Top Books of 2018 for Heroine Addicts

Sisters were doing it for themselves in historical fiction, alt-historical fiction, romance, and a graphic novel

Top Books of 2018 for Heroine Addicts

Sisters had no choice but to do it for themselves this exhausting year. I found my succor in brave, foolish, heartfelt heroines whose adventures took me across genre and through the deep, dark woods of 2018.

Dread Nation (Balzer + Bray) Yes, Recon­struction-era zombies are buck-wild, but you're a fool if you let that or this book's YA classification stand between you and Justina Ireland's richly written alternate-history thrill ride.

And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready (Little, Brown and Company) As someone accused of being both broody (in the keen-to-child-rearing sense) and anxious, you better believe Meaghan O'Connell's brutally illuminating memoir laid me flat.

Spinning Silver (Del Rey) Fairy tales have always been en vogue, but it's rare to find one with such singular imagination, deep reserves of compassion, and true timelessness. Naomi Novik's novel earned immediate placement on the "Will Reread, and Soon" shelf.

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock (Harper) Am I so keen on this because I read it on the heels of a Harlots binge-watch? Maybe, but Imogen Hermes Gowar's novel succeeds on its own merits – as an enthralling glimpse at 1780s London that extends profound generosity toward all its characters.

The Prince and the Dressmaker (First Second) It doesn't get more universally appealing than Jen Wang's stunningly illustrated and deeply kind fin-de-siècle fable about a prince and the young seamstress he employs to design the dresses he wears in secret.

A Duke by Default: Reluctant Royals (Avon) Alyssa Cole's book was there when no one would rewatch The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement with me! Swoon-worthy and whip-smart, for those who like their regal fantasies with both feet in the real world.

The Proposal (Berkley) A skin-crawling public proposal brings two witty, hardworking commitment-phobes together. Jasmine Guillory's book offers genuine laughs about second-guessing things around the person you like and genuine heartstring tugs about the challenges of being vulnerable.

Honorable mentions: Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi, All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung, The Lost Queen by Signe Pike

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Top 10s
<i>The Austin Chronicle</i> Top 10 Films of 2018
The Austin Chronicle Top 10 Films of 2018
Our favorite films from our least favorite year

Richard Whittaker, Dec. 28, 2018

Top 10 Local Video Games
Top 10 Local Video Games
A horse-woman of the apocalypse and floppy fighting animals top Austin’s offerings

James Renovitch, Dec. 28, 2018

More Arts Reviews
Austin Symphony Orchestra's <i>Variation Voyage</i>
Austin Symphony Orchestra's Variation Voyage
ASO's first concert of 2019 had us hearing all sorts of feels, but Leon Fleisher's piano also got us thinking

Robert Faires, Jan. 18, 2019

“Dave McClinton: Despite It All” at the Butridge
"Dave McClinton: Despite It All" at the Butridge
The digital collagist’s new solo exhibition is peopled with many colors

Wayne Alan Brenner, Jan. 18, 2019

More by Rosalind Faires
<i>Last Woman Standing</i> by Amy Gentry
Last Woman Standing by Amy Gentry
Amy Gentry’s Austin-set second novel is an electric revenge thriller

Jan. 18, 2019

Books to Read and Wrap for the Holidays
Emergency Contact
It’s wry and vulnerable love via text message in this YA novel set in Austin

Dec. 7, 2018


Top 10s, Top 10s 2018, Justina Ireland, Meaghan O'Connell, Naomi Novik, Imogen Hermes Gowar, Jen Wang, Alyssa Cole, Jasmine Guillory, Emergency Contact, Mary H.K. Choi, Signe Pike, Nicole Chung

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle