Favorite Books of 2019

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

In 2019, I read 34 things (books, graphic novels, novellas, and short stories) and rated 70% four or five stars. Generally speaking, I try to rate based on technicality and not on my feelings. Those change often! Even though I enjoyed a majority of the stories I read, I can really only call three my "favorites." These are hard to come by, even if I had read more. (Note: Please don't misunderstand, I'm not beating myself up for reading a small amount of books! My schedule this year did not allow for a lot of reading, so I have no problems with what my outcome was.) Okay, let's get to what I'm trying to say.

Instead of sharing the best books of 2019, I'm only going to write about my favorite books. The difference between the two is that my favorites are books that I know will sit with me forever and have impacted me on an emotional level. These are the ones that are special to me. It doesn't necessarily mean I would re-read them over and over again, although with some I would. And I don't always give my favorites a full five stars. The reason I'm not sharing my "best" reads this year is ... well, to be quite honest, I just don't want to talk about them! I only feel confident recommending books I absolutely love, so that is what you'll be getting today.

Side note #1: My favorites would 100% be part of my "best of" list.
Side note #2: One of my goals this year is to talk about every single book I read, so you will still hear me talk about books that don't make it to my "favorites" list in the future! Fret not, my friends. Not that anyone is actually fretting, I think.

One last thing before I talk about my favorites. I asked my Twitter friends if there was a difference between BEST books and FAVORITE books, and I wanted to share their responses with you. They are much more well spoken than I tried to be 😅

Okay, now for the thing you're here to read about!


Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Everything I Never Told You follows a Chinese American family who ends up losing their middle child, Lydia, in what police are ruling a suicide. However, no one believes that's true so they do everything they can to figure out what really happened. But the more they learn about their eldest daughter, the more they realize they didn't know her as well as they thought they did. Don't go into this thinking that Lydia's death is going to be all spelled out—this is much more of a family saga than a mystery/thriller.

Celeste Ng did such an incredible job capturing the Chinese American family experience—the high expectations, embarrassment from being treated as "other," feelings being swept under the rug. Never have I read anything that resonated with me more and made my heart hurt. This is a very emotional read, but one that reflects a lot of truths. It has impacted the way I think about other books, which is why making this list was so difficult!

A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti
Another heartbreaking story, but also hopeful. A Heart in a Body in the World follows a girl named Annabelle who decides to run across the country, from her hometown in Seattle to Washington, D.C., after a tragedy happens that she feels guilty for causing.

I'll admit that it took me a while to get through this because not much happens with the plot—it's just Annabelle running each day—but we get pieces of flashbacks that help us learn what she went through in the past. This story was so brilliantly woven together, and what makes that so is the way we get to see the progression of her relationship with this one person and how it changed her life. It started off harmless, but it very slowly became something bigger—an issue that Annabelle could not have predicted. It's a little difficult to explain how I feel without spoilers, so please trust me when I say this is a must read.

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
After losing her job and having close to nothing in her savings account, Jules comes across a gig that is too good to pass on. All she has to do is be an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, a building in Manhattan where many rich and famous folks live. As much as it is glamorous, it is also eerie and very secretive. There are some strange rules Jules has to abide by—no visitors, no talking to the other residents unless they approach her first, and she must stay in the apartment every night—but for four thousand dollars every month, it's worth it. Of course, creepy things start to happen. After an apartment sitter on the floor below her mysteriously disappears, Jules decides to find out what's going on.

This story was so well crafted and it kept me on my toes the whole time. Just the right amount of creepy for a scaredy-cat like me. The chapters are short, so nothing is long-winded—it's all about moving the plot forward and dropping little breadcrumb-clues slowly. I loved seeing how the relationships between Jules and all the different residents developed and, inevitably, how it affected her stay. Just one caveat for my recommendation: I haven't read many thrillers (and have watched even less of them) so I can't tell you if the twists and turns in this novel are unique or not. All I can say is that I loved it, and I'll be picking up everything else Riley Sager writes!


What are some of your favorite books of 2019?


  1. I agree that there is a difference between favorite and best, but they are not always mutually exclusive! These three sound VERY intense and not exactly my cup of tea but I'm so glad you loved them! It's always interesting to see what someone's favorite something is :) A few of my favorites this year included The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones, Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore, Hunted by Meagan Spooner, and Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston.

  2. YESSSS A HEART IN A BODY IN THE WORLD IS AMAZING! It was one of the last books I read in 2018 and it was honestly so profound, should be required reading! I feel like it sort of flies under the radar too (and I'll admit I'm not the biggest fan of the cover) but it's so wonderful.