I love the Academy Awards – if only because I love seeing my favorite actors all together in one place, celebrating movies that I love. Granted, the Academy has a lot of work to do by recognizing and actually honoring diversity, but that’s a conversation for another day and post.
This post, however, focuses on some of the amazing books and authors that published last year. I came across this tag on A Fangirl’s Opinion blog and thought it would be fun to do! Make sure to check out her post! She gives credit to the original post, which I believe is a Booktuber, but the link is here in case you want to check that out as well!
Anyway, I want to preface my post by saying I looked back exclusively on books published in 2019, since that’s what the actual Academy Awards does! I read books from all different years, but with this post, I’m narrowing my responses strictly to 2019 books.
So, without further ado, here are the awards:
Best Male Protagonist: Nathan Bell, The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
I loved all the characters in this book, and Nathan was honestly such a sweet character – and very supportive of our MC, Jo. He’s the perfect gentlemen and he believes in racial equality and he respects women. The romance in this book is so sweet, and he’s part of the reason!
Best Female Protagonist: Esme Tran, The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Esme is so awesome! I want to be her when I grow up. Not only does she come to a totally foreign country to live, but she takes her own future into her hands, going to school, dreaming of making a better life for herself and for her daughter. I love this book and a large portion of that is due to Esme, who loves with her whole self and isn’t afraid of sticking to what she believes in.
Best Plot Twist: Descendant of the Crane by Joan He
This book is filled with plot twists, but there was a pretty major one that definitely shook me! I think I have to give this book this award, because I don’t think any of the other books I read really came close. I love that about this book and I’m eagerly awaiting the continuation of this series, just so I can see where this plot twist will lead! I don’t want to give anything away, so if you haven’t read this book, definitely check it out.
Best Costume Design
Best Book Cover: Queen’s Shadow by E. K. Johnston
I have to go with this book because…I’m a sucker for Queen Amidala/Padme. I think she’s an amazing character and she gets to wear the best outfits. I love this cover because it highlights not only her outfits, but the duality of her character – she has to be two people: a public figure and her own private, crime-stopping one! This cover is gorgeous and I’ve seen the cover for the sequel to this book and…no surprise, it’s also gorgeous! This category was a tough pick, but I’m happy with my choice.
Best Supporting Actress and Actor
Best Male and Female Sidekick: Joy Song & William “Q” Lee, Frankly in Love by David Yoon
I’m choosing to pick both sidekicks from the same book. Why? Because Yoon did an excellent job of creating amazing side characters! I loved Joy – she’s funny, she’s bold, and she’s dynamic. Half the reason I ended up rating this book high is because of her – if she wasn’t in it, this book wouldn’t be as great as it is. And Q! Q is such a great character – he’s nerdy, he’s smart. Some of my favorite moments from this book are between him and Frank. Their conversations, their own special language they have between them is just such fun to read. These are some great sidekicks, people!
Best Original Screenplay
Most Unique Plot/World: There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool
As much as I really didn’t enjoy this book, I was initially drawn to it because of the world. I think Pool has created something really interesting and dynamic in the world of fantasy and it reminds me a lot of the kinds of stories I think up in my head. I really liked the magic system and the settings. This book takes you all over the world within the story, and I liked that. It’s definitely an interesting place, I just wish I liked the characters and the story itself more.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Book-to-Movie Adaptation: Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
So obviously I’m going with the adaptation being made in 2019, since most books aren’t going to be published and then adapted in the same year! I had to go with Good Omens because, honestly, it was such a great adaptation and how could it not be with both David Tennant and Michael Sheen! They were amazing and the creators did an excellent job of hitting all the good bits and staying loyal where they needed to while still making it their own. Such a great series.
Best Author: Helen Hoang, The Bride Test
I have to go with Helen Hoang. This book was so, so good! She does an excellent job of balancing story with character development. It never feels calculated or over the top. Plus, she’s always including such diversity in a really beautiful, simple way. I think she’s a brilliant author and she definitely deserves this award!
Best Visual Effects
Best Action in a Book: Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan
Oh, the fight scenes in this were so good! I think Fan did an excellent job! I think writing fight scenes has got to be one of the hardest things to do as a writer. Oftentimes, fight scenes come out really clunky or just don’t make sense – not so with this book! I really enjoyed all the action it provides and I could easily visualize it in my head.
Best Musical Score
Best Music in a Book-to-Movie Adaptation: His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman
I quite like this adaptation – it does the books better justice than the movie that was made many years ago. But the music is definitely on point! It’s very dark and mysterious and I think it matches the world pretty perfectly! I almost picked this for best book-to-movie adaptation, but I think it suits it well for the musical score. Here’s a link to a Youtube compilation, if you’d like a listen!
Best Stand-Alone: Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell & Faith Erin Hicks
This graphic novel was so, so cute! I loved the story, the characters, and especially the setting. This is Autumn encapsulated and I wish the world of this pumpkin patch were real, because the food alone sounds amazing enough to warrant a visit! Anyway, great story and a really cute read. It’s so lighthearted and heartwarming. I’m happy to give it this award.
Best Historical Fiction or Non-Fiction: They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, & Harmony Becker
This book was such an amazing detailing of a little-visited moment in US history from a very personal view-point. Takei revisits the moment in his life where he and his family are basically imprisoned because the are of Japanese descent simply because the US Government is worried that, despite being Americans, they have an overriding loyalty to Japan, which, during this time period, they were at war with. Takei, with the help of his co-writers and an amazing illustrator, tell his family’s story in such loving, touching detail. It’s a great book and an important one, which is why I picked it for this award. Plus, I’d like to shed a little light on non-fiction, when I can.
Thoughts & Thanks!
What did you think of my choices! Agree? Disagree! Let’s talk in the comments!
Thank you so much for stopping by and reading this post. Have an amazing day, and happy reading!