CPL’s Most Popular Books of 2018

What were our most popular books in 2018? We've crunched the numbers and we're ready to share. Keep in mind that books published in late 2017 and early 2018 have an advantage because they've been around longer than those published later in the year, many of which will likely be on next year's lists.


The highest-ranking 2018 title on the most popular adult fiction list, at No. 2, is The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn, a debut suspense novel that came charging out of the gate in the first week of January. Reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock's movies, it is getting the movie treatment in 2019. Right behind it is the Oprah-endorsed An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. Published in February, the novel considers the impact of the criminal justice system on a marriage. Several fall 2017 hits like No. 1-ranking Little Fires Everywhere and early 2018 hits like The Immortalists and The Great Alone also chart. The list reflects interest in hit TV and movie adaptations like The Handmaid's Tale and Crazy Rich Asians. And although it wasn't announced until the fall, the latest One Book, One Chicago selection, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, ranks No. 6. 

View the full list of the most popular adult fiction.

The most popular adult nonfiction was dominated by coverage of American politics, starting at the top with Fire and Fury, which caught the spotlight in a big way in January. At No. 2 was one of our favorite books of the year (we included it on our Top 10), Educated, a love letter to the power of education. Although not released until November, Becoming by Michelle Obama racked up so much interest that it was already able to chart at No. 3, most impressive if not completely surprising for this memoir from a famous Chicagoan. It's officially the bestselling title of the year.

View the full list of the most popular adult nonfiction.


Topping the list of our most popular books for teens this year was 2017's The Hate U Give, a huge hit that was adapted into a movie in 2018. The top-charting 2018 book on the list, Children of Blood and Bone, is a fantasy novel inspired by West African mythology. Nice work, Chicagoans. It was one of our favorites, too. We included it in our list of the Best Teen Fiction of 2018.

View the full list of the most popular books for teens.


A few big names dominate the most popular books for kids, including Mo Willems, Jeff Kinney, Dr. Seuss and J.K. Rowling. Dav Pilkey's latest, Dog Man and Cat Kid, is the only 2018 title to chart. The list is topped by the beloved novel Wonder, which was adapted into a hit movie in late 2017. Trusted authors tend to perform best for parents and kids, but there's a wealth of great new books we recommend each year for our Best of the Best lists if you're looking for fresh reading suggestions.

View the full list of the most popular books for kids.

You can always check our lists of the most popular books of the previous month to keep up with our latest trends. And hey, popularity isn't everything. Check out our Books, Teens and Kids pages for staff picks all year long.