14 Bustle Editors Recommend The Best Book They Read In 2018
Way back in January, you might have promised yourself you would read 40 books, or 30 books, or 20 books before the end of the year. But life got busy! You joined that softball league! There's, like, five seasons of 90 Day Fiancé available for marathon-watching on Hulu! With just one month left in 2018, you may have... a lot of books to read. But don't worry: I asked 13 Bustle editors to recommend the best book they read in 2018 (and I recommended one, too!) so you have plenty of reading options to help you hit that reading goal before Dec. 31.
All 14 of the books below were written by women, but the similarities end there. Gabrielle Moss, Bustle's features editor, recommends a young adult novel, while Kara McGrath, Bustle's deputy fashion and beauty editor, suggests a fantasy. A handful of editors recommend thriller and true crime books, and a few others want you to read compelling literary fiction novels that touch on social and political issues. And one editor — Bustle's deputy lifestyle editor Kathryn Kattalia — loves a book about a merman/human romance.
No matter what type of book you enjoy, there's something on the list below for you. Here are the best books read by 14 Bustle editors in 2018:
Hayley Saltzman, BDG Media's Director of Social: 'The Lies We Told' by Camilla Way
"I probably read at least 15 different 'murder' books this year, but The Lies We Told was absolutely my favorite. I'm a sucker for a book with a fast pace, good writing, and multiple narrators, and this one checks every one of those boxes. I was hooked from pretty much the first line on the first page. It's absolutely chilling, in the best possible way."
Kathryn Kattalia, Deputy Lifestyle Editor: 'The Pisces' by Melissa Broder
"Somehow, Melissa Broder is able to make an EXTREMELY STEAMY romance between a human woman and a merman feel super relatable. This book is a wild love story from the start, but it's also a really honest look at our universal and often painful need for love and acceptance. It made me laugh, it broke my heart a little bit, and it put my own personal relationships into new perspective. I've been recommending it to everyone all year."
Melanie Mignucci, Associate Lifestyle Editor: 'My Year Of Rest & Relaxation' by Ottessa Moshfegh
"As others have written about, this book is a perfect antidote to (or mirror of) wellness and self-care culture. Though the narrator is set up to be inherently unlikable, I found myself empathizing with her passive desire to tune out from the world for months at a time, to shut out an environment that feels ceaselessly mediocre; to disengage, in the name of a 2001 version of proto-self care. It is ugly, and bleak, but that's the point."
Jada Gomez, Executive Editor: 'From The Corner Of The Oval Office' by Beck Dorey-Stein
"Becoming a speechwriter for Barack Obama has always been on the top of my wishlist. Beck Dorey-Stein’s memoir brought me as close to that dream as possible, with her personal view of the White House as one of Obama’s former stenographers. Not only did I get some insider anecdotes about what it’s like to work alongside my hero, but Stein’s stumbles through work, romance, and finding her way resonated with me so deeply."
Kara McGrath, Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor: 'A Darker Shade Of Magic' by V.E. Schwab
"I finally read A Darker Shade Of Magic — the first book in V.E. Schwab's Shades of Magic trilogy — this year and haven't stopped recommending it since. I love a good fantasy novel, and the story of Kell (a smuggler who can travel between worlds) and Lila (a pirate who teams up with Kell after she robs him) is one of the most unique and well-developed ones I've read in a while. I read it over a weekend and instantly ordered the other two books."
Alexandra Svokos, News Editor: 'The Silence of the Girls' by Pat Barker
"I read this retelling of The Iliad from the POV of Briseis in about five days — it would’ve taken less time, but I deliberately slowed myself down so I could stay soaked in Barker’s literally breathtaking language. It’s a feminist retelling rooted in the brutal realities of war, and it is just absolutely stunning."
Charlotte Owen, Executive Editor of Bustle UK: 'The Mars Room' by Rachel Kushner
"I loved everything about this book. It takes on poverty, mass incarceration, and abuse with sensitivity, and perfectly avoids becoming morally didactic or reductive. There's nothing black and white in Kushner's world, which is at once energising and totally bleak. The writing is absolutely delightful, and I have recommended it to literally everyone I know, and (stop reading, friends) will be gifting it extensively this Christmas."
Allison Piwowarski, Deputy Entertainment Editor: 'The Favorite Sister' by Jessica Knoll
"This book is a dream come true for Real Housewives fans who have been itching for more drama since Luann de Lesseps dissed Alex McCord’s Herman Munster shoes. It is the perfect marriage of murder book intrigue and what 'really' happens behind-the-scenes of reality TV. I bet Andy Cohen couldn’t even see the end coming."
Rachel Simon, Entertainment News Editor: 'Motherhood' by Sheila Heti
"This gorgeous, thought-provoking novel caused me reevaluate my own thoughts about having kids one day, but even if it doesn't have quite that effect on you, you'll undoubtedly be drawn into the highly personal story of a woman deciding whether or not to become a mother."
Gabrielle Moss, Features Editor: 'Undead Girl Gang' by Lily Anderson
"My fave book this year was Lily Anderson's Undead Girl Gang. This book has EVERYTHING — nuanced depictions of female friendship, make-out scenes, moving emotional drama, cool teen girl witches, and OH YEAH, REAL ACTUAL UNDEAD ZOMBIES. I got swept up in this one in a way that I haven't in a while."
Samantha Rullo, BDG Editorial Operations: 'The Good Daughter' by Karin Slaughter
"There have been an absurd amount of books with Girl/Daughter/Wife/Sister in the the title published in the last few years, but if you're going to read just one, make it The Good Daughter. It's well-written, emotionally grounded, and filled with the type of twists and reveals that many thrillers can't pull off: Those that completely shock even the biggest mystery fans, while still making perfect sense and feeling totally earned. It also keeps the compelling relationship between two sisters at the forefront, even when their lives are filled with chaos. (TW: There are some extremely violent moments and depictions of sexual assault.)"
Karen Fratti, Associate TV Editor: 'Text Me When You Get Home' by Kayleen Schaefer
"I had been thinking about my friendships a lot as I broke up with some friends and made new ones going into my thirties, so when this book came out, I was so ready for it. It's a little bit of memoir, cultural analysis of famous female besties and tropes in pop culture, and part history lesson about how women have related to each other since the beginning of time. It will make you seriously think about all your interactions with women since elementary school — and force you to call your BFF and tell her how much you love her."
Cristina Arreola, Senior Books Editor: 'The Recovering' by Leslie Jamison
"Addiction is a disease that has touched the lives of so many people, and yet, it is still so widely misunderstood. In this book, Leslie Jamison, who is in long-term recovery from alcohol use disorder, interweaves her own story with the experiences of the countless artists, singers, and authors who suffered before her as well as the experiences of the people she meets in recovery. It's a compelling, heartbreaking, illuminating, and deeply empathic examination of the scope and nature of addiction that everyone needs to read."
Kate Ward, Editor-in-Chief: 'I'll Be Gone In The Dark' by Michelle McNamara
"McNamara never got the chance to watch her first book become a best-seller (the author passed away in 2016 following an accidental overdose), and, therefore, never got the chance to watch the man she had been researching for years, the Golden State Killer, be brought to justice. But just months before Joseph James DeAngelo was named a suspect in the crimes of the serial killer — who terrorized Sacramento in the late '70s and early '80s — in April, readers were educated on the then-cold case with the release of I'll Be Gone In The Dark, a book as fascinating as it was terrifying. McNamara's read offered readers a gateway into not only the forgotten crimes of the Golden State Killer (which certainly kept more than just this reader up countless nights), but also what it's like to furiously search for answers — even if you know it's possible you may never get them. In this circumstance, however, McNamara's years-long advocacy for justice for the killer's victims led to more publicity surrounding the case, which was officially reopened in 2016, and seemingly victorious in April with suspect DeAngelo's arrest. Even if law enforcement won't credit McNamara for helping the investigation, readers can tell that the author's passion has helped so many, from the victims to the true crime enthusiasts inspired to bring attention to other cold cases. It's clear, even in the book's first few pages, that I'll Be Gone In The Dark's legacy will live as long as McNamara's."