This year I’ve read some amazing books. Though I’ve written reviews or featured them in tags I wanted to highlight some of my top recommendations. There are some books that I want everyone to read or that I know you guys would love. I love to recommend books and I wanted to pull that into a post. If you all like it then I may make it a seasonal thing. So, let me know in the comments!
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.
Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.
There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?
Why?: I am recommending this book because it was exactly the fun contemporary novel I needed when I read it. I think this book is perfect to break anyone out of a reading slump or to help recover from a book hangover. Becky Albertalli crafted a contemporary that was adorable but not predictable. It’s quick, fun, funny, and cute. What else could you ask for? You can check out my full review here.
Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.
Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother: his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.
The eighteen personal essays collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.
Why?: This recommendation is a little different. First of all, I’m recommending the audio book version of this book rather than the print version. There’s just something special about hearing the author of an autobiography tell their story. Secondly, this is a nonfiction book. While I enjoy nonfiction books I don’t read very many of them each year. Trevor Noah’s story is captivating, poignant, and humorous all in one. I was riveted the entire time and did not want to stop listening to the book. Honestly, this is one of my top reads for the year. Want my full opinion? Check out my review here.
Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
Love lives between the lines.
Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.
Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction, and the escape. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore. She can’t see her future.
Henry’s future isn’t looking too promising, either. His girlfriend dumped him. The bookstore is slipping away. And his family is breaking apart.
As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.
Why?: Judging by this list you would think that I am an avid reader of contemporary novels. However, that is not typically the case. I enjoy contemporary novels but they’re typically not my first choice. Words in Deep Blue felt significant. I don’t know if that makes sense. But, the story felt bigger than just another novel. I was drawn in and connected to these characters from the beginning and it seems as though it hasn’t let me go yet. I continue to recommend this book to everyone I know. Because, it’s just that good. To get a better understanding of why I loved this novel check out my review.
I hope this post inspires you to read or pick up a book you never would have before. Even if it’s not one of my recommendations. Sometimes it’s just fun to go outside of the norm.
Let me know if you enjoy this post and want it to be a regular thing. Also, leave me your recommendations in the comments!