It’s that time of year again: the time to reflect on some of the best book releases from 2018. If you didn’t have the chance to read them last year, there’s no time like the present to catch up with these five picks!
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Although released in 2017, The Hate U Give rose in popularity after the film adaptation starring Amandla Stenberg was released last year. The Hate U Give tells the story of 16-year-old Starr Carter who lives in a poor, predominately black neighbourhood, but attends a suburban prep school. Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of one of her childhood best friends Khalil, who was shot by a white police officer. Raising awareness of the actualities of systemic racism, The Hate U Give is an undeniably important novel that sheds light on what it means to be black in America.
Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
The sequel to ‘Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda’- which was adapted into the well-loved movie ‘Love, Simon’- ‘Leah on the Offbeat’ follows Simon’s bisexual best friend Leah. Navigating high school is difficult for most people, but especially those who are LGBT. Leah is a self-proclaimed awkward, chubby teenager who is exploring her sexuality, which is a refreshing perspective for a contemporary young adult novel.
Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender
Hurricane Child tells the story of 12-year-old Caroline, a young black girl from Water Island in the Caribbean. Born during a hurricane, Caroline has experienced rough luck throughout her life, but when a new student Kalinda from Barbados joins her class, things quickly turn around. The girls experience young love, internalised homophobia, and friendship. Callender has managed to create a book for young people that teaches important lessons about love and sexuality whilst incorporating magical realism without being patronising. It is so rare to find a book with this much representation and especially remarkable that the author acknowledges the intensity of childhood romances.
Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig
Whether it’s body issues that stem from comparing ourselves to Instagram model, or feelings of hopelessness and depression that stem from reading the news, Matt Haig explores how modernity can feed into anxiety. Haig addresses the stereotypes associated with mental illness and speaks candidly about his own experiences with mental illness. His personable writing style makes for an easy, relatable read.
The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig
Another of Matt Haig’s works, The Truth Pixie is a beautiful children’s book about mental health, which is something so rarely spoken about in children’s literature. With magical illustrations by Chris Mould and a heart-warming story told through rhyme, The Truth Pixie is about a Pixie who offers empowering truths about life to a sad young girl. This book is an endearing story that teaches children about coping with sadness and the importance of staying hopeful that everything will work out eventually.