiving mysterious messages from somebody who knows all about her, including things that have not even happened yet. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late.”
I absolutely loved this book! The plot was unique and creative, and the ending was brilliant. All of the characters were great, especially Miranda. She was smart and funny and seemed like a very realistic 12 year old. I’ve read this book twice in 2018, and I loved it both times. 🙂
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Synopsis: “A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.”
This is definitely one of the most intense books on this list, but WOW, it’s so good. I took off a star for some language/violence, but for a YA book, it’s actually surprisingly clean. My favorite thing about this book actually wasn’t the plot or characters – it was the amazing world-building. The futuristic world that Neal Shusterman crafted is incredibly detailed and believable. This book is pretty dark, but if you enjoy darker books, then I would highly recommend it!
Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
Synopsis: “Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes.”
This sequel to Scythe wasn’t quite as incredible as the first book in terms of the plot – it seemed a bit slow in places. However, it was still an excellent book, and it definitely kept me interested. I really enjoyed seeing things from the Thunderhead’s point of view. There was a bit more language in this one than the first, which is the main reason I took off a star. The book ended on a major cliffhanger, so I’ll be impatiently awaiting the next book, which comes out in 2019. 😉
Savvy by Ingrid Law
Synopsis: “For generations, the Beaumont family has harbored a magical secret. They each possess a “savvy” -a special supernatural power that strikes when they turn thirteen. Grandpa Bomba moves mountains, her older brothers create hurricanes and spark electricity . . . and now it’s the eve of Mibs’s big day. As if waiting weren’t hard enough, the family gets scary news two days before Mibs’s birthday: Poppa has been in a terrible accident. Mibs develops the singular mission to get to the hospital and prove that her new power can save her dad.”
This book was so amazingly creative – I loved it! At first, it seemed pretty strange and a little unbelievable, but then it just started to get better and better. I loved Mibs’ fun, weird siblings, along with pretty much every other character in the story. The book had an exciting plot and a wonderful, bittersweet ending. It actually has a sequel that I haven’t got around to reading yet, but I definitely plan on picking it up soon!
Fiddler’s Green by A.S. Peterson
Synopsis: “From the backwaters of Georgia to the taverns of Philadelphia, Fin Button is the talk of the colonies. The British say she’s a pirate. The Americans call her a mutineer. The crew of the Rattlesnake call her the most unlikely thing of all: captain. But with the Revolution on the verge of defeat, the Congress offers Fin a deal. If she can free a noblewoman held captive by pirates, the French may be persuaded to join the war. Fin’s reward? A full pardon.”
AHHH, this book was AMAZING. It’s the sequel to The Fiddler’s Gun, which is one of my absolute favorite books of all time. I was a little nervous that the sequel wouldn’t live up to the first book, but it exceeded my expectations. I will warn you that this book has some language and some pretty violent scenes, since it’s set in the middle of the Revolutionary War. I know the book description makes it sound like just another boring historical fiction book, but I promise you it’s not. The characters are lovable, the plot is intriguing, and A.S. Peterson has a beautiful writing style that I absolutely love.
Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
Synopsis: “kira-kira (kee ra kee ra): glittering; shining. Glittering. That’s how Katie Takeshima’s sister, Lynn, makes everything seem. The sky is kira-kira because its color is deep but see-through at the same time. The sea is kira-kira for the same reason and so are people’s eyes. When Lynn becomes desperately ill, and the whole family begins to fall apart, it is up to Katie to find a way to remind them all that there is always something glittering — kira-kira — in the future.”
This was a lovely historical fiction book that I really enjoyed. The main character, Katie, was so funny – I laughed out loud several times at her thoughts and commentary. I also thought that the relationship between her and her older sister Lynn was so sweet. The ending was really good – I knew the book was going to have a sad ending, but it ended up finishing on a lighter, happier note. I also really liked the author’s simple yet engaging writing style. I think this book definitely deserved a Newberry Medal – it was amazing!
The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall
Synopsis: “Nine years, five older siblings, a few beloved dogs, and an endless array of adventures–these are the things that have shaped Lydia’s journey since readers first met her in The Penderwicks in Spring. The Penderwicks will all be returning to Arundel this summer, the place where it all began. And better still is the occasion: a good old-fashioned, homemade-by-Penderwicks wedding.”
The Penderwicks is one of my all-time favorite series, so I was beyond excited to finally read the last book in the series. It was very bittersweet to see the story end, but I thought that Jeanne Birdsall did a wonderful job. Lydia, who was only a toddler in the last book, was 12 and the main character in this book. She was unique and funny and very different from her older sisters, but in a good way. I loved that the Penderwicks went back to Arundel – it was a nice way to tie everything together at the end. 🙂
Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
Synopsis: “Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie’s picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.”
I don’t really know how to describe this book other than that I loved it. XD The author, Kate DiCamillo, wrote Because of Winn-Dixie, and this book had the same vintage-summery feel and quirky, lovable characters. Louisiana was my favorite character, though I loved all three girls. The plot was subtle and creative, and the ending left me wanting to read more of Kate DiCamillo’s writing!
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
Synopsis: “Growing up in the shadows cast by two world wars, Annabelle has lived a mostly quiet, steady life in her small Pennsylvania town. Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty quickly reveals herself to be cruel and manipulative, and while her bullying seems isolated at first, things quickly escalate, and reclusive World War I veteran Toby becomes a target of her attacks. While others have always seen Toby’s strangeness, Annabelle knows only kindness. She will soon need to find the courage to stand as a lone voice of justice as tensions mount.”
This book was so sad, but so good. The plot was pretty slow – I was about three-quarters of the way through the book before there was some real action. However, the writing was lovely and the characters were interesting, so I didn’t mind too much. Annabelle actually annoyed me a little – she seemed a bit ungrateful and rude, but that changed near the end of the book. Toby might have been my favorite character – he was really misunderstood and mysterious. The ending left me satisfied without being overly perfect, which I really liked. 🙂
Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
Synopsis: “On the island, everything is perfect. The sun rises in a sky filled with dancing shapes; the wind, water, and trees shelter and protect those who live there; when the nine children go to sleep in their cabins, it is with full stomachs and joy in their hearts. And only one thing ever changes: on that day, each year, when a boat appears from the mist upon the ocean carrying one young child to join them—and taking the eldest one away, never to be seen again.”
I really, really enjoyed this book! The whole idea of orphan island was super creative, and I thought Laurel Snyder did a great job on it. The characters were really unique and interesting, and I thought Jinny was a great main character. The ending definitely didn’t leave me satisfied, but I think that was kind of the point. I really wish there was a sequel, but I have feeling there won’t be. Despite the ending, this book kept me interested and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
The Name of This Book Is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch
Synopsis: “As much as Pseudonymous Bosch would love to sing the praises of his book (he is very vain), he wouldn’t want you to hear about his brave 11-year old heroes, Cass and Max-Ernest. Or about how a mysterious box of vials, the Symphony of Smells, sends them on the trail of a magician who has vanished under strange (and stinky) circumstances. And he certainly wouldn’t want you to know about the hair-raising adventures that follow and the nefarious villains they face. You see, not only is the name of this book secret, the story inside is, too. For it concerns a secret. A Big Secret.”
This book was so brilliant! It was definitely more lighthearted than most of the books on this list – the author interrupted himself constantly and left little footnotes throughout the story, which made the book more funny than serious. However, I absolutely loved Cass and Max-Ernest and I thought that plot was really creative. Pseudonymous Bosch’s writing style was enjoyable and made me laugh out more than once, and the ending left me excited to read the next book in the series!
The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart
Synopsis: “When Reuben discovers an extraordinary antique watch, he soon learns it has a secret power and his life takes an intriguing turn. At first he is thrilled with his new treasure, but as one secret leads to another, Reuben finds himself torn between his innately honest nature and the lure to be a hero.”
Trenton Lee Stewart wrote The Mysterious Benedict Society, which is one of my favorite series, so I was super excited to read this book! This book had the same simple, intriguing writing style and amazing characters as his other books, and it definitely lived up to my expectations. Reuben and his mom were so funny together and I absolutely loved Penny and her family. The plot was very suspenseful and I couldn’t put the book down until I’d finished it!
If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late by Pseudonymous Bosch
Synopsis: “Beware! Dangerous secrets lie between the pages of this book… if you think I’ll give anything away, or tell you that this is the sequel to my first literary endeavor, The Name of This Book is Secret, you’re wrong. I’m not going to remind you of how we last left our heroes, Cass and Max-Ernest, as they awaited intiation into the mysterious Terces Society, or the ongoing fight against the evil Dr. L and Ms. Mauvais. I certainly won’t be telling you about how the kids stumble upon the Museum of Magic, where they finally meet the amazing Pietro! Let’s face it – if you’re reading this, it’s too late.”
I didn’t enjoy the sequel to The Name of This Book is Secret quite as much as the first book, but it was still an excellent story. I enjoyed getting to know the new characters that were introduced and learning more about the main characters, and I enjoyed reading things more from Max-Ernest’s point of view. I definitely can’t wait to read the next book in the series!
Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe
Synopsis: “Young Wataru Mitani’s life is a mess. His family has problems they never told him about, a new student at school upsets everything he knows about the world, and a girl’s voice rings in his mind all hours of the night. Desperately he searches for some way to change his life; a way to alter his fate. To achieve his goal, he must navigate the magical world of Vision, a land filled with creatures both fierce and friendly. And to complicate matters, he must outwit a merciless rival from the real world.”
I decided to read this book after finding it in the library and being amazed by how long it was – it was definitely the longest middle grade book I’ve ever seen. I challenged myself to read it, and one month and 816 pages later, I finally finished. 😛 The story was so long that by the time I was done reading it, I could barely remember how it had begun. However, it was definitely interesting and creative, and its length impressed me so much that I decided it deserved four stars instead of three. XD If you’re looking to read something challenging, then I would recommend this, but if you’d like something easier to read, then you probably wouldn’t enjoy this book.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Synopsis: “Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. Xan rescues the abandoned children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic.”
This book was magical – no pun intended. 😉 It reminded me a of book I’ve read before, but I couldn’t quite figure out which one. I think that was intended, though – this book feels like it should be a classic fairy tale, and I hope that’s what it becomes someday. I loved how devoted Xan, Glerk, and Fyrian were to Luna, and I loved Luna’s wild, energetic personality. The villains were dark, mysterious, and believable, and the plot was exciting and suspenseful. I want to try some of Kelly Barnhill’s other books very soon!
The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron
Synopsis: “Believing that her French guardian is about to abandon her to an orphanage in the city, ten-year-old Lucky runs away from her small town with her beloved dog by her side in order to trek across the Mojave Desert.”
This book was so sweet! Lucky was such a funny main character and I loved her relationship with her guardian, Brigitte. The tiny town of Hard Pan was really interesting, and I enjoyed reading about all of the quirky people who lived in it. I absolutely loved the simple, wistful writing style, and I can’t wait to read the sequel sometime soon!
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Synopsis: “World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety.”
I’ve read quite a few books about the World War II, and this was by far one of the very best. Ruta Sepetys’ writing was incredibly gripping and left me with a whole new perspective on that time in history. The ending was definitely not was I was expecting, but I probably should have seen it coming. I can see why this book is so widely acclaimed – it truly is a masterpiece!
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Synopsis: “Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family.”
This just might be my favorite book of 2018! Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, and while Coraline was a great book, I think this one was even better. It was dark while also being sweet and funny, and I absolutely loved Bod’s quirky personality. All of Bod’s friends in the graveyard were hilarious. The ending was wonderful and I loved the suspense leading up to it. I hope Neil Gaiman writes more middle grade books – I’ll definitely read them if he does!
Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Synopsis: “Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica. Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo.”
I discovered Pam Muñoz Ryan’s books earlier this year, and so far I have loved every single one of them! Echo was a lengthy, captivating book that followed the path of one magical harmonica as it entered into the lives of four different children in different time periods and places. I loved all of the different characters, and I thought the author did a great job capturing all of the different times in history. I thought that the ending was excellent – it left me satisfied and wanting more. 🙂
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Synopsis: “Esperanza thought she’d always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico–she’d always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn’t ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances–Mama’s life, and her own, depend on it.”
This was another Pam Muñoz Ryan book that I thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve read quite a lot of historical fiction, but I’ve never read a book like this before. Esperanza was an interesting main character – she was pretty annoying at first, but I think that was intended. The writing style was so pretty and again, I absolutely loved the ending. 🙂
I hope that was somewhat interesting to read! Have you read any of the books on my list, and if so, what did you think of them? What are some of your all-time favorite books? Do you have any new book suggestions for me? I’m willing to give pretty much any book a try!
As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I created a new freebie for you guys! I love creating unique and pretty bookmarks, so I decided to make some free printable ones for you guys to enjoy! I hope you like them! 😀
When you are printing the bookmarks, you can scale them up or down to whatever size you prefer. I scaled mine down to 80 and then printed them on cardstock. 🙂
If you want to make them really pop, you can add some color. I painted mine using the brush pen watercolor technique from my most recent envelope art post.
Click the button below to print your own bookmarks!
Thank you so much for reading my post! Have a wonderful week! ❤
Have you read any of the books on my list? What’s the best book you’ve read this year?