The best books of 2019

the best books of 2019

There’s no questioning the fact that 2019 has been a great year for books. With so many books on our radar, it was extremely difficult to narrow down the greatest reads of the year but alas, here is our list of the best books of 2019.

Literary Fiction

The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo

When Marilyn and David fell for each other in the ’70s, they never anticipated the future ahead of them. Almost five decades later, the two are struggling to help their three daughters maneuver through the most difficult times in their lives. Underneath it all, these three young women are afraid they’ll never find true love like their parents have. Claire Lombardo’s debut novel is a powerful story about family, expectations and what it takes to live a truly fulfilling life.

See more of the best family sagas of 2019 >>


Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

As a Jamaican British woman living in London, 25-year-old Queenie Jenkins has always been confused about her true place in the world. Recovering from a bad relationship, Queenie gets involved with a slur of men who she knows aren’t good for her. Trying to find who she really is and what she really wants, Queenie is doing her best to become her best self.


The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

The sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood’s latest release tells the story of three distinct women living in and around Gilead 15 years after Offred’s tale takes place. One woman has escaped Gilead, another a leader in the republic and the third, a girl who has grown up in Gilead and is now playing a significant role in the community. All three will interact in ways that will change their lives forever.


On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Ocean Vuong’s 2019 release serves as a letter from a son to his illiterate mother. Written by the main character, Little Dog when he’s in his late twenties, the letter tells his family’s story and their humble beginnings in Vietnam. Throughout the book, Little Dog discusses the relationship he had with his mother as well as pressing topics like race, masculinity and class.


Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

When Melody turns 16 in 2001, she recalls her mother and the special coming-of-age party she missed out on when she was her age. Reminiscing on the family’s history, Red at the Bone paints a portrait of success, expectation and the difference between following your dreams and becoming the person others want you to be.


Thrillers

The Whisper Man by Alex North

Over two decades ago, a serial killer terrified the town of Featherbank, killing five children. With the murderer now behind bars, everything seems normal again… until another young boy goes missing leaving everyone to question who’s behind this new threat. Simultaneously, Tom and his son Jake have just moved to Featherbank in search of a new start but little do they know, an evil presence in the town has other plans for them.


The Chain by Adrian McKinty

This haunting thriller tells the story of a terrifying chain of child abductions. When your child has been kidnapped, you receive a call confirming the awful truth: either kidnap another child and continue the chain or your child will die. How far are you willing to go to get them back and does it justify taking away someone else’s child in order to do so?


best books of 2019

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

This instant New York Times bestseller tells the story of a family after the mysterious death of middle brother Cameron. After the man’s body is found in a remote area of the Australian Outback, it’s up to his two brothers to get to the bottom of what really happened to him as they don’t believe he’d wander out into the middle of nowhere unprepared. Filled with suspicious characters, plenty of family discourse and intense confrontations, this bestseller had readers on the edge of their seats in 2019.


best books of 2019

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Famous painter Alicia Berenson seemed to have the perfect life… until she shot her husband in the face five times. Now residing in a mental hospital, Alicia hasn’t spoken since the night of her husband’s death. Knowing that Alicia is impossible to crack, criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber takes on her case in order to find out the secrets Alicia holds and why she killed her husband.


best books of 2019

My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Korede has always protected Ayoola, helping to clean up her sister’s homicidal messes whenever she needs it. She has killed her last three boyfriends, and Korede knows exactly how to keep her out of trouble. But all of that changes when the boy Korede has been in love with asks for Ayoola’s number. If Korede gives him her sister’s number, will he end up the next victim?

See more of the best thrillers of 2019 >>


Historical Fiction

best books of 2019

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones grew up in LA in the ’60s and finally finds her groove when she gets involved in the rock ‘n’ roll scene. At only 20, she makes a name for herself and after she joins forces with The Six, a band led by Billy Dunne, she finds her success to be seemingly endless. But not everything works in Daisy’s favor as she and Billy run into plenty of roadblocks along the way to ultimate stardom.


best books of 2019

The Huntress by Kate Quinn

Fearless, Nina Markova took a huge risk during WWII and joined the all-female night bomber regime to get back at Germany for invading the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, British war correspondent Ian Graham is on a mission to track down a Nazi murderess named the Huntress who had her sights set on Nina. Together, Nina and Ian will do everything in their power to bring the Huntress down.


best books of 2019

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

In this instant New York Times bestseller, sisters Jo and Bethie Kaufman navigate the world from the 1950s in Detroit, through Vietnam, Woodstock and other significant moments that defined America and the rest of the world. As they grew up extremely different from one another, they both wonder if they will find true happiness in Mrs. Everything.


best books of 2019

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Hiram Walker has always known life as a slave and when he was separated from his mother at a young age, he gained a mysterious power that would prove valuable later in life. Years later, Hiram uses his power to escape his shackles and run away to the North. Getting mixed up in the underground war being waged between slavers and the enslaved, Hiram vows to return for the rest of his family as soon as he can.


best books of 2019

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

In this New York Times bestselling novel, young Ji Lin and Ren are both sent on an adventure of a lifetime that will end in them learning the true cost of love and becoming the people they were always meant to be. Ji Lin will do anything to help her mother pay back her debts and when one of her clients stumbles upon a gruesome item in the club where she works, her path will collide with Ren’s in unexpected and exciting ways. If you love historical fiction with a touch of magic, you’ll love The Night Tiger.


best books of 2019

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Living in the Jim Crow South of the 1960s, Elwood Curtis has always done his best to stay out of trouble. But when he’s caught making an innocent mistake, he’s sent to the Nickel Academy – a reform school for troubled boys that has a reputation for abusing their students. At the Nickel Academy, Elwood meets Turner, a young man whose beliefs differ from Elwood’s. Together, the two will get involved in an incident that will change their lives and the lives of others for decades to come.

Fantasy

best books of 2019

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

It’s the Jazz Age and Casiopea Tun dreams of leaving southern Mexico but she’s stuck cleaning her wealthy grandfather’s house. But her dreams soon become reachable when she finds a wooden box in her grandfather’s room and opens it to release the Mayan god of death. The god requests her assistance in helping him take back his throne. She agrees and embarks on an adventure that promises her the life she’s always wanted.


best books of 2019

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

January Scaller, the ward of Mr. Locke, has always felt out of place and relates to the strange objects that populate Locke’s mansion. When she finds an old book that tells magical stories, she will rethink her world and the strange connections the book has to her own life.


best books of 2019

The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare

Magnus Bane is in need of a vacation and he’s excited to be traveling across Europe with his new boyfriend Alec Lightwood. But upon arriving in Paris, the two are made aware that there’s a demon-worshipping cult wreaking havoc around the world… a cult started by Magnus as a joke. Together, Magnus and Alec must track down the cult and its leader in order to keep them at bay.

best books of 2019

Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James

Tracker is great at hunting people and things down when needed but stands by his rule of always working alone. Recently assigned to find a young boy who went missing three years ago, he has no choice but to break his own rule when a group of individuals joins him in the rescue mission. Tracker, who is struggling to survive this journey, will discover who the boy really is and why people are so desperate to track him down.


Romance

best books of 2019

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

Khai Diep’s mother fears that her neurodiverse son will never find true love on his own so she steps in to help find him a wife. She goes to Vietnam and she meets Esme Tran, a woman who believes this opportunity will bring her family the break they’re in desperate need of. Back in the United States, Esme finds that she is falling for Khai despite knowing that he may never be able to love her back.


best books of 2019

Love At First Like by Hannah Orenstein

Eliza Roth and her sister’s jewelry shop in Brooklyn means the world to them and while their Instagram has a large following, they’re finding it hard to stay afloat financially. But all of that changes when Eliza accidentally posts a photo of herself wearing one of their gorgeous engagement rings and the internet goes wild for her fake engagement story. Now, Eliza must find a man to marry on short notice if she wants to keep her business and online romance alive.


best books of 2019

The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory

Maddie and Theo hate each other but have one thing in common: they’d do anything for their best friend Alexa and her upcoming wedding. Despite their differences, Maddie and Theo spend a night together that they swear will only happen once. But unexpectedly, the two form a relationship they never saw coming. While they promise it’ll end when the wedding is over, they have trouble cutting ties when the time comes.


best books of 2019

The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves

English major and introvert Annika Rose is floored when she meets Jonathan Hoffman. They have their relationship all figured out… until a tragedy forces them apart. Now, a decade later, the two reconnect and they want to be together once again but their pasts will make it difficult for them to truly form a trusting relationship.

Science Fiction

Recursion by Blake Crouch

Barry Sutton is a New York City cop on a mission to get to the bottom of a widespread epidemic. False Memory Syndrome has taken its toll on citizens in New York, giving its victims false memories that eventually drive them mad. Simultaneously, neuroscientist Helena Smith is dealing with the fact that her wholesome attempt to help her mother’s Alzheimer’s has taken a new and ominous form and is ruining the lives of so many. Barry and Helena must find a way to stop this dangerous disease and bring their world back to normalcy in Crouch’s latest bestselling science fiction novel.


This Is How You Lose the Time War by Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar

Red and Blue are on opposing sides of the war that’s raging in their world. While they’re not supposed to like one another, the two begin corresponding through letters. Although the two can only relate to the fact that they’re both the best at what they do, they find familiarity in one another amidst their bloody pasts and the dark future ahead of them.

Horror

The Institute by Stephen King

Luke Ellis’s life changes forever when intruders enter his house in the middle of the night, kill his parents and take him away to The Institute. It’s at The Institute that Luke learns that it’s a place for children with special powers, and the people who run it plan to exploit them to complete their own mission. As the kids at The Institue start disappearing, Luke knows that he has to take on a feat never achieved before: escaping.


Full Throttle: Stories by Joe Hill

Joe Hill’s latest short stories include fairy-tale creatures, a librarian who delivers books to the dead, a faceless trucker and other horrific and unique tales. If you’re looking for an out-of-the-box short story collection, this is our pick for the best of the year.


Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

When Kate Reese packed up her son and her life and ran away from her abusive relationship, she hoped their next move would be full of hope and light. But after only a few days in Mill Grove, Pennsylvania, her son Christopher goes missing for six days. When he returns, he claims to have a voice in his head telling him to build a treehouse by Christmas. What happens if he doesn’t build it in time? No one in town will ever be the same again.


Nonfiction

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb

Los Angeles therapist Lori Gottlieb’s entire world comes crashing down one day, leading her to seek therapy of her own. In Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, Gottlieb tells her own story of therapy in addition to the stories of a few of her most impactful patients. This instant New York Times bestseller shows the transformative powers of therapy and how they helped one medical professional take her life back.


Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

Lisa Taddeo spent years traveling around the United States to interview women from all walks of life; Three Women is the result of this mission. In this non-fiction release, Taddeo uncovers three stories about three different women, their lives and their experiences with love and lust. From suburban Indiana to North Dakota and a secluded enclave in the Northeast, she brings to life a new view of women, desire, infatuation and heartbreak.


Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro

When Dani Shapiro signed up to have her DNA analyzed, she thought it would be a fun way to learn more about her background. What she wasn’t expecting was that this test would reveal the fact that her father wasn’t actually her biological father. Suddenly, her world is turned upside down. In this moving memoir, she will uncover the secrets of her family and go on a quest to find out who she really is.


Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land

At 28, Stephanie Land had dreams of going to college and becoming a writer. But when a short fling turned into a pregnancy she became a housekeeper to keep her small family afloat. Working during the day and taking classes at night, Stephanie began writing the stories of overworked and underpaid Americans she connected with. Her story and the stories of others inspire people to remember their worth and always fight for what they deserve.


More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) by Elaine Welteroth

This instant New York Times bestseller gives readers an inside look at the life of former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue and the ups and downs she encountered on her way to becoming her best self. Moving beyond the moments everyone sees on her social media platforms, Welteroth shares how she navigated the competitive editorial world and how she became the woman and leader she is today.

See more of the best celebrity memoirs of 2019 >>


Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller

Chanel Miller opens up about what it was like to be the victim of Brock Turner’s sexual assault in this emotional New York Times bestselling memoir. After her victim impact statement went viral on BuzzFeed, the world knew Chanel only as Emily Doe. Her inspiring statement inspired change in California law and among women everywhere. In 2019, she released her memoir, fully unveiling her struggles during and after the case and how she’s recovered.

She Reads Editors

The She Reads Editors are always scouting the best books for all your #TBR piles. We’re offering up our favorite books, from classics to debuts, bestselling to the next big thing. Read along with us on social, too!

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