15 Novels to Gift the Bookworm in Your Life When a Candle Won’t Do

Buying a gift for someone can be challenging, especially if you’ve given them a scented Dusk candle for the past two years.

So, if you’ve got a diehard reader in your circle and have no idea what to get them for that special occasion, we have just the list for you.

After diving through all of Goodreads’ best books of 2019, we’ve rounded up the best of the best in fiction releases from last year, and with a broad range of topics and genres, we’re pretty sure you’ll be able to find even the pickiest reader something they’ll love in the list below and maybe a few for yourself, as well.

Imaginary Friend

by Stephen Chbosky

After seven-year-old Christopher goes missing for six days, his mother Kate is ecstatic when he’s found unharmed at the edge of the woods near the town they just moved into. But Christopher is not the same. Now with a voice in his head telling him to build a treehouse in the woods by Christmas, Christoper and Kate will soon find themselves fighting for their lives in a battle of good and evil.

Goodreads | Booktopia

The Last Act

by Brad Parks

A struggling actor is offered the acting gig of a lifetime: $150,000 to go undercover for the FBI in a low-security prison, and try to get information that will help them take down one of the deadliest cartels in Mexico. Tommy Jump has a pregnant fiancee at home who’s depending on him, but if he can’t pull off the act, it may just be his last.

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by Josh Malerman

J is one of 26 students at a school deep in a forest far away from the rest of the world. His peers are the only family he’s ever had, and they all consider the school’s founder their father.

Meanwhile, K resides in a school very similar to J’s, on the other side of the forest.

Both suspect that there’s more to life and the world than the schools they call home, and begin investigating. What will happen when they discover each other?

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There’s a Word for That

by Sloane Tanen 

Meet the Kesslers, an absolute mess of a family, whose choices land them all in rehab. Together. A laugh-out-loud funny and poignant family reunion, this is a story about coming together, even when it’s all falling apart.

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The Fell

by Robert Jenkins

An unnamed boy’s idyllic life is torn apart when his sister Lilly is sent to jail, and he is sent away to a boarding school for dysfunctional boys. Soon, his schoolmates become his family, and they join forces against their enemies — whether they exist in the real world or not. With voices in his head and ghosts in his world, the boy tackles his fears, eventually leading him to run…

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The Kill Club

by Wendy Heard

Could you kill a stranger to save your brother? This is the question Jazz is faced with. After ageing out of foster care, Jazz can no longer protect her younger brother Joaquin from his fanatical foster mother Carol, who puts his life at risk. As child services fails to help, Jazz receives a phone call from a “helper”, who offers to take care of Carol for good, if she joins their underground network and kills the abuser of another.

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by Candice Carty-Williams

If you’ve ever asked yourself what exactly you’re doing with your life, or why, then this is the book for you. Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman going through a messy breakup from her white boyfriend. As she tries to find her place in the world, Queenie looks for love in all the wrong places, delivering us a fresh and inclusive take on a Bridget Jones-esque story.

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The Warehouse

by Rob Hart 

In a world where the United States has been all but destroyed by guns, climate change and unemployment, an online retail giant named Cloud rules all. Sound familiar? 

Paxton never thought he’d end up working security for Cloud, but with limited options and an offer to move into one of their live-work facilities, he ignores the fact that the company ruined his life. With twists and turns galore, you’ll soon realise that in order to beat the system, you have to be inside of it.

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by Scott Johnston

Think A Secret History, but funny. Set at the fictional Devon University, we meet an array of elite and privileged students and professors living in an Ivy-covered bubble. With a Bible-thumping professor, an aspiring It Girl for which university is a chore, and the wokest guy on campus who doesn’t want to leave, hijinks ensue as their paths cross.

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First Cosmic Velocity

by Zach Powers

If you can’t get enough scammer drama, get ready for First Cosmic Velocity, the fictional tale that gives history a twist, reimagining the Soviet space program as a sham that uses twins to cover up the fact that they’ve never successfully brought a rocket back down to earth. They simply launch one twin into space to inevitable death, and stage the landing of a separate rocket with the other twin. Easy!

Only problem is, there are no twins left.

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Going Dutch

by James Gregor

Meet Richard, a gay 20-something graduate student who’s surrounded by friends but emotionally exhausted by single life and the prospect of life after college. Facing crippling writer’s block, he soon meets Anne, who sweeps him under her wing, “helping him” with his work and bringing him along for the ride in her lifestyle of abundance. 

Of course, things get complicated from there as their lives become tightly interwoven, before Richard meets someone. Don’t they always?

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by David Szalay

Twelve people take twelve flights around the world. They’re mostly strangers to one another, and yet somehow, all connected. Turbulence is a novel that looks at the way humans are connected in the modern world, and the impact people can have on others as their paths cross with others. 

Goodreads | Booktopia