With COVID-19 (otherwise known as Coronavirus) we are, unfortunately, stuck at home. That means that for many of us, Spring break isn’t what we had anticipated, and, as much as we miss seeing other people and going out, social distancing is our responsibility. So, while school is still out, why not pick up a book and get reading? But don’t know what to read? Then keep reading (pun-intended); you have come to the right place.
1. Recursion by Blake Crouch
This one-of-a-kind novel has won two literary awards, including being one of four Book of the Year finalists by Book of the Month club, as well as the Goodreads Choice Award winner for science fiction (2019). Recursion received 4.2/5 stars on goodreads.com, 4.4/5 on Barnes and Noble, and it is liked by 94% of google users.
Plot summary: Recursion is a science fiction book about time travel and the consequences, false-memories, the power to relive moments, and more. It tells the story of one cop and a neuroscientist trying to figure this all out, working together and fighting an enemy that is screwing with the very fragile fabric of time.
Notable review: Jason Sheehan with NPR sums up Recursion by Blake Crouch in his review: “If you had the chance, is there some moment in your life that you'd want to go back to? To take another crack at, knowing everything that you know now? Of course you would. But Recursion doesn't just ask you to consider the power, it wants you to see the consequences. All of them. It wants you to see the damage that travels in the wake of such choices. The bodies. The nightmares. And then it asks again: Still, knowing what you know now ... would you?” - Jason Sheehan, NPR. Read the whole plot summary and book review here.
Number of pages: 336
Published: June 2019
2. This is How You Loose the Time War by Max Gladstone and Amal Mohtar
This novel has won won four awards, including the Nebula Award Nominee for Best Novella (2019), and the Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Science Fiction (2019), among others. This book received 4/5 stars on Goodreads, 4.2/5 on Barnes and Noble, and is liked by 93% of google users.
Plot summary: “Two time-traveling agents from warring futures, working their way through the past, begin to exchange letters—and fall in love in this thrilling and romantic book from award-winning authors Amal-El Mohtar and Max Gladstone. Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future. Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war. That’s how war works. Right?” (goodreads.com)
Notable review: “The thrill of This Is How You Lose The Time War suddenly becomes not the time travel, not the war, not any of those things that no one could ever describe anyway, but just the connection between two lonely professional killers with the ability to inscribe letters on lava. After a thousand lifetimes spent fighting, the coalescent story becomes about how to finally stop. In a complicated universe where anything done can be undone before it ever happened, all that matters is simply finding a way to be together. No matter the consequences.” (Jason Sheehan, NPR)
Number of pages: 209
Published: July 2019
3. The Whisper Man by Alex North
The Whisper Man by Alex North is one of my own personal favorite books. It is filled with plot twists, multiple viewpoints, spine chilling realizations, and should be read with the lights on. It was featured as a Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Mystery and Thriller. It received 4.1/5 stars on goodreads.com, 4.5/5 on Barnes and Noble, and is liked by 86% of google users.
Plot summary: Author Tom Kennedy and his son Jake have recently moved to a new town for a fresh start, after the death of Tom’s wife and Jake’s mother. It just so happens that their new town, Featherbank, was the hunting ground of child abductor and murderer Frank Carter, nicknamed “The Whisper Man”, twenty years earlier. Just as they arrive, a boy about Jake’s age goes missing, under circumstances nearly identical to the abductions that occurred twenty years prior. Two detectives, Pete Willis and Amanda Beck are determined to find the boy. But, to make matters worse, Jake starts hearing whispers, and Tom starts to notice that his son’s conversations with his imaginary friend are getting a little bit strange.
Notable review: “The Whisper Man is a triumph. In the title character, Alex North has created a monster who comes alive in your imagination, who lingers in the shadows of your mind even after you’ve closed the book. [...] This book has that quality—its final line made me shudder and back away from imagining what happened next. In other words, Alex North has created that rare thing, an iconic villain—and something truly scary.” (Alex Michaelides, author of The Silent Patient)
Published: August 2019
Number of Pages: 355
4. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is a suspenseful thriller, a New York Times Bestseller (spending 41 weeks on their bestseller list) and the winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for mystery and thriller (2019). This novel received 4.1/5 stars on goodreads.com, 4.5/5 on Barnes and Noble, and is liked by 91% of google users.
Plot summary: In The Silent Patient, criminal psychologist Theo Faber attempts to solve one of the most notorious murder mysteries, except, everyone knows who did it, but the mystery lies in the questions of why, and, what happened? Alicia Barensen has a good life, and a good marriage with her husband Gabriel. But one night, she shot him five times and hasn’t spoken since, quickly capturing the attention of the media. Theo Faber is determined to get Alicia to speak, and finally solve the mystery of what happened that night.
Notable review: “The characters in this novel crackle with complexity—with genuine psychology—and a walk through their minds feels as risky and exhilarating as crossing a minefield. (I would here like to coin the term "mind-field.") This phenomenal interior novel defibrillates the ailing body of the psychological thriller genre. I’m delighted to invite readers into the world of The Silent Patient. Just don’t get too comfortable.” (AJ Finn, author of The Woman in the Window)
Published: February 2019
Number of pages: 325
5. Normal People by Sally Rudy
Normal People by Sally Rudy has won five literary awards, including second place winner of the Goodreads Choice Awards for Fiction 2019, Booker Prize Nominee for the Longlist (2018), Women’s Prize for Fiction Nominee for Longlist (2019), among others. It received 3.87/5 stars on goodreads.com, 3.5/5 stars from Barnes and Noble, and 78% of google users liked this book.
Plot Summary: Normal People is a book about the unexplained connection between two teenagers, Connell and Marianne. It follows their relationship through high school, college, and self-destruction--testing the limits of their relationship. For a more in-depth plot summary, visit goodreads.com.
Notable review: One notable review from goodreads.com reads: “It is a novel (for anyone, young or old) that simply presents the truth of youthful experiences without the filters of nostalgia or sentimentality. It invites you to inhabit the psyche of someone else – two someones: Connell and Marianne – to identify with them and to feel their pain and turmoil. For the reader who connects to that, it is wracking.” - Marchpane on Goodreads.com. It has also been featured and reviewed by NPR: you can read that review here.
Number of pages: 273 pages
Published: April 2019
6. Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano is a truly incredible and fresh book, being recently featured as a monthly book by the Book of the Month Club. Disclaimer: as it was published early this year, it didn’t receive any book of the year awards or nominations from 2019 or previous years like many of the other books on this list. Dear Edward received 4.2/5 stars on goodreads.com, 4.5/5 by Barnes and Noble, and is liked by 85% of google users.
Plot summary: Dear Edward is a gripping book that I recently finished. It is a gripping book that will make you smile, cry, and laugh. This book is about Edward Alder, a boy who was only 12 years old when flight 2977 crashed with him inside, killing 191 people including his own family, with him as the sole survivor. The book goes back and forth between flight 2977 on it’s last flight to Los Angeles, and Edward’s life post-crash as he comes to grips with his experience and tries to figure himself out. After the crash, he is the center of a media firestorm and sudden popularity with millions of people. He goes through middle and high school with his best friend and neighbor Shay, her mom Besa, and his aunt and uncle. It’s a heartwarming tale that will pull you in starting on page one. Jenna Bush Hager, co-host of “Today with Hoda and Jenna” says, “Ultimately Dear Edward is a story about how we are all connected and how we can lift each other up.” - Jenna Bush Hager (book of the month).
Notable five-star review: “It’s thought provoking in a number of ways - how does a young boy bear his grief, this loss, the trauma of what he has experienced but it made me consider how little we know of the burdens that people whose paths we cross might carry. This book is full of sadness, without a doubt, but it is also filled with shared sorrow, love, friendship and caring. A beautiful story.” - Angela M. on goodreads.com
Published: January 2020
Number of pages: 352
7. This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger is a heartwarming tale. One of my personal favorite books, it was one of the Book of the Month’s Book of the Year Finalist as well as a nominee for the Goodreads Choice Award for Historical Fiction 2019. This Tender Land received 4.4/5 stars from goodreads.com, 4.9/5 from Barnes and Noble, and is liked by 84% of google users.
Plot Summary: This Tender Land is set in 1932 Minnesota, at The Lincoln School, a terrible, abusive, place where Native American children are sent to be educated. There, two orphaned brothers Odie and Albert are pushed to their limits and they escape with their Native American friend Mose, and a little girl named Emmy. They travel across the country in a canoe on a search for a place to call home. Still pursued by law enforcement for the so-called “kidnapping” of little Emmy, the children meet some incredible (and not-so-incredible) people, experience love, endure hardships, and learn the true meaning of family. According to goodreads.com, “This Tender Land is an enthralling, big-hearted epic that shows how the magnificent American landscape connects us all, haunts our dreams, and makes us whole.”
Notable review: “This book is everything I want in a fall read: warm, heartfelt, and chock-full of observations on the natural world. Odie and his compatriots remind me of the savvy, adventurous children that occupied books from my childhood—the kids from Bridge to Terabithia come to mind—rendered all the more believable by William Kent Krueger’s lyrical prose. If you too enjoy a story brought to life by its environment (looking at you, Where the Crawdads Sing fans!) then snuggle up under an autumn tree with a copy of This Tender Land.” (Brianna Goodman, Book of the Month Editorial and Content Manager)
Published: September 2019
Number of pages: 450 pages
8. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a fun book featuring a forbidden romance, sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. Daisy Jones and the Six is a national and New York Times Bestseller, a New York Times editor’s choice book, and it was named one of the year’s best books by The Washington Post, among others (google books). It was also Book of the Month’s Book of the Year 2019 Winner, and goodreads.com’s Goodreads Choice Award for Historical Fiction 2019 Winner. This book received 4.21/5 stars on goodreads.com, 4.6/5 by Barnes and Noble, and 87% of google users liked this book.
Plot Summary: “Told in a series of interviews (the book is made up entirely of dialogue from the members of the band and their inner circle), Daisy Jones gives you a backstage view of the epic rise, and agonizing fall, of one beloved rock band. Through the lyrics, the petty squabbles, and the long tours, you learn how they found their magic, and why, eventually, they had to let it go.” (Author Katherine Center - bookofthemonth.com)
Notable review: “Daisy Jones & The Six works. It’s big dumb fun. Like a vat of movie popcorn saturated in butter-flavored topping, you inhale the thing against all better judgment.” - Karen Heller, The Washington Post
Number of pages: 355 pages
Published: March 2019