As an avid reader, I always enjoy getting book recommendations from others. There’s something special about reading a book recommended to you by someone else, because you know it had to have meant something to the original reader for them to encourage another to read it.
1. All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven
“All the Bright Places” was one of those books that swept me away and ripped my heart out. The book tells the story of Violet, a junior who recently lost her sister in a car crash, and Finch, a boy who fights to stay “awake” and not fall into the “asleep” where he can’t function. The two get paired up on a project to wander their home state of Indiana, and slowly start to fall for one another. “All the Bright Places” alternates in the voices of Violet and Finch, allowing you to truly understand the emotions each is experiencing.
This book looks at loss, bipolar depression, and suicide, so do be warned.
2. Holding Up the Universe – Jennifer Niven
I love this author. I checked out both books from the library and ended up reading this one right after “All the Bright Places.”
Niven is a powerful author with serious talent. “Holding Up the Universe” is about Libby, a girl once nicknamed “America’s Fattest Teen” after she was cut out of her house years ago, and Jack, a boy with prosopagnosia, or an inability to recognize faces.
The two are as unlikely a pairing as Violet and Finch, but circumstances push them together. What I loved is how confident Libby is despite still having some weight on her, and how she doesn’t take anyone’s crap.
3. One of Us is Lying – Karen M. McManus
“One of Us is Lying” is one of those gripping books that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Five students—Bronwyn, the brain; Addy, the beauty; Nate, the criminal; Cooper, the athlete; and Simon, the outcast—all end up in detention.
Yes, that’s the titles from “The Breakfast Club.” And that’s how it starts—until Simon is killed in detention, and the other four are suddenly suspects. The book is told from the four suspects’ perspectives.
I couldn’t put this down. Just when you think you know everything that’s happening, McManus throws in something that changes everything.
4. Turtles All the Way Down – John Green
“Turtles All the Way Down” is special. It’s not your typical John Green mushy-romantic-angsty-teen book. This one looks at Aza, a girl who struggles with severe OCD. Green pulled on his personal experiences with the mental disorder and created a book that effectively shines a light into the mind of an OCD person.
5. Mirror Mirror – Cara Delevigne
Yes, the actress Cara Delevigne. This is actually a solid book. “Mirror Mirror” is about a group of four British teens in a band, each with their personal struggles at home. One member, Naomi, goes missing for months until she suddenly is found near a river, unconscious. The book follows the other three kids—Rose, Leo, and the narrator Red—as they deal with the loss of their friend, her reappearance, and attempting to find who took her.
This book was powerful. It looks at alcoholism, sexual abuse, family troubles, LGBTQ, and more.