Reading Recs

Looking for your next great read? Here are some of my go-to recommendations:

Young Adult

Note: many of my favorites here are the first books in trilogies, but every single one of them is brilliant and complete on its own.

  1.  Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  2. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (first in the Mara Dyer trilogy)
  3. Legend by Marie Lu (first in the Legend trilogy)
  4. Logan’s Run by William F. Nolan
  5. The Archived by Victoria Schwab (first in the Archived trilogy)
  6. Delirium by Lauren Oliver (first in the Delirium trilogy)
  7. The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence
  8. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
  9. The Diviners by Libba Bray (first in the Diviners trilogy)
  10. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  11. The Named by Marianne Curley (first in the Guardians of Time trilogy)
  12. Lirael by Garth Nix (actually #2 in the Abhorsen trilogy; I read it without reading the first book, but if you want to start at the beginning, pick up Sabriel)


  1. Vicious by V.E. Schwab
  2. Wool by Hugh Howey (first in the Silo series)
  3. John Dies at the End by David Wong
  4. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
  5. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
  6. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  7. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
  8. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  9. The Cider House Rules by John Irving
  10. Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy

Middle Grade

  1. The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand
  2. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  3. Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier
  4. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George (first in Julie of the Wolves trilogy)
  5. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer (first in the Artemis Fowl series)

Do you have a reading rec for me (and others reading)? Leave it here!


37 thoughts on “Reading Recs

  1. A suggestion for a poet to read . . . Rilke. As for reading, I tend to read philosophy and psychology and “self-help” and spiritual books more than history and fiction. But I have read both “The Prince” and “The Little Prince”–both were excellent, though I thought the former was a prequel to the latter, so I was a bit disappointed at first when i read it and found out it wasn’t. (j/k 🙂

    • Yes! Rilke. I will add him now 🙂 I’ve actually had Letters to a Young Poet on my bookshelf, unread, for quite a while now…perhaps it’s time to dust it off and crack it open! Thank you for your suggestion.

      • Hello Julie,

        Thank you for responding, and you are welcome for the suggestion.

        Translation is something I forgot to mention. For “The Prince” I like Daniel Donno’s (Bantam Classics) translation — it just reads so smoothly. And for “Letters to a Young Poet” I like both Mitchell’s and Herter Norton’s translations, but I tend to prefer Mitchell’s a bit to Norton’s though sometimes a combination of the two translations would even be better! (And letters no. 7 and 8 are my favorite!)



    • Thanks for the suggestion– it looks like a great read! I really like stories where one culture meets another (usually with difficulty, but always with richness, humanity and beauty)…particularly The Kite Runner and Everything Is Illuminated!

  2. I saw that you’re going to read something of Dante and Machiavelli. I am Italian, and if I can I would recommend you read some novels of Beppe Fenoglio and Antonio Tabucchi. I do not know what the criterion that some names are well-known abroad and some not so… However, they are very deserving!
    As poets, again for the case of Italy, the best I think Francesco Petrarca and Giuseppe Ungaretti.
    Bye 🙂

    • Thank you very much! I welcome all suggestions and especially poets, as (at least outside the American NaPoMo) I never seem to get my full dose of poetry. Fiction is of course my first love, so I’ll have to check out Man Without Qualities and City and the City, too 🙂

  3. I’ve always heard that “Cider House Rules” is great! I’ll purchase that this week! I’m excited! And you must read Alice in Wonderland and Love in the Time of Cholera! Wonderful reads! Enjoy, and thank you!

  4. Hi, Julie–I’d recommend adding House of Sand and Fog by Andre DuBus III. I’ve read his more recent Garden of Last Days, which is also excellent, and his memoir, Townie, but for brilliant literary fiction that’s also a riveting read, you can’t beat House of Sand and Fog. It was a finalist for the National Book Award, too. And have you read The Book Thief? Such creative narration–

    Speaking of creative, you’re doing a beautiful job with this website!

    • Hi, Lynne– thank you for your wonderful suggestions! I have been hearing good things about The Book Thief for a while and am definitely adding it. Now off to read up on House of Sand and Fog!

      Thank you also for your kind words about the blog 🙂

      • And one more idea; have you read any John Steinbeck? how about The Grapes of Wrath? such an American classic and so representative of Stenbeck’s major themes. For example, In Dubious Battle seems almost like a rehearsal for writing Grapes–working through his theme and how he saw the individual as part of something larger and holy. Pantheism. Plus, it’s such a vivid portrayal of a significant period of American history.

        • Yes! Steinbeck has been on my list forever. Unfortunately all I have read of his to date is a short story, but I do intend to get to both The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men in the not too distant future! Thanks for your recommendations, Lynne.

  5. Awesome list! I have a few suggestions, based on what you are reading:

    1) Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (Southern Gothic)
    2) Watership Down by Richard Adams (Better than the animated movie)
    3) Illusions by Richard Bach (Inner Spirituality)
    4) Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (Stoic Philosophy)
    5) We Have Always Lived in this Castle by Shirley Jackson (Paranormal)
    6) Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (Dark Fiction)
    7) The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Literary Fiction)
    8) Animal Farm by George Orwell (Literary Fiction)

    And thanks for following my blog 🙂

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