My Year in Review
2018 was crazy for me. For starters, I finished my first year of boarding school and started my second. In June I studied abroad in Chile, where I studied poets like Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral. Lately, I’ve just been studying hard in school, which starts back up in a few days.
My Favorite Books of 2018
Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin: Zevin’s vivid female characters- a mother, a daughter, a wife illuminate her latest novel. Both timely and timeless, Young Jane Young explores marriage, affairs, and love through vibrant female perspectives, painting a hilarious, lively portrait that is not to be missed.
What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape by Sohaila Abdulali: Abdulali’s novel is a difficult work to read. She does not shy away from harsh realities, showing readers compelling stories and undeniable statistics, but ends her novel with a necessary glimmer of hope, which I intend to carry into the new year.
Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor: I cannot get enough of Taylor’s lush fantasy worlds. Last year, Strange the Dreamer, the predecessor to Muse of Nightmares made its way on to my best of list, so I delight in putting Taylor’s latest onto this list as well. Her clear gift for spinning stories so wildly imaginative and yet so fiercely human makes her one of my favorite authors to date.
What I Wrote About in 2018
I wrote about a lot, from traditional reviews of novels like Swing Time by Zadie Smith or The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh, to blog posts about everything from voting to what books to bring to your first dorm room. We even celebrated Book Reviews By Ava’s eighth anniversary in November! But, there were a few posts that stood out to me, whether that be for how fun they were to write, pride over how they turned out, or just interesting topics.
Still Need that Christmas Gift?: I look forward to writing these Christmas lists every year. Not only do they help me decide what I should get for my friends and family, but it is also so fun to think of the hardest people to give gifts to.
Paperback Crush by Gabrielle Zevin: I chose this review because of my writing. I’m proud of the structure of the review and the insights I make, which I hope show my growth both as a reader and reviewer
Three Books for Pablo Neruda’s Three Houses: This blog post forced me to step out of my comfort zone by forcing me to think deeper about my travels and where they lead me. It helped me also make connections between my personal life and what I’m blogging about, which I hope to continue doing more in 2019.
What’s Changing for Book Reviews by Ava in 2019
The biggest change I want to make this year has to do with my content. In 2018, I experimented with writing more personal or political stories, so I want to expand on that experiment this year. I haven’t decided what this means quite yet, but I’m thinking more personal essays, posts on social justice issues that are important to me and tie into the literary community, and maybe even a short story or two.
My second goal shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish. In 2018, 37.5% of the books I reviewed were by authors of color, but I overwhelmingly read books by white females. In 2019, I promise to do better. My goal is to have at least 50% of the books I read be written by authors of color. Stay tuned, and please, if you see me slipping, hold me accountable.
What I’m Looking Forward to in 2019
January 29: King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo hit shelves. I’ve been a devout fan of Bardugo since 2013, so I’m dying to see what she comes up with next.
February 5: On the Come Up, the much anticipated second novel of The Hate U Give author, Angie Thomas, comes out. I just got an ARC and I’m so excited!
March 12: Emily Henry’s third novel, When the Sky Fell on Splendor hits shelves. I loved A Million Junes, so I can’t wait to get my hands on what has been described as a mix between The Serpent King and Stranger Things.
March 26: Acclaimed author A. S. King’s newest novel, Dig is released. It’s hard to describe this generational story, but if A. S. King wrote it, I’ll be sure to pick it up.
June 11: The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante comes out. Villasante’s debut follows two Salvadoran sisters who are able to live in the United States because of their participation in an eerie new drug trial.