So 2015 is over and done with and I think you will agree with me that it was an amazing year for books. For me, YA absolutely kicked arse. It dominated the book world and gave us some absolute crackers. I fell in love with so many books and have been surprised to see that my taste in genres has changed dramatically. Of course I have to give you my best books of 2015 list, but this year I’m not going to do the usual that is my one favourite book by genre, but because I just could not choose at all, I’m just going to give you them all and at the end my book of the year. My list is in no particular order either.
I would love to know your thoughts on my choices and if you agree so don’t be afraid to get in touch. I’ll also link my review underneath each blurb of the book.
Right, here we go….
1) The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance by Kirsty Greenwood
Blurb: Jessica Beam is a girl who knows how to party. Only lately she’s been forgetting to turn up for work on time. Or in clean clothes. Down on her luck, out of a job and homeless, Jess seeks the help of her long-lost grandmother.
Things aren’t going well for Matilda Beam, either. Her 1950s Good Woman guide books are out of print, her mortgage repayments are staggering and her granddaughter wears neon Wonderbras!
When a lifeline from a London publisher arrives, the pair have an opportunity to secure the roof over their heads – by invigorating the Good Woman guides and transforming modern, rebellious Jess into a demure vintage lady.
The true test of their make-over will be to capture the heart of notorious London playboy Leo Frost and prove that Matilda’s guides still work. It’s going to take commitment, nerves of steel and one seriously pointy bra to pull this off…
2) The A to Z of You and Me by James Hannah
Blurb: Ivo fell for her.
He fell for a girl he can’t get back.
Now he’s hoping for something.
While he waits he plays a game:
He chooses a body part and tells us its link to the past he threw away.
He tells us the story of how she found him, and how he lost her.
But he doesn’t have long.
And he still has one thing left to do …
3) Fish Out of Water by Natalie Whipple
Blurb: Mika Arlington was supposed to spend the summer after her junior year shadowing her marine biologist parents at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but when her estranged grandmother randomly shows up on the doorstep one day, those plans are derailed. Because Grandma Betty isn’t here to play nice—she is cranky, intolerant of Mika’s mixed-race-couple parents, and oh yeah she has Alzheimer’s and is out of money. While Mika’s family would rather not deal with Grandma Betty, they don’t have much choice. And despite Mika’s protests, she is roped into caring for a person that seems impossible to have compassion for. And if that wasn’t hard enough, Mika must train the new guy at her pet shop job who wants to be anywhere else, and help a friend through her own family crisis. Something’s gotta a give, but whichever ball Mika drops means losing someone she loves. Not exactly a recipe for Best Summer Ever—or is it?
4) My So-Called (Love) Life by A.L Michael
Blurb: Meet Tigerlily James: romance cynic, North Londoner and die-hard margarita fan.
Tigerlily James has been a member of the Young and Bitter Club ever since she was dumped on Valentine’s day. By her fiancé.
Surviving on a diet of cynicism and margarita-fuelled ‘Misery Dinners’ with her best friends, she’s become a romance free zone…and that’s the way she likes it. Until an invitation for The Ex’s wedding arrives. Suddenly in need of a plus one, Tig has little choice but to bin the takeaways, ditch the greying underwear collection…and start pretending to view the opposite sex as something other than target practise.
Then, she meets Ollie – ie. the perfect solution. No sex. No strings. Fake boyfriend. The only catch is that she has to pretend to be his girlfriend for three whole months.
Dating without the heartbreak: the best idea Tig’s ever had, right? Wrong!
5) The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel
Blurb: After her husband’s sudden death over ten years ago, Kate Waithman never expected to be lucky enough to find another love of her life. But now she’s planning her second walk down the aisle to a perfectly nice man. So why isn’t she more excited?
At first, Kate blames her lack of sleep on stress. But when she starts seeing Patrick, her late husband, in her dreams, she begins to wonder if she’s really ready to move on. Is Patrick trying to tell her something? Attempting to navigate between dreams and reality, Kate must uncover her husband’s hidden message. Her quest leads her to a sign language class and into the New York City foster system, where she finds rewards greater than she could have imagined.
6) Fall Out Girl by L. Duarte
Blurb: Imagine a social outcast: Me. (Luna)
Imagine a popular boy: Him. (Caleb)
Sound like the characters of a cliché story, right? Here, hold my hand. Come away with me. I’ll tell you my story, and you’ll decide.
But I have a warning: Proceed at your own risk. Since it’s a snippet of my life, I’m one of the main characters. And to put it lightly, I’m not the most likable person in the world, cue the earned label. Also, unlike fairy tales, my story is real with a dash of sorrow and loss.
How do I start? Once upon a time…? Shoot me now, please.
The beginning? No, too boring.
Well, let’s start with the catalytic moment that set in motion a chain of events that changed my life, yet again.
As for a happily ever after? Sorry, no spoilers here. You’re going to have to figure that one out on your own. After you read my tale, it becomes yours, and as such, you’re entitled to your interpretation.
So, off we go!
Fasten your seat belts. This ride may get bumpy.
7) Denton Little’s Death Date by Lance Rubin
Blurb: Denton Little’s Deathdate takes place in a world exactly like our own except that everyone knows the day they will die. For 17-year-old Denton Little, that’s tomorrow, the day of his senior prom.
Despite his early deathdate, Denton has always wanted to live a normal life, but his final days are filled with dramatic firsts. First hangover. First sex. First love triangle (as the first sex seems to have happened not with his adoring girlfriend, but with his best friend’s hostile sister. Though he’s not totally sure. See: first hangover.) His anxiety builds when he discovers a strange purple rash making its way up his body. Is this what will kill him? And then a strange man shows up at his funeral, claiming to have known Denton’s long-deceased mother, and warning him to beware of suspicious government characters…. Suddenly Denton’s life is filled with mysterious questions and precious little time to find the answers
8) Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Blurb: An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family
9) The Day We Disappeared by Lucy Robinson
Blurb: Annie has a secret. But if she’s not going to tell, we won’t either. It’s a heart-breaking secret she wishes she didn’t have – yet Annie isn’t broken, not quite yet. Especially now there’s someone out there who seems determined to fix her.
Kate has run away. But she’s not going to tell us why – that would defeat the point of running, wouldn’t it? It’s proving difficult to reinvent herself, however, with one person always on her mind.
Scratch beneath the surface and nobody is really who they seem. Even Annie and Kate, two old friends, aren’t entirely sure who they are any more. Perhaps you can work it out, before their pasts catch up with them for good . . .
10) Always The Bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk
Blurb: Everyone loves a bridesmaid – except Maddie, who’s perpetually asked to be one.
Everyone loves a wedding – except Maddie’s best friend, who’s getting divorced.
And everyone loves the way Maddie’s so happy behind the scenes – except Maddie herself.
One best friend is in wedding countdown while the other heads for marriage meltdown. And as Maddie juggles her best chance at promotion in years with bridezilla texts and late-night counselling sessions, she starts to wonder – is it time to stop being the bridesmaid?
11) I Knew You Were Trouble by Paige Toon
Blurb: Life as the undercover daughter of a rock god isn’t going to be easy. How will Jessie adjust to her old boring life again after spending her summer living it up with her dad in LA? With tough decisions ahead (and not just choosing between two hot boys), can she cope juggling her two very different lives?
Summer may be over, but Jessie’s story is just beginning…
Sunshine, rock gods and Hollywood hearthrobs! Jessie Jefferson is back in the next instalment from bestselling author Paige Toon. Perfect for fans of Geek Girl, Jessica Cole and Girl Online
12) I Followed The Rules by Joanna Bolouri
Blurb: Rule 1: Never ask him on a first date.
Rule 2: Laugh admiringly at all his jokes.
Rule 3: Always leave him wanting more.
. . . wtf?!
Have you heard of The Rules of Engagement? It’s a book that promises to teach you to find the man of your dreams in ten easy steps. Unsurprisingly, I don’t own a copy. What is it, 1892?
But I’m a journalist, and I’ve promised to follow it to the letter and write about the results. Nevermind that my friends think I’m insane, I’m stalking men all over town and can’t keep my mouth shut at the best of times.
My name is Cat Buchanan. I’m thirty-six years old and live with my daughter in Glasgow. I’ve been single for six years, but that’s about to change. After all, I’m on a deadline.
I Followed the Rules and this is what happened
13) The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle
Blurb: It’s the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.
The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara’s life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara’s family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items – but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.
But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?
14) Only We Know by Simon Packham
Blurb: What is the secret of Lauren’s past?
Lauren’s family have moved house very suddenly, and she and her sister Tilda have to go to a new school. Lauren’s determined to reinvent herself, but she’s panic-stricken when she sees Harry, who she knew a few years ago. Luckily Harry doesn’t recognise her, and she knows she has to make sure it stays like that.
Lauren, unlike Tilda, settles in well. She makes friends, is helping to organise the school fashion show, and has boys asking her out. But just as her life finally seems to be looking up she starts receiving macabre packages. When she gets a message: ‘Isn’t it time your new friends knew all about you?’ she has to admit that someone knows her secret. But who – and what should she do?
15) Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Blurb: Madeline Whittier is allergic to the outside world. So allergic, in fact, that she has never left the house in all of her seventeen years. But when Olly moves in next door, and wants to talk to Maddie, tiny holes start to appear in the protective bubble her mother has built around her. Olly writes his IM address on a piece of paper, shows it at her window, and suddenly, a door opens. But does Maddie dare to step outside her comfort zone?
16) Beautiful Liar by Tara Bond
Nina Baxter has her life all mapped out. She wants to work hard, take care of her younger sister and not end up like her drunk of a mother. Most of all, she plans to stay away from bad influences.
Alexander Noble doesn’t give a damn about anything or anyone. The heir to an unimaginable fortune, he’s never had to do a day’s work in his life, and devotes himself to pleasure and partying.
When opposites attract…
From their very first meeting, Nina knows Alex is bad news, and vows to stay away from him. But as their paths continue to cross, she can’t help being drawn to him – especially when he makes no secret of his interest in her.
Can they resist the pull?
For the first time ever, Nina is on the brink of following her heart. But can she believe Alex when he tells her to trust him? Or is he just another beautiful liar?
17) Boo by Neil Smith
Blurb: When Oliver “Boo” Dalrymple wakes up in heaven, the eighth-grade science geek thinks he died of a heart defect at his school. But soon after arriving in this hereafter reserved for dead thirteen-year-olds, Boo discovers he’s a ‘gommer’, a kid who was murdered. What’s more, his killer may also be in heaven. With help from the volatile Johnny, a classmate killed at the same school, Boo sets out to track down the mysterious Gunboy who cut short both their lives.
In a heartrending story written to his beloved parents, the odd but endearing Boo relates his astonishing heavenly adventures as he tests the limits of friendship, learns about forgiveness and, finally, makes peace with the boy he once was and the boy he can now be.
Link to my review: https://thebookgeekwearspajamas.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/book-review-boo/
18) Lorali by Laura Dockrill
Blurb: Looking after a naked girl he found washed up under Hastings pier isn’t exactly how Rory had imagined spending his sixteenth birthday. But more surprising than finding her in the first place is discovering where she has come from.
Lorali is running not just from the sea, not just from her position as princess, but her entire destiny. Lorali has rejected life as a mermaid, and become human.
But along with Lorali’s arrival, and the freak weather suddenly battering the coast, more strange visitors begin appearing in Rory’s bemused Sussex town. With beautifully coiffed hair, sharp-collared shirts and a pirate ship shaped like a Tudor house, the Abelgare boys are a mystery all of their own. What are they really up to? Can Rory protect Lorali? And who from? And where does she really belong, anyway?
Link to my review: https://thebookgeekwearspajamas.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/book-review-lorali/
19) Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Blurb: If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.
Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.
Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.
Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.
20) All of the Above by James Dawson
Blurb: When sixteen-year-old Toria Bland arrives at her new school she needs to work out who her friends are in a crazy whirl of worry, exam pressure and anxiety over fitting in. Things start looking up when Toria meets the funny and foul-mouthed Polly, who’s the coolest girl that Toria has ever seen. Polly and the rest of the ‘alternative’ kids take Toria under their wing. And that’s when she meets the irresistible Nico Mancini, lead singer of a local band – and it’s instalove at first sight! Toria likes Nico, Nico likes Toria, but then there’s Polly… love and friendship have a funny way of going round in circles
21) Three Amazing Things About You by Jill Mansell
Blurb: Hallie has a secret. She’s in love. He’s perfect for her; he’s even single. But he’s out of bounds. And her friends aren’t going to help her because what they do know is that Hallie hasn’t got long to live.
Flo has a dilemma. She really likes Zander. But his scary sister won’t be even faintly amused if she thinks Zander and Flo are becoming friends – let alone anything more…
Tasha has a problem. Her new boyfriend is the adventurous type. And she’s afraid one of his adventures will go badly wrong.
THREE AMAZING THINGS ABOUT YOU begins as Hallie goes on a journey. She’s about to get a new heart. But whose heart is it?
Link to my review: https://thebookgeekwearspajamas.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/book-review-ttatay/
22) We’ll Never Be Apart by Emiko Jean
Blurb: Murder.Fire.Revenge.That s all seventeen-year-old Alice Monroe thinks about. Committed to a mental ward at Savage Isle, Alice is haunted by memories of the fire that killed her boyfriend, Jason. Ablaze her twin sister Cellie set. But when Chase, a mysterious, charismatic patient, agrees to help her seek vengeance, Alice begins to rethink everything. Writing out the story of her troubled past in a journal, she must confront hidden truths.Is the one person she trusts only telling her half the story?
23) Burn Girl by Mandy Mikulencak
Blurb: Arlie’s face was disfigured by burns when her stepfather’s meth lab exploded. After that, Arlie discovered the street smarts and survival skills she needed to shelter her addict mother, since the law and Lloyd, her deranged stepfather, are both looking for them. People died in the explosion and everyone wants answers. But Arlie’s carefully constructed world is ripped apart when her mother commits suicide shortly after Arlie’s sixteenth birthday. Now she can no longer remain hidden. Social Services steps in and before Arlie can make sense of anything, she is following the rules, going to school, and living in a thirty-one-foot Airstream trailer with an eccentric uncle she didn’t even know she had. Then she meets a boy who doesn’t care about her scars or her past. Just when she begins to think a normal life might be possible, Lloyd shows up. He’s looking for the drug money he insists Arlie’s mother stole. Will Arlie be able to shield her uncle and her boyfriend from Lloyd? Did Lloyd somehow play a role in her mother’s death? And can she get rid of him once and for all before her world blows apart again?
24) Sophie Someone by Hayley Long
Blurb: ‘Some stories are hard to tell.
Even to your very best friend.
And some words are hard to get out of your mouth. Because they spell out secrets that are too huge to be spoken out loud.
But if you bottle them up, you might burst.
So here’s my story. Told the only way I dare tell it.’
Sophie Nieuwenleven is sort of English and sort of Belgian. Sophie and her family came to live in Belgium when she was only four or five years old, but she’s fourteen now and has never been quite sure why they left England in the first place. Then, one day, Sophie makes a startling discovery. Finally Sophie can unlock the mystery of who she really is. This is a story about identity and confusion – and feeling so utterly freaked out that you just can’t put it into words. But it’s also about hope. And the belief that, somehow, everything will work out OK.
25) All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Blurb: Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.
So that’s my list. Twenty five of the most beautiful, funny, heartbreaking and totally outstanding reads of 2015. A year us BookGeeks can say was a year of incredible reads. I can’t wait for what 2016 has to offer us. Already I have read some absolute smashes and I cannot wait to share my reviews with you.
And finally my book of the year has to go to them all. I honestly cannot pick one from them. Please if you’ve not read any of these books I really do recommend them.
Huge thanks to all the publishers and authors who trust me with ARC’s and allow me to read and review.
Thank you for another year of support, friendship and kindness. You are all wonderful. I wish you all a happy, healthy, and fantastic 2016.
Happy reading and Happy New Year.