Although I’ve mostly written about nonfiction this year, I’ve actually been reading quite a number of great novels over the last several months. While I wouldn’t recommend all of them to every reader, they all seem like perfect reads in certain situations.
Euphoria by Lily King
Euphoria is the story of a love triangle between three young anthropologists studying tribes in New Guinea. It’s based loosely on the biography of Margaret Mead (and, not surprisingly, made me want to grab a biography of Mead ASAP). I’ve heard many people say they fell into the book and read it in one sitting, which was almost my experience. Whatever voodoo Lily King uses in her writing made the pages just fly by.
Recommended For: When you need a book you won’t want to put down.
The Lost Boys Symphony by Mark Andrew Ferguson
I love books that blend genre elements with literary fiction. This book does just that, telling the story of a young man who is kidnapped by future version of himself after breaking up with his girlfriend and experiencing a mental breakdown. The plot of this one is bonkers, but at the core it’s a really heartfelt story about friendship and responsibility in the face of mental illness. I liked it a lot and can’t wait to see what Mark Andrew Ferguson writes next.
Recommended For: When you want a book that will make you pay close attention.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Crazy Rich Asians is a Pride and Prejudice inspired satire about the lifestyles of the rich and the astronomically rich families living in China, Singapore and Hong Kong. I enjoyed a lot about this novel – the humor, the story and the writing – and I’m curious about the sequel coming out soon. But I also couldn’t help feeling that if the book had been written by a woman, it would have been marketed as chick lit – that’s not a bad thing, just an observation about gender in publishing and marketing.
Recommended For: When you want something frothy and funny.
Find Me by Laura Van Den Berg
I think I read Find Me at the wrong time, a time when I was not in the mood for a literary, psychologically complex dystopian novel. The book is set in a hospital in the middle of Kansas where a group of survivors is quarantined from a plague affecting the rest of the world. Yet things are not all they appear, and eventually the protagonist has to make a choice about what to do next. The writing is just beautiful, and although the novel as a whole didn’t quite land for me, I still liked reading it.
Recommended For: When you want a book with beautiful sentences and complicated psychology.
The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
This book has lots of awesome things – multiple narrators, ballerinas, a prison for teenage girls and ghosts. I loved the shifting narration, the careful use of magical and supernatural elements, and the honest story that Nova Ren Suma tells about the complicated world of the friendship of teenage girls. This one creeped me out and made me laugh and kept me guessing until the end of the novel.
Recommended For: When you need a reminder that teenage girls can be scary and awesome.