LEAVE ME by Gayle Forman || I fell in love with Forman’s writing all over again, and every step of Maribeth’s journey felt sure, raw, and honest. I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation of all her decisions, and simultaneously relaxed, like I was leisurely catching up with an old friend.
SALT TO THE SEA by Ruta Sepetys || I cannot stress enough how important it is to read Salt to the Sea, to read Between Shades of Gray, to reflect on your life and the lives lost after reading. Sepetys understands the nature of humanity on such a deep level. I trust her completely.
ME BEFORE YOU by Jojo Moyes || Me Before You isn’t a full-blown romance. It’s about two individuals from very different worlds, experiencing life in very different ways, coming together and finding love in the most unlikely circumstances, and, belatedly, navigating the effects of that love and their diverging life plans. It’s not sudden and sweeping, but slow, heartbreaking, tense.
TRAITOR ANGELS by Anne Blankman || I am astonished, and I want nothing more than to roam Oxford again and picnic by the river and revisit my studies on the English Civil War, with a copy of Milton by my side and Renaissance historians gushing about the Italian progress. When an author can make me miss academia at this level, I promise you the book they wrote is excellent. And Blankman’s is exactly that.
THE LIE TREE by Frances Hardinge || First, this is proper gothic literature. The muffled, dark atmosphere — a never-ending sense of foreboding, a constant feeling that one is being watched, hair-raising, spine-chilling — is all you need to develop the urgency in Faith’s quest, to really paint the unstable time in history and fluctuating dynamics of the household. While there’s a death, a creepy plant, and some bumps in the night, this isn’t blood and gore. This is proper horror, proper suspense, proper uncanny, and thus creates proper gothic.
Which books made your Top Five for the year?