Looking for a book that you just won’t be able to put down? Each year I read 100 books and I’m sharing the 20 best books I read in 2019. Bookmark this list and be sure to check out all the previous best books of the year lists that we linked to below.
This has been a really incredible year of reading and I have enjoyed SO MUCH how this section of the site seems to continue to grow and evolve.
The MomAdvice Book Club has grown to over 3,000 members and I even got to host our first MomAdvice Reading Retreat.
Of course, reading is my favorite hobby and I read some REALLY phenomenal books this year.
To inspire you even more, I have created a 2020 Reading Challenge Worksheet that you can print out.
Maybe some of my favorite picks will be the perfect challenge books for you too!
This year’s list was incredibly challenging to narrow down, but these are the 20 books that, I think, are The Best Books of 2019.
The Best Books of 2019
Buzz books seem to rarely deliver, but this buzz book completely blew me away. The lives of two families are forever changed after a shocking incident occurs that alters the course for both of them. Set in the 1970’s, Keane chronicles their story, over the course of forty years. This story of love and forgiveness, after the unthinkable, was so moving. It is storytelling at its finest. (full review here)
I have read so many books about the Holocaust, but never a story like this. McFadden uses her own ancestor’s stories to share how people of color were also sent to concentration camps. I felt naive and embarrassed that I did not know this and am incredibly thankful that I read this. It broke me in a million pieces and Harlan will now hold a special place in my heart forever. (full review here)
Typically, I connect deeply with one YA book a year. This year, it is is this one. A retelling of the Twelfth Night, the story contains adventure, beautiful friendships, the uncertainty of first loves, and explores the topic of what it means to be family. Violet is the quirky heroine that every girl can get behind. I laughed out loud, I got teary-eyed, and I just didn’t want Violet’s story to end. I loved it so much, in fact, that my daughter will be receiving this one as a holiday gift. (full review here)
This gorgeous love story moved me to tears. Set in Tehran, Roya & Bahman discover love and connection in a stationery shop. On the eve of their marriage, they lose each other in the midst of political upheaval in their country. Sixty years later, fate leads Roya back to Bahman to finally get answers about what happened that tragic day. Be sure to have a tissue (or ten) handy for this read. (full review here)
You don’t have to be a believer to appreciate this exploration of faith in God. Two men are assigned to be pastors at a church and the reader discovers what faith looks like to these men and their wives. The sharp contrast between a minister’s wife, who has been groomed for this role, and a minister’s wife, who is a feminist atheist, adds incredible dynamics to these shared roles. We know faith looks differently for everyone, but examining it from leading in a pulpit is what really makes this a compelling read. (full review here)
This page-turner was one courtroom thriller that I just could not put down. The story centers around a family, who have immigrated to the states, and open an experimental medical treatment facility to treat autism. This forward-thinking therapeutic device they use though ends up malfunctioning, causing an explosion that kills two people. Getting to the heart of the explosion is what made it so compelling and you can’t help but to feel empathy for each of these characters. (full review here)
Any books about the Holocaust are heavy reads and I’m thankful that Rimmel wrote this one with alternating chapters between present day and the past, at the height of Nazi-occupied Poland. Alina and Tomaz are best friends who plan to marry, until everything changes in their country. This beautiful love story weaves in these past struggles with relatable present day struggles of being a modern day woman. What is done so well is how incredibly these secrets are slowly revealed in the story. The shifting viewpoints, the haunting love story, and another viewpoint on the Holocaust is what made this historical fiction read so special. (full review here)
Only an incredibly talented author could write the most unlikeable character in the world and make it so damn entertaining. Maurice is a talentless writer who will stop at nothing to become an author, including stepping on everyone on his way to the top. His narcissism knows no bounds and Maurice’s career certainly becomes legendary in the literary world. This character is so absolutely awful that you may find yourself chuckling through portions of this book. Pop some popcorn and enjoy a terrible day with narcissistic Maurice. You won’t regret it. (full review here)
This coming-of-age survival story was beautiful because it showcases how one can still find joy, even in the worst of circumstances. In 1965, Ana Cancion is just fifteen when Juan Ruiz proposes marriage. Juan is twice Ana’s age, but he is making it big in New York City and is willing to take Ana to America with him. Ana knows that if she can get to America, she can also help her family immigrate there too. What she doesn’t know is that Juan isn’t who he seems at all. Instead of roaming America, she is locked in their the sparse apartment, to cook, and to clean for him. It is only when he has to go out of the country, for business, that she gets to finally explore America and a forbidden relationship. (full review here)
As a Wizard of Oz fan, I couldn’t be more thrilled with this historical fiction story about the author of the Oz book and his incredible family. Frank may have wrote the story of Oz, but the journey to success was a long one. His wife, far ahead of her time as a feminist, leaves behind her education to marry this magical man and start a life together. Their life is what shapes the story of Oz and it is incredibly beautiful. Alternating chapters allow you to step in time with Frank and also learn more about Maud (his wife), as she visits the set of the Wizard of Oz movie. (full review here)
This inventive story-within-a-story ended up being my favorite fantasy escape this year. I wanted to underline passages and read these imaginative sentences out loud. January grows up in an old mansion and discovers she has a special gift for finding hidden doors. These doors have the ability to take January into different worlds. When she finds an old book, she reads about a woman who could also access these door too. This discovery leads January on many adventures and she finds out how important this story really is to her own. Complete magic! (full review here)
This is one of those cases where a science fiction book starts hitting a little too close to home. Hart’s imaginative novel explores what would happen if one company ruled the world. Told from the perspective of the man who started the company, and from those who are now forced to rely on this single company for EVERYTHING. It gives us a peek behind the curtains of what it might look like if, say, Amazon ruled the world. (full review here)
My bookworm heart found this novel absolutely charming. Nina keeps a rigid schedule and her entire world starts to turn upside down when she discovers her father has fathered multiple children that she never knew about. This introverted soul is overwhelmed with all these siblings and a love interest she has, absolutely, no time for. Waxman, cleverly, uses Nina’s to-do list to help the reader understand the fraying of Nina’s solitude. Oh, Nina, I couldn’t get you more. (full review here)
Stradal has such a gift for writing stories that are set in the Midwest. As a Midwestern girl, I always find a character that feels like family. In this story, a father dies and does not split the inheritance evenly between his daughters. The one with money goes on to open one of the most successful brewing companies in the country. The sister without, struggles and has to learn to make do. When the struggling sister’s granddaughter decides she wants to brew beer, these two sister’s paths cross and collide. A story of family, forgiveness, and beer. What’s not to love? (full review here)
Don’t underestimate the power of those free monthly Kindle First Reads because this free book ended up making my best-of list. This starts like a fantasy book, but soon evolves into a grounded mystery, so stick with it! A little girl, claiming to be an alien, shows up in a woman’s backyard and says she has arrived on Earth to witness five miracles. Trying to figure out where she’s from, Joanna recruits her reclusive neighbor to help this little girl to get back to her family. This book is about three broken people and the miraculous healing power of belonging and being loved. It’s such a heartwarming story that I couldn’t put it down. (full review here)
A practicing therapist shares a behind-the-scenes look at some of her most challenging clients and the psychological reasons on why we do the the things we do. This memoir goes deeper than that though and shares her own private difficulties and what going to therapy is like when you are a therapist too. I loved the insights that Gottlieb shared, but I loved her vulnerability most of all. (full review here)
Did you know that Jacqueline Kennedy worked at a publishing house as an editor? Set in the 1990’s, James Smale sells his first book to a major publishing house and is assigned his first editor. He could have never guessed that his editor would be Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, when he walked into that office, but who could ever prepare a writer for that? This book takes you into this fictional friendship and it is BEAUTIFUL. Rowley is a gifted storyteller and it really shows in the quiet and beautiful ways he writes her story. (full review here)
I read a lot of incredible thrillers, but this is one that really stuck with me. Abi’s daughter is involved in a freak accident where she has fallen from a bridge and is now brain dead. Abi knows that there is more to this story though and is determined to find out the truth. The relationships between our children though is so layered and that’s what makes it compelling. Much of the book focuses on her own reflections and guilt for not being enough to her daughter, despite being an incredible and protective mom. It is hard to not attach yourself to these themes. I was completely swept away in this story and McDonald builds believable motives that leave a reader guessing right up until the very end. (full review here)
This contemporary romance was so beautifully done and Graves crafted the most endearing characters. Annika struggles socially and has a hard time with changes in her routines. Going to college isn’t easy, but she finds solace in joining the chess club. It is here that she meets Jonathan, who loves these quirky qualities in this unique girl. Their first love story doesn’t work out, but thankfully, we get a second round later in life. Sweet, sexy, and likable supporting characters made this book a fantastic escape. (full review here)
I love a good feminist read and Liggett nails a dystopian world that deserves all the Margaret Atwood comparisons. In Garner County, girls are told that they have extreme powers that can lure men when they are on the edge of womanhood. The girls are banished from the safety of their homes and into the woods, when they turn sixteen, so they can release these magical powers into the wild before being married. Unfortunately, many girls don’t survive the trip. Combine The Handmaid’s Tale with The Lord of the Flies and add a splash of, The Hunger Games and enjoy this book cocktail that really got me fired up. (full review here)
Need More Book Ideas? Here are my top ten lists from the past eight years!!
Best Books of 2018
Best Books of 2017
My Top Ten Books of 2016
My Top Ten Books of 2015
My Top Ten Books of 2014
My Top Ten Books of 2013
The Best Books Read in 2012
My Top Ten Books in 2011
The Top Ten of 2010
Thank you for reading with me this year and I hope you have discovered a few new favorite books for your own stacks! This is my last post for 2019. I will see you in 2020 for another year of good living on a small budget and LOADS more book fun.
Happy Holidays! xo
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