Top 5 Books of 2019

by Nikitha Kamath

After several months, I am finally back with my book reviews and I bring you not one, but my top 5 reads of 2019. While I considered sharing all the books I read in 2019, I figured it would be better to only write about the books I had fairly good experiences with. So here are my top 5 books from what I have read so far in 2019 in no particular order:

  1. Disruption by Jessica Shirvington – Disruption is definitely my most favorite read so far in 2019. This book had a great blend of action, suspense, as well as romance, and I liked the author’s writing style. Set in an America controlled by M-bands and microchips produced by Mercer Corporation, pheromone ratings have replaced feelings in finding one’s true match. These mandatory pieces of technology promised to make life easier when they were developed. However, complications began to arise when one’s ratings are used against the person and their loved ones. A victim of this technology, Maggie Stevens seeks to avenge her father’s disappearance and Quentin Mercer, the heir to M-Corp, is key to her plan. This book follows Maggie’s journey as she discovers secrets she had never imagined and soon realizes that Quentin’s involvement greatly complicates the situation. Although this book had a similar theme as Gifted by H.A.Swain and a couple other books, it was an incredibly interesting read. Hence, I give Disruption by Jessica Shirvington a 5/5.
  • Corruption by Jessica Shirvington – In this sequel to Disruption, Maggie Stevens must face the consequences of lying to the most important person in her life and deal with an unexpected betrayal. Even after finding herself alone, she has to keep fighting in order to bring M-Corp down. There is no stopping for Maggie now that there is a chance that she can win her loved ones back and show the whole world the truth. This thrilling conclusion to the duology tied up all the loose ends well and had the same balance in writing as in Disruption. Usually I find sequels underwhelming, but I think this novel did justice to Disruption. I would recommend this duology to anyone looking for a realistic thriller and give this book a 5/5.
  • 2. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – This book might sound familiar to some due to the popularity of the movie of the same name released late last year. The Hate U Give revolves around Starr Carter, who lives in a poor, mostly black neighborhood but goes to a wealthy, mostly white prep school. Over the years, she has kept her lives at home and school separate, even tweaking her personality in each environment. However, all barriers shatter when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood friend at the hands of a police officer. The sole witness of the incident, Starr must find the courage and stand up for what she believes is right. This novel was heartbreaking and reflected some of the evils of society—racial discrimination, prejudice, and violence. I found this book to be an eye-opener regarding how there are still aspects of society that need to be fixed and actions that need to be reflected upon. The Hate U Give is truly an impactful novel, and a must-read in my opinion. I give this book a solid 5/5.
  • 3. Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott – I usually do not like reading books online, but this book was an exception. Once I began reading I had to keep going, and I was not disappointed. Five Feet Apart relates the story of two teens with Cystic Fibrosis, Stella Grant and Will Newman, who fall in love with each other, but risk losing their lives if they come within a few feet of each other. In order to avoid catching an infection or jeopardizing their chances of getting a lung donor, they must maintain a distance of six feet at all times. In the moments of life and death, Stella and Will decide to steal back a little of the space their lungs have stolen from them—one foot. Many people compared this novel to John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, and I agree that they have similar themes. However, contrary to popular response, I did not find The Fault in Our Stars that interesting while this book took me an emotional rollercoaster. I particularly enjoyed the ending, even though my heart broke for both of the main characters. Although romance may not be everyone’s preferred genre, this book was particularly memorable for me and I think others may agree as well. I give Five Feet Apart a 4.5/5.
  • 4. Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven – What initially drew my attention to this book was its inclusion of unconventional characters. This New York Times Bestseller novel tells the story of Libby Strout, once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen”, and Jack Masselin, who cannot recognize faces and is constantly surrounded by familiar strangers. When an ill-intentioned high school game lands them both in group counseling, Libby and Jack begin to spend more time together and realize that everyone has flaws, and it is important to surround yourself with people who appreciate you for who you are. I really liked how this book brought up topics such as the shallow mindset of society and how vicious high school environments can be. It reinforces the importance of not making assumptions about people and instead trying to understand them better. One aspect I did not like about the book, though, was how predictable the story seemed to be in terms of romance. In addition, the book seemed slow-paced in some parts which I did not enjoy. Overall, I give Holding up the Universe a 4/5.

5. The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston – This memoir focuses on the upbringing of the author in America and the complexities of the Chinese culture. By incorporating both fact and fiction in her narration, she gives the reader a look inside her imagination and shares her experiences and inner conflicts about her identity as both a woman and a Chinese-American. An aspect of this book I appreciated was that it expanded my knowledge of Chinese culture and helped me understand it better. However, this book was not my favorite as the author’s blending of actual events and her imagination, also called “talk story” in this novel, made the story hard to follow in some sections. Additionally, I am not an avid reader of nonfiction and perhaps would not have picked this book to read if I had not read it in class. Although I did not particularly enjoy the narration, I found the author’s story itself captivating. Hence, I give The Woman Warrior a 3/5.

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