Most Surprising Books Of 2019 | Yearly Wrap-Up

12/22/2019


Surprising books can be a difficult one to define. I personal see a book as surprising if I go into it not really expecting to love it, and instead finish with a desire to keep reading either the story or the author. It rarely happens to me as I don't really expand my reading taste that much. However, this year I was able to put together a few books that completely took my expectations and flew with them.


In An Absent Dream
by Seanan McGuire
Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else. But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children. This is the forth novella in the Wayward Children book series. I liked the first and second, hated the third, but the fourth came as a huge surprise when I couldn't put it down and even wanted to reread it the moment I turned the last page. This story is focusing on an older character from the first book, and how she became a woman in a child's body and it was beautifully written. Here's hoping the fifth book lives up to this one. (I realise I have the first book in the series pictured, but sometimes my library doesn't fill every one of my desires. Rude, I know.)


Harry Potter
by J.K. Rowling
In 2019 I accidentally read the entire Harry Potter series for the first time ever. When trying to get into audiobooks I figured it was best to start with someone that I was already familiar with story-wise to fully get a feel for the entire experience. So, I chose Harry Potter. And before I knew it I was flying through all the audiobooks and staying up way too late to finish each story. I was never a huge fan of the movies, so I just never had the interest to read about this magical world. I was an idiot. Though similar to the movies (obviously) the last few books in this series have such a more depth-filled story than the movies. The characters all shined far better as written characters (except Ron, I still hate his character.), and I really enjoyed getting to know more about the side characters who never got that much screen-time. Basically, I loved them. If you've been reluctant to pick up the books, I strongly recommend listening to them instead. They're very soothing, so also great for anxiety filled nights.


Rosemary's Baby
by Ira Levin
Rosemary and her struggling actor husband Guy move to their dream New York City apartment building only to be greeted with a supposed suicide, overbearing neighbours, and a home with a reputation for evil. When Rosemary finds out she's pregnant she becomes increasingly isolated, and soon finds herself not knowing who to trust. This horror novel isn't as creepy as I was expecting, but definitely gave off a vibe of claustrophobia and an almost Gothic atmosphere (Think Carrie by Stephen King). The story itself was gripping and I couldn't help but keep reading, which surprised me as I truly thought it would be boring. Got to stop judging books too early, Anne. This surprised me to the point of instantly picking up another Ira Levin novel, which is probably the biggest of compliments.


The Goldfinch
by Donna Tartt
When an explosion in a museum kills his mother, 13-year-old Theo finds himself still standing, concussed, with the notorious painting The Goldfinch in his bag. Worth millions and mourned for by the art world, the teenager doesn't know how to go about returning it. In this book by the author of The Secret History, we follow Theo as he becomes a man and the trails that goes hand-in-hand with ageing. This is one hefty book, with an even heftier story. The writing was beautiful, I devoured Donna Tartt's way of describing near about everything. Which is good, as she does describe literally everything that Theo comes into contact with. I vastly preferred the first third of this 500+ page novel, as the last portion dragged at times. Though I think that's to be expected. The characters were written wonderfully and I found myself truly caring for Theo - even when he was being a complete dumbass. If you enjoy literary fiction that's been made to be all pretty in the writing, then pick this up. If over writing bothers you, run like hell.


Normal People
by Sally Rooney
Told during their high school and college days, Connell and Marianne are the most unlikely of couples. In high school he's the popular guy and she's the intense 'weird' girl (think 'She's All That'). But when they some into contact, they release that they have a connection unlike anything they've yet to experience. Skip forward a few months, and their roles have switched in university. She's now the popular attractive girl and he's the lost student. This book seems to be a love or hate it situation, I've read such varying reviews. I personally loved it. It was devastating, the story was sad and I do think that's why so many people hated it. You have to be prepared to get your heart shattered. I initially gave this a 4 star rating, but the longer it sat with me, I couldn't get the characters out of my mind. So, I pumped this to a sparkling 5 star rating.


Never Let Me Go
by Kazuo Ishiguro
This is a modern classic, and yet I was reluctant to pick it up as I just didn't know what to expect. Now I know that this follows the story of teenagers Kath, Tommy and Ruth as they come to question the world that awaits them outside of their boarding school. Vague, I know. But you have to go into this being a little baffled. The writing was beautiful, the characters flawed, and I did like the questionable pacing of the novel. Many people love this because of the 'twist', however I had already seen the movie trailer which gives away the entire plot, so I knew that part going in. However, what surprised me was how truly atmospheric and beautiful this book was. It almost felt like some sort of new poetry, which is very odd, but yes.. didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did. Would it make it to a list of all-time favourites? No, but it's definitely taken up a spot in my heart.


What book took you by surprise in 2019? 



Post a comment

Latest Instagrams

© Rooting Branches. Design by FCD.