Wednesday, December 26, 2018

El Jefe's Top Tier Books of 2018

Alas, 2018 was the year that my streak of reading 100+ books came to an end. Seven straight years! Oh well. Now I don't have to pad my numbers with comic books anymore.

NOT THAT I WOULD DO THAT!

Okay, maybe I would.

AND THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH COMIC BOOKS!

Books I've read this year: 80
Books that made my Top Tier: 6

Here are those six incredible books:


Middle Grade

 THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE

I was rooting so hard for Ada, a girl with a clubfoot growing up in wartime England. She's so matter-of-fact about the life she lives, shut up in her dingy house by a mother who's not just embarrassed by her, but doesn't want her.

Then she and her brother get relocated to the country, safe away from the anticipated bombing. Life gets easier for her in some ways, and harder in others.

Such a powerful experience to follow this little girl, watching her persevere! No wonder it was a Newbery Honor book in 2016.


Young Adult

'
DUMPLIN'

Just look at that cover! Willowdean Dixon calls herself a fat girl--not in a self-deprecating or apologetic way. It's just what it is. The fact that her mom is a former beauty pageant queen ... talk about a recipe for tension.

This could have easily gone into cookie-cutter territory, Willowdean entering the big beauty pageant to make a point. But it turned out to be so much more.

Wonderfully crafted story, and one of the more memorable characters from this year.





TELL ME THREE THINGS

It's hard to move to a new city, a new high school -- especially when the reason for it is that your dad suddenly remarried without telling you.

But somebody tries to make Jessie's transition a bit easier through friendly, anonymous emails -- Somebody/Nobody, that is. A secret admirer? A spirit guide? Hard to tell who it is or how they know Jessie.

A beautiful portrayal of a teen going through a painful time in her life. The mystery of Who Is Somebody/Nobody kept me gripped!


EVERY DAY

I'll admit, the notion of a person waking up every day in a different body, taking control of it for 24 hours, then moving to the next person, felt contrived at first. Thank goodness I stuck with it!

A (just A, an aptly simple name) is forced to wander through life in this horrible process, never getting to form connections with anyone -- until he/she inhabits the body of Rhiannon's boyfriend.

That one day, something changes, as A sees something within Rhiannon, allows suppressed emotions to emerge. That leads to a day like no other. Getting back to Rhiannon, doing anything possible in order to just get a glimpse of her -- made for a compelling read.


Adult

ONE OF US IS LYING

A whodunit, featuring four main suspects, each of whom is hiding a giant secret.

Warning: I spent many an hour sitting in my car, listening to the audiobook, when I was supposed to be working. This could easily happen to you.

Fantastic characters, a superb plot, and what a mystery. Probably my favorite book this year.


RED RISING

Like Game of Thrones? The Martian? The Hunger Games? This one's for you!

I had qualms about putting this one on my Top Tier list, because it's so dang bloody. Violent. Gory. Murderous. There's severe torture. Assault. If you're at all squeamish about that sort of thing, don't pick it up.

But if you're looking for a thriller full of war games, this one is for you.








Best wishes for a great 2019 -- I'm already on the lookout for my first new Top Tier book!

P.S. In case you want more book recs, here are my Top Tier lists from 2017201620152014, and 2013. Enjoy!


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