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Presented by State Library Victoria

top twenty favourite books of all time || words in rhapsody

I can’t believe I managed to not only narrow down to 20 (with 5 special mentions) but put them in ORDER. All of these books hold a special place in my heart and I highly recommend every single one of them. I’ll never forget the amazing journey I’ve had with each of them, they mean the world to me and I honestly don’t think I would be the same person as I am today without them.

So it seems that I only read standalones, as this list is comprised of them, or perhaps I just prefer them, who knows. There are a few series which I would consider for my top favourites, such as Harry Potter, A Series of Unfortunate Events and Artemis Fowl, however I don’t think I will be able to place them on a list of favourites as they are godly and will always hold a special space in my heart no matter how many flaws I may find in them now I’ve grown up, I could never grow out of them.


Top Twenty Favourite Books of All Time


1- Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

After a very long thought and careful consideration I have come to the conclusion that Radio Silence by Alice Oseman is currently my favourite book of all time. Yes. It’s that good. It’s about these weird kids that make a podcast and freak out about university. The queer rep and ethnicity rep is amazing, the characters are three dimensional and flawed Alice Oseman has the remarkable ability in developing characters to be so real I wouldn’t even be slightly surprised if I just happened upon them in the street. I can’t fully explain just how much this book means to me, the story, the characters, everything. It’s not perfect, it’s brilliant, and that’s something leaps and bounds better. Just thinking about it makes me tear up. I’m honestly astounded at this remarkable book and everyone, everyone, absolutely everyone has to read it. I will never be able to put into words just how great this book is. It’s like the Beyoncé of books, and no one can not like Beyoncé.

2- The Book Thief by Markus Zusack

This would have made it as my favourite book, and it has been up until I read Radio Silence. It’s a heartbreaking book set during World War 2 Germany following the story of this fostered girl Liesel and her growing up in a war torn world, she begins to steal books from the book burnings. This book shows the fascination and and power of words, it’s heart breaking and beautifully written. Every word has meaning.

3- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

I remember reading this and bursting into laughter, multiple times, in my school library. It’s funny and sad and clever. Jesse Andrews knows how to write a quirky weird character who is just trying to get through high school like everyone else. It’s about this social loner Greg who only has one friend, Earl, or his co-worker in film making as he likes to call Earl. Greg’s childhood friend is diagnosed with cancer and his mother tells him to pay her a visit and rekindle their friendship. Which he does. Awkwardly and badly, just like most things that Greg does. It’s weird and different and I had a lot of fun reading it, despite how dark it was. Excellent and hilariously tragic.

4- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

This book slowly creeped up on my favourites list, after rereading segments from it. It’s so depressing, so unbelievably depressing. I found it quite hard to read as it is so dark and heavy. As it is a semi-autobiography of Sylvia Plath’s life she does discuss some of her darker experiences of life and it hurts to read, but I just couldn’t stop reading. This book truly stays with you after you read it, it stays with you for weeks and months and for my experience, years. A true mark of a good book.

5- Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

This book is also set during World War Two, but across Europe and tells the story of a few refugees trying to find refuge and safety in the intense war torn environment. It’s gripping and beautifully written. There are four perspectives and each were developed and interesting and unique, all with a different story to tell. Truly a masterpiece.

6- I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

I read this book in the perfect time in my life, it was right when I needed it. I cried so much, so damn much, reading this. It’s set in two perspectives, Noah’s and his twin sisters Jude’s, Noah’s set before a tragic even happens in both of their lives and Jude’s after. It’s a story about love, and all kinds. Love in friendships, in siblings, in Dads and Mums, romantic and parental and sibling and young and old. It’s beautifully written and I can tell just how much thought and effort was put into making it the most emotive and heart wrenching book possible.

7- The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I wasn’t even sure if this book would back the final cut to this list, but it did and I’m glad. The writing is simple, Charlie’s perspective is authentic and the story shows the twists and turns of drama and friendships and grief and death in high schools. I cried a lot reading this. There are so many layers hidden in the words, so much emotion and heart put into this short book. We all know it, it’s pretty much a classic by now. It deserves all the love. And the movies good as well.

8- Glory O’Briens History of the Future by A.S King

I have no idea what to say about this book. It’s weird, it’s wild, it’s eye opening and A S King is a genius. It’s hard to explain what it’s about without making it sound super weird, which it is, but I don’t want to turn you off from it. Basically Glory O’Brien drinks a bat (yes a bat, as in the animal) and can see into the future. Yup. I know. What the actual friggle frack. It’s so good though!

9- Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Drarry. It’s basically if Drarry was real and if Draco was actually a vampire. And it’s amazing. The slow burn? Yes? Thank the heavens. I actually uch preferred this book to Fangirl, and I loved Fangirl.

10- The Boundless Sublime by Lili Wilkinson

It’s about a cult. Enough said.

11- A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd

If you haven’t read this book, what are you doing with your life. This book is so sad and so gripping. It’s about this ten year old kid named Conor and him dealing with grief and all of these complex emotions about his parents and his school and you can never tell what is real and what isn’t. This massive monster starts visiting him, he isn’t scary, but he is at the same time. He is gentle but can be destructive. He’s metaphorical and he’s also real. He helps Connor and he is Connor at the same time. It’s beautiful, it’s cry-worthy and the illustrations are stunning.

12- The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil

I love all of Melissa Keil’s books, but this one stands out to me the most. I love the setting of a small town in Australia, Victoria and the niche environment there. I love the main character and how wild and adorable she is it’s hilarious to read her perspective and how she comes to find herself while her town is being raided with tourists thinking the apocalypse is coming and the her town is the only safe place. It’s a wild ride.

13- The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan

This book is written in verse and is so meaningful and deep. The insight it shows on teenagers and the struggles we go through is understanding and doesn’t humiliate or undermine anything. It shows perspective and how empathy is the greatest tool of understanding each other. Very short, I think I read it in an hour or so. Worth the read.

14- Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakerfeild

I read this last year and new, just new it would make it on the gold inky awards line up for this year. It’s psychological and disturbing, with an unreliable narrator you have no idea what’s going to happen. By the end of it I felt like I had been in a trance the entire time I was reading it as I couldn’t stop, it was like, just like the main character Grace was, being possessed, or so we’re brought to believe and think…we don’t know if she’s mad or if there is some kind of ghost possessing her but nothing can be trusted to be real or fake.

15- Turtles all the Way Down by John Green

This is the first John Green book I thoroughly enjoyed for so many reasons. All of the other books I’ve read by him have let me down, as they play into tropes and the characters are unlikable. However, this book doesn’t do that. What I liked most about this book was the main character Daisy, her voice and the problems she goes through seem closer to John Green and how he actually feels and his personal experience from what I know of him from watching Vlog Brothers for years. This book is so authentic and real and I wouldn’t be surprised if I bumped into Daisy on the street one day, that’s how real she was.

16- Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

I love Shakespeare, or at least most Shakespeare (romeo and juliet no thank you) Twelfth Night is HILARIOUS it’s the funniest book I’ve ever read, the dramatic irony and clever word play is on point and perfect. The story is complex and sometimes hard to follow, but that’s the point. It’s supposed to be confusing as all the characters are confused and it isn’t until the end where everyone figures out who is who and who loves who and who’s going to marry who and it’s a wild ride.

17- The Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder

Philosophical and creative, I don’t have much else to say for this book but I remember absolutely adoring it as my Dad read it to my brother and I when we were little. It’s never really left me and I go back to it from time to time to read back on some of the scenes.

18- I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman

My most recent read, so damn good. I would put this up with just as good as Radio Silence, however, I couldn’t relate to the characters in this as much as I could with Radio Silence as I am neither a super mega fan of a boyband nor part of a boyband, and they are the two narrators of the book. The characters, just like all Alice Oseman’s books, are amazing and brilliant. Although I can’t relate to them as much, they certainly are brilliant. The story is simple, but perfect, the pacing is AMAZING! It goes across a few days, each day a different part, and so much happens, but it’s perfect and doesn’t feel overwhelming. I procrastinated reading this book as I knew it would stab me in the heart (punpunpunpunpun if you’ve read the book you’d get it) and damn it did.

19- This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

OOF this book. It shared qualities with Alice Oseman’s books do, diversity, quality characters, beautiful story telling. I read this book back in 2016 and am still in love with it. The main story line driving the story is about trying to find this painting that belonged to one of the main chaarcters dead mother’s as she was the painter, but there is so much more to it then that. There is so much development and layering of the characters and they all go through different stories.

20- Room by Emma Donoghue

STAB IN THE HEART WOW okay so this book is about this young woman who was kidnapped and her kidnappee abusive and horrible ended up impregnating her, the story is set in the perspective of her child Jack who is five years old at the time and how they manage to escape. It’s intense, very intense. I’ve tried to word it as carefully as possible as this book is not for younger readers and I read it much to young. However, it has quickly become a fave.

Here are some Special Mentions as I couldn’t help it there were too many good ones:

21- Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

22- Whispering to Witches by Anna Dale

23- The Call Peader O’Guillan

24- One by Sarag Crossan

25- Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Also go read Radio Silence right now it’s amazing please please I love it so much oh my god.





I finished radio silence a week or so ago and I agree!! Its soooo good. I'm going to read her other books asap

3rd Jul, 18

YES!! It's so gosh diddly darned good!

3rd Jul, 18

All of this books are great!

4th Jul, 18


5th Jul, 18

I am literally so glad you wrote this! I can relate to it so much! The book Thief is also one of my favourites (The writing is just beautiful!!) and you've really encouraged me to read Radio Silence! Also, massive fan of Carry On and Fangirl (DID YOU KNOW THERE'RES GOING TO BE A SEQUEL SOON CALLED WAYWARD SON!!??!! You can tell I am just a bit excited) You also mentioned "This Adventure Ends" which I literally read a month ago from picking it up because of its gorgeous cover and I was so surprised! I had never even heard about it but it was so well written and I couldn't put it down. I am so glad someone else feels the same about this under-rated book! I also agree with you about Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. For years, I didn't see the hype around him and any book I read, I was a bit disappointed. But I loved TATWD because of the same reason, it was unique and it didn't fall into the stereotypical tropes. I was left feeling refreshed after I finished it. Also, I finished One

4th Jul, 18

By Sarah Crossan this afternoon and it left me crying! The way she's used poetry to give such an emotional punch to the words written! Being a twin myself (Though not conjoined, thank god!) I could really relate to the main character! Sorry for writing a whole novel (I had to do two comments because I ran over the letter limit :) but I am so glad you wrote this and that we share the same opinions!! :)

4th Jul, 18

Yes I heard about the sequel to Carry On! IM SO FREAKIN EXCITED!!! And This Adventure Ends is so under rated, I reeaaalllly need to pick up her new book! (Also her covers? stunning wow) AND YES READ RADIO SILENCE IT IS SO GOOD ASDFGHJKL Tell me what you think once you've read it! I just want to talk about Radio Silence forever and ever tbh. I'd love to hear what your favourite books are as well!

5th Jul, 18