Hello and happy Wednesday. Back when I had my old blog, you know, the one only one of my best friends read (bless her heart), I had this entire page called “must-reads. Instead of posting a review, I would add the book to that page, so that my (nonexistent) readers would have a list they could consult. I’ve tried to keep this idea in this blog by using the “must read” tag, but I cannot say that I’ve been really consistent on that one. This is why, inspired by the video by Hailey in Bookland called Ten Books You Need to Read, I bring you my own list of ten must-reads. Let’s get started, shall we?
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
I read this book at twenty-five and I honestly wish I’d read it when I was eighteen. This coming of age novel is a reminder to loosen up, to relax and understand that not everything in life can be controlled, measured or anticipated, especially when it comes to love. It is also one of the few novels in this list that will make you laugh, so if you prefer something that is not so serious in style but that will make you think about deeper topics, you should check out this novel.
Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick
This novel came to me at a moment in my life when I needed some tough love, and I’ve come to understand that books find us when we need them most and tell us things nobody else would. It is a book that I read at twenty-five, but that would have taught me a few lessons had I read it while at school. It is basically about the importance of finding and understanding ourselves before going into crazy quests in search of the unknown. Matthew Quick is featured twice in this list, and for good reason.
The Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling
There’s this family friend who owns a bookstore, and she’s a total snob when it comes to reading. Once, when I was working there, she made a comment about how she didn’t understand why the Harry Potter books were so successful if they weren’t really “literature.” I had only recently started reading them, and she didn’t know this because I was almost certain that she expected me to agree with her. I asked if she’d actually read the books and if she’d paid attention to the writing style. I told her those books were very special, and they’d had the power to do what other books hadn’t: to encourage people who weren’t readers to read. I was as surprised as she was at my reply, but to me, the Harry Potter series is an absolute must. It is a ticket to a magical world, an escape from real life but also a different perspective on it.
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
Maybe this is too personal because I love my grandmother and she is truly the love of my life, but maybe yours isn’t. I just feel that this book is so magic and powerful that everyone should read it. We all have that one person in our lives who will do anything for us and for whom we’ll do anything, that person who is stronger and braver than anybody else. This book is a testament to that. It is a love book, a love letter, just not the romantic kind of love we’re used to reading about. If you watched Big Fish and it made your heart do funny things, then this novel is for you.
The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson
I think this book was a game changer for me in the sense that it opened my eyes to a whole world of YA I didn’t know existed because I was hiding behind fluffy contemporary romance. This is a book about trying to help fix someone’s life when ours is broken and we don’t want the world to see, and I can relate to that. I don’t know if this is an easy read for everyone, but it was a necessary one for me and one that you should pick up at some point in your life.
My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
This book is about two people who meet because they want to help each other commit suicide. I had to say that before saying anything else because I know this is not a topic everyone will be comfortable reading about, especially when the whole plot of the novel revolves around it. But for me, it was such a necessary read and one that I did not expect at all since I go into books blindly. It is one of those books that I feel were underhyped and only a few people know about. Now you know about it, though. Use that knowledge wisely.
Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
Sometimes when explaining why my family does or doesn’t do certain things, I say “it’s a Jewish thing, you wouldn’t get it.” Well, this book probably won’t be as important to some people as it is to me since it alternates between the past when people lived in a shtetl, and the present when a man called Jonathan Safran Foer goes to where said shtetl was to find out about his ancestors. Like My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, this is a love letter to one’s family and one’s roots. It is a way of saying “I am who I am because you were who you were,” and that message is incredibly powerful.
The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick
This was another game-changer for me because it made me super aware of how neurotypical all the characters in books usually are. This is a novel that honestly should be adapted to movie format, or maybe it already was adapted and I don’t know. Even by reading the synopsis I couldn’t gather the right ideas to tell you what this book is about, other than a quest to find the truth when really a bunch of little truths are discovered along the way.
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S King
Like The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley, this novel gave me a completely different look into what YA books can be. It is not a happy book and it certainly does not deal with the common topics of YA. This is a book about a girl whose best friend dies under weird circumstances and it is about how she deals with this and her dysfunctional life.
Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
This book is about many things, really, but one of those is the disappearance of our main character’s younger brother. Look, I have a younger sister who is my baby even though she’s only two years younger than me, and this book just made me think about her in such a way that I bawled my eyes out. I bought her the physical version of the book even though she’s not much of a fiction reader, and now I’m telling you, this was the first book I read that I truly considered a “must,” and I think you should pick it up.
Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with me? Let me know in the comments below.
Love, Miss Camila