Chances are some of you haven’t heard of ALA’s Reading List Council, but trust me on this one: Their annual list of top books in several genres is a book lover’s gem. They pick the best in eight genres — including mystery, science fiction, and adrenaline (read: suspense/heart-thumping-page-turner) for adult readers. Librarians love that the Reading List is selected by readers advisory librarians who offer suggestions for similar titles. Readers love getting a list of genre favorites that includes winners and finalists.
To get you started with your holds, here are the 2018 winners (for books published in 2017). And be sure to check the full Reading List where you’ll find sixty-four (64!) reading recommendations.
Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips
Joan and her four-year-old son, Lincoln, are enjoying an afternoon outing at the zoo when the unthinkable happens–a mass shooting. Trapped and in tremendous danger, Joan must rely on her bravery and survival instincts to make it out alive. This terrifyingly plausible thriller unfolds in real time.
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (a Washington author!)
Twin sisters Jack and Jill discover a portal that leads them to the Moors, a dark and unsettling world that reveals their true selves. But will their conflicting desires tear them apart?
The Half-Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker
Betrayed and left for dead, Viking raider Rangvald seeks revenge and his inheritance, while his sister Svanhild’s path to freedom lies with Rangvald’s mortal enemy. This epic tale of uneasy alliances, set in 9th century Scandinavia, offers action, intrigue and historical detail.
Kill Creek by Scott Thomas
An homage to horror and the authors who write it, Kill Creek features four prominent authors who are lured into spending the night in a famous haunted house as a publicity stunt. The aftermath is both unexpected and terrifying.
The Dime by Kathleen Kent
Dallas detective Betty Rhyzyk comes from a family of cops. She’s nearly six feet tall, has flaming red hair, a New Yorker’s sharp tongue, and a girlfriend. When her investigation into a Mexican drug lord goes sideways, she must salvage the operation while dealing with a highly disturbed stalker.
An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
Elle Burns, a free black woman, voluntarily leaves the North to work in the Confederacy as a slave and a spy. When she uncovers a possible plot she also encounters Malcolm, a white Union spy. Their intense attraction places their lives in danger in this tale of forbidden love.
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
In the Interdependency, each planet relies on its far-flung neighbors for survival. Now a galactic change is transforming the universal order, a new empress has been crowned, a rival is plotting a revolution, and a foul-mouthed captain is caught in the middle.
The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson
Geeky Leia is pregnant after an encounter with a sexy, anonymous Batman. Pondering when to tell her Southern family she is expecting a biracial child, her life is upended by the implosion of her half-sister’s marriage, her grandmother’s dementia, and a skeleton in the attic in this humorous tale.