TOP 5 - 2018

December 16, 2018

My TOP 5 Books of 2018


(In no particular order, because that’s way too Sophie’s Choice for my liking...)


Call Me By Your Name

by André Aciman


Sensual – Honest – Heart-wrenching


I can’t go past this raw, provocative gay love story, set against the sensuous backdrop of the Italian countryside. It made me feel SO MANY THINGS, usually all at once. The romance between seventeen-year-old Elio and Oliver, the handsome doctoral student, is messy, complicated, and passionate – just like relationships in real life. This may not be a fairy tale, but it is certainly a masterpiece of queer fiction.




by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff


Enthralling – Thrilling – Mind-blowing


What a kick-ass conclusion to what would have to be my favourite series of the past how-ever-many years! Kaufman and Kristoff have absolutely NAILED it yet again, bringing all of our favourite characters together from the previous two books to battle it out against those evil space-bastards, BeiTech. I mentioned before that I would have loved a slightly different ending (which I stand by), but it doesn’t take away from the sheer awesomeness of the book!




by Jay Kristoff


Epic – Gruesome – Twisty


Two years running, Kristoff has had more than one book in my Top 5... Not bad Mr. Kristoff, not bad at all. Godsgrave went in a totally different direction to what I thought it would, but it was just so, SO good. Just like its predecessor, it was full of mystery, action, gore, smut, humour, sex, monsters – all the good things. It’s fantasy at its best.



Leah on the Offbeat

by Becky Albertalli


Fun – Heart-warming – Thought-provoking


After falling in love with Love, Simon (and having not read the book, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda) I was so excited to read Albertalli’s follow-up novel. Focusing on Simon’s bestie, Leah, the book take us through the gang’s tumultuous final year at high school. With diverse characters, a to-die-for F/F romance, and some pertinent issues woven in seamlessly, this book had me HOOKED. I read it in a day and a half at the beach. What could be better?



Underdog: #LoveOzYA Short Stories

Edited by Tobias Madden (hey, that’s me!)


Diverse – Entertaining – Moving


Call me completely biased, given that I edited this wonderful collection of short stories (one of which is also written by ME), but I couldn’t not mention the book that literally consumed my whole year. The Underdog project has been an enormous undertaking (much bigger than I originally expected), and it put me on a ridiculously steep learning curve, but it has been such a joy. It has been an absolute pleasure and an honour to bring these stories to life, taking raw, online submissions and polishing them into gleaming examples of Aussie YA stories. I don’t know how many times I’ve read each story throughout the editing process, but I can honestly say that they still make me laugh and cry.  I’m so proud of what we have created, and I cannot WAIT for the rest of Australia to read this anthology in March 2019. At the time of submission, all twelve featured authors had never had a major work published. Now, two have publishing deals for their debut novels, and I know the rest won’t be far behind (me included, hopefully!). It’s crazy how something that starts out as such a tiny idea can grow into something so incredibly rewarding. I’m just beside myself, to be honest. See you at the book launch!


(Preorder your copy of Underdog at or from your favourite online retailer. Better yet, visit your local bookstore and ask the lovely staff to preorder it for you!)







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© 2016 by Tobias Madden. Headshots by Maryna Rothe, 2015.