I would like to think that I had a pretty good reading year, despite not reading as much as I wanted to. I don't read many books I rate highly, and most of the books I read tend to fall into the 'okay' or 'meh' category. I had a good time this year though as I waded my way through all of the duds.
Let's get into it.
CROWN OF BONES BY A.K. WILDER
This was actually a re-read for me, one of many on this list, and I am really happy that it was just as good the second time around. I consider this an underrated gem, and when the second book came out (which I have still yet to read) I knew I had to read the first one again. I can't exactly tell you why this book worked for me, but it hit that perfect sweet spot of being a YA book that doesn't feel too YA.
A DAY OF FALLEN NIGHT BY SAMATHA SHANNON
The Priory of the Orange Tree was a fantastic book, so when I saw there was a prequel coming out I knew I had to read it. Did I enjoy it quite as much, no, but Samantha Shannon knows how to write an epic story that doesn't feel dragged out despite being over 800 pages long.
SWEET BEAN PASTE BY DURIAN SUKEGAWA
This book surprised me, to the point where it is the only book I gave 5 stars to this year and one of the rare ones I ever rated that high period. I didn't expect to be moved as much as I was while reading it. Was it the best book ever in terms of plot, no, but the themes and messages really got to me for some reason.
PENPAL BY DATHAN AUERBACH
I am so incredibly happy that this book lived up to the hype. Like many books now, I saw this making its way around TikTok, and naturally, I got curious and picked this up in October. I don't get creeped out easily when it comes to books, but I was hoping that this would creep me out just a little like everyone was promising it would. And it delivered. Not the creepiest story ever, it fell more into line with a true crime story than a horror story, but there were moments in this that sent shivers down my spine and I had to go to bed because reading it at 1 in the morning was not a good idea.
ONE PIECE BY EIICHIRO ODA
Are we really surprised that this ended up on this list? This is Oda's epic masterpiece we are talking about, and I knew going into it that I was at the least going to enjoy it. I also just really like pirate stories so this was an automatic win for me. I had a good time reading this and it can only go up from here.
THE RAVEN BOYS BY MAGGIE STIEFVATER
This is one of those books that I should have read in high school since that is when it came out for me. This is also on every person's list of quintessential YA reads, and it only took me forever to read it. In my defense though, this book has been hyped up to hell and back, so I had no idea what to expect from it. It actually ended up being pretty good though to my surprise.
FOURTH WING BY REBECCA YARROS
This book probably ended up on everyone's year-end lists, whether as one of the best books they've read this year or the worst. For me, I actually ended up liking this and even I don't know why. Did it play into every YA fantasy/romance stereotype, absolutely, but as someone who likes Sarah J. Maas books, it worked for me.
SORCERY OF THORNS BY MARGARET ROGERSON
I've been meaning to re-read this for a while now in order to solidify how I felt about this book, because when I first read it I loved it, but I didn't know if I loved it enough to be a 5-star read. Upon reading it again, sadly I didn't like it as much as I did the first time, but I still enjoyed myself enough for it to end up on this list. (The same can't be said for the novella though...).
THE EYE OF THE WORLD BY ROBERT JORDAN
The first time I read this I decided to listen to it on audiobook. Not a bad idea per se, but fantasy books don't stick in my brain much while listening to them rather than reading them physically. Therefore, I needed to re-read it. Was still as good the second time around because of course it was, but I still feel like I need to re-read it again cause I somehow don't remember much...
HOUSE OF LEAVES BY MARK Z. DANIELEWSKI
The second last book on this list and the final re-read. Like the others on this list, I have wanted to pick this up again for a while but didn't because, well, this is a pretty complicated book to read. I can't say I cared much for the secondary story, but the main story about the house is a fantastic piece of literature.
WOLFSONG BY T.J. KLUNE
I loved this book, not to the point of giving it 5-stars but to the point of me wanting to immediately re-read it after finishing it. I don't know why, but I think it was because this gave me huge fanfiction vibes which was right up my alley. I will admit though that I have been pushing off finishing the series cause I'm scared I won't like it...