If you’re anything like me, the best part of the new year is putting together a great reading list of new books. Reading lists are exciting and this one is no different. With everything from contemporary fiction and satire, to paranormal and psychological thrillers — there’s something for everyone here.
Check out this list of “must-reads” for 2019. Your shelf and your brain will thank you.
The 10 Best Books to Read in 2019
Pretend I’m Dead (Jen Beagin)
Now available in paperback, this novel features Mona, a 24 year-old cleaning lady that manages to fail at almost everything in life — including a relationship with a drug addict named Mr. Disgusting. After Mona experiences a tragic heartbreak, she moves to Taos, New Mexico where she finds a community of like-minded misfits. Read more about Pretend I’m Dead.
You Know You Want This (Kristen Roupenian)
Who needs Sex in the City when you have Kristen Roupenian’s collection about dating, sex, gender, anger and pain in your 20’s? Her story, “Cat Person”, went viral after appearing in The New Yorker and this collection includes that tale plus a whole array of other fascinating narratives on life as a twenty-something in the modern world. The book starts out with a bang, so make sure you have your big girl panties on for the ride. Grab you copy here.
Looker (Laura Sims)
If you’re all about those books where the protagonist makes all the wrong choices, then Looker is your book. You won’t be able to stop cringing while you read, but you also won’t be able to put this debut novel from Laura Sims down. Looker is about a woman who becomes maniacally obsessed with an actress that lives on the same street of adorable brownstones in Brooklyn. A harmless fascination descends into downright toxic envy as the story builds up to an unmissable ending. You can get Looker here.
Slayer (Kiersten White)
Okay, Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans — this is all for you. The apocalypse has come and Buffy and her beeper are nowhere to be found. Kiersten weaves together a story that will delight fans of the show and enthrall newcomers to the Buffy universe. Her main character, Nina, is a teenage girl whose link with Buffy makes her reluctant to embrace her Slayer powers. Before she can make up her mind, though, bodies begin to stack up and Nina is forced to embrace her powers before she loses someone she loves.
You don’t have to love Buffy the Vampire Slayer to enjoy this book, so I highly recommend it to anyone who loves paranormal teen thrillers. Get Slayer on Amazon.
Scrublands (Chris Hammer)
This book’s cover is intense but it’s nothing compared to what’s inside this spine-tingling read. In the isolated country town of Riversend, a young priest opens fire on his congregation, killing five before taking his own life. A year later, journalist Martin Scarsden — who has just returned from a traumatic war assignment — arrives in Riversend to cover the anniversary of the tragedy. It doesn’t take long until Scarsden realizes the reports of the event don’t match the narrative told to him by the townspeople. As Martin unravels the mystery, another shocking development forces the media back to the small town, where Scarsden is struggling to understand the two incidents while events continue to escalate around him.
Check out Scrublands by Chris Hammer.
Hark (Sam Lipsyte)
Satire should be at the top of your list this year and the book Hark should be at the top of that list. This dark romp by Sam Lipsyte is set in an alternate America which is defined by political upheaval, cultural discord, environmental collapse and spiritual confusion. A wellness guru by the name of Hark Morner, somehow becomes the next messiah in the midst of it all after he invents “Mental Archery”. Morner’s rise to fame is frought with friends and danger alike, though, as he meets a cast of interesting characters including a Swedish kidnapper and a renegade ethicist. If you want a fun and enlightening romp, Hark is it.
The Light Over London (Julia Kelly)
This is one for the history buffs out there. If you’re looking for one that checks all the boxes, The Light Over London is it, featuring brave ladies that buck tradition to service as Gunner Girls in World War II. The story is centered around a noble quest to reunite an unfinished diary with it’s owner and also has a satisfying little love story (or two) that is sure to make you smile. There’s cliff hangers galore, so brace yourself for a page-turner that will keep you up reading long into the night.
Heads of the Colored People (Nafissa Thompson-Spires)
Heads of the Colored People is an incredible short story collection from Nafissa Thompson-Spires. Every story in this collection addresses black identity in the contemporary middle class and is beautiful, compelling and sometimes disturbing. If you’re a fan of George Saunders or Carmen Maria Machado, and features strong original characters that are hard to forget.
Get Heads of the Colored People on Amazon.
The Falconer (Dana Czapnik)
Lucy is almost the only girl on the neighborhood courts with her friend (and crush) Percy. She’s everything you could want from a rebel. Lucy’s that smart-talking, cynical lead that makes this coming-of-age novel glows with character. Fall (back) in love with the the 90’s in this novel from Dana Czapnik.
The Elizas (Sara Shepard)
The last book on this list, The Elizas, is brought to you by the same author who brought you the hit — Pretty Little Liars. This dark and twisty suspense features Eliza Fontaine, who is publishing her first novel. Before it can be released, something twisted happens, though. When Eliza is pulled from the bottom of a swimming pool, her friends and family suspect a suicide attempt. Eliza, however, knows better. As the publishing date draws near, events become confused for the disturbed author and the edges of reality begin to blur with her novel. Click the image below to learn more.
What books are you reading this year? Do you have your own list of “to-reads” or are you taking part in a reading challenge like the one from Goodreads? Let me know in the comments below!
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