For the past four years Popsugar has hosted a yearly reading challenge fit for the Gods! They pick outlandishly specific requirements to meet and it’s our job as readers and challenge acceptees to find great books that fit within those parameters to read throughout the year. I’ve participated in the last two Popsugar Reading Challenges, but I haven’t completed either of them, usually because I’m lazy and don’t pre-pick my books so when I get to the harder challenges I get stumped and can’t be bothered to go search for such specific books (I know, my spirit animal is Snorlax.)

This year, friends, this year I will not give up! (lol)

Well, at least I’m attempting to mitigate the roadblocks by choosing my books before I start reading. 🤷

This year, Popsugar has picked some interesting topics and it was hard to find titles to match a few of them (partly because I get really comfortable in my land of mostly YA Fantasy/Sci-fi), but I DID IT! I found some books to match all of the reading prompts AND the prompts in the Advanced section (I’m so proud of myself for finding these books even if I don’t read them all *cough*foreshadowing*cough*.)

Share your picks for the 2019 Popsugar Reading Challenge in the comments below!


A book becoming a movie in 2019:

The Last Wish by Andzej Sapkowski

I’m going to cheat a little bit on this one. Technically The Witcher isn’t becoming a movie, but it is being released as a Netflix Original series so that kinda counts in my world.

A book that makes you nostalgic:

Redwall by Brian Jacques

I remember sitting at my desk after recess in fifth grade when my teacher would read to the class for 30 minutes every day. Ah, my little slice of heaven. I haven’t read this book since, so it’s probably time for a reread.

A book written by a musician:

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

I’m finding a way to squeeze in the new Grishaverse novel by Leigh Bardugo because this is one of my most anticipated 2019 releases. In case you didn’t know, Bardugo is the lead singer in the band Captain Automatic.

A book you think should be turned into a movie:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I need a Kaz Brekker movie adaptation. I need it! I want this to be a kickass movie soooo bad, but my biggest fear is that they hire the Twilight casting director.

A book with at least one million ratings on Goodreads:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I wanted to find a way to add this on the list because I’ve had a hand-me-down copy of this book hanging around for a few years but I still haven’t touched it. It’s time to pick it up and read it or throw it in the donate pile.

A book with a plant in the title or on the cover:

Snakes Among Sweet Flowers by Jason Huffman-Black

Flowers are plants, right?

I pre-ordered this LGBT romance novel the minute I saw it and I waited oh-so-patiently (lol) for days until it showed up on my kindle. And I was shocked at how much I loved it! The plot pulls me in every time and I get to read about sassy cats and tattooed men and the sweetest grandma. My favorite part about this book, though, is that it’s more about Cam finding his place in the world instead of focusing so much on the romance aspect.

A reread of a favorite book:

The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

All of my favorite books are already on this list so we’re going to time travel a bit.

I read this series in elementary? school and I was consumed by it. It was my favorite book series for a long time (until The Mortal Instruments came along in middle school, I believe) and despite this book being so important to me as a kid, I haven’t re-read it since.

A book about a hobby:

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

How can I not read this book? Fan culture in 2018 is HUGE. There is an entire economy behind fandom merchandise, fanfiction, and conventions. I’ve had this on my TBR for a while but haven’t read it because I was holding out for a challenge and FINALLY THE TIME HAS COME!

A book you meant to read in 2018:

Verity by Colleen Hoover

If the twitter feed about the ending of this book is to be believed, then Verity is the kind of novel that chews you up and doesn’t spit you back out, except you can’t help but keep reading even though you know you’re only torturing yourself.

I’m terrified. Let’s read this one first!

A book with “pop,” “sugar,” or “challenge” in the title:

Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

This is the third book in the Wayward Children series. I read the first book in this series a couple of years ago and enjoyed it well enough. It might be time for a reread.

Plus that cover is gorgeous. I want it for my bookshelves.

A book with an item of clothing or accessory on the cover:

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

This book is waayyy outside of my genre comfort zone. We’re talking the Mordor to my Shire and I’m a hobbit very stuck in my ways.

However, one of my goals this year is to branch out and expand my reading genres. I just hope this book is as good as I think it’ll be.

A book inspired by legend, mythology, or folklore:

Norse Mythology by Niel Gaiman

I listened to the audio version of this book in early 2018 but I kept falling asleep so I’ve really only listened to bits and pieces. It’s time to sit down and actually read it.

On another note, if you’re looking for a great audiobook to fall asleep to, Niel Gaiman’s narrates his own book and DEAR GOD YESSS we have been blessed by this man and his gorgeous voice!

A book published posthumously:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I had no idea this book was published posthumously until I was doing some research for this list but I’ve had this book on my TBR for a long time solely because it got a lot of hype. I wasn’t particularly interested in reading it, but maybe if I read it now I can watch the movie adaptation afterwards because the trailers look awesome.

A book you see someone reading on TV or in a movie:

The Art of Peace by Morihei Ueshiba

I had a really hard time finding a book for this prompt. There were plenty of options from Friends or The Gilmore Girls but I wanted to choose a book from a show/movie I’ve actually watched. So, The Art of Peace it is! As featured in The Walking Dead Season 6, Episode 4 .

A retelling of a classic:

Circe by Madeline Miller

This is an Iliad/Oddesy retelling that I picked up in my December BOTM. It wasn’t on my TBR, but it was apparently the book of the year so I figured it was high time I get my tail in gear and read it. Plus it fits the theme so, perfect timing on my part.

A book with a question in the title:

What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli

This was another one of my 2-for-1 credit audiobook scores that I just haven’t gotten around to listening to yet. The audio sample hinted at humor and adorable sugary sweetness so I definitely need to make sure I read this book this year!

A book set on a college or university campus:

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

At first I considered using this book for the “a book featuring an amateur detective prompt,” but also wound up finding Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. And Fangirl is already on the list so… this book backed me into a corner and now there’s no escaping.

I’m not so much a fan of mystery/suspense books, but this one seems pretty interesting and reviews point to the audiobook being quite good.

A book about someone with a superpower:

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

I’m probably the only person who hasn’t read this yet. Magic and (apparent) unpredictable plot twists featuring the antiheroes as main characters? Yes. Yes I want to read this.

I need more books written from the villain’s POV.

A book told from multiple character POVs:

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

I’m wasn’t sure I wanted to read this book but it keeps being recommended to me so I guess I should give it a shot.

The cover and synopsis sound very Hunger Games meets Percy Jackson and idk how I feel about that combo.

A book set in space:

The Martian by Andy Weir

Because I LOVED the movie adaptation and the book is always better so this has to be amazing. And Matt Damon. ‘Nuff said.

A book by two female authors:

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

Aaaand another novel from Mordor. Completely the opposite of what I usually read. I wasn’t interested until the end of the synopsis and now I have to know what that letter says.

A book with a title that contains “salty,” “sweet,” “bitter,” or spicy:”

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

I picked this book up a few years ago in an airport and I read maybe 2-3 chapters before falling asleep (because that’s what airplanes do to me, mkay?) and when I got home, of course, I had a few coughdozencough books waiting for me at the post office so I never finished this one.

A book set in Scandinavia:

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (på svenska)

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a long time, ever since it popped up on my Audible page and reminded me a little bit of the old grumpy man from Up!

And, to truly get into the spirit of Scandanavian reads, I’m going to be reading this book in Swedish. Fun Fact: the Swedish title is En man som heter Ove.

A book that takes place in a single day:

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

This book kept getting so many good reviews and I had every intention to read it the week it came out but I was wrapped up in a Lord of the Rings read-a-thon when it was released and by the time I finished the read-a-thon some of the hype had passed and I got pulled into another reading challenge and I’m just a horrible person I forgot about it, okay?

A debut novel:

Wicked Saints by Emily A Duncan

I featured this book on my Most Anticipated Releases of 2019 post and 100% of my excitement to read this book is coming from the fantastic reviews the ARC is getting (even from some of my most picky GR Friends.) Sometimes you can’t judge a book by its synopsis even if that’s exactly what you’re supposed to do…

A book that’s published in 2019:

Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

Y’all I AM SO PUMPED FOR THIS BOOK! I started reading the Witchlands series in late December and I’m in love with Dennard’s world building! This book isn’t released until February but I’m already so excited for it.

I even pre-ordered the Fae Crate Bloodwitch Book Hangover Recovery Kit, that’s how obsessed I am.

A book featuring an extinct or imaginary creature:

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

This book got a lot of attention when it was first released and I try to stay away from those books, at least until all of the hype dies down a little bit. To Kill a Kingdom was particularly hard to stay away from becuase I love creepy, vicious mermaid siren depictions in books. AND it has a 4 star average rating on Goodreads. I need this on my list.

A book recommended by a celebrity you admire:

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

It was hard to choose a book for this topic because I try not to “admire” or “idolize” famous people, but if I had to choose one celebrity worthy of looking up to, it would be Emma Watson.

I don’t read enough poetry and I usually steer clear of the genre because I have mixed feelings about most popular poets, but the topic of this poetry collection seems right up my alley.

A book with “love” in the title:

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Technically “love” is still in the title and this book is on my 2019 TBR already. We’re gonna call it a win-win.

A book featuring an amateur detective:

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Lets add another book that I should be crucified for not reading yet. I swear I’m not using these lists as a dump for all of the books I should’ve already read.

I don’t really like mystery, but I like John Green so I hope this is good.

A book about a family:

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

I know when most people hear “a book about family,” they don’t usually reach for the most morbid and disturbing book on their shelves, and I don’t know what that says about me, but I really love reading this book when I get in a slump and nothing sounds good. It reminds me to appreciate things more.

A book written by an author from Asia, Africa, or South America:

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah narrates his own audiobook. Do I really need to say anything else?

A book with a zodiac sign or astrology term in the title:

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

I think “astro” qualifies as an astrology term.

This is a topic I’ve always been interested in but never really had the time to study the way I want. I have a base level knowledge of physics, but I’m hoping this book will be able to teach me something new.

You think you can cover the entire span of space and time and life in 224 pages, Neil deGrasse Tyson? Bring it on!

A book that includes a wedding:

A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

I wanted to choose a book for this topic that was just as much about family as it was about romance. A Place for Us goes beyond the love story and spans decades to tell a story of love and acceptance.

I’m pretty excited for this one.

A book by an author whose first and last names start with the same letter:

The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu

I fell in love with The Mortal Instruments when I read it in middleschool. Even though I don’t feel the same way about the series now, I did love The Infernal Devices series. Part of the reason I loved the series so much is because I loved Alec and Magnus. And now they get their own book!

A ghost story:

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Ghosts give me the heebie jeebies and I am not excited about this prompt. The closest book I could find about ghosts that wasn’t Casper or Annabelle (idk if those are even books) was The Broken Girls.However, this book doesn’t sound like it’s some horror suspense the-ghost-is-trying-to-kill-me kind of book so I think hope it’s safe.

If anyone has read this and it’s actually a horror novel please be a kind soul and give me a heads up so I can promptly remove it from my TBR. K, thanks.

A book with a two-word title:

White Rose by Kip Wilson

This book doesn’t come out until April and I’m already screaming to get my hands on it. Everyone who got an ARC seems to love it, the cover is gorgeous, I love German history. This seems like the perfect book for me!

A novel based on a true story:

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

I wasn’t planning on reading this because basically every book I read about Auzchwitz breaks my heart in two but it’s getting such good reviews that I’m subjecting myself to the possibility of needed 10 kleenex boxes and a quart of ice cream.

A book revolving around a puzzle game:

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

This is one of my most favorite books of all time. I reread it every year and I have an old paperback copy that is literally taped together, highlighted, and all beaten up around the corners from highschool me just tossing it in my backpack and I’m so happy this prompt is on the list because I LOVE THIS BOOK.

A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist:

A Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

The last prompt is actually to choose “your favorite prompt from a past Popsugar Reading Challenge.” Mine is from the 2018 Popsugar Reading Challenge.



Advanced Prompts

And now we’re on to the advanced section of the reading challenge. These topics are supposed to be more difficult than the other prompts (but I found these much easier to find books for.) The genres are a little bit more of a challenge to find if you’re unfamiliar with them, but it’s not undoable by any means.

Fortunately for me, most of these books were already on my TBR list.

A “cli-fi” (climactic fiction) book:

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

This isn’t a genre I read very often, but I’m not opposed to dystopian end-of-the-world major climate change type books.

I took this suggestion from the Ultimate Popsugar Reading Challenge group on Goodreads because I couldn’t find anything in my TBR.

A choose-your-own-adventure book:

To Be or Not To Be by Ryan North

I’m getting a little goofy with this Hamlet choose-your-own-adventure book, but this is so ridiculous I have to.

I bought the kindle edition of this book on sale a few years ago but I’ve never made time to sit down and work my way through it. It’s finally time!

An “own voices” book:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I listened to the audiobook version of this in 2018 and since the announcement of a movie adaptation (October 19 guys) I know I’m going to need to re-read it before I go to the theater.

I’ll probably save this one for August/September.

Read a book during the season it is set in:

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

I’m going to have a looooong time to wait for this one. I picked up Wintersong and Shadowsong in a recent Thriftbooks order and I thought they’d be perfect books to fit this theme.

A LitRPG book:

The Land: Founding: A LitRPG Saga by Aleron Kong

I’m going full audiobook on this one! I picked up this book in one of the 2-for-1 credit sales because I had to choose something and the narrator for this one sounded hot (shameless, I know) but I never got around to actually listening to it so, here we go!

A book with no chapters, unusual chapter headings, or unconventionally numbered chapters:

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

I missed the opportunity to include this under two other prompts on this list because I’d already chosen the books by the time I realized Illuminae would be a good fit and I’M SO HAPPY IT MADE IT ON THE LIST.

This book gets so many mixed reviews. It seems like people either love it or hate it and I can’t wait to find out where it sits with me.

Two books that share the same title:

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman

Thunderhead by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

The Arc of a Scythe series by Shusterman was on my TBR and when I came across these posted on the Goodreads Ultimate Popsugar Reading Challenge group I had to add it to my list.

I’m completely unfamiliar with Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child but their book has a lot of great reviews and I used to read a lot of archeology themed mystery/historical books as a kid so maybe I’ll really love this one.

Two (more) books that share the same title:

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by A.C. Gaughen

It was so hard to find books to fit this theme without including a classic and it’s re-write or some 2 star rated book from 2002, but I managed to make it work!

Surprisingly I had both of these books on my TBR. The Lunar Chronicles is a book series about a cyborg in Beijing trying to stop an epidemic and Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen is about a girl pretending to be a boy pretending to be a theif?

These are two very different books, but I’m looking forward to reading both of them this year.

A book that has inspired a common phrase or idiom:

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein

I’m going to stretch this one a little bit because I’ve already got too many classics on my TBR and if I add another I might just die. “One does not simply…” (walk into Mordor) or “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” count for this one, right?

The real question is, am I up to reading the whole series?

A book set in an abbey, cloister, monastery, vicarage, or convent:

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.

This book is set in a post-apocalyptic world and follows the writings of a Saint, who describes the events that happened after the world fell apart.

I’ve had A Canticle for Leibowitz on my TBR for quite some time, as it is considered somewhat of a classic, but I have a long TBR and I get distracted by shiny new objects easily.


And that’s it for my 2019 Popsugar Challenge Reading LIst! You can find a printable list of these prompts here and the link to the original #popsugarreadingchallenge post here.

Are any of these books on your 2019 Popsugar Reading Challenge list?

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