Best of Genre Fiction

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The Reading List Council has announced the 2018 selections of the Reading List, an annual best-of list comprising eight different fiction genres for adult readers. A shortlist of honor titles was also announced. The list was announced during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting held in Denver.

Each category consists of a winning title, read alikes for those who enjoyed the winning title, and the shortlist of honor titles. Check for these books in the Web Store.

The 2018 selections are:


“Fierce Kingdom” by Gin Phillips. Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Joan and her four-year-old son, Lincoln, are enjoying an afternoon outing at the zoo when the unthinkable happens–a mass shooting. Trapped and in tremendous danger, Joan must rely on her bravery and survival instincts to make it out alive. This terrifyingly plausible thriller unfolds in real time.

Fierce Kingdom

Read alikes
“Lockdown” by Laurie R. King.
“The Quality of Silence” by Rosamund Lupton.
“This Is Where it Ends” by Marieke Nijkamp.

Short List
“The Marsh King’s Daughter: A Novel” by Karen Dionne. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
“She Rides Shotgun: A Novel” by Jordan Harper. Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
“Lola: A Novel” by Melissa Scrivner Love. Crown, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House.
“The Force: A Novel” by Don Winslow. William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.


“Down Among the Sticks and Bones” by Seanan McGuire. A Book, published by Tom Doherty Associates.

Twin sisters Jack and Jill discover a portal that leads them to the Moors, a dark and unsettling world that reveals their true selves. But will their conflicting desires tear them apart?


Read alikes
“The Book of Lost Things” by John Connolly
“The Magicians” by Lev Grossman
“Birthright” by Joshua Williamson (graphic novels)

Short List
“Winter Tide” by Ruthanna Emrys. A Book, published by Tom Doherty Associates.
“Passing Strange” by Ellen Klages. A Book, published by Tom Doherty Associates.
“The Witches of New York: A Novel” by Ami McKay. Harper Perennial.
“A Gathering of Ravens: A Novel” by Scott Oden. Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press.

Historical Fiction

The Half-Drowned King: A Novel” by Linnea Hartsuyker. Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Betrayed and left for dead, Viking raider Rangvald seeks revenge and his inheritance, while his sister Svanhild’s path to freedom lies with Rangvald’s mortal enemy. This epic tale of uneasy alliances, set in 9th century Scandinavia, offers action, intrigue and historical detail.

Half-drowned king

Read alikes
“The Sagas of Icelanders” by Robert Kellogg
“Saxon Tales” (series) by Bernard Cornwell
“Vikings” (TV series)

Short List
“The Confessions of Young Nero: A Novel” by Margaret George. Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
“Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee. Grand Central Publishing, Hachette Book Group.
“Golden Hill: A Novel of Old New York” by Francis Spufford. Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.
“Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions: A Kopp Sisters Novel” by Amy Stewart. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.


“Kill Creek” by Scott Thomas. Inkshares.

An homage to horror and the authors who write it, “Kill Creek” features four prominent authors who are lured into spending the night in a famous haunted house as a publicity stunt. The aftermath is both unexpected and terrifying.

Kill Creek

Read alikes
“Hex” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
“The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson
“The Family Plot” by Cherie Priest

Short List
“Little Heaven” by Nick Cutter. Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
“In the Valley of the Sun: A Novel” by Andy Davidson. Skyhorse Publishing.
“A God in the Shed” by J-F Dubeau. Inkshares.
“Ararat: A Novel” by Christopher Golden. St. Martin’s Press.


“The Dime” by Kathleen Kent. Mulholland Books/Little, Brown.

Dallas detective Betty Rhyzyk comes from a family of cops. She’s nearly six feet tall, has flaming red hair, a New Yorker’s sharp tongue, and a girlfriend. When her investigation into a Mexican drug lord goes sideways, she must salvage the operation while dealing with a highly disturbed stalker.


Read alikes
Mallory Novels (series) by Carol O’Connell.
“Cop Town” by Karin Slaughter.
“Revolver” by Duane Swierczynski.

Short List
“The Dry: A Novel” by Jane Harper. Flatiron Books.
“Magpie Murders: A Novel” by Anthony Horowitz. Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
“Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel” by Matthew Sullivan. Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
“Casualty of War: A Bess Crawford Mystery” by Charles Todd. William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.


“An Extraordinary Union: A Novel of the Civil War” by Alyssa Cole. Kensington Books.

Elle Burns, a free black woman, voluntarily leaves the North to work in the Confederacy as a slave and a spy. When she uncovers a possible plot she also encounters Malcolm, a white Union spy. Their intense attraction places their lives in danger in this tale of forbidden love.

Extraordinary Union

Read alikes
“The Spymaster’s Lady” by Joanna Bourne.
“Indigo” by Beverly Jenkins.
“His at Night” by Sherry Thomas.

Short List
“The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1” by G.L. Carriger. Gail Carriger LLC.
“Wild at Whiskey Creek: A Hellcat Canyon Novel” by Julie Anne Long. Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
“Hate to Want You” by Alisha Rai. Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
“The Lawrence Browne Affair” by Cat Sebastian. Avon Impulse, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Science Fiction

The Collapsing Empire” by John Scalzi. Tor, a Tom Doherty Associates Book.

In the Interdependency, each planet relies on its far-flung neighbors for survival. Now a galactic change is transforming the universal order, a new empress has been crowned, a rival is plotting a revolution, and a foul-mouthed captain is caught in the middle.

Collapsing Empire

Read alikes

Foundation series by Isaac Asimov
“The Cold Between” by Elizabeth Bonesteel
“The Wrong Stars” by Tim Pratt

Short List
The Power” by Naomi Alderman. Little, Brown and Company.

“A Closed and Common Orbit” by Becky Chambers. Harper Voyager, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

“Paradox Bound” by Peter Clines. Crown, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House.

“An Oath of Dogs” by Wendy N. Wagner. Angry Robot, an imprint of Watkins Media, Ltd.

Women’s Fiction

The Almost Sisters” by Joshilyn Jackson. William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Geeky Leia is pregnant after an encounter with a sexy, anonymous Batman. Pondering when to tell her Southern family she is expecting a biracial child, her life is upended by the implosion of her half-sister’s marriage, her grandmother’s dementia, and a skeleton in the attic in this humorous tale.

almost Sisters

Read alikes

“June” by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
“Six of One” by Rita Mae Brown
“Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” by Fannie Flagg

Short List
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman. Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
“The Woman Next Door: A Novel” by Yewande Omotoso. Picador.
“Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk: A Novel” by Kathleen Rooney. St. Martin’s Press.
“The Garden of Small Beginnings: A Novel” by Abbi Waxman. Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

The winners were selected by the Reading List Council whose members include eleven expert readers’ advisory and collection development librarians. The eight genres currently included in the Council’s deliberations are adrenaline, fantasy, historical fiction, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction, and women’s fiction. However, the Council is adaptable to new genres and changes in contemporary reading interest.

The Council consists of Nanette Donohue, Champaign Public Library, chair; Meagan Day, High Plains Library District; Michele Drovdahl, King County Library System; Matthew Galloway, Douglas County Libraries; Edward Kownslar, Mary and Jeff Bell Library, Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi; Daryl A. Maxwell, Los Angeles Public Library; Tammy Ryan, Phoenix Public Library; Lisa Schimmer, NoveList; Estella Terrazas, Altadena Library District; Barry Trott, Williamsburg Regional Library; and Joy Walk, Milan-Berlin Library District.