March Madness: Best Book of the Decade

It’s March. The season of convoluted brackets, tears, happy “I told you so’s,” and rage shredding. All in the name of dancing… or is it basketball?

But we aren’t most people. We are readers. We are distinguished and respectable. We do not get dragged into such petty games.

Our brackets involve books, gosh darnit.

Since we have just entered a new decade, we figured we would take this rare opportunity to try and determine what we think was the best book of the decade. And you get to help us decide. 

Every week, books will face off in until only one title remains. You can vote for a book to win by commenting on our Instagram post, sending us a private message, or commenting on the updates we will be posting to this very blog. 

So, without further ado, the bracket:

Are you already filling it out? Awesome! We can’t wait to see your picks.

The titles were chosen by the three owners of Three Houses Press, with each of us nominating a title for each of the four brackets. A fourth title was selected based on Goodreads scores. Every title had to be published between 2010 and 2019.

So, before you rant and rave anymore about the choices, here is an explanation as to why we picked the way we picked…

Brit: A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean (2012)

“Sarah MacLean is one of those rare authors who completely envelopes me in her world. When I read a Sarah MacLean novel, I never want to leave. She writes characters that I want to know and A Rogue by Any Other Name has two of my favorites. Michael and Penelope are childhood friends who were separated by time and bitterness, yet ultimately find a way back to each other. Part revenge story and part friends to lovers, this book hits a lot of my favorite tropes, but manages to avoid cliches because of MacLean’s deft character building. And like all Sarah MacLean novels, it’s sexy and witty.”

Rigney: Beautiful Player by Christina Lauren (2013)

“Ok so this is actually the third book in a series about a group of friends/young, powerful professionals in NYC. All the books could be read alone, but I would recommend starting at the beginning of the series. I went with this one for this bracket because it’s my favorite, as I think the authors have really settled into their groove with the series at this point.”

Sarah: The Striker by Monica McCarty (2015)

“Monica McCarty’s highly popular ‘Highland Guard’ series has many people arguing over which is their favorite, but The Striker is the best one that I have read thus far. What I particularly enjoyed about this title is how it managed to fit with genre conventions while also tearing them apart. It answered the question I have always had with romance: how do these intensely passionate and immediate loves last in the longterm? These characters are surprisingly real, and I really appreciated the way McCarty broke into a different arena with this book.”

Goodreads: 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James (2011)

Because of course it is.

Brit: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (2017)

“I could wax poetic about this book. Hell, the entire series, but I’ll contain my fangirling to just The Bear & the Nightingale. This imaginative, atmospheric novel is set in medieval Russia and had me captivated from page one. It’s a complex family story that also delves into politics, mythology, and religion. Arden’s heroine, Vasilisa, is tenacious, unapologetically herself, and fierce to the end. She is one of my favorite female characters to grace the page in recent years.”

Rigney: This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (2019)

“If you’re into the concept of the Sandra Bullock movie The Lakehouse, boy have I got a book for you. This is a really interesting and emotional read from two authors, who each write for one of the two main characters. Red and Blue are soldiers from two warring empires, traveling throughout decades, writing each other notes along the way. This is also a LGBTQ novel, which is always a plus.”

Sarah: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (2015)

“This book truly takes you on an adventure. Schwab is a phenomenal writer, and this series manages to take tropes that are so familiar (dark magic, powerful orphans, pirates…) and rework them into a story that twists and turns in all the right ways. Also, Lila Bard is a heroine worth fighting for.”

Goodreads: The Martian by Andy Weir (2012)

We hope you did more than see the movie.

Brit: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (2014)

“Jenny Han might just be my favorite YA author of all time. I loved her Summer series, which was massively influential in my personal coming-of-age. When To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before came out, I was READY. And lemme tell you, Jenny did not disappoint. I love a good fake relationship plot. I love a hot jock. I love books about sisters (even though I’ve never had one). Jenny manages to incorporate all of the things I love about YA into one delightful book filled with baking and John Hughes references galore. Also, I do identify a bit with Lara Jean. I want to be her when I grow up.”

Rigney: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (2015)

“This is such a fun, quick read. You follow Maddy, a girl with a rare immune system disease, as she begins to explore life beyond her just her health problems. There’s a little young love too for fun, and a bit of a twist ending!”

Sarah: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (2017)

“This is a book that made an impact. Perfectly capturing the fears of a nation torn apart by systematic racism and police brutality, Star and her family are thrown into the center of a fight for safety, justice, and identity. Already on the reading list for many schools–my 9th grade sister’s reading is what first exposed me to the book–this book is a must read.”

Goodreads: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (2012)

John Green is going to be a tough act to beat!

Brit: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (2014)

“There’s something haunting about this book that has stayed with me years after the first time I read it. Ng’s pacing is incredible and she weaves so many minute details into the threads of her characters’ lives. Everything I Never Told You is the dysfunctional family book that has you laughing and crying within the span of a paragraph. The loss the Lee family experiences is wrenching and unsettling and relatable. Ng is one of my favorite storytellers writing today and this book is testament to her ability to tell a story.”

Rigney: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (2015)

“Okay whoa. This book is like 800 pages and I think I read it all in the space of a Saturday because I truly could not put it down. It is beautiful and so so tragic, following four friends from college through the rest of their lives. But, and I cannot stress this enough, it felt a little bit like sadness porn, so if you’re not ok with that I would try something else.”

Sarah: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

“This. Book. Though. I am fully that person that despises suburbia while electively choosing to live in suburbia anyway, and this book captures the humor and bullshit that so many of us put up with every day so that we can have a decent yard. This book juxtaposes the politics and games people play publicly against the real problems that they hide away. When these two things collide, though, things get a little grisly.”

Goodreads: Divergent by Veronica Roth (2011)

Once again we ask: movie or book?

We hope you decide to join us as we narrow it down to our best book of the decade! What title do you think will win?

(and don’t forget to wash your hands)