It was SUPER HARD to try to narrow down my top ten books that I read this year, but I think I mostly have the list ready. You won’t see it until December 31st though, because I just might read something amazing between now and then and have to change it, and I’m a little crazy that way. But here are five books that were so, so, so close to being in my top ten for this year but didn’t quite make the cut.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – I know, right?! Seriously, this book was amazing and Colson Whitehead is amazing and it deserves all the praise. BUT I had to cut it in favor of some other great fiction that I felt more strongly about. I loved that he took the Underground Railroad and made it an actual structural thing in this book, and imagined what that would look like. If you haven’t read it, you should read it ASAP and then go read more Whitehead because like I said, amazing.
Fledgling by Octavia Butler – This is one of those “why did I wait so long to read this” books. It’s about a young black vampire who wakes up after a violent attack and has amnesia. Octavia Butler plays with vampire lore, race, and genetics in such a fascinating way and I wish I’d been reading this with a book club or something so we could’ve had a deep nerd discussion about it.
The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey – Definitely one of the most interesting zombie books I’ve read in a long time. Melanie is a really wonderful character, and I loved the ending. I want to see the movie still… but maybe not, because I have some mixed feelings about the race-switching that they pulled in the movie casting.
IQ by Joe Ide – Mysteries aren’t normally my thing, but I was dying to read this novel about a young black man named Isaiah Quintabe with Sherlock-like intelligence and powers of deduction, who is trying to put it to good use by helping people in his community solve the crimes that the cops ignore. The focal point of this one is actually him trying to solve a case for a rap star which wasn’t quite what I expected, but there was a lot to like in this one and I can’t wait for any future sequels Ide puts out.
The Wangs vs The World by Jade Chang – You’ve probably heard a lot of buzz about this one, and it’s all true! It’s about a rich Chinese-American family who loses everything in the Recession and are driving from California to upstate NY with the few possessions they have left. It’s tender, heart-warming, and at times absolutely hilarious. There’s a certain ketchup incident that I’m sure will be burned into my brain forever.
All five of these should be at the top of your TBR, if you haven’t read them already. And this list was so full of amazing books, can you even IMAGINE what my final top ten is going to look like?!