All of these books have something in common: they grab you, make you care, and won't let you go. Only they do it in different ways. Check out my take on each. If you're game, pick one up and dive in. But don't blame me if you stay up all night reading!
The Way You Make Me Feel
Can 16-year-old Clara Shin find love while working in - of all places - a sweaty Korean-Brazilian food truck? Worse, working alongside her nemesis, Rose Carver? With a boy named Hamlet (Really. Hamlet!). Author Maurene Goo thinks so, and after I read this book, I, too, was a believer.
From Teenreads... "Hamlet is my new book boyfriend. Now, this is a very hard position to fill, but he managed to become my favorite."
What a joy. Fresh, inspiring and a page turner that'll keep you up late at night.
Read an excerpt.
Off the Page
I guarantee you've never read anything like Off the Page before (except, of course, for its prequel, Between the Lines)! Written by NY Times #1 Best Selling author Jodi Picoult and her daughter Samantha van Leer, Off the Page makes you want to skip whatever class you might be headed to and dive headfirst into this story.
"When Delilah is united with Oliver, a prince literally taken from the pages of a fairytale, the line between what is on the page and what is possible is blurred, and all must be resolved for the two to live happily ever after." From Goodreads
Read an excerpt and get a free book by following Samantha.
Thirteen Reasons Why
I wonder if Jay Asher had any idea what he was starting when he wrote Thirteen Reasons Why.
"Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
"On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list." From Jay Asher's website.
I forced myself to read this book over days (rather than devour it in one sitting). That's because it's the kind of book you want to think about as the story moves along. Read the book with a friend, then go to a coffee shop to talk about it. Even if you watched the Netflix series about it. Read an excerpt.
Yeah, writers can be fans, too. That's me with Sarah at her book signing for The Moon & More.
The Moon & More Sarah Dessen is an author whose writing sneaks up on you. It feels so effortless, so stream-of-consciousness, but then you come to an end of a scene or chapter and realize how incredibly thought-out and well-crafted it really is.
Any of Sarah's many books will make you feel good but not because they're light. It's because they're real. Written by a true master of the genre.
The Moon & More is what I recommend as an introduction to Sarah's work. But really, you can't go wrong with any of her books. Read an excerpt.
Girl in Pieces There's a reason this extraordinary novel is so believable. The author, Kathleen Glasgow, like her protagonist, was a cutter, and her insights into the mind of people who self-mutilate is riveting.
"A deeply moving portrait of a girl in a world that owes her nothing, and has taken so much, and the journey she undergoes to put herself back together."
I can't say enough about this book. Read an excerpt.
Let's Go Swimming on Doomsday
I could describe this extraordinary novel, but the I can't beat what it says on the dust jacket: "Gripping and at times heartrending, Let's Go Swimming on Doomsday is ultimately the triumphant tale of an ordinary Somali boy fighting to become whole again after losing everything."
Natalie C. Anderson has written an amazing story. A word of caution: once you read this, don't be surprised if you want to hug a family member, regardless how you might have felt before turning the first page. It's that powerful.
Read an excerpt.
THE HATE U GIVE
This book should be must reading for ... everyone.
From Publishers Weekly... “Though Thomas’s story is heartbreakingly topical, its greatest strength is in its authentic depiction of a teenage girl, her loving family, and her attempts to reconcile what she knows to be true about their lives with the way those lives are depicted—and completely undervalued—by society at large.”
Intelligent, compelling, riveting. There simply aren't enough words to describe this outstanding debut novel. The word John Green uses is "stunning." Need I say more? Read an excerpt.
Everything, Everything Amazing...grace. And about as fresh as it gets. Nicola Yoon's books are a gift. This one started...everything.
From Amazon... "What if you couldn’t touch anything in the outside world? Never breathe in the fresh air, feel the sun warm your face . . . or kiss the boy next door? In Everything, Everything, Maddy is a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world, and Olly is the boy who moves in next door . . . and becomes the greatest risk she’s ever taken."
But this is not your typical kid in a bubble book. Anything but. Don't say I didn't warn you! Read an excerpt.
An Abundance of John Green
I couldn't possibly choose just one John Green book, because his novels are original, spot-on and page-turners. He's not afraid to deal with big issues (The Fault in Our Stars) or bigger-than-life everyday issues (An Abundance of Katherines, Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, etc.). Read any one of them and you'll want to read them all. Visit John's site for more.