We all have times when we struggle to find books to read, and so I will use this page to list my top recommendations for each genre. It will be updated whenever I read a new book which I feel deserves a mention.
For the YA Contemporary reader…
- ‘We Were Liars’ by E. Lockhart – A mysterious story with an unreliable narrative, where you will always want to be one step ahead but almost always are not.
- ‘Looking for Alaska’ by John Green – My personal favourite John Green, with a dash of romance and a splash of humour, but also tackling some serious issues and the unknown of the ‘Great Perhaps’.
- ‘Wonder’ by R.J. Palacio – A must read for all ages, about understanding and facing personal issues that seem like an impossibility to overcome.
- ‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell – One completely relatable girl embarks on a journey of maturity, understanding and independence as she faces the trials of university, love and growing-up.
For the Adult Contemporary reader…
- ‘Where Rainbows End’ by Cecelia Ahern – an epistolary novel from childhood to middle-age, telling of the importance of friendship, and why we should probably take a chance when it comes to romance.
- ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini – A modern classic about a young boy’s experience of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, and a poignant story of redemption and putting old moral ghosts to rest.
- ‘The Rosie Project’ by Graeme Simsion – A funny tale of unconventional love with the concept that there is someone out there for everyone.
For the YA Fantasy reader…
- ‘Throne of Glass’ by Sarah J. Maas – A story of an empowering female protagonist, kickass action, a dash of mystery and just a little bit of magic.
- ‘The Assassin’s Curse’ by Cassandra Rose Clark – Pirates meet Assassins in this tale of magic, love and trying even when things seem impossible.
- ‘The Young Elites’ by Marie Lu – A blurring of the lines between heroes and villains produces a dark story of how our experiences affect our behaviours, with magical powers and a band of political protesters thrown in.
- ‘Stolen Songbird’ by Danielle L. Jensen – A young women kidnapped by trolls and trapped under the mountain realises that she may be able to help them to their freedom after all.
For the Adult Fantasy reader…
- ‘Furies of Calderon’ by Jim Butcher – A lighter read of the genre, perfect for the transition from YA to older-audience high fantasy.
- ‘Beowulf’, author unknown – Arguably the oldest piece of English literature, this Epic poem is said to have inspired J.R.R. Tolkien and many other fantasy legends.
For the YA Sci-Fi reader…
- ‘The 5th Wave’ by Rick Yancey – A quest to find a lost brother, an attempt to avenge a sister’s death and a trial of escaping the aliens which now conquer the Earth.
- ‘I Am Number Four’ by Pittacus Lore – The challenge of whether one alien should run from the race threatening the last of his species, or hone his abilities to challenge them and preserve the only remains of his world.
- ‘The 100’ by Kass Morgan – Four points of view tell of their struggles as they leave their spaceship home as criminals, ready to face Earth for the first time in generations, knowing full well that the quest could kill them.
For the lover of Fairytales…
- ‘Beastly’ by Alex Flinn – A ‘Beauty and the Beast’ retelling of coming to terms with yourself and how it is the internal beauty which matters over the external beauty.
- ‘Stardust’ by Neil Gaiman – A magical tale of a man’s struggle to conquer love, a power struggle for the crown, and of how things are never usually as they seem.
For the Dystopian fan…
- ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell – A political statement hidden within the trials and tribulations of a farm full of animals.
- ‘We’ by Yevgeny Zamyatin – The inspiration for Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’, this classic is a thought-provoking warning in the shame of a seemingly utopian society.
For the Historical Fiction fan…
- ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ by John Boyne – A tale of innocence and unwavering belief in the time of the Holocaust.
- ‘Alone on a Wide Wide Sea’ by Michael Morpurgo – A children’s story with more serious themes, following one man’s journey from his arrival in Australia as a boy to his adult journey to find his long-lost sister.
For the Crime and Mystery fan…
- ‘The Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side’, ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ and ‘Curtain’ by Agatha Christie – Stories of how an inquisitive little old lady and a loveable Belgian man can solve even the most complex and meticulous crime.
For the lover of Magic and Supernatural…
- ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ by Laini Taylor – A girl’s quest to understand who (or what) she is, mingled with forbidden love and the uncertainty of her guardian’s doings.
- ‘The Iron King’ by Julie Kagawa – A faerie forbidden love story with a strong female protagonist, an attractive male love interest and a best friend you cannot help but love.
- ‘Blackbringer’ by Laini Taylor – One faery’s return to her homeland, where she discovers that her heroes of myth and legend may not be as far from her way of life as they seem.
For the fan of the popular series…
- ‘Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief’ by Rick Riordan – A children’s introduction into Greek mythology with a loveable bunch of identifiable characters.
- ‘City of Bones’ by Cassandra Clare – A mix of angels, demons, magic and superhuman powers telling of equality, self-belief, and how anyone has the power to do good or bad.
For the Classics fan…
- ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck – A tale of how friendship and dreams must prevail in times of trouble.
- ‘The Railway Children’ by E. Nesbit – A children’s classic of three children adapting to their new life, and the permanent question of whether their father will return.
- ‘Before Green Gables’ by Budge Wilson – The official prequel to ‘Anne of Green Gables’, giving us an insight into exactly how Anne became the character we all know her as.
- ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ by William Shakespeare – A classic play which entertains and inspires by mixing traditional comedy with social messages.
For the younger/tween reader..
- ‘Doll Bones’ by Holly Black – A ghost story where the message lies not in the creepiness, but in how you do not have to hurry into growing up and leave magic and imagination behind.
- ‘Cherub: The Recruit’ by Robert Muchamore – A young boy becomes a spy with a division of the British Security Service after his mother’s death, and gets embroiled in countless missions to bust the adults who have been evading arrest.
- ‘Keeper of the Lost Cities’ by Shannon Messenger – A twelve-year-old discovers that she is not human but an elf, in fact, an elf who knows things that she shouldn’t know and just can’t quite remember them.
Those indie authors who deserve more credit…
- ‘Candyfloss Guitar’ by Stephen Marriott – A tale of self-discovery and magical realism as a man journeys the Camino de Santiago.
- ‘Blue Karma’ by J.K. Ullrich – Climate fiction at its best, this is the story of three teens’ struggles as water becomes scarce due to climate change.
That book which everyone should read…
- ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ by Mark Haddon – A poignant book about a boy with Asperger’s and his take on the world, providing a fascinating and important message that everyone and anyone can learn from.
- ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ by J.K. Rowling – The magical children’s classic that took the literary world by storm, and is certainly worth a read at least once in everyone’s lifetime, young or old.
- ‘The Hobbit’ by J.R.R Tolkien – The classic children’s fantasy story of dwarves, elves and wizards with a focus on friendship and doing the right thing.
- ‘A Monster Calls’ by Patrick Ness – An emotional story of one boy’s struggle with his mother’s illness, and his inability to let go, challenged by an omniscient magical figure.
- ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ by Katherine Paterson – A heart-wrenching coming-of-age story that will cause anyone of any age to reminisce on their childhood memories.