Favourite novels of 2018

Thursday, December 6, 2018 Permalink

And here it is… the moment you’ve all been waiting for – and yes, I’ve been sensing the collective bated breath around the globe – my favourite novels of 2018. *insert drumroll*

You may recall I shared a list of those books I’d loved most for the first half of 2018. The OCDer inside of me feels as if I should have something similar for the second half of the year before selecting the finalists. Like a semi-final. Or preliminary final. Or whatevs.

But quite frankly I can’t be arsed. I should also mention I’m tired so I’m including the bare minimum. As per other years (check out 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 here) every child book does not win a prize. It’s easier for me to be really picky, so I’ve whittled it down to only FIVE, though included some other memorable reads for good measure.

Interestingly, as I was attempting to write ‘why’ I liked each of these books, my words were the same…

Stunning writing. Beautiful storytelling. Wonderful and memorable characters.

ie. the reading trifecta for me.

And although last year had a clear first place, I’m just listing this year’s alphabetically. By author surname obvs… and as I’m lazy I’m also including a blurb from Goodreads re each book, though more detail can be found in my reviews (links are in the title). So, without further ado…

1. Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton

A story of brotherhood, true love and the most unlikely of friendships. A novel of love, crime, magic, fate and coming of age, set in Brisbane’s violent working class suburban fringe.

Verdict: Addictive, beautifully told yarn.

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton


2. Scrublands by Chris Hammer

A troubled journalist arrives in an isolated country town to write a feature on the first anniversary of an inexplicable tragedy in which a young dedicated priest shot five parishioners before being shot himself.

Verdict: Well written and Intriguing.

Scrublands by Chris Hammer


3. The Yellow House by Emily O’Grady

A powerful novel about loyalty and betrayal; about the legacies of violence and the possibilities of redemption.

Verdict: Stunningly written and bloody devastating.

The Yellow House by Emily O'Grady


4. The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland

A story about stories: those we inherit, those we select to define us, and those we decide to hide. It is a novel about the secrets we keep and how they haunt us, and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive.

Verdict: Great writing. Enchanting.

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland


5. Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

A boy in search of greatness, as a cure for memory and tragedy. He builds a bridge to save his family, but also to save himself.

Verdict: Memorable. Poignantly literal and metaphorical.

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak


And, oh wow… I’ve only just realised these are ALL Australian authors. (That’s weird for me, but whatevs… it is what it is!)

There were so many other great novels this year by my fave authors, including Candice Fox, David Baldacci, Gregg Hurwitz, Kate Morton etc but, I had to narrow this down to those that really stuck with me, so my honourable mentions (and links to my reviews)…

The Fragments by Toni Jordan: read in 2019, but belatedly added cos I actually gave it a very rare 5 stars.

The Fragments by Toni Jordan

Into the Night by Sarah Bailey: a sequel but (for me) better than the first.

Cactus by Sarah Haywood: again with the (sometimes annoying, but clever) quirk. Reminded me of Eleanor Oliphant.


Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce: a huge surprise. Quirky and uplifting wartime read.

Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult: bloody sad. Ironic and important.


Have you read any of these? What has / have been your favourite new release/s this year?

  • Jo
    December 6, 2018

    I’d have no idea how to narrow mine down. I’ve read some flipping amazing books this year – in fact, need to do a round up post. I think the most surprising was Mike Gayle’s The Man I Think I Know.

    • Debbish
      December 6, 2018

      Luckily I do the star rating thing so can search through, though I’d given quite a number of books 4.5 stars this year so had to pluck out those that were most memorable….

  • Lydia C. Lee
    December 6, 2018

    I like the look of that Mrs. Bird. Oh, yes, you can judge a book by it’s cover. I liked Boy Swallows Universe too – I didn’t expect to.

    • Debbish
      December 6, 2018

      I don’t usually read historical fiction so if it says something about (anytime before say 1960s) or wartime etc I’m pushing it away so this was a surprise. I think I decided to give it a go and loved the writing so kept on with it. Wannabe ‘lady war correspondent’ becomes advice columnist.

  • Natalie
    December 6, 2018

    I’m putting holds on these books at my library! Thanks for the short list of your favourite five in 2018.

    • Debbish
      December 6, 2018

      I initially had 7 on there (won’t tell you which other two) but then wondered if I REALLY liked X more than Y so decided to go down to my absolute favourites.

  • Min Write of the Middle
    December 6, 2018

    I love this kind of post Deb. I wasn’t aware of any of these books but good to know of them now and that they come recommended. I’ll add them to my list and possibly consider some as Xmas gifts (yes I still haven’t done my xmas shopping!!). I’ll have another good look at what they are each about. Thank you! #TeamLovinLife

    • Debbish
      December 6, 2018

      Interestingly – though I say I really love (mainly read) crime fiction / thrillers / suspense only two of these would fit into that category which is kinda weird.

      PS. I haven’t done ANY Christmas shopping yet, though thankfully I don’t need to do much.

  • Lisa
    December 6, 2018

    Interestingly, because I usually mostly agree with your reviews and reserve a lot of books you review because I know I’ll like them. Anyway, I’ve just finished Spark of Light, and I was disappointed – Jodi Picoult is one of my favourites and this one just didn’t wow me, maybe because I’m pretty ambivalent on the subject, maybe I just didn’t like the “backwards” take, I don’t know … then again, maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood!

    • Debbish
      December 6, 2018

      Ah yes, I know what you mean about Spark of Light… I was actually surprised that I was still a sobbing mess even though it goes backwards and you know (in advance) who dies and who doesn’t.

  • Nicki
    December 6, 2018

    Thanks for sharing, i have just ordered them all for my Kindle. Merry Christmas to me. My favourite read for the year was The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah.

    • Debbish
      December 7, 2018

      Oh well done. I hope you enjoy them. And yes, I’ve heard good things about the Kristin Hannah!

  • leannelc
    December 6, 2018

    Well! I’m feeling super ignorant right now – I haven’t even heard of half of these books! Now I’m going to have to jot them down and order them from the library so that I can be more high brow and well read! Thanks for sharing them to inspire me 🙂

    • Debbish
      December 7, 2018

      Ha! I’ve been the same about some other ‘best of’ lists Leanne so my taste is certainly far from high-brow! 🙂

      It’s such a subjective thing this reading caper…. for example I’ve not loved any of Liane Moriarty’s books and yet others adore them.

  • Virtually All Sorts (@AllSortsHere)
    December 10, 2018

    I have really, seriously got back into reading this year and smashed my goodreads challenge of 12 books. I”m onto my 14th I think and that’s pretty good going for me. I love stumbling on a book and adding to my goodreads pile and my amazon basket for when I treat myself and I’ve added all of these (not the ones on pre-order) because I also like use the library! I just need to read faster now!

    • Debbish
      December 10, 2018

      Oh yes, hopefully the upcoming holiday season will allow you a few extra treats and some down-time for reading!

I'd love to hear your thoughts