Share The Best Books We’ve Read So Far This Year

The Best Books We’ve Read So Far This Year

We are passionate readers who love nothing more than discovering fantastic books and sharing them with friends. We recommend books that move us to laughter and tears—and everything in between. Trust us when we say, "You've got to read this!"

As we approach the halfway mark of the year, we’re happy to report our resolve to read voraciously and widely has not wavered. We’ve overcome reading ruts, we’ve dodged spoilers, conquered library waiting lists, and withstood the aching anticipation of approaching publication dates. And here were are—ready for more awesome reads and eagerly sharing our thoughts with you! In case you missed it, here are some of the best books we’ve read so far this year.


Then She Was Gone
by Lisa Jewell

There’s something about this book that is horrifically satisfying. It doesn’t pull its punches. It tells the story as it has to be told. Sure, people beg for the alternate ending, but that’s not how these characters were ever going to act, and that’s not how this story was ever going to end.

—Leora

Read the full review of THEN SHE WAS GONE.

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Then She Was Gone
Lisa Jewell

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MENTIONED IN:

The Best Books We’ve Read So Far This Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 16, 2019

A Taut Thriller With an Ending You Won’t See Coming

By Leora Bernstein | February 6, 2019

Readers’ Choice: The Top 10 Most Shelved Books in January

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 25, 2019

From Stephen King to Ruth Ware: 12 Edge-of-Your-Seat Reads

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 11, 2019

Readers’ Choice: The Top 10 Most Shelved Books in November

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 30, 2018

6 Favorite Books New in Paperback This November

By Meagan Harris | November 19, 2018

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The German Girl
by Armando Lucas Correa

As a lover of history and historical fiction, I dove into Armando Lucas Correa’s THE GERMAN GIRL on a recommendation and was eager to read about Hannah, a Jewish girl who lives in Berlin in 1939. It was different from other books I’d read in this genre, and stood apart in its quest to weave together two tales of loss and family and to carefully examine what it means to be a survivor.”

— Carrie

Read the full review of THE GERMAN GIRL.

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The German Girl
Armando Lucas Correa

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Heavy
by Kiese Laymon

Once every several years I get hit in the face and heart and soul with a book that overrides the electrical circuiting in my brain. HEAVY: AN AMERICAN MEMOIR by Kiese Laymon is that cerebrum hijacker. It is one of the most vital pieces of nonfiction I’ve encountered, full of the productive personal and political truth telling we seek out in stories. Whenever I think of the bravery, sincerity, and honesty living in these pages, my heart walls swell and cave under the pressure as my mind yells Now you! I will preface this review by saying that reading HEAVY is not easy. It is hard work dealing with hard subjects and hard truths. It is a challenging exercise in confrontation and discomfort, but rewarding in its goodness. It leaves you happy/sad, all-around tender, and wanting to hug your loved ones.

—Ana

Read the full review of HEAVY.

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Heavy
Kiese Laymon

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MENTIONED IN:

Roxane Gay Recommends: 10 Books Straight Off Her Shelf

By Tolani Osan | August 20, 2019

The Best Memoirs We’ve Ever Read

By Off the Shelf Staff | July 29, 2019

The Best Books We’ve Read So Far This Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 16, 2019

10 Books You Can Swap with Mom This Mother’s Day

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 6, 2019

The Most Important Memoir I’ve Ever Read

By Ana Perez | April 24, 2019

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Fingersmith
by Sarah Waters

I get book recommendations from a lot of places, but until recently I’d never had a novel recommended to me. . . by a novel. I was reading PRETEND I’M DEAD by Jen Beagin, and someone is trying to convince the protagonist, Mona, to read THE ODYSSEY, but she says she’s busy reading “a Victorian homoerotic thriller called The Fingersmith. . . I can’t put it down.” I’d had FINGERSMITH by Sarah Waters on my shelf for years and never gotten around to it, but suddenly I had to start it immediately. Mona was right—I couldn’t put it down. It’s broken into my lineup of top ten favorite books of all time, which is quite a feat. The novel is like Charles Dickens meets Gillian Flynn, mixed with a romance I still can’t stop thinking about months later, honestly.

—Sarah Jane

Read the full review of FINGERSMITH.

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Fingersmith
Sarah Waters

Read an LGBTQ+ Romance Novel

Orphan Sue Trinder is raised amongst “fingersmiths”—transient petty thieves. When a fingersmith known as Gentleman asks Sue to help him con a wealthy woman out of her inheritance, she never expects to pity her helpless mark, let alone come to care for her. But no one and nothing is as it seems in this Dickensian novel of thrills and reversals.

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MENTIONED IN:

Old and New: The Best Novels to Read If You Loved These Classics

By Maddie Ehrenreich | August 2, 2019

Readers’ Choice: The Top 10 Most Shelved Books in May

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 31, 2019

The Best Books We’ve Read So Far This Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 16, 2019

That Magical Moment When a Novel Recommends Another Novel

By Sarah Jane Abbott | April 17, 2019

5 Books to Read After Seeing “The Favourite”

By Heather Waters | February 12, 2019

Readers’ Choice: The Top 10 Most Shelved Books in January

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 25, 2019

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The Choice
by Dr. Edith Eva Eger

At first glance, THE CHOICE seems like a Holocaust memoir. Edith Eger was only 16 when the Nazis took her and her family to Auschwitz—when she saw her parents led into the gas chambers, when she had to dance in front of Mengele to prove her worth. She suffered through unspeakable tragedy, even after being liberated from her third concentration camp. She found love and had to sacrifice everything else to keep love in her life, and it was only when she landed in Georgia that she was allowed to feel any sort of safety.

—Leora

Read the full review of THE CHOICE.

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The Choice
Dr. Edith Eva Eger

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MENTIONED IN:

11 Books We’re Thankful to Have on Our Shelves

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 22, 2019

The Mister Rogers TBR: 10 Books You’d Find in the Neighborhood Today

By Carrie Cabral | November 18, 2019

The Best Memoirs We’ve Ever Read

By Off the Shelf Staff | July 29, 2019

Readers’ Choice: The Top 10 Most Shelved Books in May

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 31, 2019

The Best Books We’ve Read So Far This Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 16, 2019

The Perfect Book to Refresh Your Outlook on Life

By Leora Bernstein | April 30, 2019

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Pet Sematary
by Stephen King

As one expects from Stephen King, the horrifying parts of this story are deeply scary. But more than anything, this book is a meditation on death—how different people think about it, grapple with its inevitability, and deal with the grief when it occurs. Louis is a doctor who grew up helping in a family mortuary, so he has always seen death as a natural part of life. But even for a person like Louis, when death strikes close to home unexpectedly, prematurely, it can seem as cruel and unnatural as ever.

—Sarah Jane

Read the full review of PET SEMATARY.

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Pet Sematary
Stephen King

This is probably the most frightening novel Stephen King has ever written. When the Creeds move into a beautiful old house in rural Maine, it all seems too good to be true: physician father, beautiful wife, charming little daughter, adorable infant son and now an idyllic home. As a family, they've got it all...right down to the friendly cat. But the nearby woods hide a blood-chilling truth, more terrifying than death itself, and hideously more powerful.The Creeds are going to learn that sometimes dead is better.

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MENTIONED IN:

11 Celebrity Audiobook Readers for Your Listening Pleasure

By Emily Polson | June 4, 2019

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By Off the Shelf Staff | May 16, 2019

Your Reading Guide to the Must-See Films of Spring

By Tolani Osan | April 23, 2019

Zombie Cats and the Condition of a Grieving Heart

By Sarah Jane Abbott | April 5, 2019

6 Fantastic Novels New in Paperback This February

By Off the Shelf Staff | February 11, 2019

9 Great Books to Listen to During National Audiobook Month

By Sarah Lieberman | June 18, 2018

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An American Marriage
by Tayari Jones

My cousin, perhaps a bigger bookworm than I, his mere book pusher—once picked up an advanced reader’s copy of AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE from my shelf before I even had a chance to dig in. When he flipped to a random page, he was instantly taken with one sentence. One. “Love is the enemy of sound judgment, and occasionally this is in service of the good.” During conversations, he’d awaken from a googly-eyed trance to tell me he was still thinking about that one line. When I finally sat down and read AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE, I saw more of what he saw.

—Tolani

Read the full review of AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE.

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An American Marriage
Tayari Jones

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MENTIONED IN:

11 Breathtaking Quotes in Literature That Will Inspire Your Writing

By Tolani Osan | November 15, 2019

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By Sarah Woodruff | October 3, 2019

The Best Books We’ve Read So Far This Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 16, 2019

6 Striking Quotes from AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE

By Tolani Osan | February 21, 2019

A Cozy Winter Getaway: 9 Perfect Novels You Need to Bring

By Carrie Cabral | February 4, 2019

The 5 Best Books We Read Last Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 16, 2019

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Pretend I'm Dead
by Jen Beagin

Sometimes, it’s okay to judge a book by its cover. I picked up Jen Beagin’s debut novel, PRETEND I’M DEAD, because the combination of that title and the rubber-gloved hand holding a cigarette on the jacket drew me in. After reading the back cover and learning that the book involved a love interest named Mr. Disgusting, I knew I had to read it. Judging by those things, I figured I was in for a truly unique, offbeat, and probably sharply funny story. It is all of those things and so much more.

—Sarah Jane

Read the full review of PRETEND I’M DEAD.

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Pretend I'm Dead
Jen Beagin

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MENTIONED IN:

11 Feel-Good Novels to Add Some Extra Sunshine to Your Days

By Off the Shelf Staff | August 13, 2019

The Best Books We’ve Read So Far This Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 16, 2019

The 5 Best Books I Read in 2018

By Sarah Jane Abbott | March 13, 2019

A Novel as Delightfully Offbeat as Its Cover

By Sarah Jane Abbott | March 1, 2019

9 Book Club Picks to Cozy Up with This Winter

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 21, 2018

10 of the Best Books We’ve Read So Far This Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | July 16, 2018

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