I’ve read a total of 44 books so far this year. That is an insane amount of books for me, so at least COVID was good for something, right? While I’ve read a lot of books, I haven’t read a lot of 5 star reads this year — I’ve mostly been looking for an escape, which isn’t a bad thing, but it hasn’t brought me many jaw-dropping books, unfortunately. I thought I’d round up the top five books I’ve read this year, in hopes that I add some more amazing reads to the list before the end of the year.
1// The Arc of a Sythe Series by Neil Schusterman
I’m kind of cheating by picking a series, but let me have this one, okay? This series takes place in a dystopian future where people can only die if a Scythe kills them. Humans are immortal, there is no hunger, and crime is a thing of the past. One day, Citra and Rowan are both chosen to be an apprentice to Scythe Farraday. Two apprentices is unheard of, and the Scythe community comes undone. The ensuing story is a wild ride examining power dynamics, ethics, morals, and even a little bit of romance. It’s an amazing series to lose yourself in during a time like this.
2// The Girl He Used to Know by Tracy Garvis-Graves
This book made me a Tracey Garvis Graves fan. The Girl He Used to Know follows two timelines and characters — Annika and Jonathan — during their senior year of college and then, ten years later when they reconnect. Throughout the entire book, the reader is trying to find out what happened to tear the two apart in college, but the real plot-twist comes after finding out about their college-drama. I had minor issues with the way Graves depicted Annika and Annika’s mother, but overall, I really loved this story. It was absolutely heartbreaking at times, but ultimately, it told the story of a woman finding her inner strength. Read my full review here.
3// It by Stephen King
It follows a group of friends during two time periods in their lives — as 11-year-old kids and then 27 years later. During each time in their lives, the gang is battling a mysterious evil in their town to try to save kids in their hometown, Derry, from dying. King explores themes of childhood innocence, friendship, memory, and trust. It’s hard to get into what makes this book so amazing without giving anything away, but I can say that it is totally worth the 1200 pages of reading.
4// The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
Boy, does this book use the last ten pages to absolutely wreck you! The Nickel Boys is a historical fiction novel about a reform school for boys under the age of 18. Elwood had a bright future ahead of him until he accepts a ride from the wrong person at the wrong time. He’s taken to Nickel to serve out his sentence, and it’s just as cruel as one could imagine. It’s a story of what happens when people turn a blind eye to what is right in front of them, what can happen when you never give up hope, and what friendship can really mean to a person.
5// The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was nothing short of fantastic. It’s essentially a murder mystery, but the tale is told completely out of order — I was wondering how everything fit together up until the very end. Evelyn Hardcastle is going to be murdered. Aiden Bishop must figure out by whom. Each day, he wakes up in a different person’s body whose perspective should help him put the pieces together. He’s racing against other participants to figure out the murder suspect so he can finally escape Blackheath. All the twists and turns along the way are worth every page turn and late-night spent reading.
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