By Kayla Plutzer
In 2018, readers got some of the best novels in recent memory, which touched upon difficult topics and diverse casts of characters. Personally, this was my best reading year, even though I haven’t surpassed my GoodReads goal yet. When I sat down to write this review, I couldn’t pick just one book to review, so instead here are five mini reviews! I hope you enjoy!
1. Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi
One of the things we saw this year were more Young Adult novels set in college. I found this was something that was needed in the book community — not everyone wants to jump straight to Adult fiction once they graduate high school. Emergency Contact isn’t anything special, which is what I think makes it so special. Penny has never spent more than a few nights away from her mom, so when she moves to college she has a true shock of being on her own and having to be her own person. She meets Sam, an aspiring filmmaker who can barely afford to buy himself a cup of coffee at the coffee shop he works at. The two of them bond and become each other’s emergency contact. This story captures the anxieties of college perfectly and makes you feel like you know Penny, we all have a little bit of Penny inside of ourselves.
2. Flight Season by Marie Marquardt
Flight Season was one of the best books I read this year. It made me cry, laugh and realize how crazy life can be. Vivi is a college student who has lived the worst year of her life and feels as lost as ever. She comes home for the summer, but her plans are turned on their head when Vivi realizes she has to spend the summer with TJ, the guy who witnessed her worst night ever, and take care of Angel, an annoying heart patient in the ICU she and TJ are working in. I switched my major from Studio Art to Jewish Education because of this book. It was tough but I made the right choice. I really enjoyed Flight Season and highly recommend it!
3. Save The Date by Morgan Matson
Morgan Matson is the QUEEN of Young Adult Contemporary Fiction. She has been my favorite since I was sixteen and I will always continue reading the books she puts out. This book is Matson’s first time writing a character who had graduated high school. I loved seeing the vulnerability in Charlie Grant, our main character, who had just graduated high school and is about to go away from home for the first time. Charlie’s oldest sister, Linnie, is getting married in their childhood home and, for the first time in years, all of her siblings will be together. When this happens,chaos ensues in the Grant home. I loved reading this and seeing all of the family shenanigans — if you’re looking for a fun, family-oriented novel, I really recommend Save the Date!
4. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory is such a great book! I read this over the summer and it was quick, fun and easy. Drew and Alexa meet when they are stuck in an elevator together, Drew then asks Alexa to be his date to his ex-best friend’s wedding where he is a groomsman (It’s awkward–I won’t even start to describe it). But when the two of them keep in touch after their fake date, they don’t expect to fall for each other the way they do. The Wedding Date was such a smart, well-written and adorable read!
5. You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon
This book took the book community by storm (in my opinion) as it is one of the first traditionally published Young Adult novels written by a Jewish author about Jewish teens. Adina and Tova are twin sisters who are about to get news that will change their lives forever.
One of them will test positive for Huntington’s disease. The story is about the sisters learning to deal with this news, the fact that one of them is going to die much sooner than the other, their being Jewish and what that means to them and so much more. It meant the world to me to be able to read about teenagers who are Jewish and whose Judaism plays a large role in who they are. I cannot recommend this enough!