I'm sticking to books published in 2015 in the UK. Don't worry, I won't keep you long.
Asking For It - Louise O'Neill (@oneilllo)
I somewhat suspect this'll end up on most best of 2015 lists, YA and adult alike. It's a ruthless look at rape culture, the perceived grey areas in consent, and victim-blaming. It blew me away, and made me incredibly angry.
It's not really an enjoyable read in the obvious sense, because it is relentless and devastating, but that's exactly what it needs to be. I learned a huge amount by reading it, and it makes me want to be a better person. Asking For It is a hugely brave novel that needs to be read by everybody.
Railhead - Philip Reeve (@philipreeve1)
I'm a huge fan of Reeve's Mortal Engines series, and Railhead takes everything that makes that series great - detailed, effortless world-building, compelling and bizarre characters, off-kilter humour, a sense of wide-eyed wonder, and an epic story, and arguably improves on it.
What I love most about Railhead is how it creates a universe that is so odd, so different to our own reality, and makes it feel utterly lived-in. Even the strangest aspects of it - like sentient bugmen - are easy to accept, because their existence in this world feels entirely natural. Railhead is a masterpiece.
The Time In Between - Nancy Tucker (@NancyCNTucker)
For years, anorexia was an illness I utterly failed to comprehend. How can you think you're fat when the mirror clearly says otherwise? Until I developed a borderline eating disorder, and realised how easy it is for your reflection to become your enemy.
I never suffered as badly as Nancy Tucker, who has written this memoir to explore and explain how anorexia nervosa nearly killed her. The Time In Between effortlessly balances honesty and the often difficult aspects of the topic, with pace and humour that ensure it's never too bleak. Most importantly, she writes with absolute clarity about her illness, so you come out the either side better informed, and maybe a better person for it.
The Wolf Wilder - Katherine Rundell (@kdbrundell)
Katherine Rundell is probably the best children's writer out there at the moment, which makes her one of the best writers period. The Wolf Wilder cements that position, from it's incredible opening line through to its final moments. I haven't read anything else like it this year.
What could be a straightforward rescue mission with all the usual heroes and villains is brought to life by a thoroughly likeable, headstrong protagonist, a great supporting cast (including wolves I want to respectfully cuddle forever) and a bitter wintry setting so vivid I never want to visit it because I hate the cold. I should also note that I rarely buy books in hardback, but this edition is so beautiful I couldn't resist.
Reasons To Stay Alive - Matt Haig (@matthaig1)
This has (deservedly) been a huge hit this year, and I don't have much to say about it that hasn't already been said. Matt Haig has weathered the worst depression has to offer, and here explores it with total honesty, clarity, humour, and, most importantly, hope.
I suffer with depression, and to have a book that simply gets it like this is invaluable to someone like me. Despite delving into a lot of dark places, Reasons To Stay Alive is always positive and looking forward, framed by an author who survived, and wants to make sure that everybody else does too. This is essential reading, whether you suffer with mental illness yourself, or simply want to understand better those who do.
A Spool of Blue Thread - Anne Tyler
I've been slow to read the Booker shortlisted books this year, and A Spool of Blue Thread was actually one I anticipated the least. I picked it up because it was one of the shortest, and I quickly came to love it. It's an ambitious and engrossing story about an American family, a book that hides great depth under seemingly effortless prose.
At a glance, it could seem unremarkable. Only as you come to feel like another member of this family, discovering its secrets as the structure moves through different eras, do you come to appreciate its complexity, and only when it ends do you realise how much you miss its characters.
Am I Normal Yet? - Holly Bourne (@holly_bourneYA)
Here's another YA book that will appear on most best of 2015 lists, and rightfully so. Am I Normal Yet? is a funny and heartfelt book, quietly but pointedly brave, a novel that could prove incredibly important to every teenager out there who feels like they don't fit in (which is most of them).
It explores familiar YA territory in the form of sex and relationships, but brings huge depth to these topics by focusing more strongly on female friendship and feminism, as well as offering an unflinching account of obsessive compulsive disorder. That it does all of this while always being hugely enjoyable makes Am I Normal Yet? quite an achievement.