10 Books That Blew Me Away in the First Half of 2018

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I loved Bardugo’s complex world with all its magic and politics.  However, I loved the characters even more.  All of them are a little broken from betrayal or hurt.  Yet they find family in each other and end up pushing each other to be better.  It’s a surprisingly touching story.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

Published in 1848, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall created quite the scandal with its depictions of drunkenness and adultery.  Today, it is still a powerful look at gender roles and relationships.  Anne fearlessly advocates for the right of women to leave an abusive husband and impresses upon readers the truth that loving someone enough will not change them.  It’s a lesson I wish more YA books would teach.

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

Tess of the Road sets itself apart from other YA books by presenting a prickly protagonist whose story is more about fighting her own demons than any physical monsters.  Disliked and repressed by her family, Tess rebels only to find herself ruined.  Drinking will not ease the pain, so Tess sets off, hopefully to learn that she is not as evil as her family believes.  It’s a thoughtful and engaging story, one readers can’t skim, but have to savor slowly.

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Juliet is still processing the death of her mother in a car accident.  Declan is facing the aftermath of the night he tried to end it all.  One is constantly frustrating adults who think she should be “over” it.  The other is constantly dismissed by adults who see him as nothing but trouble.  Their love story encompasses so much more than the typical plot line of “Falling in love changes everything.”  Their love changes everything because it inspires them to start working on the other relationships in their lives.

More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer

This companion book to Letters to the Lost focuses on Declan’s best friend Rev.  I love the male friendship presented in both books and the way the boys talk to each other not only about their crushes but also about their hopes and fears, their families, their pasts, and even their belief or unbelief in God.  Male friendships in YA are not often represented, so this book is a refreshing surprise.

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

I never expected to love a book about a boy and his dogs as much as I loved this book.  I felt like I was really in the Ozarks in the 1920s, entering into Billy’s small joys and triumphs.  And, yes, I cried through most of the story.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I didn’t know what to expect when I started this book, so I was surprised by the beauty, the thoughtfulness, and the depth.  The story challenges readers to remember that the small things in life are often the  most important.  It reads like a charming fairy tale.

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson always creates compelling and complex worlds and Warbreaker is no exception to that rule.  The magic system based on Breath and color is stunning. However, I love the characters even more, especially the god Lightsong, who doubts his own divinity, and the mysterious Vasher who wields a talking and potentially evil sword.

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

Can a sequel be even more impressive than the first book?  Scythe at times veers a little towards standard YA, especially with the predictable romance and the competition at the end.  Thunderhead is more original and thus more emotionally gripping.

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

I can’t say enough about how marvelous this book is.  It features a plucky protagonist swept into a magical world where she must face four challenges to join the prestigious Wundrous Society.   Along the way, she meets people with extraordinary abilities from dragon riding to singing that enchants even the animals.  The brilliantly quirky, encouraging, and bold Jupiter North anchors the story. I am sure readers will fall in love both with him and with our protagonist Morrigan.

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32 thoughts on “10 Books That Blew Me Away in the First Half of 2018

  1. Hilary @ SongsWroteMyStory says:

    I’ve got Tess of the Road on hold at the library, and I’m even more excited for it to come through after reading your thoughts on it. I’m so glad to hear that it was good for you! And totally agree on Thunderhead. That was a fantastic sequel!

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I picked up Tess of the Road for dragons. There weren’t really dragons. Just dragons in human form. But I stayed with it because I loved Tess and her story so much!

      Thunderhead was amazing! The ending truly shocked me!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      I want more!!! Ugh! I love all the characters so much. Two books isn’t enough!

      They’re so good! I picked up More Than We Can Tell randomly (contemporary YA romance is not my usual genre) and wow! I was hooked! I loved the characters!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. CHARIS RAE @ charisrae.com says:

    Thunderhead was AMAZING. I was so surprised with the ending, especially since the rest of the book was kind of slow. I REALLY want to read Tess of the Road and Six of Crows… they sound amazing! Books that absolutely blew me away were Children of Blood and Bone, Scythe/Thunderhead, and Fawkes. They were so amazing!!

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  3. Reading with Rendz says:

    Oh yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed Six of Crows it is one of my favourite books ever! I am so excited to get to the Trials of Morrigan Crow, I have heard so many good things about it and recently acquired a copy, so I have no excuse but to read it!

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  4. Sammie says:

    Oh, this is a great list! I loved Thunderhead, too. I’m dying for the next one. The Little Prince is one of my all-time favorite books. :3 I’m glad you liked it. I should actually be reading Warbreaker this month, too, so now I’m a bit excited because people keep telling me good things about it (but honestly, it’s Brandon Sanderson, so how bad could it be?)

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I know!! Thunderhead ended on such a cliffhanger! What cruelty!

      Yeah! I’m glad I finally read The Little Prince! Now I’m going about telling everyone to read it! 😉

      Brandon Sanderson has never disappointed me. It’s truly amazing. Especially considering how fast he writes.

      Like

  5. saraletourneau says:

    Very happy to see Six of Crows on here! But not surprised, either, since I remember your review of it and know how much you enjoyed it. I’ve also read Where the Red Fern Grows (though that was back in high school, so I don’t remember it very much) and Tess of the Road (which I actually DNFed – a big disappointment, considering I enjoyed Hartman’s Seraphina books). And I’ve been meaning to check out the Scythe series for a while. *sigh* So many books… *lol*

    Like

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