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Five Novels I Recommend (And When You Should Read Them)

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 kingEuphoria 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 fergusonThe 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 kwanCrazy 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 bergFind 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 sumaThe 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.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • nikki @ book punks April 28, 2015, 5:58 am

    Well sh.t. Now I want to read all of these. Except maybe for Crazy Rish Asians because the man author lit lady author chick lit marketing thing has me feeling annoyed in its general direction, though that is rather irrational.

    Anyway, thanks for the recs.

  • Sarah's Book Shelves April 28, 2015, 7:32 am

    I love how you did this post! And, I sampled Find Me when I was looking for lighter reads and, while I liked the portion I read, it didn’t fit the bill of what I was looking for. Glad to hear it described as a “literary, psychologically complex” novel since that sort of confirmed my very early decision…I will probably come back to it later, though!

  • BermudaOnion(Kathy) April 28, 2015, 8:28 am

    Great idea for a post! I have a couple of these and need to get to them at the right moment.

  • Vasilly April 28, 2015, 10:21 am

    The Walls Around Us is going on my tbr list. It sounds pretty good. Love the subtitle of this post.

  • C.J. @ebookclassics April 28, 2015, 12:10 pm

    I just started reading Euphoria today! I also like how you immediately get drawn into the story. I haven’t heard of The Lost Boys Symphony, but like the sound of the premise.

  • Leah @ Books Speak Volumes April 28, 2015, 1:02 pm

    Love this post! And now I want to read all of these books.

    Re: The Walls Around Us, next time you want a reminder that teenage girls are scary and awesome, Megan Abbott is fantastic! (I don’t know if you’ve already read her?)

  • Jenny @ Reading the End April 28, 2015, 1:19 pm

    Ahhhh, today seems to be the day where I get talked into reading books I had sort of decided I wasn’t going to worry about. First Aarti praised VE Schwab’s new book to the skies, and now you report that The Walls Around Us has ballerinas in it. I can’t not read books about ballerinas!

  • Heidenkind April 28, 2015, 10:43 pm

    I had no idea Crazy Rich Asians was based off of P&P. Now I kinda want to read it.

  • Laurie C April 29, 2015, 5:00 am

    I listened to Euphoria on audio, and it was the same way. I hated when I had to stop listening.

  • tanya (52 books or bust) April 29, 2015, 10:38 am

    I so often pick a book based on my mood, so the idea of this list is great. Unfortunately, I’ve already read most of them, but totally agree with your characterization of them.

  • Laura Meyer April 30, 2015, 3:16 pm

    I loved listening Crazy Rich Asians–thanks for the recommendation! I think I’m going to hit up Euphoria next, mainly because of the rainbow Eucalyptus tree on the cover.

  • Heather @ Book Addiction May 1, 2015, 4:02 pm

    I’ve been seeing Euphoria everywhere lately, which I think is a sign that I need to read it! And my sister-in-law has been bugging me to read Crazy Rich Asians so I might get to that soon, too.

  • Katie @ Doing Dewey May 3, 2015, 12:24 pm

    Wow, this all sound fantastic! I almost always find that fiction based on a true story of some kind makes me want to grab some nonfiction on the same topic 🙂

  • susan May 10, 2015, 4:41 pm

    I need a quick read this week so I plan to turn to : Euphoria. It sounds right up my alley, thanks!

  • Julianne - Outlandish Lit May 10, 2015, 6:32 pm

    Oh man, Find Me and Euphoria sound like exactly what I want to read right now! And you make an excellent point about Crazy Rich Asians. That’s very frustrating.