Over the past year or so I read a number of books that hooked me right from the beginning and didn’t let go until the end. It’s the best kind of reading experience, if you ask me. While it’s true the books that make you work the hardest often provide the most rewarding payoff in the end, some days I just need something easy that invites me in, something that causes me to look up after an unknown number of pages and hours and question, “What time is it?”
These are some of those books.
by Nicola Yoon
YA fiction about a girl who has “bubble baby disease” where she cannot leave her home, because she’s fatally allergic to the world. She lives as full of a life as she can, confined to her house with her mom and full-time nurse, but one day someone moves in next door that has her questioning everything.
by Josh Malerman
Horror/thriller. It’s a post-apocalyptic world, there are just a handful of survivors, and something is lurking that has killed the rest of mankind. The things we can’t see are sometimes far scarier than the things we can, and Bird Box does (in my opinion) a phenomenal job of playing up this idea. I had nightmares about this book, and maybe that will scare you off, but it was one of those books that had me thinking about it for DAYS afterward.
by Carol Rifka Brunt
A beautiful, thought-provoking, poignant coming-of-age tale about love, heartache, and loss. Set in the late 1980s, a 14-year-old girl loses her beloved uncle and eventually finds healing in a new and unexpected friendship. It’s emotional and raw and I absolutely loved it.
by E. Lockhart
I read this from start to finish on a flight from SLC to Nashville. It was just SO GOOD. A group of friends from very well-off families spend their summers on a private island, where they refer to themselves as The Liars. Mystery lies under the surface, though, and one girl tries to discover the truth of things. It’s a sophisticated, not-your-typical YA fiction, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
by Jennifer Mathieu
YA fiction that explores how easily girls are judged, perceived, labeled, and written off as a certain type of person. This book follows the story of Alice and the rumors that are flying about something she may or may not have done one night at a party. It’s a truly brilliant, sobering, insightful look into high school rumors and the havoc they can cause. This is another one that I read entirely in one sitting.
by Mark Haddon
Christopher is an extremely gifted 15-year-old autistic boy who decides one day that he absolutely must solve the murder of his neighbor’s dog. The book follows his thought processes and challenges as he investigates the murder, and I found it to be charming, well-written, and endearing. I listened to the audiobook, which is read by a British person, and that’s definitely how I recommend reading the book if you can.
by Emma Donoghue
Told from the perspective of a 5-year-old boy whose entire world is “Room,” you soon learn that this boy and his young mother have been held captive for years. I didn’t think I would like this book initially, but the author brilliantly tells an engaging, consuming story and you quickly forget you’re listening to a 5-year-old’s voice. I won’t say too much for fear of ruining the plot, but, man – I absolutely loved this one. I have yet to see the film, but it’s on my list.
by John Green
While this book (and author) certainly has its haters, the ratings don’t lie – and I 100% fall into the “I absolutely loved this” camp. In case you’ve been living under a rock and aren’t familiar with the plot: a teenage girl has cancer and one day meets a boy at a cancer support group. It’s a YA love story that will make you cry, and the movie is – surprisingly – a great complement to the book.
by Gillian Flynn
Another one that you’ve certainly heard of, Gone Girl absolutely lives up to the hype. It’s full of twists and turns, betrayal and shock, and I could never have predicted what was going to happen (and I love it when a book surprises me). I read this over a weekend and thought about it for days afterward. If you haven’t seen the (phenomenal) movie adaptation, I’d recommend reading the book first, for sure.
by Jojo Moyes
Oh, Jojo Moyes. You have captured my heart and I will read everything you ever publish, no questions asked. Me Before You is a story about Louisa, a woman in her late 20s, who’s just lost her job and by a series of events ends up taking a job as a caretaker for a man named Will. Will is in his early 30s, and two years previously, was in a terrible motorcycle accident which left him as a quadriplegic. The story is beautiful, well-written, and simultaneously funny and heartbreaking. I found the sequel After You to be just as good.
What are some of your favorite, can’t-put-down books?