Happy New Year’s Eve everyone! I hope everyone is having a festive or just fun day with lots of happiness.
If you missed my favorite books from yesteryday, here it is. So continuing on from that, at number 5, I have..
5. PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han
Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?
In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Timesbestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.
I imagine it is hard for a writer especially a writer of YA contemporary to write about the mundane and make it worthwhile to read about. With this duology, I wanted to savor the mundane. Everytime Lara Jean wanted to bake cookies I did too, whenever she was studying at Starbucks with Peter, I wanted to. I love the family dnamics and the relationships Lara has with her two sisters, both utterly different but compelling at the same time. Han writes about first love and finding yourself in such an endearing and tender way. And of course, the addition of Peter Kavinsky is icing on the cake 🙂 or (is actually part of the cake itself). But ultimately, this book just made me so happy and I did love both books but this one was my favorite out of the two.
4. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.
As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.
The Goldfinch combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.
I finished this book yesterday but I knew from page 10 that it was going to end up on my favorites list. Wow, this book is so expansive and so, so impressive. The characters are honestly nothing we haven’t seen before but her writing just pulls everything together. She just has a way of creating a rich and detailed world and it completely submerged me from the minute I started reading it. Her portrayals of grief, love, and obsession are immaculately done as well, building layers upon layers of complexity in a way that’s accessible. I also loved the art history aspect of the book too because it was one of my favorite subjects in high school.
Ok, are you ready? It’s time to bring out the big guns..
3. The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
This is the long-awaited first novel from one of the most original and memorable writers working today.
Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd, a New Jersey romantic who dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the fukú — the ancient curse that has haunted Oscar’s family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still dreaming of his first kiss, is only its most recent victim – until the fateful summer that he decides to be its last.
With dazzling energy and insight, Junot Díaz immerses us in the uproarious lives of our hero Oscar, his runaway sister Lola, and their ferocious beauty-queen mother Belicia, and in the epic journey from Santo Domingo to Washington Heights to New Jersey’s Bergenline and back again. Rendered with uncommon warmth and humor, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Waopresents an astonishing vision of the contemporary American experience and the endless human capacity to persevere – and to risk it all – in the name of love.
This book is pretty..wondrous..if I do say so myself. Diaz completely immerses us into the lives of our multi generational characters with humor and heart. It’s amazing how the very serious situations the characters get in are told in such a hilarious and ironic way that doesn’t undermine the character’s development. But I think this book just spoke to me. It spoke and resonated with the dreamer in me. It also reminded me that sometimes that you can’t escape your past but embrace it as something that has made who you are.
2. The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement… if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.
As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.
It’s no secret that I love this book. I feel like I’ve been shoving it down people’s throats this year. I reread the Winner’s Curse this month and I then started rereading this one this past week and it’s amazing how much Rutkoski has upped her writing game. Omigosh I love this book. Every conversation crackles with tension and every scene either left my heart pounding or my eyes crying. And this book reminded me of why I love to read in the first place.
SPOILERS BELOW FOR TWC
Um I actually had a question for those of who’ve read it. Kestrel is loyal to Valoria but she’s also helping Arin with his cause so I’m confused as to where she stands?? I’m confused..
And for my favorite book of 2015…DIM THE LIGHTS, SOUND THE BELLS
- A Little Life by Hanya Yanigihara
When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.
There are some books that make you cry. There are others that make you laugh. There are some books that make you cry and laugh. But then there are books that just touch you. And A Little Life falls into this category. There are points in this book where I felt more for these characters than I have for most characters I’ve read about in 2015. I love that this book was not afraid to dig into the darkest and deepest crevasses of the human heart and creating characters that are bigger than life. It was awe-inspiring and it changed me.
So that’s my list! Let me know what your favorite books of 2015 were; I’ve been furiously looking at other people’s favorites list and adding them to my 2000 page long TBR but it’s so much fun.