2019 Best Books from Robbins & Fox Library Staff

Happy New Year!!!  Here are the Robbins & Fox Library librarians’ top books of 2019!


As usual, far too many to list! But here are a few anyway:

Nonfiction:
Wordslut by Amanda Montell
Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

Adult fiction:
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
Famous Men Who Never Lived by K Chess
The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz
The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames
The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern


Magic for Liars – Sarah Gailey
Red at the Bone – Jacqueline Woodson
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous – Ocean Vuong
Good Talk – Mira Jacob
The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth – Philip Pullman

Indian No More – Charlene Willing McManus
This Was Our Pact – Ryan Andrews
White Bird – R. J. Palacio
Stargazing – Jen Wang


Homesick: Stories by Nino Cipri
Homesick is a short story anthology by one of my favorite authors. Cipri is a master at crafting unsettling narratives that leave you disturbed but hopeful. I highly recommend their stories “Which Little Dead Girl Are You?” and “Presque Vu” but you can’t go wrong with any of the stories in this book. My favorite story that I hadn’t read before was a story of a woman who finds a giant pollen puff after divorcing her husband. You’d have to read it to understand.

Shatter City by Scott Westerfeld

I’ve been reading Westerfeld since I was a teenager. His newest series continues in the same world as his Uglies series and it just shows how much he has grown as an author. A diverse cast of teens and our protagonist Frey reckon with the events of the first book in the series. As a twin raised simply to protect her sister, Frey has some serious identity issues. Some events of her past are coming back to haunt her and so is her uncertain future. A great sci-fi book for teens.

When I Arrived at the Castle by Emily Carroll
Emily Carroll is just a great horror author. Her graphic novels never fail to make me super creeped out. This is a single story and though I think there were a few pacing problems with it being longer form, I still loved it. The art is terrifying, the story is chilling and vague, the book is great.

Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia, Gabriel Picolo

Raven was always one of my favorite teen titans. Seeing her adapted as a modern day teen, with her unique origin story, was really cool. There’s a lot of angst, a lot of discovering yourself, a lot of ‘what does family mean’ and it’s pulled off really well.

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker, Wendy Xu
THIS BOOK IS SO CUTE! A witch, a nonbinary werewolf, a secret cult. And lots and lots of good friendship feelings. Read this, you won’t regret it.

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
I’ve been waiting for this book FOREVER and it was worth the wait. Even if you didn’t grow up queer, the feeling of being attracted to someone who you view as cooler than you should resonate with everyone. But Mariko Tamaki creates such a great young queer girl experience in this book that it’s heartbreaking. You will want to reach into the book and help out as you watch Freddy make teenage mistakes. It’s very good.

The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling
With just two characters, this book should be boring. But if you count The Cave as a third character (and you should), it becomes a horrifying book of isolation, mistrust, and toxic family dynamics. A must read if you’re into claustrophobic horror.


Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Arguably the romance of the year, this story is about the son of the first female US President who falls for his arch-nemesis, the Prince of Wales. It’s sweet and hilarious and uplifting, and fantastic on audio.

I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening): A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations by Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers
The book we all need right now, and have probably needed for a while. The two women who host the Pantsuit Politics podcast have published a helpful guide to talking about politics without getting mired in partisanship.

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
Cinderella’s stepsister Isabelle, who cut her own toes off to fit her foot in the glass slipper, is a compelling protagonist in this retelling/sequel to Cinderella. Isabelle didn’t even want to marry the prince and now she and her sister and stepmother have been ostracized. This is an empowering story filled with adventure, magic, and love.

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
In 1940, a young woman is kicked out of Vassar, then sent to live with her aunt in New York, where she makes a stupid mistake with big repercussions. This story of growth and redemption is made all the better by Elizabeth Gilbert’s beautiful way with words and imagery.

The Way Home: Tales From a Life Without Technology by Mark Boyle
Mary Boyle moved to a smallholding in Ireland to make a life that is not damaging to himself or the planet, doing everything by hand or going without. He didn’t even have plumbing or electricity. More a collection of vignettes than a straight-up memoir, I found this book thoughtful and inspiring.


The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
Wilder Girls by Rory Power
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey
Snap Flash Hustle Vol. 1 by Pat Shand, Illus. Emily Pearson
The Dollmaker by Nina Allan
Shades of Magic graphic novels by V.E. Schwab, illus. Andrea Olimpieri
Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
Goddess Mode Vol. 1 by Zoe Quinn, Illus. Robbi Rodriguez

Some of my favorite series either continued or concluded this year too, so here’s a list of those:
Monstress, Vol. 4: The Chosen by Marjorie M. Liu, illus. Sana Takeda
The Ascent to Godhood by J.Y. Yang
Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake


Pastry Love: A Baker’s Journal of Favorite Recipes by local favorite Joanne Chang for any baking enthusiast.
The Need by Helen Phillips for the new parent
The Testaments by the Queen Maragaret Atwood
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid a perfect book to take on a trip and guess the casting of the inevitable movie adaptation

2019 Best Books from Robbins & Fox Library Staff