2018 has come and gone but boy oh boy did we read some great books during the past year. From new releases to just new to us 2018 was full of exciting stories that we just couldn’t put down! So, of course, we had to compile a list of our absolute faves. From fiction to non-fiction to kids and YA and everything in between. Here are our Top 5 reads provided by one employee and our best little helper Aleister!

Regina Salmons
Bookmans Visual Merchandiser. Reading Machine. Aleister’s Mom.

The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway

Why we loved it: Thrilling and hilarious post-apocalyptic story featuring ninjas and pirates and more.

“The Jorgmund Pipe is the backbone of the world, and it’s on fire. Gonzo Lubitsch, professional hero and troubleshooter, is hired to put it out – but there’s more to the fire, and the Pipe itself, than meets the eye. The job will take Gonzo and his best friend, our narrator, back to their own beginnings and into the dark heart of the Jorgmund Company itself.” – From Penguin Books

Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory

Why we loved it: Because it had us practicing our telekinesis for weeks!

“Once they were The Amazing Telemachus Family, performers blessed with clairvoyance, telekinesis, and other psychic abilities. But then a tragic event took the magic away, and the powers that briefly made them stars of daytime TV suddenly seem more like a curse. Since their fall from grace, they’ve been trying to lead normal lives back home in Chicago, but there’s no such thing as normal for the Telemachuses. When the CIA, the mafia, and an unrelenting skeptic come calling, the family is forced to put their past behind them and unite one more time. But will it be enough to make them amazing again?” From Random House

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Why we loved it: Because #dentaldrama is the worst kind and we totes relate.

“Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth, and what follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly. This coming-of-age true story is sure to resonate with anyone who has ever been in middle school, and especially those who have ever had a bit of their own dental drama.” –GoRaina.com

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Why we loved it: Finally read CRA and boy it didn’t disappoint. sweet, funny and exciting. Kevin Kwan is an amazing storyteller.

“When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.” – Penguin Random House

Get In Trouble by Kelly Link (finalist for the Pulitzer Prize!)

Why we loved it: Kelly Link never disappoints. Poignant, humorous and a one of a kind collection of short fiction.

“The nine exquisite examples in this collection show her in full command of her formidable powers. In “The Summer People,” a young girl in rural North Carolina serves as uneasy caretaker to the mysterious, never-quite-glimpsed visitors who inhabit the cottage behind her house… “I Can See Right Through You,” a middle-aged movie star makes a disturbing trip to the Florida swamp where his former on- and off-screen love interest is shooting a ghost-hunting reality show. In “The New Boyfriend,” a suburban slumber party takes an unusual turn, and a teenage friendship is tested, when the spoiled birthday girl opens her big present: a life-size animated doll.”  –Penguin Random House 

Aleister Salmons
Age: 4
Probably knows more about Star Wars than you do. Thinks he’s a dinosaur. We support it.

If I Had A Gryphon by Vikki VanSickle

Why we loved it: Because Sam is right. Hamsters are boring.

“If I Had a Gryphon is a raucous rhyming read-aloud about fantastical beasts in everyday situations–and the increasingly beleaguered heroine who has to deal with them.” Penguin Random House

Never Take A Shark To the Dentist by Judi Barrett

Why we loved it: Honestly it’s just good advice.

“There are many things you should never, ever, ever do. Like, sit next to a porcupine on the subway (ouch!). Or hold hands with a lobster (double ouch!). Or take a shark to the dentist (triple ouch!).

Bestselling author Judi Barrett and imaginative illustrator John Nickle give us a raucous look at the perils of taking giraffes to the movies, goats to the library, and pigs out to lunch…and other such silly stuff.” -Scholastic

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

Why we loved it: Tacos!!! Also super cute and funny and the illustration rocks!

“Dragons love tacos. They love chicken tacos, beef tacos, great big tacos, and teeny tiny tacos. So if you want to lure a bunch of dragons to your party, you should definitely serve tacos. Buckets and buckets of taco

s. Unfortunately, where there are tacos, there is also salsa. And if a dragon accidentally eats spicy salsa . . . oh, boy. You’re in red-hot trouble.” – Penguin Random House 

Can I Be Your Dog by Troy Cummings

Why we loved it: WE dare you not to cry while reading about Arfy. 😭

“This picture book shares the tale of Arfy, a homeless mutt who lives in a box in an alley. Arfy writes to every person on Butternut Street about what a great pet he’d make. His letters to prospective owners share that he’s housebroken! He has his own squeaky bone! He can learn to live with cats! But, no one wants him. Won’t anyone open their heart–and home–to a lonesome dog? Readers will be happily surprised to learn just who steps up to adopt Arfy.”Penguin Random House

Good Boy Fergus by David Shannon

Why we loved it: Fergus is so cute and funny and we love reading about all his silly antics.

“Follow Fergus as he experiences the perfect doggy day — well, except for his bath, of course! From chasing cats and motorcycles to being scratched on his favorite “tickle spot,” David Shannon’s newest sweet and silly character will inspire young readers to laugh out loud at his mischievous antics. Fans of Shannon’s previous books will love reading all about this naughty but lovable dog!” – Scholastic