Fantastic Universes' Top 10 Books From January - June 2018

Article By Fay Clark

We've just passed the half way point in the year, so I figured I'd let you all know what books I've fallen in love with the most. TIME FOR A TOP 10. Now I've read about 110 books in the first half of this year so this is going to be interesting.

Jeez this was a bad idea. How do I choose from all of the boooooooooks, and then put them in order? Oh boy, I feel like I'm hurting my books if I don't pick them... anyways, enough crazy; time for the countdown.

At number 10 we have 'S.T.A.G.S' written by M.A. Bennett. I would class this book as a Young Adult Thriller. The main character, Greer MacDonald, found herself being invited to a weekend of blood sports, by the cutest most popular boy in school. What could go wrong? In between the huntin', shootin' and fishin' that the group plans to do all weekend, there is betrayal everywhere and mysteries to be solved. 

I flew through this book and I was on the edge of my seat not knowing what was coming next. I think it was very well written and with an ending I never saw coming that left me reeling.

Onto Book number 9, 'The Raven Boys' by Maggie Stiefvater. This is a magical realism book, meaning magic is intertwined with an everyday realist world. This is a genre I'd never read before, thinking that it wasn't going to be my cup of tea. Boy was I wrong, I loved this book. The plot line was very interesting and the characters well fleshed out and very realistic. I dived straight into the rest of the series and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

Blue Sargent is the only non-seer in her family, so when she talks to the spirit of a dead boy in a church yard she must find out who he is and warn him. Much to her surprise he finds her. With his group of friends they all go searching for a long dead and lost King, to awaken him and be granted a wish. You definitely won't see what happens next coming.

At 8 we have 'Every Heart a Doorway' written by Seanan McGuire. Just a small 170ish page book, McGuire manages to fit so much plot, world building and character development into such a small number of pages. I finished this book in a couple of hours because I couldn't to put it down and I needed to know how it ended. 

At Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children, newcomer Nancy must realise she is not the only child who has opened a door to magical realm. Everyone that lives there as been somewhere magical and is just waiting for their door to open again. Some do, most don't. While trying to figure out how to open their doors again people are being murdered, mysteriously and brutally. With the help of her friends, can Nancy find out who the killer is before it's too late?

Ready at number 7 is 'Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe' written by Benjamin Alire Saenz. This is a contemporary book based in the 1980's, following two main characters Ari and Dante, and covering LGBTQ+ themes.

They meet in the local swimming pool and Dante teaches Ari to swim, they become fast friends and start spending the entire summer together until an accident changes everything. Both Ari and Dante start to discover themselves and who they are, friendships and feeling change and evolve in this amazingly written, heart touching, thought provoking book. This has quickly become one of my all time favourite books to read.

We have at number 6 'Will Grayson, Will Grayson' written by John Green and David Levithan. The themes in this book involve LGBTQ+ and is classed as a contemporary, which is a sub genre of romance. It basically just means the book takes place in the year it was written and it has no element of magic envolved. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I ended up happy crying on the train at the end of the book, so that pretty much says it all.

We start the book with John Greens chapter, we start following a teenage boy called Will Grayson. In the next chapter written by David Levithan we follow a different teenager named Will Grayson, both different yet similar. They find the universe randomly throws them together in a porn shop. Things just get more interesting from there.

Half way through our list, at number 5, we have 'The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue' written by Mackenzi Lee. Something we haven't seen yet, this book is a historical fiction with... yes you guessed it LGBTQ+ themes. I don't read a lot of historical fiction so I was very happily surprised by this book. It instantly became one of my favourites. 

Following a young man named Monty in the 18th century we find him setting off on his Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend/crush/childhood friend Percy and younger sister Felicity. Monty has trouble with liqueur, gambling and men. His father wants to straighten him out by sending him off into the world... Monty has other ideas.

Onto book 4 'Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda' written by Becky Albertalli. Another brilliant LGBTQ+ contemporary novel. I finished this book  within a few hours because of the way it was written and the fact that I was drawn into the plot line. I've been yelling at people to read this book ever since I finished it.

We follow Simon in this book, just your normal teenage high school boy. Except he has a secret: he's gay. An anonymous declaration on the school website left Simon reeling, someone else in school was gay. They start emailing each other using code names and a beautiful love story evolves. Simon has a lot to deal with, his family, his friends, his online love and trying to figure out who it is. This just keep getting more interesting for him, especially when someone finds his emails and threatens to blackmail him.

Okay we are in the last few so, at number 3 we have 'Scythe' written by Neal Shusterman. This is a Young Adult, fantasy, dystopia novel. What a phenomenal book, I mean this had me reeling. It blew my mind in so many ways. It was amazingly written and had me on the edge of my seat. I loved the characters and I loved to hate the bad guy, which is always great.

Based in the future where there is no disease or crime, and you can rewind your age clock, there is no need to die. That's what Scythes are for, they pick random people at random times in their lives and kill them to make sure the population growth doesn't get too out of hand. We follow two young people getting trained in the "art of death" both on track, until something unseen happens and they end up fighting each other to keep their lives.

Here we are at number 2 with 'Leah on the Off Beat' written by Becky Albertalli. The sequel to Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, follows Leah one of Simon's best friends in her discovery of her sexuality and personality. Themes contain LGBTQ+ in this contemporary young adult novel. I absolutely loved this book, so well written and beautifully explored.

Leah is bisexual and has not yet come out to her friends. She is an only child of a hard working mother and has many problems that she works through within the plot line. Trying to find her courage and where her life after high school will take her, Leah is bold and unforgiving in her personal life. Everyone needs a Leah in their lives.

We have made it to number 1. It is 'Nevernight' written by Jay Kristoff. An adult fantasy book with a lot of swearing and blood and gore and just a dash of gay. I adore this book and this series, can't wait for the last book to come out.

We follow 16 year old Mia Covere trying to learn the art of assassination to get revenge for her family. We open the book with Mia finding out what sex is like for the first time, juxtaposed with her finding out what killing is like for the first time. Beautifully and artfully done. Mia then goes on a harsh and long journey to try and find the legendary Red Church, a society filled with assassins. She takes along with her Mr. Kindly, who lives in her shadow. He is a cat made of darkness and shadows and drinks her fear. Nothing could possibly go wrong.

Well that's all folks, my top 10 for the first half of the year. I really loved reading all of these books and if any of them stand out to you I would always recommend you pick them up. I'm going to go back to reading loads more so I can fill you all in later with my second top 10 at the end of 2018. Have a great time reading... I know I will.


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