So, I read a lot of books in 2019 (114) in total, but there were some books that just stood out amongst the rest. So many that I had trouble narrowing it down to just 9, but when it came down to it these were not only my highest rated books, but they were books that I really took away something from them and I remember the storyline and have wanted to re-read them – which for me is the telling sign that I’ve loved the story!
In no particular order my favourite 9 books of 2019 are:
- Carry On/Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell
- Openly Straight/Honestly Ben by Bill Konigsberg
- We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra
- Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
- You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman
- Running with Lions by Julian Winters
- What if it’s us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
- Mixed Messages Series by Lily Morton
- Fake Boyfriend series by Eden Finley
Let me tell you my reasoning behind all of these books!
Carry On/Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell – Yes, Carry On was not released this year, but Wayward Son came out in September and I felt it was completely necessary to reread Carry On just to prepare myself for Wayward Son. Even after this, I was not prepared for Rainbow to continue with Simon Snow’s story and adventures with Baz, Agatha and Penelope. I will say this here and now; Simon Snow is one of my favourite characters that I have ever met. I felt every single kind of emotion he’s felt throughout both books, from his struggle with being the ‘chosen one’ to how he felt after he lost his magic and through all the trials and tribulations of his relationship with Baz. Wayward Son was just as good, maybe even better than Carry On and if you enjoyed Carry On you will only fall more in love with our favourite magical couple in Wayward Son!
Openly Straight/Honestly Ben were the books I rang in my New Year with. I started reading Openly Straight just before midnight and immediately connected with the main character – Rafe. He wanted to start afresh whilst concealing being gay to his new class mates at the boarding school he was heading to for his Junior year. It wasn’t because he was ashamed of being gay, but because he was sick of that being the main part of him that people identified him by. I really enjoyed that this wasn’t a coming out story, but more a re-coming out story and it showed how Rafe came to grips with the fact that he could still be gay and have people see him for other parts of his social characteristics and personality. It was a joy to see Rafe fall in love for the first time with Ben and to see his friendships grow with Albie and Toby! Then in the sequel we got to see inside how Ben felt about everything that happened with Rafe and it was incredible, both voices were so distinct and I absolutely adore being able to see a relationship from both POV’s!
We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra – This was written in a completely way to any other book I’ve ever read. It was truly beautiful to read Jonathan and Kurl’s relationship grow as they become pen pals in English class without know whom each other are writing to, without hardly an in person conversation. The letters aren’t just all basic chit chat, they write to each other about hard hitting issues that they are facing like homophobia, bullying and their family secrets and together in the letters they overcome their conflicts and become more than friends. I loved how beautifully written the letters were with such stunning language and that I just couldn’t put the book down – I devoured it in one three hour sitting!
Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – Where do I even start? My two favourite things on this planet outside of my family and friends are politics and books. This was a perfect combination of the two and it only made me fall harder in love with the book. One of my favourite parts of 2016 was following the Presidential election even despite the result. I remember staying up all night in November watching the results coming in, watching different parts of the map going red or blue and I remember the heartache I felt when there was no way Hilary could win the presidency, even though I’m not an American citizen. This book bought back all those memories, especially the final chapters of the white house trio sitting with their family and all the staffers/campaign team waiting and watching for the results.
One of the many reasons I adored this book was because of Alex. Christ, he is the male version of myself to a scary extent. He feels everything with his heart on his sleeve and he makes emotional decisions that may not always be the smartest at the time – hello to him telling Raf about his bisexuality and Henry to him demanding a plane to London to scream and shout at Henry at the wee hours of the morning. Sadly this is something I could 100% see myself doing. It made him real and gave me a connection to him, sometimes I don’t entirely get this from a book because I don’t relate to how someone makes decisions or chooses to react in heated moments. Secondly, I went to University for a degree in Politics just like Alex and I have similar ambitions to him in regards to getting into politics within the UK. I felt his desire to get into it, I felt that fire under his ass that he had towards Texas and LGBTQ policy, I connected with his work ethic and how much pressure he put on himself to do well.
His love story with Henry was truly
beautiful, every development had me sucked in even further and I still remember
the first time I cried when I read the lines ‘That was the last message Henry
sent’ it broke my heart into more than a million pieces and I sobbed for Alex
and the anger bubbled inside of me even though I could see why Henry backed
I want to say a huge bravo to Casey McQuiston – this book was well researched, incredibly well written and a true highlight of both my 2019 and my hobby of reading so far.
You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman – The main character in this hit me hard, Ariel is someone who thinks if they aren’t being completely successful they are failing, someone who throws themselves into their studying just to do well in life. It hit me hard, because Ariel is me, I am Ariel, I sometimes become a bit too obsessed with working hard that I forget I’m only 23 and should be having a social life. Then Ariel fails a test and needs help from classmate Amir with Calc and so begins their new relationship that Ariel isn’t sure he can quite juggle. I shed a lot of tears as Ariel battled to keep his head above waters as he juggles every aspect of his life whilst trying not to fail. This book was amazing and I thank Good Reads every day for recommending it!
Running With Lions by Julian Winters – Julian is one of author that I’m so glad that I discovered in 2019, as the two books of his I’ve devoured like a hot fudge cake and I’m so excited for his next release! However, RWL was my favourite book – I live for books about summer camps and even more so if they are sports summer camps. I adore reading about how the team bonds and falls apart throughout the summer and I love it when teammates end up in relationships so I absolutely loved reading about hold old friends Emir and Sebastian end up getting together! If you’re looking for a sweet but angsty sports summer camp read that tackles an LGBTQ relationship and old friends reconnecting then this is the book for you!
What If It’s Us by Adam Silver and Becky Albertalli – With two of my fave authors writing this book I was always going to love it, but it excelled any thought I was going to have about it! Although it was released in Oct 2018, I didn’t read it till this year and I regret waiting, because I fell in love with Arthur and Ben. From their cute and awkward first meeting at the Post Office, to Arthur searching high and low for the guy who’s number he stupidly didn’t ask for, to every failed date they went on. It was a beautiful love story with an ending that had me in tears and I pray to god that these two authors work together again soon!
Mixed Messages Series by Lily Morton – I loved all three books in this series and I’ve also read a couple of Lily’s other series that I thought were incredible, but this one stood out the most for me. In the first book ‘Risk Taker’ I loved Dylan and Gabe and how their relationship started as manager and employee and developed into a loving relationship. In the second book ‘Deal Breaker’ I liked that it was such a different book from the first one but was still interlinked. Lily Morton did an amazing job of showing the difficulties of being a single parent and trying to fall in love again. Asa and Jude’s story in ‘Deal Breaker’ was probably my fave of the Mixed Messages series. The book three ‘Risk Taker’ I related so hard with main character Henry as he watches all his friends around him settle down and he’s still just living a free and single life. I love how Lily captures all the best bits of the best friends to lovers trope in this adult book and Henry and Ivo’s relationship had me in tears with how beautifully emotional it is – I could happily read a sequel of these two!
Fake Boyfriend Series by Eden Finley – This series was my favourite thing about starting to read adult books this year! Eden is the most incredible writer (Yes I’ve now read every single book she has written) and these books were outstanding. Like I said earlier I love reading sports books as this series deals with hockey players, baseball players and football players so that box was heavily ticked. They also encapsulate five amazing relationships between the ten males that make up what she calls the ‘gay brigade’ in the series! I think I’m going to do a whole blog post on this series so I’m not going to go in too heavily on the details of the series but if you love an adult book and you also love LGBTQ reads with the feature of sports you’ll love this series!
If I had to provide a top three of the year it would have to be:
- Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – honestly I won’t be shocked if this book isn’t top of a tonne of readers favourites of 2019!
- Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell – because seriously Rainbow Rowell is incredible and the ending of this book has already made me excited for ‘Anywhere the Wind Blows’ whenever this may come out!
- Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg – on the basis that I felt so closely connected to Rafe, I really felt like Bill created a similar story to mine in relation to my sexuality when he created and wrote the voice of Rafe!
I have linked all the books mentioned here to their Amazon links because all of these books and authors deserve the recommendations, they aren’t affiliate links at all so I make no profit from advertising said books.
I’d love to hear what your favourite books were of 2019 down below so I can build my TBR list even more!