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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Brandeis chapter.
  1. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Summary: Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon at Stanford Hospital, was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic lung cancer. In this posthumous memoir, Paul shares with us his story, as well as his ideas about how to approach death and his ideas on what it means to be alive. 

  1. Turtles All the Way Down   by John Green 

Summary: In this book, John Green takes us into the mind of a 16 year old girl suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder. With the help of her friend Daisy, Aza solves the mystery of the missing billionaire. Green artfully weaves mental illness with a riveting story line about teen romance and a missing billionaire. 

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 

Summary: Starr Carter is faced with the tension that arises from her two worlds: the black, mostly poor neighborhood she lives in and the white, wealthy prep school she attends. After witnessing the fatal shooting of her best friend, Starr feels the tensions rise from both worlds and as her reality is shattered, Starr must fight for what is right. 

  1. Girl In Translation by Jean Kwok 

Summary: Girl in Translation is the riveting story about an immigrant girl, faced with the tensions of two cultures. Kimberly Chang struggles to understand her place in a foreign country as well as carry out her family obligations. Faced with increasingly heightening pressures to fit in, Kimberly must either remain true to her family, or shed her immigrant identity and adopt a fully American one. 

  1. My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry  by Fredrik Backman

Summary: In this fantastically whimsical story, Backman writes about Elsa, a seven year old who is different, and who’s best (and only) friend is her 70 year old, crazy grandmother. At night, Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother’s made up world: The Land of Almost Awake — a land where no one needs to be normal. After Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves her with letters apologizing to the people she’s wronged, Elsa’s adventures truly begin. 

  1. House Rules by Jodi Picoult  

Summary: This book follows the story of Jacob Hunt– an 18 year old boy diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome — a form of high functioning Autism — and charged with the murder of his social skills tutor, Jess Ogilvy. Through this book, Picoult discusses the Autism spectrum and what happens when the system works against people with forms of Autism. 

  1. The Woman in the Window by A.J Finn

Summary: This book is a chilling tale about a thirty year old psychologist — Anna Fox — who, although intelligent, is agoraphobic, had a mental breakdown, and has shut herself off from the world, namely her husband and young daughter. Anna is visited by Ethan, her neighbor who befriends her and by Ethan’s mother, a woman whom she is convinced was stabbed to death. 

  1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Lainni Taylor

Summary: Karou, an orphaned girl adopted by demons, wanders the streets of Prague, drawing and questioning who she really is. Enter Kazimir: a hot guy who isn’t what he seems and ropes Karou into helping him stop a war. 


  1. The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande 

Summary: In this non-fiction book, Atul Gawande discusses how hospitals can become more efficient and reduce deaths by implementing the use of checklists, an idea first made popular by pilots. 

  1. The Confession by John Grisham

Summary: In the town of Sloan, Texas, a high school cheerleader was murdered and a black football star, Donte Drumm, was tried and sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit. Meanwhile, in Topeka, Kansas, the recently paroled and dying convict Travis Boyette confesses to the crime to Pastor Keith Schroeder. Will Pastor Schroeder and Boyette make it to Texas in time to prevent the execution?

Photo Credit: Fremont Library, Chicago, IL