Top three books of 2019

2019 was a year of changes for me — not only aspects of my life in general but also my reading tastes. I used to read all things Young Adult, from “Uglies” by Scott Westerfeld to “Beautiful Creatures” by Kami Garcia. In 2019, I matured a lot, and my reading tastes followed suit. I branched out of Young Adult to more adult literary fiction. There is nothing wrong with loving YA, but I found myself enjoying different genres that I hadn’t given a chance before. My favorite books of 2019 represent this exploration.


  • “Winternight” trilogy by Katherine Arden


This trilogy follows a girl with magical abilities named Vasilisa (aka Vasya) Petrovna throughout her childhood and into adulthood as she navigates being a noblewoman in medieval Russia. The people of her village in northern Russia have lived with the certainty that demons move through their world and Vasilisa, the youngest child of a wealthy boyar and heir to ancient familial magic, has lived with the burden of them. Vasilisa can see these spirits, who protect her town and its people, and she kept this a secret – until her father brings home a new bride who sees and fears the spirits, and forbids Vasya from any communication with them. Not long after, a young, arrogant priest is sent to her village and causes a multitude of problems for Vasya and the spirits. But the worst nightmare for Vasya waits patiently in the woods, wanting Vasya and everything she holds dear.

I have a soft spot in my heart for lushly written magical tales, and this is the best one I’ve ever read. It has incredible world-building, character development and a beautiful magic system. The books are so deeply atmospheric that one can almost feel the frigid air while reading. The books of the “Winternight” trilogy have quickly climbed to the top of my favorite books of all time list. It is perfect for anyone who loves historical fiction, fairy tales with a dark twist and a slow-burn romance that is subtle and not the center of the narrative. 


  • “Skyward” by Brandon Sanderson


I do not know how to describe this book because it is so elaborate and amazing, but Goodreads summarizes, “Defeated, crushed and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible — assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul.” 

Anyone who loves fantasy novels knows Brandon Sanderson is the fantasy king. Not only is he prolific, but his works are just objectively good. His world-building, plot and characters meld together to create an epic sci-fi fantasy story that I got invested in from the first page. This book is perfect for fans of “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card or “Defy the Stars” by Claudia Gray.


  • “1984” by George Orwell


I’m fairly sure that almost everyone has heard of “1984;” it’s a classic. I read this at the perfect time because the day after I finished it, I went to New York City on a mission trip and visited Times Square. All the screens made me feel as though I was living in the universe that Orwell created in “1984,” which is one of the beautiful things about the book. The closer we get to the reality of “1984,” the more haunting Orwell’s words of warning are. In other words, I loved this book and recommend it to everyone.