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The Best Fiction Book

Last updated on September 19, 2019

We looked at the top 10 Fiction Books and dug through the reviews from 87 of the most popular review sites including Book Page, The Guardian, Kid's Book Review, Teen Reads, DOGO Books, Book Review Circle and more. The result is a ranking of the best Fiction Books.

Best Fiction Book

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Our Picks For The Top Fiction Books

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

R.J. Palacio

Wonder

Overall Take

R.J. Palacio really hits it out of the park with “Wonder." This book gives readers a serious story with such light-hearted surroundings. There is truly no other fiction book like it. You will want to read it over and over again.

Experts Included
DWYM Entertainment Experts plus The Guardian, Thought Co., Kirkus Reviews, Kid’s Book Review, DOGO Books, Children’s Books Daily and 4 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Toppsta.
Pros
" This book is bold, funny and engaging. If someone had told me about the topic of this book before I read it, I think I would have mostly chosen to read it because I did not want to walk away..."
Cons
"However, some of the other viewpoints—especially of Via’s friends—feel somewhat unnecessary and bog down the middle of the book."
  The Best Value

Marc Sullivan

Beneath a Scarlet Sky

Overall Take

When you open “Beneath a Scarlet Sky” by Marc Sullivan, you will not want to put it down. With interesting perspectives of wartime, this book will give the reader a wealth of information to think about, long you finish reading. It’s no wonder it’s our Best Value pick for readers... Read More

Experts Included
DWYM Entertainment Experts plus Good Reads, Compulsive Reader, Teen Reads, Eat Read Cruise, Italia Living, Waridi’s World and 4 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Overall, this book is interesting because it gives a new perspective on war from a boy who has never been involved in it. Also, because it is from the perspective of someone who is from a foreign country, the reader..."
Cons
"The writing was also a bit lacking. Nothing wow about it. It was something I would expect to find in a Mystery/Thriller book, not a historical fiction."

Markus Zusak

Alfred A. Knopf The Book Thief

Overall Take

“The Book Thief” is an outstanding fiction novel with a beautiful literary approach. The characters come to life in a way that makes you feel as if you know them. Also featuring tons of historical references, you will find the book takes you to a place where civil strife wasn’t... Read More

Experts Included
DWYM Entertainment Experts plus Good Reads, The Guardian, Kirkus Reviews, The New York Times, Indenpendent, Common Sense Media and 5 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" This is a beautifully balanced piece of storytelling with glimpses of what is yet to come: sometimes misleading, sometimes all too true. Unsettling, thought-provoking, life-affirming, triumphant and tragic, this is a novel of breathtaking scope, masterfully told. It is an..."
Cons
"Readers are introduced to this Death-as-storyteller concept in a too-long invocation that begins "The Book Thief." Death is so innocuous that he's not very absorbing. Or affecting. His periodic soliloquies aren't the most effective moments of the novel, and if..."

Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing

Overall Take

Whether you like a good mystery or simply want to learn more about the history during the late '60s and early '70s, “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens is the best fiction for you. Owens has a way of painting a picture in your mind with her words. You'll... Read More

Experts Included
DWYM Entertainment Experts plus The Guardian, Good Reads, New York Journal of Books, Theresa Smith Writes, Kirkus Reviews, The Bibliofile and 3 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Though set in the 1950s and 60s, Where the Crawdads Sing is, in its treatment of racial and social division and the fragile complex-ities of nature, obviously relevant to contemporary politics and ecology. But these themes will reach a huge..."
Cons
"By now the novel’s weaknesses have become apparent: the monochromatic characterization (good boy Tate, bad boy Chase) and implausibilities (Kya evolves into a polymath—a published writer, artist, and poet), yet the closing twist is perhaps its most memorable oddity."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
17

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the fiction books available to purchase.
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Products Analyzed

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87

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Book Page, The Guardian, Kid's Book Review, Teen Reads, DOGO Books.

379,043

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Target, Toppsta and 3 others.

Our experts reviewed the top 10 Fiction Books and also dug through the reviews from 87 of the most popular review sites including Book Page, The Guardian, Kid's Book Review, Teen Reads, DOGO Books, Book Review Circle and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Fiction Books.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

R.J. Palacio Wonder

Our Expert Score
9.8
10 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.8
13,380 user reviews
Our Take

R.J. Palacio really hits it out of the park with “Wonder." This book gives readers a serious story with such light-hearted surroundings. There is truly no other fiction book like it. You will want to read it over and over again.

What other experts liked
This book is bold, funny and engaging. If someone had told me about the topic of this book before I read it, I think I would have mostly chosen to read it because I did not want to walk away...
- The Guardian
It‘s the straightforward, non-sentimental manner in which Palacio approaches her topic that makes this such an excellent book.
- Thought Co.
April 9, 2019 | Full review
Palacio divides the novel into eight parts, interspersing Auggie’s first-person narrative with the voices of family members and classmates, wisely expanding the story beyond Auggie’s viewpoint and demonstrating that Auggie’s arrival at school doesn’t test only him, it affects everyone...
- Kirkus Reviews
But most of all, I was majorly impressed by the lack of schmaltz, the decidedly UNfantastical ending - and the heart-wrangling reality of the entire sordid business of living a life sans perfection. You'll laugh, cry and cheer your way...
- Kid's Book Review
March 8, 2012 | Full review
One of the things I love most about this book is the way it is set out in parts. Those parts are written by six different characters. They all have varied perspectives on events.
- Children's Books Daily
What I love most about the book is the realness of it all. Mr. Tushman, the long-winded school Director, and Mr. Browne English teacher trying hard to instill kindness in a bunch of ten-year old’s.
- Tania 2 A Tee
August 16, 2017 | Full review
Wonder remains an engaging, enjoyable book. R.J. Palacio’s ten-year-old voices are consistently believable, as are those of her slightly older narrators. The journey of the narrative is satisfying; every major character learns something important about themselves and the world they...
- Disability In Kidlit
January 19, 2018 | Full review
Despite his first-sentence assertion, “I know I’m not an ordinary 10-year-old kid,” August Pullman is just that. He’s a gloriously, spectacularly, and reassuringly ordinary 10-year-old kid.
- Your Teen Mag
There are no flat characters here. Palacio changes points of view every few chapters, giving the reader a chance to hear the voice and viewpoints of different characters in the story.
- Smart Happy Mom
May 30, 2017 | Full review
What other experts didn't like
However, some of the other viewpoints—especially of Via’s friends—feel somewhat unnecessary and bog down the middle of the book.
- Thought Co.
April 9, 2019 | Full review
Besides August’s condition, Wonder is a very beige, cisheteronormative, upper-middle-class and surprisingly abled book. This seems like a missed opportunity, especially as August is the only visible disfigured/disabled character in the book – which, to me, is sad.
- Disability In Kidlit
January 19, 2018 | Full review

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Marc Sullivan Beneath a Scarlet Sky

Our Expert Score
9.1
10 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.9
186,383 user reviews
Our Take

When you open “Beneath a Scarlet Sky” by Marc Sullivan, you will not want to put it down. With interesting perspectives of wartime, this book will give the reader a wealth of information to think about, long you finish reading. It’s no wonder it’s our Best Value pick for readers in the fiction genre.

What other experts liked
Overall, this book is interesting because it gives a new perspective on war from a boy who has never been involved in it. Also, because it is from the perspective of someone who is from a foreign country, the reader can understand what World War II was like for that...
- Compulsive Reader
May 20, 2018 | Full review
This is an important story --- one that deserves to be told, read and appreciated --- and Sullivan does an admirable job ensuring that The Forgotten Front finally has a voice.
- Teen Reads
The author, Mark Sullivan, did a fantastic job researching for this book. As a result, the book gives us amazing insight into the closing months of the war in Italy. We feel the atrocities as they happen. It is a strong and fascinating story that I recommend everyone read.
- Eat Read Cruise
March 23, 2019 | Full review
Based on the true story of a forgotten Italian hero, BENEATH A SCARLET SKY is the triumphant, epic tale of one young man’s incredible courage and resilience during one of history’s darkest hours.
- Italia Living
The focus on Italy was my main take away from the book. I enjoyed it because it was brand new information. I have never gone in depth with my research on the axis countries other than Hitler’s Germany. It was interesting, to say the least, seeing how powerless the citizens...
- Waridi's World
September 25, 2018 | Full review
All three areas of the book are so brilliantly written that the entire story flies off the page. I've read my fair share of historical fiction, but this one is special in that the characters are as big if not bigger then the global war.
- World of Joel
December 16, 2017 | Full review
What is so remarkable about the book is Pino’s story. What an incredible story! Mark Sullivan is a master storyteller who will transport you into the inspirational and courageous life of Pino Lella. Filled with powerful messages and altruism of the human condition, I would highly recommend you to read...
- Arlene's Book Club
It tells a relatively unknown yet completely true, gripping, emotional and thought-provoking story that sinks its teeth in you and never lets go from the first few pages, taking us on an infernal ride as seen through the eyes of a unique Italian teenager whose wisdom went well beyond his...
- Book Wormex
July 10, 2017 | Full review
What makes Beneath a Scarlet Sky a even more fascinating read is the fact that it is true. For one person to have experienced so much life at such a young age, only to keep it inside for so many years, is breathtaking.
- Nichole Louise
September 17, 2018 | Full review
What other experts didn't like
I think one thing that Sullivan can improve on with the novel is making sure that there is enough conflict throughout to keep the reader interested.
- Compulsive Reader
May 20, 2018 | Full review
The writing was also a bit lacking. Nothing wow about it. It was something I would expect to find in a Mystery/Thriller book, not a historical fiction.
- Waridi's World
September 25, 2018 | Full review

Overall Product Rankings

1. R.J. Palacio Wonder

Overall Score: 9.8
Reviews Included: 12

2. Marc Sullivan Beneath a Scarlet Sky

Overall Score: 9.6
Reviews Included: 14

3. The Book Thief

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 13

4. Delia Owens Where the Crawdads Sing

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 10

5. Kristin Hannah The Great Alone

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 15

6. Lauren K. Denton The Hideaway

Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 12

7. Rick Riordan Percy Jackson And The Olympians

Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 6

8. Leslie Wolf Dawn Girl

Overall Score: 8.7
Reviews Included: 3

9. Georgia Hunter We Were the Lucky Ones

Overall Score: 8.5
Reviews Included: 13

10. John Boyne The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Overall Score: 8.0
Reviews Included: 11

Our Fiction Book Buying Guide

Although choosing a book can be a very personal experience, the best fiction books are loved by many people. There is nothing like a great story to captivate your attention and imagination and keep you wanting to read more. When you start to discover the fiction genres, you will find they all have several main characteristics in common. Outstanding themes, characters and excellent execution make the top fiction books something that everyone can enjoy.

First, if you aren’t familiar with the fiction genre, let’s explore it. The definition of a fiction book is, “literature comprising works of imaginative narration”. This could be in the form of a novel or short story. There are multiple categories of fiction for readers to discover including adventure story, biographical novel, ethnic fiction, gothic, historical fiction, horror, mystery and science fiction, to name a few. It’s just important to keep in mind that the main characteristic of a fiction book is that it is not a real story, but entirely creatively written.

For those who enjoy a great sci-fi thriller movie or a graphic horror television series, turn your attention to the popular horror fiction or science fiction novels of today. Picture the “Goosebumps” series, “1984” by George Orwell or “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley. These novels are still famous today and attract new readers every year with their science fiction stories and characters. You will surely find excitement in this sub-genre of fiction.

When you want to read a book that keeps you guessing at the answers, a mystery fiction novel is for you. A phenomenal author is John Grisham. Although his angle is legal writing, most of his books have an excellent element of mystery to make the reader unable to put the book down. For a world-renowned author, turn to Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. James Patterson, Michael Connelly and Agatha Christie are others in this genre. Look for their names among others when you need a good mystery to solve.

Young adult is another subcategory of the fiction genre. These books often capture the attention of teenagers with an adolescent storyline and relatability factor. “Wonder” by R. J. Palacio is a prime example of a top fiction book in the young adult subcategory of the fiction genre. This fiction book became so popular that it inspired a feature film.

If you don’t mind deciphering fact from fiction, a biographical fiction book is what will catch your eye. In “Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel” by Mark Sullivan, the story is based on an actual person but enhanced with made-up events and characters. The sign of a good biographical fiction is not knowing where the truth is and the imagination of the writer. The drama and historical facts should combine in a symbiotic relationship to create an outstanding literary adventure for readers. This was accomplished so well in “Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel” that it also came alive on the television screen. Similar titles in this category include “Unbroken” and “The Nightingale.”

Historical fiction is a well-loved sub-genre of fiction books. These often tell the story of society as it battles strife or prosperity during certain notable time periods. “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak is everything a historical fiction should be, with excellent depictions of Germany during the Nazi Regime and the true struggles of a foster child. “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens is another historical fiction that is just simply beautiful. It will evoke intense emotions and bring you right back to that rocky time of the late ’60s early ’70s. If you have a favorite part of history, you will surely find a historical fiction novel like these that will really captivate your senses.

There are many more excellent fiction books to discover. These are just a few of the top fiction books, recommended by fellow readers. You won’t regret picking one up as you’ll discover, you’ll not be able to put it down.

DWYM Fun Fact

The very first fiction novel is thought to be the “Tale of Genji” by Murasaki Shikibu. She wrote the 54-chapter novel in the early eleventh century about an aristocrat, Hikaru Genji. Murasaki Shikibu was said to have used her experiences in the imperial court to write the book. It is a masterpiece to the Japanese culture.

“Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes, is at the top of the list of best-selling fiction books of all time. With over 500 million copies sold, this book can be found everywhere. It’s followed by “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens at 200 million copies sold. “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien remains in the third spot, with 150 million copies sold to date. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” appears on the list at number eight with 100 million copies sold. Among the rest on the list are works by Agatha Christie, C.S. Lewis and Dan Brown. These top-sellers are rated in order of copies sold and do not include religious staples, such as the Bible and The Quran.

The Fiction Book Tips and Advice

  • One of your greatest resources for finding the top fiction book is recommendations from your closest friends and family. Ask them before you embark on the task of finding a good book to read. Friends especially will hold similar interests as you, so their taste in literature may line up with your own.
  • Before you buy a book, visit your local library to ask a librarian for references. They are a fabulous resource if you are entirely new to the fiction genre.
  • Always read the book summary before blindly buying a fiction book. These summaries tell a whole lot without spoiling the entire story.
  • Find reviews online of fellow readers, so you don’t waste your money on a book that got a mediocre response.
  • When building your personal library with fiction novels, try to vary your collection with different authors and/or sub-genres. This will give you a well-rounded selection of the entire fiction genre.

About The Author

Genevieve Nino
Genevieve Nino 

Genevieve Nino a professional writer located in the Topsail Island area of North Carolina. Her writing career started in 2014 as a travel writer. Since then, she has written in multiple niches including business reviews, parenting, hospitality and weddings. A few of the sites she has written for include Wedding Wire, The Knot, Go Banking Rates and Reservation Counter, just to name a few.