The Best Genre Fiction I've Read This Year (So Far)
Reading is my oldest and dearest hobby. As a kid, I didn't have a favorite stuffed animal that I brought with me everywhere - I had a favorite book. It was an oversized copy of Mother Goose's Nursery Rhymes and it was read so often that both the back and front cover had fallen off and it was being held together with blue painters tape. I still have that book, put away safely in a closet with some other childhood books that have seen better days. Knowing that, it shouldn't be too surprising that I read around 100 books a year. So this is a list of the best books I've read recently.
Hide & Seeker is a middle grade horror book that follows Justin and his friends. Justin's best friend, Zee, went missing for a year. He's back now, but he's different and he won't talk about where he was. At Zee's welcome home party everyone plays a game of Hide & Seek. Soon all the kids who played the game at Zee's start to disappear.
I read a lot of horror, but hoo boy was this creepy. It had an urban legend feel to it that really got under my skin.
Scritch Scratch is another middle grade horror book. It follows Claire, who wants to be a scientist. One night she has to help out her dad, who runs a Chicago ghost tour, and the ghost of a little boy follows her home.
This book has a bunch of Chicago history in it, and while it's not as creepy as Hide & Seeker, it does have some spooky moments.
Thirteens is also a middle grade horror/mystery. (I promise this is the last middle grade!) It follows three pre-teens who seem to be the only ones that see weird things appear around their town. They discover that every thirteen years, three thirteen year olds disappear and each of their 13th birthdays are coming up.
This book really ticked all the boxes for me. There's an old house filled with weird things, an evil secret society, and a strange book of fairytales that contains clues to the town's mystery.
The Diviners is a Young Adult horror series. It's set in 1920's New York City where Evie has just arrived to help her uncle run The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult. She discovers that she can "read" the history of objects if she holds them and concentrates enough. There is also a supernatural serial killer, Naughty John, on the loose.
This series really has an ensemble cast. Evie does take front and center in this first book, but each of the subsequent books has a different set of "main" characters, and the previous main characters become side characters. I found it quite well done. There are four books in total and the series is complete.
Plain Bad Heroines is a Young Adult horror book that is a story within a story, where you're following the people making a movie about mysterious deaths that happened at a boarding school in Rhode Island in the early 1900s and occasionally you get snippets of the past and what really happened.
This book is haunting and beautiful and it has great LGBTQIA+ representation.
Our Last Echoes is another Young Adult horror book that is straight up terrifying. Sophia gets an internship at a bird research center on a desolate island off the coast of Alaska. The island only has two permanent residents and when the fog rolls in at night they make sure that the doors are locked and their shotguns are loaded.
I was not prepared for how creepy this book was. The blurb on the back makes it sound more like a mystery. And while there definitely is a mystery I was not expecting it to veer so solidly into horror.
The Stepford Wives is a classic book that follows Joanna after she and her family move to Stepford. Her kids and her husband like their new home, but Joanna has trouble making friends with her neighbors. All the other wives keep rigorous cleaning schedules and no interests outside the home. They don't even have time to spare for a friendly cup of coffee. She becomes suspicious and starts investigating.
This is a short book, less than 150 pages, but it packs a wallop and is heartbreaking and disturbing.
Lock Every Door follows Jules, who has just gotten a job as an apartment sitter in a ritzy building in Manhattan. There are a lot of strange rules she has to follow, but she thinks it's just because the building is occupied by the rich and famous. Soon she realizes that strange things are going on and sets out to discover the building's secrets.
I liked this a lot more than I thought I would. I had read a previous book by the author and thought it was just OK. This one has a creepy vibe throughout and enough mystery to keep it interesting.
As of this blog post, I've read 35 books this year. This is just a snippet of the best so far. As you can see, I kinda really like horror books so if you have any recommendations let me know! Also, what are some of the best books you've read this year? Or even, what are some of the best books you've read ever?