I have tried in the past to be a person who plans out my reading list for the year, but friends, that just isn’t me. Yes, I am a former English teacher who despises being on the receiving end of any kind of reading assignment, perceived or otherwise. I do, however, take great pleasure in adding books to my yearly “Want-to-Read” shelf, especially new titles by some of my favorite authors that I’ve been dying to read.
Alriiiight. Let’s get into it.
One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus
The sequel to One of Us is Lying, accurately billed as a “Pretty Little Liars meets Breakfast Club” YA thriller. I gave the original four stars out of five, and 2017 Me shared in my review that it was a “great YA mystery thriller with a well done reveal”…and nothing more. Nonetheless, I was excited to see that McManus was doing a sequel, especially after reading and enjoying her second book, Two Can Keep a Secret, last year. This one sounds a little bit like Gossip Girl meets that weird movie Nerve (you know, that one with Emma Roberts and Little Franco) and I am here for it.
The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson
The Hand on the Wall is the final installment of Johnson’s Truly, Devious series, and another murder mystery thriller with the added glamour of taking place at an alternative boarding school in Vermont. Johnson loves a cliffhanger, and I can’t wait to see how she wraps up this series that I know I’ve loved (as evidenced by my 5 star reviews) but also remember very little about because #oldbrain. Thank God for the enterprising souls who run all those book recap sites—truly, the heroes we need.
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
This is Mandel’s first novel since her bestseller Station Eleven, which was a National Book Award Finalist and one of the few books I suggested as a monthly book club pick that I actually ended up reading. The Glass Hotel sounds quite different story-wise—it’s straight literary fiction rather than speculative dystopia for one thing—but I fully expect it to be just as thought-provoking as Station Eleven.
The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson
I adore Erik Larson’s books—I recommend Issac’s Storm to pretty much everyone, and have devoured almost all of his other works as well. He’s a wonderfully talented storyteller and an impeccable researcher who writes microhistories that read like fiction. I always come away from one of his books with a new appreciation for history and a plethora of random facts with which to impress acquaintances. His latest oeuvre focuses on Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz.
The House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
Y’all, I’m nervous about this one. The House of Earth and Blood, the first book in Maas’ new Crescent City series, is billed as her first “adult” novel, which is frankly terrifying. I discovered Maas five years ago when I listened to A Court of Thorn and Roses on audiobook (yes, The Noun of Noun and Noun title formula is strong with this one) and was hooked. I immediately read all of the published books in her Throne of Glass series and was, for awhile, Harry Potter-level obsessed. Unfortunately the honeymoon didn’t last: Throne of Glass, which started out as fun and frisky YA, transitioned into ever-more cringey and very adult territory, and I absolutely loathed the final installment of the ACOTAR series. I was pleasantly surprised by Maas’ entry into the DC Icons series, Catwoman: Soulstealer, in which she regained some of her OG energy that made Throne of Glass so fun (and also managed to actually be YA-appropriate), but my hopes aren’t high that she’ll reign in Trashy Romance Novelist Sarah in a book that is actually meant to be marketed to adults, sooooooo….TBD.
The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkowski
I’ve been DYING for Rutkowski to write another book after loving the Winner’s trilogy, so I definitely squealed when I saw that she was writing a duology set in the same world (which means I probably need to reread the original trilogy before this one comes out because, again, #oldbrain). Reviews of ARCs on Goodreads have been overwhelmingly positive, so I’m for sure looking forward to seeing if this one lives up to the hype!
The Damned by Renee Ahdieh
This is book two in a series of (allegedly) four, breaking Ahdieh’s duology trend. The first book, The Beautiful, one had me at vampires in 19th century New Orleans; I ended up giving it 3.5 stars, proclaiming I would reserve judgement until the next installment, so we’ll have to see if my rating improves.
The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
The Royal We was one of my 2015 reads, the first year I started tracking what I read year on year in Goodreads. I remember liking it a lot (I gave it 4 stars)—this is basically Will and Kate fanfiction with name changes and enough differences to avoid legal action (Curtis Sittenfeld’s does something similar in American Wife with the Bushes). A lot has happened in the actual Royal Family in 20-5, so I’m curious to see how Cocks and Morgan translate all the drama to the page.
Well friends, I hope you had as much fun as I did today, and that you’re as excited as I am to pull on some reading socks and continue to explore my TBR with me, and that you’ll join me next time, when I recap Lee Goldberg’s awful Amazon First Reads pick, Lost Hills.