It's almost 2016, so that must mean it's time for me to decide which books are my favorites of 2015. As usual, these are books I read that were published in 2015. There are books published in 2015 that I have not read, and there are books I read this year that were not published in 2015—those are not included in this list.
That said, I HAVE TWENTY-TWO FAVORITES AND YOU CAN'T MAKE ME CUT ANY.
22. Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
I feel like putting this at number 22 makes it look like it came in last place, but just think of it as the one that made it impossible to have any fewer than 22 books on this list. This book is funny, friendship-centric, heartfelt and just... good. It seems to even be the contemporary book that typically exclusive fantasy readers pick up this year. IT'S THAT GOOD.
|i got this pretty UK cover|
for Christmas and it's SHINY
21. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
I wrote a review of this one here, so I won't say anything else. Agnieszka & Kasia & the Dragon ot3 for life.
A cute, different contemporary romance with a heavy family element and a major twist—I read this in one sitting, which is something I didn't get to do a whole lot this year. Also, it's worth buying a copy of this book just to stare at the detail on the cover (but thankfully the contents are just as lovely).
This book felt like a throwback to my favorite contemporaries of a few years ago, amidst a sea of realistic fiction that leaned either toward the light-and-fun or the issue-heavy, dark-and-sad. I'll Meet You There is both fun—the romance is one of the best I read this year—and darkly realistic with respect to a topic that isn't addressed much in YA. Demetrios did her research on returning soldiers and PTSD, and it shows. Highly recommend.
Another throwback contemporary (I use the term "throwback" loosely because really I just mean anything that doesn't follow the trend of this year's crop of contemporaries), this is another one dealing with mental illness in a way that doesn't stigmatize it and can help readers understand, as well as give those readers dealing with it a character they might relate to. My favorite thing about this one? It's hilarious. I couldn't stop reading, except that at one point my abs hurt from laughing.
You don't need to know anything. Just read it.
16. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
I wrote a review of this one here. In short: Simon is one of the most relatable characters I've ever read, and the book itself is a feel-good story with some good, intelligent snark.
15. Winter by Marissa Meyer
14. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
If you'd asked me a year and a half ago, this would've been number 1. This book messed with my feels, you guys. The dread was what really got me—my most vivid memory of reading this book is having such a strong sense that something bad was going to happen, I had to stop reading for a while before it did, because I cared about the characters so much.
Another one that messed with my feels. Gayle Forman is up to her old tricks. This one went right up there with Where She Went as my favorite of her books.
12. The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson
11. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Sarah had two books released this year and you'll notice this is the only one on this list. You can see why here, but in short: this book was just more impressive in every possible way* than the Throne of Glass series. More compulsively readable, more fairytale-like, and just generally feels more like she knows where it's going.
10. Baba Yaga's Assistant by Marika McCoola
My friend and former co-bookseller wrote a graphic novel and it's a New York Times bestseller and it's also fun and full of heart and Russian folktale-inspired and has gorgeous art and READ IT OKAY
9. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
I can't really think about this one right now because I finished the sequel a couple weeks ago and oh my god you guys need to be reading this series. Here's my gushfest for your reading pleasure.
The feeling this book gave me is the feeling I want all books to give me. It's my new favorite Holly Black book... possibly tied with Black Heart. That ending uggghhh Holly how do you DO IT
7. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I can't believe this is only number 7. In my mind, I had this at number 2. But, it turns out, I also had five other books at number 2, and that's not really how numbers work. My review is here; I cannot possibly say it any clearer: you need. to read. this book.
6. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
I wrote a review, but frankly Ockler's latest still leaves me speechless. I cannot words like she can.
5. The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski
CAUTION: EMOTIONAL TORTURE. CHARACTERS FRUSTRATING, TOO CLEVER FOR THEIR OWN GOOD. CANNOT SMASH FACES TOGETHER BUT WANT TO SMASH FACES TOGETHER. side note: major props to Fierce Reads and FSG for listening to fans about that cover change debacle. very classy 10/10 would read your books again
4. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Ember pulled me out of a reading slump last year and I am eternally grateful. I am also eternally grateful to my past self for writing a review so I do not have to say anything else here other than I LoVe ThIs BoOk!!!!111
3. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
I almost cannot handle how much I love this book and its author and its characters and everything just everything about it so I'm going to shut up before I start babbling here is my review
2. Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
I just went through my blog looking for a review of Bone Gap so I didn't have to words about it right now because it's impossible to words about this book what are words???? I made my friend read it and she texted me saying "I have Finn O'Sullivan-shaped hearts in my eyes" upon finishing, which I think is apt. Finn and Roza's stories are so interesting, so important, so beautiful, and so well-written. I just want everyone to read this book and I want it to win the Printz and—*deep breath*
Now it's time...
just kidding you probably know what's coming...
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
because obviously. I thought I would be upset this year, not having a Raven Cycle book to count as my number 1 of the year, but I ain't even mad. [well, I'm mad, but not about my number 1.] Six of Crows might have been number 1 either way [well, tied]. I love these characters so much. They have history, and flaws, and disabilities, and criminal records! They have swoony relationships and infuriating relationships and adorable relationships! They are the ultimate SQUAD GOALS. This book is everything I could have wanted and more. Actually, you want to know how strongly I feel about this book, aside from the nine playlists I made? I met Leigh Bardugo [again] at GeekyCon, and she KNEW WHO I WAS because of my review. She got in trouble for talking to me for too long. YOU GUYS. [Do you think I can get a Crooked Kingdom manuscript out of this?]
Okay, that's it, all 22 of my favorite books from 2015.
May I read more books next year and be better at narrowing down my favorites.
ETA: **HONORABLE MENTION**
Okay, I literally JUST finished reading Carry On by Rainbow Rowell and I know it would be on this list had I read it sooner, but frankly I'm too tired to find a place for it right now so it's just going here. Simon and Baz, okay. SIMON AND BAZ.