By Cynthia Bujnicki
Hello there, readers and Merry Christmas! So I’ve gone through all the books I read this year and have compiled a list of the best books I read this past year. It turns out there were more than I expected. So check them out and Happy Holidays. 😊
by Tobie Easton
What It’s About: Immerse is the final novel in Tobie Easton’s Mer Chronicles, a modern retelling trilogy of Little Mermaid following Lia, the princess who is determined to find a way to be with Clay, her human “prince.”
Why I Loved It: Immerse was an excellent conclusion, it had great characterization, heart, and imagination, giving depth to the characters and allowing for terrific character development.
What It’s About: A gender-bent retelling of King Arthur in space.
Why I Loved It: What’s not to love, it is a fierce retelling with a strong female protagonist and a smart way to bring back King Arthur, his court, Merlin and Morgan Le Fey. It has incredible character development and tension.
What It’s About: Following Sofie and Agatha, princess and witch, as they are split up trying to take down an evil prince determined to rule over Camelot.
Why I Loved It: This series continues to amaze. I love the retelling aspect of it, the tension, the creativeness about it, and the characters and adventures they go on. There is also a maturity to the novel as well, making it great for young readers of all ages.
What It’s About: Cynthis is going to drama camp with her boyfriend only to discover the demon she banished the year before is trying to get back.
Why I Loved It: First of all, my name is Cynthia, so I think I was going to love this book no matter what. Cyn is a great character and the shift in her dynamics with demons makes for an exciting read. Also, drama camp, imagine all the fun-filled drama at drama camp. It was great.
What It’s About: Cyn’s boyfriend has been cursed, and now Cyn has to venture into the demon world and make a deal with the one demon she hates to save his life.
Why I Loved It: It had a significant change in scenery as far as the story is concerned. It also brings to a close a great series with this sense of finality. Alongside fantastic characterization, the novel moves at a great pace making for an engaging read.
What It’s About: Everly discovers that she is a princess and has a dark role to play in the Forest of Good and Evil. But nothing is black or white in this fairy tale.
Why I Loved It: Ah! This novel was just fantastic. The opening was incredible and the fact that the story circles back to before that point, analyzing fairy tales and restructuring the narrative to pick apart the characters and study the good versus evil trope and pick apart the clichés that make fairy tales, made for a thought-provoking read. Also, Gena is excellent at creating strong female characters.
What It’s About: A postapocalyptic take on the perennial classic Little Red Riding Hood.
Why I Loved It: I’m a massive fan of Henry’s works. Every single one of her novels I love and this one is no different. The modernized way she retells this story creates a strong narrative, it is interesting to see the story develop and to see the way she retells Little Red Riding Hood with this science fiction, horror, dystopian take is unique and amazing.
What It’s About: An unflinching exploration of the many forms of abuse society inflicts upon women, and the strength it takes to rise above it all to claim your worth.
Why I Loved It: An excellent novel about the abuse that girls face, not just physical but emotional and mental abuse as well. It has an incredible opening, great characterization, and the writing, the style, it is breathtaking.
What It’s About: Maren embarks on a dangerous journey to find and train dragons to free her girlfriend from the tyranny of the king’s priests.
Why I Loved It: An excellent novel with great LGBTQ representation, with incredible character development and the progression of the story, the way it evolves is fantastic. Plus it has dragons, and I’m a sucker for a good story with dragons.
by Amber Smith
What It’s About: A romantic and sweet novel about a transgender boy who falls in love for the first time, and how first love changes us all.
Why I Loved It: This novel was so honest and beautiful, detailing the relationship of a trans boy and a girl reeling from the death of her sister. It was lovely to watch these characters grow and explore who they truly are inside.
What It’s About: A creepy, spellbinding ghost story following Ollie and her two friends as they find their way out of a farm and ghostland.
Why I Loved It: I love spooky tales that grip me, and this is one of those. The atmosphere and tone are incredible, setting up a perfectly spooky tale. Not to mention the detail that goes into creating some of these haunting images, it was just chilling.
What It’s About: A murderer could be around every corner in this thrilling YA trilogy based on the board game CLUE!
Why I Loved It: I’m a huge Clue fan and Agatha Christie fan, so this novel hit a lot of high notes for me. It was clever and well-executed. The rising tension never ceases, making sure that the mystery and tension does not dissipate — honestly, such a fantastic novel.
What It’s About: Game of Thrones meets Red Rising in a debut young adult fantasy that’s full of rivalry, romance…and dragons.
Why I Loved It: Again, dragons. This novel is reminiscent of Game of Thrones in a good way, not the terrible season 8 way. It splits perspectives going being two characters with different upbringings in a new world following an uprising. It draws a lot of parallels with Plato’s Republic and offers up a thought-provoking and fantastical read.
What It’s About: A heart-wrenching, hopeful contemporary novel about a multiracial teen who risks it all to follow her dreams by joining the circus.
Why I Loved It: A fantastic story about finding oneself, it teaches readers to follow their dreams even in the face of doubt and failure. But it also shows respect, it shows strength and it shows the reality of tough situations. It was honestly a beautiful novel.