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!
“Eye-opening.” “Awesome.” I simply can’t say enough about “Ever Since” by Alena Bruzas. Seventeen-year-old Virginia makes bad choices. In fact, she’s That Kind of Girl, according to the whispers. As the Amazon blurb says, “Ever Since” is “an intense, beautiful debut about the power of finding your voice and sharing your story after trauma.” But there’s so much more to the story.
Read a sample. But be warned: once you start, you’re not going to want to stop.
Things I Should Have Known
If you're looking for clichés, you won't find any in this SUPERB book. It's as fresh and honest as it gets.
"Uncomonly honest, this is a story about sisterhood, autism, and first love."
From Barnes & Noble
This is the first book I've read by Claire LaZebnik, but I guarantee you it won't be my last.
Read an excerpt.
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 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.