As a young adult literature fanatic, I don’t often make my way to regular fiction shelves. Fortunately, when I made my to-read list for this year, I added a sizeable amount of adult fiction. I also ended up reading a few other random titles along the way as I don’t say no to books, especially when your mother is recommending one or you’re getting a free copy at a book publishing convention.
These books all opened me up to unknown moments in history, previously unexplored perspectives, and stomach-knotting scenarios. I firmly believe that fiction is at its best when it challenges you in some way.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer: For your BBC period piece addicts and historical romance lovers, this has slow-burning romance, untold WWII tales, and a small town full of quirky tales. It’s a fun read that my mom and I both loved.
The Mothers by Britt Bennett: This 2016 hit was an incredibly compelling story to sit down with at the start of 2017. Save this for a long weekend, because you’ll find it hard to put down.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel: I stayed up late reading this novel. I raved about this book for weeks after finishing it. I had friends text me upon reading it to say they wish they could eat this book so the words could stay with them forever. It’s like if the author of The Time Traveler’s Wife wrote The Road, but had all the creepy and gross stuff occurs off-page. This is a post-apocalyptic novel that’s focus is not on government or science or battle, but on the minutiae of life that will have no place when modern civilization collapses in the wake of rapidly fatal, widespread disease.
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt: Set in the 1980s when homosexuality and HIV were hella taboo, the story focuses on a teen girl grappling with her uncle’s death and the secrets of his life she never knew despite their close bond.
The Turner House by Angela Flournoy: If you love multi-generational family dramas, this is a book you’ll want to settle down with. Don’t let the extensive family tree scare you off from this wonderful story.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender: If you’re in for some magical realism and a plot that goes beyond anywhere you could possibly imagine in the best way possible, then settle down with this book. You’ll certainly be stunned by all the peculiarity in its pages.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan: The first in a series of three books about–you guessed it–crazy rich Asians, this book is perfect for anyone who loves stories of the lives of wildly rich people and the food, fashion, and architecture that surrounds them. The unfathomable luxury and bank account balances are paired with common narratives of family and romantic relationships in crisis. If Gossip Girl and The Clique series were your jam in your adolescence, this will captivate you just as much.
The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whitall: This relevant work of literary fiction explores the aftermath of a family in a small town when the father is accused of sexually assaulting several of his female teen students.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi: This story follows many generations of Africans from their ancestors in Ghana to their contemporary experiences in U.S. having come via slave ships or later as immigrants from Africa. It’s a beautiful, heartbreaking story that covers many historical moments and social issues, revealing their impact on many generations to come.
Room by Emma Donoghue: Holy crap, this book was intense! I listened to the audio book, which made it feel like a crazy theatrical production that had me on the edge of my seat. If you’re into narratives about the children of women abducted and kept as sex slaves and what their return to the real world might look like, this is the book for you. Between the narrator being a five-year-old boy and all the psychology in the latter half, I loved this book.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: If, like me, you’re super later to reading this Pulitzer Prize winning work of historical fiction, then you need to add this to your to-read list pronto. There’s a blind girl, a Nazi soldier, radio broadcasts, a hunt for a hidden gem, and a French coastal town all caught up in the horror of World War II.
What are your favorite fictions books that you’ve read this year?