Five Must-Read Novels


Florina Gola

Nowadays, social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, etc. are teeming with book recommendations. Thousands of book-related posts are compiled each day, which personally makes choosing my next book to read very stressful, as I don’t want to waste my valuable time with a book that doesn’t appeal to me. Consequently, I’ve compiled a list of the titles—along with my own spoiler-free reviews/synopses—of some of my favorite novels, so that you can determine which books are worth reading!


1. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is one of the best YA fantasy books I’ve read so far, and I love that it features a diverse cast of characters who are of different sexual orientations, races, ethnicities, etc. The main character is Adeline LaRue, a woman who was born in Villon-sur-Sarthe, France, on March 10th of 1691. Addie befriends an elderly woman in the woods named Estelle, who teaches her to pray to various gods, but only in daylight. At twenty-three, Addie is betrothed to a man she doesn’t know, and runs into the forest in an attempt to flee to freedom. 

There, she encounters a dark god, and makes a Faustian bargain to always be free. However, when the god, Luc, wants her soul once she dies, she barters with him so that she can live forever and hand over her soul once she tires of living. What Addie doesn’t know is that their bargain came with a drawback: she would never be remembered, whether it be through photos, writing, or simple memory, and she could never disclose her true name. About three hundred years later in 2013, Addie encounters a man who somehow remembers her. The novel continues to alternate between Addie’s past and 2013, and recounts how her relationship with Luc develops, as well as why the man she meets in 2013 can remember her.


2. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin


The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is the first novel of Michelle Hodkin’s YA paranormal fantasy series, the Mara Dyer trilogy. It follows an anonymous teen who assumes the pseudonym Mara Dyer, and chronicles her move from Rhode Island to Florida due to an accident that killed two of her friends and her boyfriend, but left Mara alive—albeit with no memory of that night.

When Mara discovers that she can kill others with just a thought, she and her friends Jamie and Noah are determined to figure out what really happened on that fateful night in Rhode Island. As Mara’s memories resurface from that night, she must figure out whether that night was just an accident, or if she killed her friends.


3. In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

In Five Years follows Danielle “Dannie” Cohen, a tight-laced corporate lawyer who has a five-year plan: marry her “perfect on paper” long-term boyfriend, David, and get a job at a prestigious law firm. The night she gets engaged, she has a dream five years in the future, and has another ring on her finger, a brand new apartment, and a completely different fiance. Dannie tries her best to forget about her eerie dream, until four and a half years later when she meets her best friend Bella’s boyfriend, Aaron, who happens to be the man from her dream. Dannie works to ensure that she and Aaron never interact beyond polite greeting in order to prevent her dream from coming true. Follow Dannie on her journey, and discover if or why she had that dream!


4. It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover 

Colleen Hoover’s It Ends with Us observes Lily Blossom Bloom and Doctor Ryle Kincaid, two adults that find each other on a rooftop, and have instant chemistry. Months later, Lily is opening a flower shop in Boston, and meets a woman named Allysa, who is looking for a job. Coincidentally, Lily finds out that Ryle is Allysa’s brother, and the two reconnect. They form a romantic relationship, but Lily encounters her first love, Atlas Corrigan, in Boston. Atlas and Lily’s reconnection threatens to bring her and Ryle’s relationship to an end, which Ryle desperately tries to prevent. It Ends with Us is my favorite book of all time, and features many plot twists that make the story realistic, unlike typical contemporary novels. Hoover’s writing truly makes you understand what it feels like to be in the situation that her characters are in.


5. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Rachel Chu and Nicholas Young are the two main characters of the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy by Kevin Kwan. In New York, Rachel is an ABC (American-Born Chinese) economics professor, while Nick is an urbane Singaporean history professor at the same university. The two are set up on a blind date, and form a strong relationship. Later on, Nick invites Rachel to Singapore for a summer trip to finally meet his family for the first time. 

However, what Rachel doesn’t know is that Nick’s family is an uber-wealthy family that comes from old money made through opium dealing and the medical field. Rachel must deal with Nick’s scheming mother, as well as cousins and relatives who want to rid their family of the “gold-digger.” To make things worse, Nick and Rachel must attend the wedding of business mogul Colin Khoo, which brings Rachel to the attention of money-hungry women who wish to swoop in and keep Nick for themselves. Crazy Rich Asians provides a lot of information on Singaporean culture, as well as how the rich perceive others.