This was EXTRAORDINARILY hard to narrow down, but after much deliberation and struggle, I have my ranking.
The first three were very easy (actually no ranking them within my top three was difficult, but they were hands down my favourite books of the year), and the rest were incredible difficult because I read so many good books this year! But alas, I have suffered through this ordeal, and I have my ten books.
So without further ado (because I hate writing intros) I present to you *drum roll please* MY TEN FAVOURITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR
1 – Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
In news that surprises absolutely no one, this was my favourite book of the year. I read it four times, wanted to read it more, and obsessed over it at all times. Henry and Alex and Nora and June and Bea and Pez are literally everything to me. I love them all with my whole entire heart. I fully have plans to literally memorize parts of this book.
It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, and makes me sad, and more than anything it makes me hopeful. This book gives us an alternate version of the world that currently sucks so much, and it tells us hey, it could be this. It could be just a little bit better. It isn’t right now, but it’s not impossible either.
Also though it’s gay and cute and therefore I was destined to love it anyways.
2 – Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor
I haven’t yelled about Tarnished Are the Stars yet on here I don’t think, because I literally have not blogged more than once since I read it (in… October…) but if you follow me on any other platforms I’m sure this is NOT A SHOCK. This was a veeeeery close contender for first place, and honestly I’m still a little torn. I love this book a LOT y’all. A whole fucking lot. I mean I literally cosplayed one of the characters for Halloween. That is how much I love this book.
The thing about Tarnished Are the Stars is that it’s good on so many different levels. On a surface level it’s a suuuuuper compelling sci-fi with a fun plot and good world building and of course absolutely amazing characters who own my heart. On a less surface level it has some great political commentary. And then on a personal level it has some really fucking amazing queer rep, and that meant the world to me. There’s a discussion about labels in it that literally made me cry. I love it a lot. I would like that scene tattooed inside my brain please.
Anyways this book is absolutely amazing and I will yell at everyone to read it forever.
3 – Crier’s War by Nina Varela
This book was SPECTACULAR. I love my soft sapphic bbys.
I just… wow. I literally do not have words, and it’s been like three months. This book is legitimately a masterpiece. I know I say that a lot, but I really really really mean it this time.
I really honestly don’t know what to say about it, but I loved it so much and the writing was so beautiful and the romance was so soft and I love the characters so much and I just! wow! read this book y’all!!
(SLOWBURN HATE TO LOVE F/F ROMANCE TO DIE FOR Y’ALL)
4 – Echo After Echo by Amy Rose Capetta
Hello this is the theatre gay book of my theatre gay heart <3 Echo After Echo has been on tbr since literally before it came out, but it took me an AGE to finally read it and I am SO GLAD I did because it OWNS MY HEART
Literally everything about this book was perfect. I loved it a lot.
It was so deeply relatable to me on so many levels, the writing was gorgeous, the characters were fantastic, the romance was cute… literally what more could I ask. I loved this book so fucking much.
Also can we just appreciate that this is the first theatre book I’ve read that *didn’t* fall into my least favourite trope of “person who doesn’t really want a lead gets a lead and then whines about it the whole time” and instead featured a character who really fucking wanted this role, and worked her ass off, and made sacrifices for it (including ones she probably shouldn’t have oop), because that is so satisfying to read, someone really genuinely loving acting and getting a chance to shine? Now THAT’S my shit
5 – I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver
Bed De Backer and Nathan Allan own my heart I love them so much. Also someone needs to give Ben a hug for me pls, they need a hug.
This book was really fucking powerful. This book is *important*. This is some of the first #ownvoices nonbinary rep mainstream media is seeing, and that is so so so fucking important.
But it’s also just a really great book. I fell utterly in love with the characters – they are messy and flawed and imperfect and they are so amazingly well written. They aren’t perfect, but you love them even more for it. The writing is engaging, and emotion seeps through the pages. The romance is cute af. Everything about this book is just… god tier.
Basically: read this book for the rep, read it because it’s important, but also read it because it’s just a fucking amazing book and you will love it
6 – Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare
I’m sure this comes as absolutely no surprise to literally anyone who has ever visited my blog before, because I have loved Shadowhunters since like a month after I started blogging, but in case you’re new here: Hi, I’m Iris, and I loved this book.
Magnus and Alec have always been (some of) my favourites, and getting to read a whole book about them was honestly everything I could ever have asked for. And look, I know this whole book was basically fan service, but you know what? I’m a fan. I absolutely fucking loved getting to see Alec and Magnus being cute, getting to see Lilly be and icon, getting to see more of Raphael, getting to see the beginning of Helen and Aline’s relationship… it was everything I could have asked for and more.
I loved this book A LOT.
7 – The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews
My current mood for the past week (aka since I read the christmas short story) has just been missing the De Laineys and wanting to reread this book.
It was just!! so good! I adored A Thousand Perfect Notes too, but this book was just on a whole different level. It was the sort of book that is just…. entirely the sort of thing I love. It was funny, it was sweet, it was heartbreaking, it was just… perfect.
I adored this book.
I want to reread it now please and thank you (my copy is at home and I am not, or else I would be reading it right now)
8 – The Fever King by Victoria Lee
By all logic I should have hated this book. Dystopian? Not usually my thing. Anything involving plagues/diseases? Really not my thing. But I heard queer, and I heard political, and I saw everyone I follow reading and loving it, so I hesitantly picked it up and within like ten seconds I knew it was going to be a favourite.
This book is really fucking amazing.
The writing is amazing, the world building is god tier, and the characters, THE CHARACTERS, the characters are precious and I love them so much and I just!! I love them!! a lot!!
This is also a book that’s not afraid to get political. This is the sort of book that makes bigots scream ‘TOO MUCH’. Basically, I was destined to love it.
9 – Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
This book just utterly blew me away. It’s been almost exactly a year since I read it (it was within the first week of 2019), and my lasting impression of this book is still just: WOW.
I’m running out of ways to say ‘this book was amazing’ but just like. this book. wow. It is so beautifully written, the world building was fantastic, and the characters are EVERYTHING. I would like to give them a lot of hugs. Also it just has like… one of the most beautiful romances I’ve ever read
All the heart eyes for this book
10 – Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake
This book is the literal softest purest thing ever and I adore it.
I think queer middle grade just immediately means a lot to me? I didn’t have these books when I was younger, but I’m so so so glad to see them being published for kids now – these books will mean the world. But also this book was just so much fun! I enjoyed myself soooo much reading it. It’s one of those MG books that assumes tweens actually have some level of maturity, and therefore actually stands up to an older audience, and it’s just! so fun! The characters were so loveable, and the plot was engaging, and it was just! so sweet!