Best Fiction Books of 2015

Posted on December 28, 2015

by April S

If you’re like me, then you may be asking yourself – where did the time go? Is it really the end of 2015 already? It often seems like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to fit in as much as we like. As a librarian, it’s important to keep up on what’s popular and that includes so many things … technology, news, music, movies, books, and much more. So, one of my resolutions for 2016 is to read more, for work and leisure.

Below you’ll find a selection of the best fiction books of 2015 listed by genre. The titles were pulled from a variety of popular sources from around the web. Take the time to enjoy the simple pleasures in life – reading being one of them. Stay tuned for our next blog post on the Best Nonfiction Books of 2015.

Historical Fiction

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah has been an incredibly popular book this year with a 5 out of 5 star rating on Amazon with over 16,000 customer reviews, a 3.5 out of 4 star rating from USA Today and it was named one of the best books of 2015 by BookPage, Goodreads and Paste Magazine. The much buzzed about World War II novel has become a book club favorite and luckily the author, Kristen Hannah, has provided a very helpful discussion guide on her website. The popularity of Hannah’s novel hasn’t waned. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the rights have already been nabbed by TriStar to turn it into a major motion picture.

Critical Praise:

“A beautifully written and richly evocative examination of life, love, and the ravages of war, and the different ways people react to unthinkable situations – not to mention the terrible and mounting toll of keeping secrets. This powerhouse of a story is equally packed with action and emotion, and is sure to be another major hit.” – Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants

“I read The Nightingale in one sitting, completely transported to wartime France, completely forgetting where I was. A historical novel – built on Kristin Hannah’s proven skill with story, complex and enduring family ties, and passion―one that will captivate readers.” – Marilyn Dahl, Shelf Awareness

Borrow it from the Library:
Book, Large Print, Book on CD, Pocket Audio, eBook or eAudio

More “Best of 2015″ Historical Fiction novels you may enjoy:

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen
The convictions of John Delahunt / Andrew Hughes
The distant marvels / Chantel Acevedo
Girl waits with gun / Amy Stewart

Mystery, Suspense & Thriller

The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins has been one of the most popular books in 2015. In fact, Paula Hawkins was named author of the year by USA Today. This edge of your seat thriller is listed as one of the best books of 2015 by Amazon, BookPage, Goodreads, The Guardian, Kirkus Reviews and NPR. I would venture to say this has been one of the most popular books of the year. It will also be a major motion picture soon by Dreamworks and according to an article featured in Variety – the film adaptation will star Emily Blunt.

Critical Praise:

“Hawkins, a former journalist, is a witty, sharp writer with a gift for creating complex female characters.” – Cleveland Plain Dealer

“A gripping, down-the-rabbit-hole thriller.” – Entertainment Weekly Hotlist

“The Girl on the Train, Hawkins’s first thriller, is well-written and ingeniously constructed.” – The Washington Post

Borrow it from the Library:
Book, Large Print Book, Book on CD, eBook, eAudio or Spanish language

More “Best of 2015″ Mysteries, Thrillers and Suspense novels you may enjoy:

The cartel : [a novel] / Don Winslow
Dark corners : a novel / Ruth Rendell
Recipes for love and murder : a Tannie Maria mystery / Sally Andrew
The Truth and other lies : a novel / Sascha Arango ; translated from the German by Imogen Taylor

Romance / Love Stories

The Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev

The Bollywood Bride” by Sonali Dev has been named one of the best books of 2015 by Kirkus Reviews, NPR and The Washington Post. It has a 3.5 star rating on Goodreads, which isn’t all that impressive. However, it did receive a starred review in Kirkus Reviews, which is indeed an honor. “The Bollywood Bride” contains rich detail, well drawn characters, witty dialogue, romance and the humor throughout will certainly appeal to Bollywood film fans.

Critical Praise:

“An exquisite, romantic novel with haunting universal themes.” – NPR

“Leaves readers with a greater understanding and appreciation of Indian traditions while beautifully capturing the struggle between familiar duty and self-discovery.” – Booklist

“Make note of the name Sonali Dev! Based on this marvelous debut, Dev is set to become a star. . .An absolute winner from beginning to end, this spellbinding tale grabs your heart and never lets go!” – RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars, TOP PICK

Borrow it from the Library:
Book, eBook or eAudio

More “Best of 2015″ Romance novels and Love Stories you may enjoy:

New uses for old boyfriends : [a novel] / Beth Kendrick
Of noble family / Mary Robinette Kowal
Secret sisters / Jayne Ann Krentz
This heart of mine / Brenda Novak
When a Scot ties the knot : castles ever after / Tessa Dare

Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Uprooted / Naomi Novik

Uprooted” by Naomi Novik has been named one of the best books of 2015 by Amazon, BookPage, Gizmodo, Library Journal, NPR and Publisher’s Weekly. This fantasy novel has a very respectable rating on Goodreads and Amazon. Goodreads visitors have taken the time to rate this buzzworthy selection more than 24,000 times with an overall rating of 4.20 out of 5. Amazon received over 840 customer reviews with an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5. Here’s what some of the critics have said about this incredibly imaginative fantasy novel.

Critical Praise:

“Drawing on her Polish heritage and fairy-tale tropes, [Novik] has penned an original and fully realized fantastical place guaranteed to enthrall her longtime fans and attract new readers. This exceptional fantasy for adult and teen readers should appeal to those who love fairy-tale influenced stories such as Robin McKinley’s Spindle’s End.” – Library Journal (starred review)

“A very enjoyable fantasy with the air of a modern classic . . . Naomi Novik skillfully takes the fairy-tale-turned-bildungsroman structure of her premise . . . and builds enough flesh on those bones to make a very different animal. . . . The vivid characters around her also echo their fairy-tale forebears, but are grounded in real-world ambivalence that makes this book feel quietly mature, its world lived-in.” – The New York Times Book Review

“Uprooted has leapt forward to claim the title of Best Book I’ve Read Yet This Year … Moving, heartbreaking, and thoroughly satisfying, Uprooted is the fantasy novel I feel I’ve been waiting a lifetime for. Clear your schedule before picking it up, because you won’t want to put it down.” – NPR

“Novik here delivers a tale that is funny and fast-paced, laced with hair-raising battle scenes and conspiracies; it also touches on deeper ecological concerns we grapple with today.” – The Washington Post

Borrow it from the Library:
Book, eBook or eAudio.

More “Best of 2015″ Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels you may enjoy:

A Darker shade of magic / V. E. Schwab
The fifth season / N. K. Jemisin
Planetfall / Emma Newman
Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

General Fiction and Short Stories

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

The Turner House” by Angela Flournoy has received much deserved praise and attention from many of the top critics. It has been named one of the best books of 2015 by Entertainment Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, The New York Times, and Publisher’s Weekly. This critically acclaimed novel has also been awarded or remains in line for so many awards it would be difficult to list them all here today, so here are just a few … National Book Award Finalist, nominated for the NAACP Image Awards – ‘Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author,’ named one of the National Book Foundation’s ’5 Under 35,’ short-listed for the 2015 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, short-listed for the Ernest Gaines Award, and long-listed for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction.

Critical Praise:

“Encompassing a multitude of themes, including aging and parenthood, this is a compelling read that is funny and moving in equal measure.” – Booklist, starred review

“Nobody can take you from joyful to infuriated as fast as your brother or sister. Similarly, the ups and downs of the 13 siblings that populate The Turner House, the first novel by Angela Flournoy, whip from laugh-out-loud to heart-crushing. Still, she proves even bonds that have stretched a mile long have the ability to snap back.” – Essence Magazine

“Flournoy’s writing is precise and sharp…the novel draws readers to the Turner family almost magnetically. A talent to watch.” –Kirkus

“Flournoy has written an epic that feels deeply personal…Flournoy’s finely tuned empathy infuses her characters with a radiant humanity.” – O, The Oprah Magazine

If you’re unfamiliar with the story, then you may be interested in checking out this article in The New York Times Sunday Book Review.

Borrow it from the Library:
library in Print, eBook or eAudio.

More “Best of 2015″ General Fiction and Short Stories you may enjoy:

After you : a novel / Jojo Moyes
Fates and furies : [a novel] / Lauren Groff
The harder they come : [a novel] / T. Coraghessan Boyle
Go set a watchman : [a novel] / Harper Lee
Fortune smiles : stories / Adam Johnson
In the country : stories / Mia Alvar
Kitchens of the great Midwest : [a novel] / J. Ryan Stradal
A little life : a novel / Hanya Yanagihara

“Best of 2015″ – Book Lists:

Featured Image Credit: Fiction Book Cover Collage by April Schwarzkopf (created using

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