Choosing a favourite book is like choosing a favourite kid, so don’t ask me to do it. Reluctantly, I can find it in me to muster up a yearly top five. This year I have read 70 books ranging from thrillers to memoirs. What follows are the books that have stuck with me: the elite, the crème de la crème.
At number five we have The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa. After you have read a few rom-coms, they start to meld together, but this one is a standout. The Worst Best Man follows Lina, a wedding planner who has been left at the altar. In the quest for a new job, Lina must work alongside her ex-fiancé’s brother, Max. With all the emotions of her past resurfacing, Lina is ready for a little revenge. After all, she does believe Max had a hand in his brother’s choice to bolt on their wedding day. However, Lina’s hatred dissolves as the two discover they have more in common than just that fateful day from their past.
What makes this romance stand out is Sosa’s ability to build a compelling world around these characters. The couple does not exist alone in a bubble. They have family, friends, and culture that intersect with their story. Sosa’s writing leaves you wanting more, in the best way possible. If you are looking for a low commitment, feel-good read, pick up The Worst Best Man.
Next up, at number four, is In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado. With beautiful and haunting prose, Machado writes about her experiences of abuse in a queer relationship. It is a difficult topic to broach, yet Machado tackles it with nuance and honesty. Although classified as a memoir, it is not composed in a way you’d expect. The story is told in fragments, using the metaphor of the “dream house” —among classic horror themes—to articulate the complexities of her experience.
This book is not for everybody; Machado does not sugar coat or dilute her trauma. This book will leave you fraught with emotion. I ask that you keep this in mind if you choose to pick up In the Dream House.
Number three is They Never Learn by Layne Fargo. A sapphic thriller; need I say more? As her Goodreads bio states,Fargo “writes killer books for feminist killjoys.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. They Never Learn follows Scarlett Clark, English professor and, well, serial killer. Scarlett kills one terrible man at her university each year and, up until now, has gotten away with it. With her ever-growing body count, the school begins asking questions, putting Scarlett’s double life at risk of exposure. Alongside Scarlett, we meet freshman Carly Schiller. Carly has a torrid past and a knack for vengeance. How do these two cross paths? You’ll have to read to find out.
If you are anything like me, you will not be able to put this book down. Fargo channels female rage into a gripping and suspenseful read. This book is perfect for fans of Gone Girl and Killing Eve. If my brief description has not sold you on the book, I will leave you with a quote: “Stop talking about dead white men. It’s a party!”
Number two, a coveted spot, is Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen. Late to the Party is a deeply relatable story for all the late bloomers out there. Codi Teller, our protagonist, has lived life on the outside. She is not a joiner, and neither are her two best friends, Maritza and JaKory. Yet, when Codi finds herself accidentally befriending a new crowd, she learns there is more to life than her little bubble.
Late to the Party is about friendship, being a teenager and feeling stuck, with a sprinkle of queer romance. As she is my personal queen of young-adult fiction, I could not recommend Kelly Quindlen’s writing enough. This book happens to be my favourite of hers.
At number one, the crown jewel, we have Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton. Think Bridget Jones’ Diary but in real life. Alderton’s memoir covers everything from growing up to loss and heartbreak. She recounts the highs and lows from her teens to thirties. The parties, the breakups and everything in between. I swear Dolly Alderton snuck into my brain and wrote what she found on paper. She manages to articulate love and friendship in ways I did not know were possible.
Everything I Know About Love is like gossiping with a friend. It is comforting and relatable. If you are a struggling and slightly on edge twenty-something, give Everything I Know About Love a read.
And with that, my list comes to an end. Grab a cup of tea, get cozy and give one of these books a try, you won’t regret it.