Our Favourite Books of the Year (…so far)

Can you believe that we’re already over half-way through the year? 2018 has flown by! Follow-up question: Is it just us, or has 2018 been an incredible year for books? It seems like every book we’ve read so far this year has been absolutely incredible! Without further ado, here is our list of the best books of 2018 (so far)!

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The Woman In The Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman In The Window has been the #1 bestselling thriller in Canada, so we know we’re not alone in absolutely loving this one. Anna Fox, a recluse living in New York, spends her days spying on her neighbours and drinking (too much) wine. One day, after a new family moves in across the way, she sees something that she wasn’t supposed to, throwing her quiet, troubling life into jeopardy. The Woman In The Window will make you question yourself over and over – Who’s actually in danger here? Who am I supposed to trust? Is anything actually real? – and is sure to keep you guessing right until its shocking revelation!

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How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

Tom Hazard lives the same boring, ordinary life any 41-year-old man does. Except that he’s performed with Shakespeare, traveled the seas with Captain Cook, and shared cocktails with F. Scott Fitzgerald. You see, Tom Hazard may look like any ordinary 41-year-old, but he’s actually over 400-years-old… he just ages really, really well. His only problem? He’s starting to fall in love with a regular human being, and he doesn’t know what to do. This heartfelt, quirky tale of love, change, and hope will make you laugh on one page and reach for the tissues on the next!

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An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are settling into their new lives together, living the American Dream in the Deep South, when their lives are suddenly ripped apart. Roy is arrested for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit, and Celestial turns to Andre, her childhood best friend and Roy’s best man, for comfort and support. After 5 years, Roy’s conviction is overturned, and he returns to Atlanta, looking to resume the life with Celestial he left behind. This emotional, page-turning love story was selected as an Oprah’s Book Club pick and has received critical acclaim since its release!

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Educated by Tara Westover

Tara Westover stepped inside a classroom for the first time when she was 17-years-old. Growing up in a non-traditional upbringing, Tara was never sent to school. Instead, she learned how to stew herbs into medicine, what to look for in scrapyards, and how to help her family prepare for the impending apocalypse. Her first day of school was, coincidentally, her first day at university, and she eventually worked her way toward an esteemed fellowship at Cambridge and a PhD in intellectual history and political thought. In this stunning new memoir for fans of The Glass Castle and Wild, Tara Westover explores love, loss, family and the necessary struggle for a better future.

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I’ll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara

For more than 10 years, a mysterious and violent predator committed 50 sexual assaults and 10 horrific murders and eluded multiple police forces and some of the nation’s best detectives before disappearing without a trace. Three decades later, a true crime blogger picked up the case, vowing to catch the Golden State Killer once and for all. In a tragic twist of fate, Michelle McNamara died before her novel was finished, so her husband, Patton Oswalt, along with two detective who worked the case, helped piece together the final chapters of the book for her. It’s only been out since February, but I’ll Be Gone In The Dark is already seen as a true crime classic, its legacy cemented by the fact that they caught the killer shortly after the book was released.

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That Time I Loved You by Carrianne Leung

Set in one Scarborough subdivision in 1979, That Time I Loved You jumps from house to house, exploring the lives of the neighbourhood’s residents, as secrets and desires are revealed. Each story is connected by June, a 15-year-old Chinese-Canadian girl coming of age in this shifting world. The stories that make up this collection range from emotional to heartfelt to darkly humorous, each feeling so distinctly familiar in their ways. Also, this collection has quite possibly the best opening paragraph you will ever read.

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The Home For Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have to have heard of The Home For Unwanted Girls. But, just in case you haven’t, here’s a quick rundown of the plot: When Maggie becomes pregnant at 15, her parents force her to give her child, Elodie, up for adoption to “get her life back on track.” Elodie is raised in Quebec’s impoverished orphanage system, where she is eventually declared “mentally ill” by the state as a result of a new law that gives more funding to mental institutions than orphanages. At 17, Elodie is finally released from the oppressive treatment of the nuns at her orphanage, and is forced to navigate a confusing, alien world by herself. Years later, Maggie, now married to a successful businessman, and Elodie begin searching for each other, trying to find the mother and daughter they never truly knew.

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Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

Penny and Hattie are very close sisters living in a small town. Like most small towns in thrillers, though, these sisters have a secret that is simultaneously keeping them close while threatening to pull them apart. When a match is lit and Penny’s terrible husband dies, however, the sisters retreat to their family home and try to live in the shadows of the recent “tragedy.” From there, everything spirals out of control, revealing that some secrets are just too big to stay buried. Honestly, what more could you possibly want from a thriller? Equal parts lyrical and twisted, Laurie Petrou‘s debut novel will keep you guessing until the very last page. Also, bestselling author A. J. Banner called the book “unputdownable,” and I just think that’s a really cool line.

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The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte

I’ve written extensively about this book, and I’m not going to stop any time soon! I’m a sucker for dinosaurs, but this book is so much more than that. Equal parts biographical narrative, historical reappraisal, and scientific undertaking, Steve Brusatte‘s triumphant The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs doesn’t only revel in the mammoth history of the dinosaurs, but applies lessons from their reign and eventual extinction to our own reign on earth. I just can’t stress enough how good this book is. You really need to see for yourself.

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The Dutch Wife by Ellen Keith

Amsterdam, 1943: Marijke de Graaf and her husband are arrested and deported to different concentration camps in Germany. Germany, 1943: Karl Muller, an SS officer looking for a respite from the brutality of the war, meets Marijke, changing his life forever. Buenos Aires, 1977: A political prisoner searches his prison cell for ways to resist inside a prison he may never leave. In vivid, emotional detail, Ellen Keith weaves the lives of these three characters together, detailing the impossibly thin lines between love and lust, abuse and resistance, and right and wrong, all while exploring the capacity for perseverance and resilience in unthinkable circumstances.

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Not That Bad by Roxane Gay

TW: Sexual assault and harassment

In this anthology of personal essays, Roxane Gay collects essays that address what it means to live in a world where women have to measure the harassment, violence, and aggression they face, and where they are routinely belittled, mocked, and shamed for speaking out. Bringing together the likes of Ally Sheedy, Gabrielle Union, Amy Jo Burns, Lyz Lenz, and Claire Schwartz, this collection of essays, carefully curated and beautifully introduced by Roxane Gay, is a devastating, crucial book that everyone needs to read.

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War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

The Red Queen series is one of our favourite series of all-time, so we were destroyed when we heard it was coming to an end… But then we read War Storm, the conclusion to the series, and it was just so good that we were temporarily not (as) sad anymore. We don’t want to give too much away, just in case you’re still working your way through the series, but literally everything Mare has fought for hangs in the balance, and you’ll likely be holding your breath through all 672 pages of this book once you pick it up.

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The Word Is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

Anthony Horowitz, the bestselling author responsible for Magpie Murders and breathing life back into the James Bond series, is back and more inventive than ever. At 11:00 am, a woman enters a funeral parlor and makes arrangements for her own funeral. Six hours later, she’s found dead, strangled with a crimson curtain cord in her own home. Pretty standard mystery stuff, right? Well, not when you realize that Anthony Horowitz himself is a character in the novel, tasked with assisting the brilliant-yet-disgraced detective Daniel Hawthorne in writing his biography and investigating the murder. The Word Is Murder is an old-school, British murder mystery at its absolute finest, and Anthony Horowitz has enough tricks up his sleeves to make it feel utterly brand new.

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The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

What would you do if, one day, you realized your shadow had disappeared? Probably try to go viral, right? But, what would happen if, a few days after your shadow disappeared, you started forgetting things? Small things at first, like where you put your phone, sure, but it’s only a matter of time before you forget how dangerous fire can be. How scary would that condition be? Well, that’s exactly what happens in Peng Shepherd‘s The Book of M, a wildly inventive, darkly compelling novel perfect for fans of The Passage and Station Eleven. Following a group of ordinary people as they trek through a dangerous near future world, The Book of M explores fundamental questions of memory, connection, and what it means to be human in a world turned upside down.

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Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

When a book’s cover blurb is “Move over Darcy, Khalid’s in town,” you know it’s going to be a good one. Ayesha At Last tells the story of Ayesha Shamsi, an up-and-coming poet who has a lot going on. She’s taken on a teaching job to pay back her wealthy uncle, she lives with a boisterous Muslim family who constantly reminds her that her flighty cousin Hafsa is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal, and she really doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Enter Khalid, a smart, handsome, conservative, and judgmental man who she is irritatingly attracted to. When he becomes engaged to Hafsa, however, Ayesha is torn between her feelings for Khalid and her family. If you’re anything like us, you won’t be able to put this wildly fun retelling of Pride and Prejudice down!

So, those are some of our favourite books of 2018 (…so far), Savvy Readers. What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Have anything else you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @SavvyReader!

Happy reading, folks!

Jesse

Follow me on Twitter @SavvyReader or @JesseDorey15!

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