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An Avid Reader’s List of Easy Books for Beginners and Busy Students

It’s difficult to keep up with reading during the school year. I begin each semester with a list of books I’d like to read. I’m adamant that I’ll spend my spare seconds reading, not watching Netflix. This concept sticks with me until classes ramp up a month in, and then I start to lose steam. It’s hard to follow a detailed book when you have to read it in segments of an hour or less. For that reason, I’ve decided to compile a list of books that I have read that are all quick, entertaining and easy to read.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery)

This is the book that reignited my passion for reading. Owens tells a story that includes prejudice, resilience, survival and hope as she details the life and trial of a young girl named Kya. Kya lives and learns in the marsh near a small fishing village. The locals call her Marsh Girl, some believing she is feral or a witch, while others who haven’t seen her think she’s merely a legend. 

When a well-to-do young man is murdered in the town of Barkley Cove, locals immediately assume it was Kya. The novel shifts back and forth from Kya’s life story to her trial, in a way that keeps readers on their toes, wondering what will happen and who truly killed him. I cannot recommend this book enough, it was so easy to read and such an enjoyable experience. Concepts of love, learning and living outside of your comfort zone are all discussed in a way that will make you question your own thoughts and beliefs. 

Quote: “I wasn’t aware that words could hold so much. I didn’t know a sentence could be so full.”

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (Young Adult, Romance, Mental Health)

I’m not one for Young Adult books, sometimes they can feel too preachy to me or like a watered-down version of what they could be, but “All the Bright Places” caught my attention. Unlike “Turtles All the Way Down” by John Green, which discusses OCD drowned in cheap philosophical thought, readers of “All the Bright Places” are actually given an emotional, raw look into mental health. I was relieved when Niven didn’t bend to overused stereotypes or perfectly cure everyone by the end of the novel. Readers follow two high school seniors through challenging times, and Niven shows the good and the bad in a way I haven’t seen done before. 

Theo Finch has untreated bipolar disorder. When his mind is awake, Finch lives to capture the essence of life, but his bad days are debilitating. He meets Violet Markey, a classmate who recently lost her sister and can’t cope with her death. Violet and Finch learn and grow together, but soon Violet realizes that even their friendship can’t stop his worrying states.

Quote: “You are all the colors in one, at full brightness.”

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby (Young Adult, Mystery, Magical Realism)

Holy Moly. My friend bought this for me as a gift because it had a bee on the cover and was about a disappearance: two things that interest me. Best gift ever. I am so grateful that I was able to experience this book, and hopefully my summary convinces you to read it as well! It is a longer read but I was able to easily read it in many parts. I wanted to include it on this list because despite its size (nearly 400 pages) I flew through it, as did many others according to Goodreads reviews.

Bone Gap is a small farm town where everyone knows everyone, but few know their secrets. The novel begins after a young girl named Rosa disappears from Bone Gap as oddly as she arrived. Finn O’Sullivan is the only person in Bone Gap who knows Rosa was kidnapped, but he can’t remember the face of the man that took her. The townspeople believe that she left willingly, that Finn should just drop it and move on, but he is determined to save her. Ruby details Finn, Rosa and the people of Bone Gap’s interesting pasts and unique presents, as readers are left to question what will become of their future. 

Quote: “People look, they don’t see.”

What are you waiting for? Go to your local library, get your Kindle, open an audiobook app or borrow from a friend, but start reading!

Morgan Casey

Bradley U '23

Morgan is studying marketing at Bradley University with minors in professional writing and business analytics. After college she plans on pursuing a career that involves brand marketing.
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