Two months into 2019 and I’m pretty sure I maaaay have just found the three most important books of the year (well, so far at least). This year has kicked off with SO MANY AMAZING NEW RELEASES that it’s hard to keep track of all of them – but if you’re looking for some important ones to add to your TBR, you’ve come to the right place!
I seriously didn’t know how Angie Thomas was going to be able to write another novel that was just as incredible as The Hate U Give — it’s a heck of a lot of pressure to live up to, when it basically hasn’t left #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list for over 100 weeks. But WOW. I don’t know how it’s possible for me to love On the Come Up even more than her PERFECT FIRST BOOK BABY, BUT I DID. IT WAS FREAKING PHENOMENAL. And this is coming from someone who thought it would be kind of meh because I’m not a fan of rap. LET ME TELL YOU: YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A FAN OF RAP TO APPRECIATE AND LOVE THIS BOOK. (warning: you may develop a sudden urge to listen to rap once you’re done.)
On the Come Up is a novel that somehow incorporates so many important issues one book — it discusses racism and police brutality and making assumptions about people and being forced to play a part, and I just have SO MUCH LOVE FOR THIS NOVEL. It went into so many necessary, timely topics without ever feeling overwhelming or didactic. It was just a great story that’s themes can be translated to our everyday lives. I absolutely loved following Brilliant Bri on her rapping journey, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her family and friends, as well as see more of the Garden Heights neighbourhood we were immersed in in The Hate U Give. Plus, the raps were INCREDIBLE on audio — so I highly recommend that format if you’re a fan of audiobooks! JUST WOW. PLEASE READ IT.
When I heard that the author of Moxie, one of my favourite feminist books of all time, was writing another book, I was HYPED… but hyped in the way that was kind of like, will I love it as much as I did her previous book? Short answer: YES. Long answer: EVEN MORE SO. Devoted has the same brilliantly feminist, empowering messages as Moxie, but it’s such a completely different story — but one that will engross you in just the same way. Devoted is a book about a girl who’s family is very involved in a religious group (which is sometimes referred to as a cult in this book), and she’s been oppressed her whole life. Her existence is basically reduced to being the perfect daughter and future wife, and nothing else. Her choices aren’t made for her, her education is restricted, and her every movement is monitored. IT WAS SCARY, and I can’t believe cults like this actually exist — sometimes in our very own neighbourhoods.
I was a little nervous that religion in this book would come across as a BAD THING, as it was all about breaking free of the patriarchal prison that this girl was trapped in, but thankfully it was more nuanced than that. Yes, it does condemn religions that don’t empower women, but it wasn’t like ALL RELIGIONS ARE BAD, BE AN ATHEIST. Gosh, this book really frustrated me at times though, which was no fault of the book itself. I just wanted to SLAP SOME CHARACTERS and be like, let my precious girl live her best life! It was very confronting at times, and seriously, my heart goes out to people who are actually living in these situations. Devoted is such an incredible novel about feminism, learning to let go of toxic relationships with those closest to you, and making a life for yourself that YOU CHOOSE. This is simply a must-read.
This book was SOOOOO GOOD. I’m still sobbing quietly over how beautiful and heart-wrenching this novel was. Seriously, this might be my favourite sci-fi book? Of all time? I JUST CAN’T EVEN BEGIN TO EXPRESS HOW MUCH I LOVED IT. I’ve only read one other book by Lauren James, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, and I enjoyed that. It was, like, a solid four stars (I’m a very generous rater, shhh). But this one? Can I pluck all the stars from the night sky to give to this glorious bound paper creation? Yes, that sounds like a bad Ed Sheeran lyric, and no, I will not apologise.
So this book tells the story of the last humans on Earth, after the majority of the human race died out when a virus caused global infertility. It was scary because something like this COULD HAPPEN. But people’s reaction to this sudden infertility was even more realistic — embryos were rationed by the government and periodically released, children were being kidnapped from the streets, and an app was being produced to simulate a pregnancy. It was FASCINATING to see how artificial intelligence was being used as a substitute for human babies, and it was a technological advancement that looks like a realistic option in our future. I loved getting to know Lowrie and Shen, the two last teens on Earth, as well as the two people I learned about through the social media updates and news articles Lowrie found. This is just such a beautiful book about family, love, and humanity, and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT.
Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned in my post? What do you think are the most important books of 2019? Which ones are you most looking forward to? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks to Hachette for providing me a copy of Devoted and to Walker Books for providing me with a copy of The Quiet at the End of the World in exchange for honest reviews!