The 21 Best Books Of 2018, According To Goodreads Users

by Kerri Jarema

One of the most exciting end-of-year rituals for readers everywhere is voting on their favorite books in the Annual Goodreads Choice Awards. With three rounds of voting in 21 categories, the Goodreads Choice Awards are always intense. But this year marked the 10th annual competition, which means the stakes were higher than ever. (Goodreads even awarded a "Best of the Best" Award to celebrate.) In many ways, the books reflect the excitement of this anniversary: the winning reads run the gamut from lighthearted to heartwrenching, eerie to fantastical, innovative and diverse across a wide spectrum of genres. Even better? Sixteen of the winning books were written by women, truly proving that women have dominated in fiction this year.

So, whether you still have a few books left to read to hit your yearly reading goal, you want to start planning ahead for your 2019 TBR, you're hoping to find some new authors you've yet to read, or you just want to compare all of your own favorites of the year with those your fellow readers chose, keep scrolling below to find out which books have been deemed the 21 best by Goodreads users this year. And keep reading until the end to find out which author bagged the coveted Best of the Best award, added to the Choice Awards this year in honor of its 10th anniversary:

Best Fiction: 'Still Me' by Jojo Moyes

Jojo Moyes' 2013 novel Me Before You has become one of the most beloved romances on page and screen since its release. In Still Me, the follow-up to After You, Jojo Moyes returns to her fan-favorite heroine Louisa Clark, as she arrives in New York, ready to take on a new life. But as she begins to mix in New York high society, Lou meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past.

Best Mystery & Thriller: 'The Outsider' by Stephen King

Stephen King's The Outsider is the latest book in the author's prolific horror career, one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories. The book opens when an 11-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Evidence points to Terry Maitland — Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. But as the investigation expands and answers begin to emerge, Detective Ralph Anderson discovers the horrifying truth.

Best Historical Fiction: 'The Great Alone' by Kristin Hannah

Kristin Hannah's novel became an early best book of the year for its emotional portrayal of Ernt Allbright, a former POW, his wife Cora, and their daughter 13-year-old Leni, as they move to a remote corner of Alaska. Ernt's fragile mental state begins to deteriorate as winter approaches, and in their small cabin, Leni and her mother soon realize they are on their own.

Best Fantasy: 'Circe' by Madeline Miller

Madeline Miller retells the myth of Circe, the daughter of Helios, god of the sun and the mightiest of the Titans, in this instant #1 New York Times bestseller. Whether you're already a fan of Greek mythology or not, readers of adventure stories will love following Circe's journey, as she must choose whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

Best Romance: 'The Kiss Quotient' by Helen Hoang

Helen Hoang's The Kiss Quotient is one of the most celebrate rom-coms of the year, widely celebrated as much for its diverse representation as its steamy love story. The book follows Stella Lane — a 30-year-old woman with Asperger's — who has no dating experience. She hires escort Michael Phan to teach her the ins and outs of sex and romance, but gets much more than she bargained for.

Best Science Fiction: 'Vengeful' by V.E. Schwab

Fans have been waiting for the follow-up to V.E. Schwab's supervillian story Vicious, since 2013, so it's no suprise that this sequel would take home a prize this year. In the highly-anticipated Vengeful, the author picks up 10 years after the events of Vicious, as Victor Vale breaks out of prison. Determined to catch up to his old arch nemesis Eli Ever, Victor is aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability.

Best Horror: 'Elevation' by Stephen King

The second of King's novels to make the list this year, Elevation takes place in the small town of Castle Rock, the setting of many of King’s most iconic stories, and follows a man named Scott Carey. When Carey is struck with a mysterious affliction, his illness builds unlikely alliances and helps the town find common ground despite deep-rooted differences.

Best Humor: 'The Last Black Unicorn' by Tiffany Haddish

Comedian Tiffany Haddish has quickly become a huge star, thanks in large part to her keep-it-real attitude and hilarious personality. In her first collection of personal essays, titled The Last Black Unicorn, Haddish combines both, bringing readers on her journey from growing up in one of the poorest neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles to becoming the first ever black female stand-up comedian to host Saturday Night Live.

Best Nonfiction: 'I’ll Be Gone in the Dark' by Michelle McNamara

Michelle McNamara's I'll Be Gone in the Dark, is a masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer — the elusive serial rapist and murderer who terrorized California for over a decade. I'll Be Gone in the Dark was published posthumously, with the help of McNamara's husband Patton Oswalt, and it hit shelves just two months before a suspect was arrested, only adding to the book's popularity.

Read more here.

Best Memoir & Autobiography: 'Educated' by Tara Westover

Joining notable predecessors like Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle, Tara Westover's Educated is her heart-wrenching yet hopeful account of her upbringing by survivalist parents. After a childhood spent never visiting doctors or attending school, Westover makes the difficult choice to leave her family to seek out a traditional education at Harvard and Cambridge universities.

Best History & Biography: 'The Good Neighbor' by Maxwell King

The late Fred Rogers, more affectionately known as Mr. Rogers, saw a resurgence in popularity this year, thanks in large part to the release of the moving documentary, Won't You Be My Neighbor? In Maxwell King's book, the first full-length biography of Rogers, he tells the story of the American icon through interviews, oral histories, and documents that trace Rogers’s personal, professional, and artistic life.

Best Science: 'The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs' by Stephen Brusatte

It's no secret that people love dinosaurs (just take a look at the continued popularity of the Jurassic Park film franchise for proof of that). But in The Rise and Fall of The Dinosaurs, Steve Brusatte goes beyond action movies to trace the evolution of dinosaurs from their inauspicious start as small shadow dwellers into the dominant array of species that every wide-eyed child memorizes today.

Best Food & Cookbooks: 'Cravings: Hungry for More' by Chrissy Teigen

No one can make food look quite as relatable as everyone's favorite Twitter celebrity, Chrissy Teigen. In Cravings: Hungry for More — the follow-up to her first cookbook, 2016's Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat —Teigen takes readers further into her kitchen and life. Here recipes are crafted to fit into her unique lifestyle — think onion dip to eat with her glam squad and banana bread that breaks the internet. Read more here.

Best Graphic Novels & Comics: 'Herding Cats' by Sarah Andersen

Sarah Andersen has become synonymous with hilariously relatable graphic novels since the release of her first, Adulthood is a Myth, back in 2016. Winning the prize this year is Herding Cats, her third collection of comics and illustrated personal essays. This one is a survival guide for frantic modern life, and she draws and writes about the importance of avoiding morning people, Internet troll defense 101, and the not-so-life-changing futility of tidying up.

Best Poetry: 'The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One' by Amanda Lovelace

Proving that the popularity of so-called InstaPoets isn't waning anytime soon, Amanda Lovelace's latest collection, titled the witch doesn't burn in this one, took the top poetry prize this year. The collection is inspired by witches — supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now indestructible — and contains moving pieces about women who are taking control of their own stories.

Best Young Adult Fiction: 'Leah on the Offbeat' by Becky Albertalli

In the highly-anticipated follow-up to Becky Albertalli's beloved debut Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda, she puts Simon's best friend Leah front and center. Leah on the Offbeat picks up where Simon ended, and follows Leah as she deals with college applications, fracturing friendships, and her hidden bisexuality during their senior year of high school.

Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction: 'Kingdom of Ash' by Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas's epic YA fantasy series, Throne of Glass, saw the release of its highly-anticipated finale this year. Kingdom of Ash is the seventh novel following famed assassin Celaena Sardothien through her transformation from prisoner to Aelin Galathynius, princess and rightful heir to the throne. In the final book, Aelin and her friends make their final attempt to protect Terrasen from destruction.

Best Middle Grade & Children’s: 'The Burning Maze' by Rick Riordan

Rick Riordan's latest middle grade Greek mythology retelling, the third book in his popular Trials of Apollo series, follows the formerly glorious god Apollo, cast down to earth in punishment by Zeus, and now living as an awkward mortal teenager named Lester Papadopoulos. The book opens after Lester and his friends Meg and Leo have found the Dark Prophecy. The trio must go through the Labyrinth to find the third emperor — and an Oracle who speaks in word puzzles.

Best Picture Books: 'I Am Enough' by Grace Byers and Keturah A. Bobo

Grace Byers' modern picture book I Am Enough is a lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others and embracing our differences. With its diverse cast of characters, illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo, and its important message of acceptance, this timely and necessary children's tale is sure to become a favorite in libraries and classrooms everywhere.

Best Debut Author: 'Children of Blood and Bone' by Tomi Adeyemi

Tomi Adeyemi's YA fantasy debut Children of Blood and Bone follows Zélie Adebola, who lost her mother and many of her people when the ruthless king ordered maji to be killed. Now, with the help of a rogue princess, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. But she must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Best of the Best: 'The Hate U Give' by Angie Thomas

This year, Goodreads added a special Best Of The Best prize to celebrate 10 years of the Choice Awards. The winner is Angie Thomas' widely celebrated 2017 YA novel, The Hate U Give. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, the story follows 16-year-old Starr Carter in the aftermath of her unarmed best friend Khalil's shooting death at the hands of a police officer.

This post was originally published on December 4, 2018. It was updated on June 5, 2019.