Here are my book recommendations for six different genres, spanning from romantic comedy to historical fiction and everything in between. There’s a book here for everyone.
Mystery: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Where the Crawdads Sing is a popular novel set in the 1950s – 1960s marshlands of North Carolina. The story twists and turns to uncover the murder of the small town’s golden boy, Chase Andrews. Every finger points to the infamous “Marsh Girl,” Kya. She was shunned and overlooked by society when she was a child. Kya learned independence, survival, and love while living apart from people – so why would she be responsible for killing Chase? This novel is especially unique due to the amount of detail and authenticity poured into the setting. Before she became an author, Owens was a zoologist who predominantly focused on marshland habitat. Owens writes a slow burning and captivating mystery that touches on racism, sexism, and classism in the southern United States. This novel is full of intense anticipation, everything honing down to the last page – literally.
Literary Fiction: Normal People by Sally Rooney
Rooney’s second novel is as if someone took a great romantic comedy and flipped it on its head. Normal People follows the story of two lovers, Connell and Marianne, and how they navigate their tumultuous on again off again relationship over the course of several years. It’s gritty, brash, and uncomfortable. Connell and Marianne are the weirdest “normal people” you will ever meet – but aren’t we all? This novel is incredibly real, which is the main reason I fell in love with it. Rooney’s quirky writing style makes this novel stand out from others. Normal People isn’t just about their relationship, but it focuses on who they are as individuals and how their past experiences have shaped them as people. Also, Normal People was adapted into Hulu show in 2020. If you’re a hopeless romantic, this book is not for you. But if you’re sick of the happily-ever-after’s and want a sharp taste of reality, go read Normal People right now.
Romantic Comedy: People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
Rom-com lovers, this one’s for you! If you are on the bookish side of Tik-Tok, you have probably seen this book on your for-you-page. And for good reason. People We Meet on Vacation is based on the legendary romantic comedy, When Harry Met Sally. It is about two college best friends, Alex and Poppy, and their close friendship turned into something new – something witty and awkward and heartwarming. The novel flips back and forth between the past and present. It’s loving, earnest, hilarious, and most of all entertaining. I read this book on vacation in North Captiva and absolutely fell in love with it! Are Alex and Poppy meant to be together? Read it and find out!
Psychological Thriller: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Everything I Never Told You would be best described as if a crime/murder show and a touching family movie had a love child. Lydia Lee, the perfect Chinese American daughter of the Lee family, has gone mysteriously missing. Her mother and father are distraught, her brother is desperate for her return, and her little sister is in tears. Or are they? Are the Lee’s really what they seem? When Lydia’s body is found, no one has the answers. This novel is a family exposé that makes us reflect on the lies we want to believe about our loved ones. Everything I Never Told You is a fantastic example of the stress caused by xenophobia, homophobia, and sexism. It acknowledges the rigid gender and race identities set in the 1970s (that unfortunately still prevail today) and tackles them with the force of twenty-first century courage. This is a book that lingers in your mind for months. Emotionally thrilling!
Fantasy: Throne of Glass Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass is a riveting fantasy series full of magic, mischief, and adventure. It’s my favorite fantasy series of all time, which is not recognition I give lightly. There are eight books in total. Despite their daunting sizes, each book is a page turner – which isn’t something you can say about every fantasy series. The story follows legendary Celaena Sardothien, a young assassin living in the wicked country of Adarlan. There are evil kings, powerful fae warriors, blood thirsty assassins, and even a ruthless pirate. Sarah J. Maas does an incredible job with this series from start to finish. Throne of Glass takes the mystical bravado of classic fantasy and transforms it into a girl-powered, unstoppable force. I have yet to read a fantasy series that surpasses this level of excellence. If you love fantasy, you need to read it!
Historical Fiction: Circe by Madelline Miller
Circe is historical fiction with a twist. Miller takes the Greek legend of Circe, a sorceress and daughter of Helios (the sun god), and gives it a new life. This narrative retelling is heart wrenching and deeply inspiring. The novel is heavy with feminist and self-empowerment themes. Circe is about chosen family, ambition, identity, and love. Circe’s growth from a small and beaten down young girl to a strong and powerful woman is inspiring. Her journey is something I think everyone can relate to. Circe faces serious challenges most women face today and learns how to stick up for herself and be strong in the face of adversity. I strongly recommend all women and men to read this book!
I encourage you to purchase these books from your local indie bookstore or borrow them from your local library! If you’re in Tallahassee, FL, you should check out Midtown Reader AKA my favorite bookstore. If you have read any of these books, comment your opinions down below! I would love to know what you think about them. Happy reading!