EXCLUSIVE: Top Ten Book Suggestions

Goodbye to All That (2013) by Sari Botton

51txpg6qddL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_I’d never read a short story compilation before quite like this. If I had to draw a comparison, I’d say it’s similar to the Chicken Soup books, which I used to love, so I figured I would enjoy this as well. It was a gift for my 26th birthday from my mother. I finally got around to it this past summer. Taking a page from Joan Didion’s essay of the same name, it’s a collection of memoirs from various writers about their time spent in the greatest city of the world. As someone striving to do the same, it was a great read for me. But even without the personal connection, it would be an interesting book for anyone. It paints a picture of New York throughout the years and is full of sharp, poignant stories.—Danielle Tepper

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Something Borrowed and Something Blue (2005) by Emily Giffin

Something-Borrowed-Something-Blue-Emily-GiffinI’d recommend this pair to a friend looking for a lighthearted, engrossing read. It has it all: friendship, love, marriage, work, oh and cheating, lots of cheating. Like, sleeping with your lifelong best friend’s fiancé months before the wedding where you are the maid of honor. What’s great about Something Borrowed is for once, the nice guy actually finishes first. Something Blue completely turns the tables and you just won’t be sure whom to root for in the end. These books never get old; I’ve read them about 10 times. Emily Giffin is a fantastic writer and is not to be missed. Make sure you have a day to dedicate to these books (beach read anyone?) because you will not be able to put them down.—Cat Stroh

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Firefly Lane (2009) by Kristin Hannah

Firefly-Lane-2009-198x300This is the only book that has ever actually made me cry. Emotional books don’t typically affect me in the same way that film does; that’s probably understandable to most people. While I cried like an 11-year-old who never got a Hogwarts letter during Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the books never actually got a tear out of me (goosebumps, chills, and chest-clenching anxiety maybe, but no tears). So imagine my sad surprise when this novel hit me late one night and made me reach for the tissues. I entered a chick lit phase during college and Firefly Lane was one of the first that sucked me into the genre. It tells the story of two best friends, Kate and Tully. Their story begins when they meet in eighth grade and follows the next thirty or so years of their life, both together and apart. There’s a gut-wrenching twist at the end that blindsides both character and reader. You won’t be able to put it down.—DT

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Harry Potter (1997-2007) by J.K. Rowling

harrypotterEbks1If someone asked for a recommendation of a book series that will change his or her life forever, I would recommend Harry Potter (because duh). There are simultaneously no words to describe how outrageously amazing Harry Potter is and also an infinite amount. Harry Potter is a lifestyle, an alternate world that you’ll so desperately wish was real and in the back of your mind maybe half believe that it might be, because if it did then your life would be complete. I was lucky enough to grow up with Harry Potter and mature right along with the beloved characters. I cannot imagine how barren my childhood would have been without this cherished series in my life; like growing up without Disney! J.K. Rowling is so incredible, you have to read this series if you haven’t already.—CS

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Identical (2008) by Ellen Hopkins

51h0CF2GCpL._SX355_BO1,204,203,200_I’ve always admired Ellen’s style of crafting her prose into visual metaphors. A passage about alcoholism takes the shape of a bottle, heartbreak is designed to look like a fragmented heart. And she tackles tough stuff like a warrior. Abuse, addiction, broken families, all of it is addressed with poetic grace. I haven’t read much of her new ones, but my favorite is Identical, a grim story about teenage twins. What. A. Twist. I’ve never read such a mind-blowing reveal before or since. Even if you think you won’t like her style, try it anyway. And if you don’t like this one, know that her work just probably isn’t for you.—DT

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Perfect Match (2002) by Jodi Picoult

Perfect_MatchLooking for a suspenseful crime novel to keep you on the edge of your seat where you practically trip over the words because you just can’t read them fast enough? Well, this book is for you. I’ll admit, Jodi can get a bit tired after awhile as every.single.one. of her novels involves a crime, usually with terrible things happening to children, and very intense, detailed courtroom scenes. However, if you were going to read one of Jodi’s, I would recommend this one. She’s a phenomenal crime fiction writer and if you like Perfect Match as much as I did, you’ll be sweating with anxiety. One of the greatest things about this one is you think it’s all cut and dry and you’re sure you know what happened, but can it really be that simple? No! It has a great, truly surprising twist and that really sets it apart.—CS

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The Host (2008) by Stephenie Meyer

41jSK8l9sUL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_First things first, DO NOT watch the movie. A good rule of thumb for anything by this author is to just stick to the literature. The very moment a sub-par actress is assigned to annihilate the careful picture you have in your head, it all goes downhill. (In hindsight, I enjoyed the Twilight books more than I thought I would, but The Host was far better.) It was her first attempt at an adult novel, supernatural and engaging. If you’re looking for something very different, give it a shot.—DT

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The Truth About Forever (2004) by Sarah Dessen

51737The Young Adult genre is such a unique genre that holds so many special books on its shelves and The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen is definitely one of them. As a pre-teen, teen, and young adult I would read this book about once a year. It was an escape from the crappy world of teenage years and provided so many life lessons. For instance, follow your heart. You don’t have to take the path that you are told is the correct one. Take the other one, the one you’ll love where you’ll have fun and enjoy life and meet the cute, misunderstood, artsy guy. Oh Sarah Dessen, you captured everything in this book.—CS

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A Trip to the Beach (2001) by Melinda & Robert Blanchard

5120PRK154L._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_I don’t read many nonfiction books, but this one intrigued me. It’s the true story of a husband and wife team who decide to abandon mainland living to open the restaurant of their dreams on Anguilla and spend their days living on “island time.” It’s all steel drums and palm trees until a hurricane turns their lives upside down. Don’t read on an empty stomach; the Blanchards write with recipe descriptions so vivid, you can almost taste the words.—DT

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Wild (2012) by Cheryl Strayed

61K2brgIMrLTo anyone feeling lost. To anyone feeling depressed, beat down, addicted, drowning, struggling: please read Wild by Cheryl Strayed. This is a memoir of a woman who is completely lost and drowning in life after the death of her mother, who then amazingly hikes the Pacific Crest Trail by herself, is born again, finds herself, and comes out the other side a different person with a few less toenails. Strayed’s writing is absolutely beautiful and so damn inspiring. I cherish this book and the time I spent with Cheryl while reading it. I want everyone I know to read Wild so we can discuss it and what it meant to us.—CS

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