The Goodreads Choice Awards are the only major book awards chosen by readers. These are their picks for the best of the year.
Best Fiction — Still Me by Jojo Moyes
In the third book of the popular Me Before You series, protagonist Louisa Clark moves from England to New York for a new job and new adventure. While she remains in a long-distance relationship with Ambulance Sam, she's making a new life for herself and figuring out who she wants to be, and how she can make her new life as true to herself as possible.
Reader Review: “I picked up Still Me with the intent to read something light and undemanding ... it’s much more an inspiring tale of being true to yourself, finding what sincerely makes you happy in life (we only get one, after all), and to always wear your striped tights with pride.” - Bonnie
Best Mystery & Thriller — The Outsider by Stephen King
A town is torn apart after an 11-year-old boy's body is found in the local park. Fingerprints from a local upstanding Little League coach and English teacher are found on the boy's body, but although the suspect is quickly arrested, he has an alibi. Evidence mounts, answers materialize — and Stephen King retains his title as master of suspense.
Reader Review: “King has a way of building a complex puzzle, while creating characters readers are sure to respond to, either in a good or a bad way, and then proceeds to scare the crap out of us. The action picks up right at the beginning, building and building — first as a standard mystery and police investigation, then it segues into the stuff that will keep you up at night.” - Julie
Best Historical Fiction — The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
When 13-year-old Leni's family picks up and moves to Alaska to live off the grid, it's her erratic, Vietnam veteran father's decision. At first Leni is full of hope for the family and finds their lives improved – but then winter comes, and with it,18 hours of night.
Reader Review: “The Great Alone is a story of survival, not just in the harsh Alaskan wilderness, but within your own life. It's a book about confronting your fears and realizing how strong you are, of feeling the need to protect those you love from pain or hurt no matter the sacrifices you must make in exchange, and how the things we most want to say are the hardest to verbalize.” - Larry H
Best Fantasy — Circe by Madeline Miller
Drawn from Greek mythology, Circe is the story of the witch made famous in Homer's Odyssey. Though the daughter of Helios, god of the sun, Circe is banished to a desert island by Zeus, there she bonds with mortals, interacts with legendary figures (Madea, the Minotaur, and more), and sharpens her witch powers. A woman on her own, Circe is forced to choose whether her loyalties lie with god or man, and what she's willing to do to protect those she loves.
Reader Review: “The entire story is a love letter to love itself and reveals all the things we are willing to do in the name of it. And most importantly, this is a book about how we are only ever in charge of our own stories, even though our actions may change the fate for others around us.” - Melanie
Best of the Best* — The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Adapted into a film this year, The Hate U Give follows 16-year-old Starr Carter, whose life as a prep school student from a poor neighborhood is turned upside down when she witnesses a police officer shoot and kill her unarmed friend Khalil. The shooting becomes a national news story, and Starr is in the middle, with people on both sides pressuring her.
Reader Review: “I loved The Hate U Give most because of its characters and their relationships with one another. Thomas creates such real, flawed, and personality-filled characters that you cannot help but feel heartbroken and angry when they experience racism and discrimination.” - Thomas
*Best of the Best is special tenth anniversary category, which had readers pick an ultimate favorite from 170 past Goodreads Choice Awards winners.
Best Romance — The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
30-year-old Stella Lane is a super successful economist, but less experienced when it comes to romantic relationships. Interpersonal relationships have never come easily (Stella, like author Hoang, has Asperger’s syndrome) but her parents are itching for grandchildren, and she decides it's time to figure out the dating world. Logically, she hires a male escort, Michael Phan, to help her practice. But love isn't always logical, as Stella soon finds out...
Reader Review: "The Kiss Quotient is a beautiful and realistic debut novel that breaks stereotypes, embraces uniqueness, and makes one think about their self-worth. It’s the kind of book that will make you smile, swoon, tear up, and think.” - Nissa | Of Pens and Pages Book Blog
Best Science Fiction — Vengeful by V.E. Schwab
First, Eli Ever and Victor Vale were best friends and medical students, who discovered, following near death experiences, they had super powers. Then the two were enemies. Now, in the second book of V.E. Schwab's Villains series, the pair are joined new and familiar characters, in a dangerous mess of magic, greed, and power.
Reader Review: “If you love morally ambiguous characters, action, and mayhem, please pick up these books. What some of these characters do is so heinous and sick, and yet I find myself rooting for them and sympathizing with them.” - Amy
Best Horror — Elevation by Stephen King
Stephen King returns to Castle Rock to tell the story of resident Scott Carey, who's dealing with a mysterious condition — he's losing weight, but doesn't look like it, and when he weighs himself the number doesn't change no matter what he's wearing. At the same time, he discovers his neighbors, a lesbian couple, are being actively pushed out by the neighborhood while trying to launch their new restaurant, and he decides to help them fight their discrimination.
Reader Review: “Feel-good novel of the year? Here Stephen King steps aside from horror to write a poignant little novella on unity, tolerance and rising above the fray. Of course there is also a supernatural twist.” - Justin Tate
Best Humor — The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish
The breakout star of 2017's Girls Trip Tiffany Haddish has been funny for a long time. In this memoir, she shares how she used her sense of humor to get through a genuinely tough period of her life, before turning that humor into a career.
Reader Review: “The book made me smile to myself, laugh to myself, pause to think, and even tear up a bit. Tiffany covers it all — from knowing your worth as a woman to not letting others judge based on their own personal opinions. Tiffany is my new she-ro and I will definitely be looking out for more of her insight on life!” - Ashley
Best Nonfiction — I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
In the 1970s and '80s, a serial rapist in Northern California repeatedly snuck into victims' homes and committed fifty sexual assaults, before moving on to Southern California and murdering 10 people. Decades later, journalist Michelle NcNamara became obsessed with the case, linking the murders with the serial rapist and coining the nickname "The Golden State Killer." Although McNamara tragically passed away while writing this book, the Golden State Killer was caught earlier this year.
Reader Review: “I'll Be Gone In The Dark is part true crime, part memoir, and in my very very humble opinion it is a masterpiece. Michelle spent nearly a decade intricately researching and playing amateur detective trying to weave together 40 years of evidence in an herculean effort to discover the true identity of The Golden State killer.” - Erin
Best Memoir & Autobiography — Educated by Tara Westover
Tara Westover grew up in a survivalist family who did not participate in society, avoiding doctors and schools. Instead, Tara taught herself, eventually getting into Brigham Young University, and later attending Harvard and Cambridge. Her story is one of strength, determination, and the value of an education.
Reader Review: “Educated is a triumph, a remarkable work, beautifully told, of the journey from an isolated, fundamentalist, survivalist childhood to adulthood as an erudite and accomplished survivor. It is a powerful look at the ties, benefits, and perils of families. Ultimately, Educated is a rewarding odyssey you do not want to miss.” - Will Byrnes
Best History & Biography — The Good Neighbor by Maxwell King
Fred Rogers — or as the world knew him, Mister Rogers — raised multiple generations to be kind and compassionate through his decades-long childrens' show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. The Good Neighbor is the first full-length biography of Fred Rogers, weaving in original reporting and archival documents.
Reader Review: “It is well written, informative, and emotional. I’m walking away from this missing a man I have never met, and yet feeling joy about the work that he has done. He was such a good neighbor.” - Stacie C
Best Science — The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Stephen Brusatte
In The Rise and Fall of Dinosaurs, paleontologist Steve Brusatte tells the story of dinosaurs, from their start in the Triassic period to their end in the Cretaceous period 165 million years later. He also describes his participation in the "new golden age of discovery" going on in paleontology, with all of its travels, discoveries, and insights.
Reader Review: “If you haven't read a dinosaur book since you were 7, this is really fun and readable. And it was also kind of amazing how much has been discovered since you were reading those books at (or around) age 7.” - Alex Martinez
Best Food & Cookbooks — Cravings: Hungry for More by Chrissy Teigen
Chrissy Teigen's second cookbook, Cravings: Hungry for More, brings us the famous "Twitter's (And Uncle Mike's) Banana Bread" along with more easy-to-make recipes — and, of course, the trademark humor that makes Teigen the most fun person on the internet.
Reader Review: “Honestly, can I give this more than five stars? Not only does the food look and sound delicious, but these recipes are accessible and doable. Not to mention, Chrissy is funny as hell and this reads more like you are having a conversation with a friend about food.” - Danielle
Best Graphic Novels & Comics — Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen
The newest collection of Sarah Andersen's hilarious, relatable comics is filled with insight on protecting yourself from the scum of the internet, why morning people are the worst, the impossibility of cleanliness, and why cats and hot chocolate can fix anything.
Reader Review: “Sarah Andersen always gets me — and a whole lot of other people, judging by her well-deserved popularity. This collection is no exception, and I like that she's dedicated the second half-ish of the book to a quick guide on helping young or aspiring creatives.” - Fiona
Best Poetry — The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace
The Witch Doesn't Burn In This One, the second book of poetry in Amanda Lovelace's "Women Are Some Kind Of Magic" series, encourages and celebrates the supernatural strength and resilience of the witch, a metaphor for women everywhere.
Reader Review: “In this liberating collection of poetry and prose, Amanda Lovelace taps into the suffering of our mothers and spares us none of the gory details. Writing from a place of anger and tenderness, she expertly crafts a coven you’ll want to be a part of. Lovelace’s The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One is a self-love potion for the women in your life.” - Trista Mateer
Best Debut Author — Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
In just one night, Zélie Adebola's mother is killed and the people of Orïsha lose their magic. Now, it's up to Zélie and a rogue princess to take down the crown prince, and save magic and her people for good.
Reader Review: “Children of Blood and Bone transcends YA or even fantasy fiction. You don't need to enjoy either of those genres to love this book. It is a book that I would want to put into every reader's hands. Adeyemi tells a story that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt like an 'other'.” - Monica **can't read fast enough**
Best Young Adult Fiction — Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
Leah Burke, Simon's best friend in Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (which was adapted into the film Love, Simon earlier this year), is a drummer in a band, the only child of single mom, and hasn't yet told her friends that's she's bisexual. It's senior year, prom and college are happening, and tensions are high.
Reader Review: “After reading Simon vs. I can easily say I had such high expectations for Leah on the Offbeat. Knowing we’d get to know a bisexual, plus-sized female better, I was simply stoked... This novel is everything I expected it to be and more.” - Kathy - Books & Munches
Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction — Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
The seventh and final book in Sarah J. Maas's Throne of Glass series concludes the journey of Aelin Galathynius. With Aelin captured and locked in a coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Terrasen stands close to extinction. What will become of Aedion, Lysandra, Chaol, Dorian, Manon, and the others?
Reader Review: “My heart is no longer in my chest — it’s in this book. What a heart-wrenching, wonderful, utterly satisfying end to one of the best series I’ve had the chance to read. These characters and this story will stay with me for many years to come, and I loved every minute of this epic finale.” - Amber ~ The Reading Addict
Best Middle Grade & Children’s — The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan
The Burning Maze is the third book in Rick Riordan's The Trials of Apollo series, which spun off from the Percy Jackson and The Olympians series. Zeus has exiled Apollo, god of the sun, to Earth, and turned him into Lester Papadopoulos, a bumbling human teenager. Lester takes on the third of five Oracles he will have to restore before he can return to his god form.
Reader Review: “I haven't read a Riordan book this intense and dark and sad since The Last Olympian. This series is turning out to be more complex and heart-wrenching than I though, although it maintains a lighter, funny tone because Apollo is such a hilarious character.” - Natália Lopes
Best Picture Books — I Am Enough by Grace Byers and Keturah A. Bobo
Written by Empire actress Grace Byer with illustrations by Keturah A. Bobo, I Am Enough teaches readers to love themselves and treat others with respect.
Reader Review: “This is one of those 'I wish I had this when I was little' type books... Children of all different races and abilities come together to empower one another in this delightful picture book! It is all about helping each other and raising each other up, as well as knowing your own self-worth.” - Erika L.