Top five favorite books of 2023


Best books of 2023

One of my 2024 goals is to keep this platform alive, maybe give it a little makeover to bring myself to actually post on it and ultimately trying not to forget about it like all my old Tamagotchi, unfed and thirsty.

So I thought I would make it easy for me to dive back into blogging and write a quick post about all my favorite books I've read last year, only to immediately think it through and size down to five because honestly, this isn't easy and maybe I completely forgot how to write - bold claim for someone who wants to be a published author.

Anyway, this is my top five of incredible books I've read in 2023, the list surprised me a little bit because I picked some titles totally randomly and ended up being the best books I've ever read. Hopefully you will find some new favorites among them too.

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafron

Wow. This book took me completely by surprise for a few reasons: (1) because I thought it was a children's book and although I love how cozy and heartwarming they are, they're just not my cup of tea; and (2) because I bought it randomly off of Vinted just because I wanted to get other books and I needed one more to make the shipping cost worth it and my eyes fell on its beautiful cover. I didn't think it would be the creepiest, saddest book I've probably ever read! 

First of all, it doesn't sound like a children's book, I wouldn't even classify it as a middle grade because it was sooo creepy! Imagine everything you were scared of when you were an early teen: clowns, creepy statues, old house with weird noises, a mysterious cat, mix them all together, add a cute friendship story and a heartbreaking ending and you have this book. 

It's about a family who moves to a seaside town, in an old house full of secrets and a sinister cat that likes to stare at people. Max, our main character, finds a secret garden at the back of this house where some very creepy circus statues are hidden. Not only that but more creepy things are found in the house, starting from old photos and videos of the previous owners. To discover all the secrets, Max relies on his older sister Alicia and their new friend Roland whom, without even knowing, has secret of his own and they have to do with the house, the circus and an old promise. I'm still shivering thinking about this book, I'll tell you that.

Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

This book has all the ingredients that my perfect novel needs: a mystery, unreliable narrator, a surprising plot twist, awesome characters with a good mix of unlovable ones and a touch of magic. We don't have one main character but three: Wink, the good neighbour, the kind girl who's always saying the right thing, the one who's a little weird, a little magical; Midnight, the boy next door, the sweet boy caught between Wink and Poppy, one good, the other a bully, the Regina George of the situation, if you will. Things get a bit weird and confusing and if you first rooted for one character, you will find yourself changing your mind a million times before realizing that in this novel, like in life, there's no just good or bad, but a mix of both.

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland

Talking about perfect books, how could I not mention House of Hollow? So creepy and weird, an eerie fever dream where whatever you might think it's real it's actually far from it. 

Three sisters disappear only to reappear a month later completely changed: their hair, eyes, behaviors, they're somewhat like starving animals - quite literally - defensive, with an obsession with each other that goes beyond the sisterhood but dives deeper into magic and something more sinister. It's when one of them disappears again that the story takes the other two sisters on a weird adventure into finding out the secrets of their disappearance, finding out the truth about what happened and ultimately the truth about themselves. Haunting, riveting, absolutely gorgeous!

The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson

I'm slowly making my way through the Truly Devious series just because I want to savor it bit by bit, book by book, like a delicious cake. There's no secret that I love Dark Academia books - I even started a bookclub that went nowhere but who knows, maybe that too will resurface like this blog - and I've read a lot already but there's something about a good series that keeps you glued to the pages and promise more books, more adventure, more fun, more mysteries and especially more riddles. Those are the main reason why I read these books, the riddles are so good and even though it's middle grade and you can easily guess what's about to happen, riddle make it way more fun and make you want to continue searching for the truth along with the characters. 

Talking about a second book in a series without spoiling the first book, is difficult but if you loved Truly Devious or secluded boarding schools where mysterious murders take place, then this is the time to dive into this series, I promise a good time.

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

This one is very different from any of the previous books on this post but it's as good. It's fiction so it's more relatable in the sense that it's about real life that anyone could see themselves in and I did see myself in it, especially for the center topic around which everything - and everyone - revolves. It's about Ruth, thirty and newly single, who come back home to live with her parents. Only, life is not as easy as she remembered back home because her father has been diagnosed with Alzheimer disease so is slowly losing his memory, right when Ruth is finding out things about her father that she wouldn't have imagined.

What I particularly liked about this book is the humor with which the author chose to tell this story. I know what it's like living with someone with Alzheimer and it's not easy, physically nor mentally, and yet she tells this story with such tenderness and warmth that left be a bit discombobulated but in a good way. Definitely one of those books I will hold dear for a lot of years to come, while also trying to make everybody read it.

I have read other great books like Giovanni's Room by Baldwin or The Virgin Suicides by Eugenides and other fantastic reads, but these ones are the ones that really surprised me and also the ones who got me out of a major reading slump at the end of the year.

What's on your top five of 2023? Any of these books or specific genres you wanted to explore more?