Book recommendations for non-readers

Finding the right book for you, or someone else, when you don’t read very often or are unsure of what you would like can be very hard. It took me a while to get in the loop with the major series that people in the book world liked, such as Throne of Glass, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and Red Queen. But even once you find those key series, and read them, you are without reading material once again and are in the same situation. So, here are some recommendations for you, or a friend, if you are interested in getting into reading but don’t know where to start.

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Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan

It is hard to go wrong with this book when it comes to 8 to 14 year olds. However, even as a 20 year old, I appreciate this series just as much as I did when I was in that age range. Riordan’s writing is witty and fun and never has a dull moment — there is always either some kind of action or a clever comment being made. The characters are hilarious and relatable and there is so much Greek mythology involved in the series that it is truly educational. (Do not base the book series on the movie series, the books are decidedly better)

Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night

This book is best explained as the more light-hearted version of Harry Potter. A young witch-type character is told she has powers and is taken to a school to learn the unique kinds of magic specific to the world of Croswald. There are so many delicious-sounding foods and whimsical adventures to keep a reader of any age enthralled, although it feels considerably younger.

Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman

I haven’t picked up this series since I was 10, but I still think about it a lot. It actually inspired one of my first short stories ever, though it is currently unfinished in my binder of childhood writings. Since it has been such a long time, I don’t remember much about it, but I do remember falling head over heels for it. It has a darker vibe to it which I hadn’t been introduced to yet as a younger reader, but it is still a great middle grade read.
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Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

This was one of the series mentioned in the above paragraph that pushed me even deeper into reading and really broadened my view on books. It is also super popular and is beloved by so many readers. In it, we follow a young assassin who is forced into the king’s competition to be the king’s personal mercenary. From there series really goes on a whirlwind and I know I can always count on these books for a great story. It can be a tad racy at times, so if you are sensitive to sexual things, in the Empire of Storms book there are a few scenes that are more mature, though the preceding books don’t have any to my knowledge.

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

This is a twist on the classic Beauty and the Beast tale where we follow Nyx, a young girl destined to marry the terrifying demon king controlling her land because her father made a faulty bargain and she was the price. However, once she enters his castle to meet him and marry him, she uncovers a lot about his past unbeknownst to even himself. I apologize if you are sick of hearing (or seeing) me gush about this book, but I just still cannot get over it and it has been like an entire year.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Speaking of books that left me in a book coma… As a book-loving, fantasy writing soon-to-be 20 year-old, this was the most relatable book. Cath was just dropped off at college with her twin sister by her father who struggles with mental illness. Cath wants to finish her gay wizard fan-fiction, but a couple boys, her father’s spiraling behavior, and her sister’s partying get in the way. It is funny and awkward and so realistic. If you are in college or going to college, this book is a must-read.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

This novel was inspired by Ancient Rome with an empire oppressing its people with a vicious military. We follow Laia, whose brother was arrested for treason, and Elias, who is a member of the military, as they are fighting against two different sides trying to control them. There is so much magic and many great quests to follow the characters. And it’s hard to forget the amazing plot twists.

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

This is the most feminist novel I have ever read. Mariko is the daughter of a samurai who was practically born for marriage in a Japanese-based culture. When she goes to meet the man she was betrothed to, her caravan was ransacked. As the lone survivor, she tries to uncover who put the target on her — however, she gets caught up in a treacherous group of young men and she has to fit in as a male to save her life and uncover the truth.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

This book is far more mature and for this series, if you are sensitive at all to sexual or mature content, please do not pick it up. With that in mind, this book is about fae beings and a human girl who is brought across the border between the mortal and fae lands for killing a member of the Spring court while hunting to feed her family. The High Lord of the Spring Court, however, sees her as more than a criminal. This book is daring and beautiful and is everything I ever wanted. I adore Rhysand. That is all.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I actually have yet to read this book, but I will be picking it up after I finished my current read. I have seen the movie, and loved it, and believe that this plot would be perfect for a non-reader as it is new and exciting. Nick’s wife goes missing, and when the police gets involved, all the fingers get pointed at him. To prove his innocence in her disappearance, he has to track her down somehow. Then there is the plot twist of the century.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

For those of you who love classics or would like to try a classic, this is the perfect place to start. It is still new age as it is set in the roaring 20s, but it is dazzling and whimsical. Nick moves in next door to a mysterious man who is filthy rich, but no one is quite sure exactly who he is. Gatsby begins to take an interest in Nick when he sees Nick is friends with a woman named Daisy who he has his eye on. It’s a, literally, wild ride following these curious and quirky characters through such a fun era.

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