I’ve been seeing lots of these lists around since we’re coming to the end of the 2010s, and I thought I’d jump in!
Here’s the thing, this list would be practically impossible to make if I thought about it too hard. So I didn’t. I made a vow to go with my gut when making it. (And, surprisingly, I managed that for the most part without second-guessing myself too much). So, this isn’t a thorough list of books I loved. Heck, if I made another list right now, it might be different. But this is definitely a list of books that impacted me over the last decade.
So, how did I come up with the list? I scanned my Goodreads list (in year-published order) and … picked. I sort of randomly decided that I would choose two from each year. And then, like I said, I went with my gut and picked the two books that stood out to me the most. I didn’t check any prior lists of “bests” or anything—though I did only really look at the 5-star books (that seemed like a reasonable way to pare it down). These are just the two books that stood out to me the most in the moment.
And here they are:
Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
This book wrecked me. It’s completely disturbing and emotionally devastating, and I’ll confess that I found myself loving it!
Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson)
I had to put this book on this list, purely because it was the final book in an EPIC series. To be honest, the series had its ups and downs for me. I loved it, but I do think that Jordan loves his tangents. Still, the finale was more than satisfying!
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Divergent by Veronica Roth
2011 was the year of the dystopian for me because TWO of my favorite dystopian series started that year. (Though I didn’t read them until 2012 & 2013. This was back when I found books by chance instead of hype.) Both of these series have stuck in my mind for years after reading them!!
UnWholly by Neal Shusterman
I HAD to include this book because it’s from my favorite series of all time. And even though the first book (Unwind) was written in 2007, I didn’t discover it until 2012, not long before UnWholly came out (good timing on my part!).
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
This book made a HUGE impression on me and sealed Julie Kagawa in my heart as a favorite author.
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
This is the start to a series I loved—it brought me back to sci-fi!
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
This book made me fall in love with the concept of time travel. I was so incredibly sad when I learned there wouldn’t be a sequel.
The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
This book blew me away because it totally fooled me with a twist. That doesn’t happen often, and I’ve remembered this as a favorite book ever since.
Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
This is probably the only adult book that will go on this list. The music in this book is what stuck with me—such an innovative idea! That combined with the fact that one of the main characters is Deaf has made this book a permanent fixture in my mind.
Guys, it was starting to get really hard to pick favorites at this point. There were several books from 2015 that I consider all-time favorites, and it felt practically impossible to narrow it down. I really had to force myself to stick to my rule of not overthinking it and going with my gut.
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
This book’s unique formatting gives it a top spot. It’s certainly one of the most memorable books I’ve ever read!
House Arrest by K.A. Holt
The first middle grade on the list! This book helped me discover a love of verse novels, and I’m writing one. 🙂
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
This book left me so excited and brimming with ideas about what might happen in future books that I immediately wrote a spoiler-filled discussion of the book. That post became the most viewed post of my blog (by a landslide)!
Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
This book will forever hold special memories and associations for me because I read it along with my daughter Danielle, and she absolutely ADORED it!
The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
Another book that makes my list for very personal reasons. I read this book at a time when I needed to see a Christian character who was accepting of a transgender person. The book came into my life at the perfect moment.
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Another middle grade in verse—I actually think this was my first experience with a verse novel (even though K.A. Holt’s book was written earlier, I read it more recently). This book had such a huge impact on me and really stuck with me!
A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna
This book blew away all of my expectations! I really need to reread it so I can read the sequel.
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
To me, this book is a master study in middle grade voice. Chokshi manages to write lyrically while also still sounding like a kid—wish I could capture half her skill at this.
The Toll by Neal Shusterman
This ending to The ARC of a Scythe Series sealed this series in my mind as an all-time favorite (and reminded me why I’m convinced that Neal Shusterman is a genius).
The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews
This book broke my heart in so many little pieces. Such a beautiful story of friendship and family!
And that wraps it up! It was really interesting to look through all the books I’ve read and see which ones have stood the test of time in my mind. Which ones have really stuck with me.