Hi lovely readers! If you couldn’t tell by my featured image, or the blog title, it’s officially my birthday! And not just any birthday, but my 18th!
For an American like me, this means a couple of things: I can now register to vote (don’t we love a politically active queen?) buy cigarettes (no thanks) and get charged as an adult for a felony (the only thing I’d get charged for is spending too much on books.)
Anyway, I wasn’t sure how to celebrate my birthday on my blog. Favorite books of 2018? 18 lessons I’ve learned? Something else with the quantity of 18? I didn’t know. So lucky for you, I’m doing it all. (Actually I’m just super indecisive.)
My Favorite Books of 2018
I originally intended on making a list of my favorite 18 books ever, but I don’t want to have a crisis™ this close to my birthday, so you’re getting favorite books of 2018 instead. It narrows down my books to a reasonable amount to work with.
However, picking 18 books of currently 53 is still difficult, but I think list comes pretty close to how I feel about them. Maybe we’ll have mutual faves. Either way, enjoy!
1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
2. The Astonishing Color Of After by Emily X.R. Pan
3. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
4. Bright We Burn by Kiersten White
5. Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
6. Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
7. Save the Date by Morgan Matson
8. Scythe by Neal Shusterman
9. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
10. Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
11. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
12. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
14. Love, Hate, and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
15. Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
16. Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann
17. Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi
18. Legendary by Stephanie Garber
I decided to go back and reflect on my 16th birthday post (which you can read here) and my favorite books since then are so radically different! I’ve been blessed with amazing diverse recommendations and read primarily marginalized stories or authors. It really changes your frame of mind. But I guess presenting you with a new perspective is the purpose of books.
Let me know in the comments if these are any of your favorite books, or just tell me your favorite of the year! (I know it’s like choosing a favorite child.) But I’d love to hear, especially for new recommendations!
Interviewing A (slightly) Younger Me + Self Reflections
Now that the favorite books are out of the way, I want to dive into something deeper, like how I did with my 16 things I’ve learned/advice back in 2016. However, I don’t want to be repetitive so I’ll play off of the idea of giving advice as a 16 year old, and have what I think my 16 year old me would ask my 18 year old me. Interview and ask current me some questions.
I got this idea from a friend on Instagram, you can see their account here.
Did I lose you yet? No? Great! Before you go into it, I really hope you like me talking to a me that is much more cringe-inducing (you won’t know which me is which *insert devil horns*)
16 year old me: Hi, Jill, I’m Jill. *holds out hand to shake*
18 year old me: Hello, nice to meet you, Jill. *accepts hand*
16 y/o me: For real, do you still hate small talk as much I do?
18 y/o me: Of course, why ask how someone is if you aren’t really concerned with their well being?
16 y/o me: I’m not sure, actually. But wow, you do look old.
18 y/o me: Are you kidding?? We have a baby face! People still ask if we’re going into freshman year and I could’ve graduated last year!
16 y/o me: Is that the reason we don’t want to drive? Because we’ll look too young on our license?
18 y/o me: Partly. I got my permit last fall though, and it was fairly easy. But hey, actually, I drove for the first time 3 weeks ago.
16 y/o me: Really??? How did it go? All of my friends are getting their permits, but I can’t even imagine. . .
18 y/o me: It was alright. It was weird, though, and I’m not sure if I want to do it again.
16 y/o me: To each their own, I guess. Hey, did we pass that AP US history test? I’m kind of nervous to start the class.
18 y/o me: *leans over to pat head* wait until you hear about AP Lit.
16 y/o me: *leans back, slightly spooked* Are you still afraid of college? I mean it feels like so long from now.
18 y/o me: Very much so, actually. It just gets scarier, but you’ll find ways to break down the pressure into smaller, more attainable goals—like making a list of schools, studying your hardest for AP exams, talking it out with friends or a therapist.
16 y/o me: WAIT WE GOT A THERAPIST? How did you manage that? I thought I’d have to suffer my social anxiety forever.
18 y/o me: Well, yes, she’s really nice. I wrote a letter to our mom that I wanted help, and she found someone for me. We walk through some of my biggest concerns like college, becoming an adult, or driving. It’s not a cure and it’s not perfect, but she settled a few nerves of mine and that’s all I could ask for.
16 y/o me: What has happened since being open about your mental health?
18 y/o me: Not much has really changed with my family, two members of my family aren’t aware I go to therapy, and two of them don’t really believe I have a disorder and not just “being a teenager,” but that’s neither here nor there. My friends, who some also struggle, and I have some great talks about it.
16 y/o me: What else do you discuss in therapy? Does everything in the world still make you nervous?
18 y/o me: Plenty of things, yes. It was hard for what my therapist told me to sink in: if I want to conquer my social anxiety, I need to expose myself to what I scares me. It certainly isn’t easy. I’ve barely driven, or gotten a real job, didn’t go to junior prom. . .
16 y/o me: Yeah I hate school dances! Actually, I never went to one. Have we drank or smoked or done any of those high school cliches?
18 y/o me: I’m sure you know the answer to that. I’m starting to accept that I’ll probably never have the typical teenage experience with parties, dances, jobs, driving, or boyfriends. Instead I have unedited manuscripts and an Instagram page where people comment on books I’ve read. And if that is what makes me happy, so be it.
16 y/o me: That is truly inspiring. But tell me, are you going to try? Whether it’s driving or getting a job?
18 y/o me: I think . . . I think so. Tasks and skills others find easy are like crossing a mountain for me, but it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t give my all.
16 y/o me: If you don’t mind me asking, do you still get terrified when people in your real life ask about your bookstagram?
18 y/o me: *laughs* I used to be so afraid! But once half of your own grade follows you, you just learn to accept it. Let them think what they think. After all, once you say no to them asking for a shoutout, they usually leave you alone.
16 y/o me: That’s a relief.
18 y/o me: In fact, a teacher asked me in front of an entire class of people if I was “the one with the blog?!?!” Once the sweaty palms and heart racing ends, it gets better.
16 y/o me: *sweats with anxiety* Did that actually happen?
18 y/o me: You’ll survive. We all eventually do.
18 y/o me: Well, I think this was a productive chat. It was nice to catch up with you. I hope you learned a little bit and gave any semblance of advice you might’ve needed. *getting up while gathering things* Also, good luck with geometry. You’ll get a C on your report card.
16 y/o me: WHAT???????
18 y/o me: Okay byeeee! *slams magical time traveling door*
Wow, that was. . . .interesting.
Usually I’d write some sappy message about getting older, but that interview honestly tired out my brain with my story making skills, so I’m just going to go.
But to any of the future comments wishing me happy birthday, THANKS!! I love all of my lovely blog readers who read my word vomit in their free time. Seriously, y’all are the best. Always.
Thanks for reading! When’s your birthday? What would you tell your future self? Let me know in the comments!