It’s become a tradition for us to share with you our choices for the Goodreads Choice Awards. Every year the competition is fierce – and for the 4th year in a row, we’re highlighting the books we’ve read (and want to read) in each category + predicting who we think will win. Voting for the final round occurs between Nov. 19 – Dec. 2, and winners will be announced on December 10th.
✤ Tanya ✤ Last year, I did not predict the winner in this category (Still Me, Jojo Moyes), which I hadn’t read. This year, I’ve read 3 books currently in the running for Best Fiction – Queenie, Candice Carty-Williams, Olive Again, Elizabeth Strout, and The Testaments, Margaret Atwood. I love that Queenie and Olive Again are about people at the opposite ends of life. Queenie is a young, 20-something woman going through some adulting life crisis. Olive is in her 70s, has found love again, and is her same gruff, crude self – but in some ways age has mellowed her out – and she’s having to come to terms with all the changes that come with getting older. The Testaments is radically different, and it seems people either loved it or hated it – I loved it. Overall, I think Olive Again deserves the win, but I think it will go to The Testaments. This book is the follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale. It picks up the story more than 15 years later, when Gilead has fallen – and explains what happened.
♦ Kim ♦ I didn’t vote in this category because I haven’t read any of them! I did put Normal People, Sally Rooney on hold at the library and then I’m going to work my way through a few others in 2020.
MYSTERY | THRILLER
✤ Tanya ✤ I’ve read 4 books in this category – My Sister the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite, The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides, The Turn of the Key, Ruth Ware and An Anonymous Girl, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. Last year, my prediction was spot-on with The Outsider, Stephen King … this year, it’s not as easy a choice, but I think The Silent Patient has a good chance of winning. It’s a suspensful, dramatic novel aboutAlicia, a famous painter convicted of murdering her husband, and who hasn’t said a word since. And Theo, a psychotherapist who is fascinated by her. He worms his way into a job at the criminal psychiatric hospital that houses her, and becomes obsessed with trying to get her to speak.
♦ Kim ♦ I read Lock Every Door, Riley Sager; The Whisper Man, Alex North; and The Lost Man, Jane Harper. They were all five star reads for me so this was a really hard choice. In the end I voted for The Lost Man, Jane Harper.
Two brothers meet at the border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of outback Queensland. They are at the stockman’s grave, a landmark so old, no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron. Something had been troubling him. Did he lose hope and walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects.
✤ Tanya ✤ Yikes – I miss you fantasy! Of the finalists, I only attempted Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James – which I couldn’t finish. I have The Starless Sea, Erin Morgenstern on my reading list because I loved her other novel, The Ninth Circus.
♦ Kim ♦ Yikes! What an incredibly hard category. Many of these are on my TBR in the very near future list. I voted for Ninth House, Leigh Bardugo. I’m about half way through this on audio and it is phenomenal.
✤ Tanya ✤ I don’t read a lot of science fiction, so Recursion, Blake Crouch is the only book on the list of finalists that I’m familiar with. It’s a smart, brick of a book that was truly captivating – although sometimes there was just too much detail. Still, that’s what I voted for.
Barry Sutton is a cop who is investigating the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome – a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived. Helena Smith, a neuroscientist who has dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious memories. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent. Together they try to understand a crumbling, shifting reality and save the human race from itself?
♦ Kim ♦ What the actual heck!? I read a ton of science fiction so I was shocked to see that I hadn’t read any of these yet! What have I been reading all year? Adding them all to my TBR right now.
✤ Tanya ✤ Chances are if there’s a book by Stephen King in this category, it will win. And since there happens to be one, and I happen to have read it, and it happens to be phenomenal … then I have no problems saying I expect that The Institute, Stephen King will be the winner. I also read The Girl in Red, Christina Henry, which was a cute, simple story that I really enjoyed. But The Institute delivered an intriguing, suspenseful novel that had me for the entire 600 pages.
In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents – telekinesis and telepathy – who got to this place the same way Luke did. In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extra-normal gifts. As each of the children disappear to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute.
✤ Tanya ✤ I really want Queenie, Candice Carty-Williams, to win this category, but competition is fierce! I’ve also read My Sister the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite and The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides and liked them both.
Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London and working at a national newspaper. After a messy break up from her long-term boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth. As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”- all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.
YOUNG ADULT FICTION & YOUNG ADULT FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION
✤ Tanya ✤ On the Come Up, Angie Thomas absolutely deserves the win for Best Young Adult Fiction – but it’s the only book I’ve read in this category, so I’m completely biased! This is one of those books where the audiobook is better than reading the physical book – so even if it doesn’t win this category, I’ll still recommend the heck out of it.
♦ Kim ♦ The only book I’ve read for Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction is Aurora Rising, Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff. I voted for it because it really is a great book. I’m excited to read the 2nd in the series.
MIDDLE GRADE & CHILDREN’S
♦ Kim ♦ I’ve only read Tunnel of Bones, Victoria Schwab from this category. It’s the second in the City of Bones series. So far I’m enjoying it although I’m not sure it should win.
Have you voted? What are your picks?