2019 was quite the year–and not really in a good way. That’s why you only heard from me a few times, and sporadically! It’s also why I didn’t read as many books this year as I usually do. However, most of the ones I did read, I loved! It made it really hard to pick my favorites. I narrowed it down as best I could. These are books I read this year but weren’t all necessarily published in 2019—though a lot of them were! Without further ado, these are My 8 best books of 2019!
High School by Tegan and Sara Quin
Published September 29, 2019 by Simon and Schuster
I have to say, this is probably the coolest concept memoir and definitely very near, if not on, the top of my list. Before I listened to this, I was a casual Tegan and Sara fan. I knew their hits and loved the queerness. After this audiobook, I got all their albums on Apple music and listen to them all the time! I don’t know why I didn’t before. But if you weren’t aware, Tegan and Sara found out recordings of themselves when they were kids. They wrote songs and played and recorded them. The chapters go back and forth between Tegan and Sara and in between each one, one of the recordings plays. They also re-recorded many of them and made an album! So. Cool. This memoir is very well written, well narrated, and a poignant coming of age story. Listening to them talk about hiding their queerness from everyone, even each other, was pretty heartbreaking. Raw, beautiful, heartbreaking, but also hopeful. I mean, look at them now. Definitely five stars.
Man-Eaters volume 1 by Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk, and Lia Miternique
Published in 2019 by Image Comics
Last winter I picked this up on an impulse. I am so glad I did. This series is hilarious, cutting and chock full of feminist satire. In Man-Eaters, when girls get their periods, it turns them into man-eating werepanthers. After the first break out of some sort of virus, there was a lot of carnage. Now, there are hormones in their water so they do not get their periods. But of course, there are some little rebels who want to reclaim their womanhood and find out what is really going on. Peppered throughout there are satirical advertisements reminiscent of Bitch Planet. Such a hilarious and near addition. So far, I highly recommend this series. Perhaps I should get a tattoo of the Venus/woman symbol with whiskers and cat ears opposite my NC one 😉
Rage Becomes Her by Soraya Chemaly
Paperback, 416 pages
Published May 21, 2019 by Atria Books
When this first came out in hardcover, I heard nothing but raves about it. For whatever reason, I didn’t pick it up until the spring. I heard Chemaly talking about it on a podcast and I just couldn’t help myself! This book is fascinating, well researched, and well written. In fact, it, in part, inspired my graduate thesis topic (at least what it is right now :P): representations of female anger on TV. Highly recommend.
Snotgirl vol. 1: Green Hair Don’t Care by Bryan Lee O’Malley, Leslie Hung, and Mickey Quinn
Paperback, 136 pages
Published February 28, 2017 by Image Comics
In 2018 I went to Book Expo in NYC. There I got volumes one and two of Snotgirl, and signed by both Bryan Lee O’Malley and Leslie Hung! I’ve been (im)patitently waiting for volume three since the spring! It sounds a bit weird when you read the synopsis and title, but I promise it’s SO GOOD.
This is the Journey by Alison Malee
Paperback, 144 pages
Published April 2nd 2019 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
I read a lot of poetry last winter. I was off work and suffering depression, and poetry has become like a salve for me. This collection is absolutely gorgeous. This new trend in poetry—short, simple, beautiful—makes me so happy! Even when the poetry is sad. It’s cathartic, I suppose! If you like Amanda Lovelace, Nikita Gil, Rupi Kaur, Nayyirah Waheed, Atticus (but less pretentious white-cis-man-y), etc… you should check this one out too! A complimentary copy was sent to me by the publisher, but that did not influence my opinion.
Young Adult Contemporary
Galley, 309 pages
Published April 30th 2019 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
What a heartwarming gem. A bisexual girl? A weird amusement park? Summer lovin’? YES YES AND YES GIMMMMME! I loved the characters and the bi representation! It was such a fun read. You can check out my full review if you want more details! A complimentary copy was sent to me by the publisher, but that did not influence my opinion.
The Dry (Aaron Faulk #1) by Jane Harper
Paperback, 331 pages
Published January 2nd 2018 by Flatiron Books (first published May 31st 2016)
Okay you had me at cold case in small town Australia. Sold. I’m not generally a huge fan of reading police procedurals, but in this book the main character is a cop but the mystery is not work, it’s personal for him. He grew up in that small town. I loved this book and figuring out everyone’s secrets. I did read the second book in the series as well, but I didn’t like it quite as much. Probably because it was more of a procedural than the first. However, I did still enjoy it and will be picking up the third book, The Lost Man, for sure.
Verity by Colleen Hoover
Paperback, 314 pages
Published independently December 10, 2018
This was nearly a 2018 read for me! It came out in early December, but it was independently published. For a while it was only available as an ebook, but I needed the paperback. I can read ebooks sometimes, but I don’t particularly enjoy it. Furthermore, it’s friggin’ CoHo so I obviously needed that book on my shelf with the rest of its family. This book was different than her usual fare, and it was SO GOOD. Writers, intrigue, romance, thrills and chills… The perfect recipe. I definitely recommend if you like Colleen Hoover (duh) or if you like mysteries/thrillers!
For more of my riveting thoughts on books, check out the best books I read in 2018 and my review archive! For a reliably diverse best books of 2019 list, hop over to Book Riot. While you’re there, feel free to peruse my own posts 😉
Beth O’Brien is a library assistant and book blogger. Born and raised in Atlantic Canada, she lives in picturesque Nova Scotia with her cat Edith. You can often find her rocking double denim with her nose in a book and a craft beer in her hand. Follow her on Twitter @fuelldbyfiction.