A List of Great Books to Read Over Break

After being forced to read lengthy textbooks and analytical essays for an entire semester, prepare to finally have the time to read for pleasure over winter break! I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite books, from different genres and different authors. Even if you’re not a huge fan of reading, hopefully some of these titles will pique your interest! 

1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Unfortunately, this book was recently banned from school districts in Texas, even though it has become this year’s most popular novel.

The Hate U Give (symbolically titled to read as THUG) is about a sixteen-year-old teenager, Starr Carter, whose life changes dramatically after witnessing her unarmed best friend killed by the hands of a police officer. The book delves into important topics and themes, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, racism, friendship, and identity. Starr’s character is relatable to so many teens, trying to figure out who they are and what is important to them. The author, Angie Thomas, flawlessly captures the voice and struggles of a teenager – I read the entire book in one sitting.

The Hate U Give is also being made into a movie, starring Amandla Stenberg as Starr. The film began shooting recently, back in September, and unfortunately does not have a concrete release date out yet. Even if you don’t read this book – which I highly recommend you do – you have to make sure to watch and support this highly-anticipated film!

2. Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas

If you haven’t read the series yet, there’s an interesting backstory about the author and the inspiration for these books. Sarah J. Maas had been watching Cinderella, and noticed that when the not-yet princess was fleeing from the ball, the soundtrack had become way too intense for such a scene: “The music fit much better when I imagined a thief – no, an assassin! – fleeing the palace. But who was she? Who had sent her to kill the prince? Who might the prince’s enemies be? A powerful, corrupt empire, perhaps? And thus, Celaena Sardothien, the heroine of QUEEN OF GLASS, was born.”

Maas started writing the series, at the time titled Queen of Glass, on a popular online writing platform, FictionPress.com. As she received more and more positive feedback and recognition for her work, she took the story down and started sending it out to publishers.

The first book is a captivating read from the very first pages. The protagonist, Celaena Sardothien, has been imprisoned by the King of Adarlan – whose son wants her to compete among other assassins and thieves for the title of the King’s Champion as his choice fighter. She accepts, as it means freedom from the slave town she is imprisoned in, and goes with Prince Dorian to the castle to begin training.

Celaena is a cunning protagonist, a witty and very lethal 18-year-old. She is a strongly-written character with multiple complexities and flaws that prevent her from being unrealistic. There are currently six books in the series, each of them filled with more danger, fantasy, and incredible characters as the series continues. There will be one final book that comes out in September of next year, so you have plenty of time to catch up on the six books until then!

3. Kiki Strike Series by Kirsten Miller

Photo from tweenthings.files.wordpress.com 

The Kiki Strike books are another series of strong female characters, who are also teenagers. The story is narrated by Ananka Fishbein (a very strange name for quite an interestingly strange girl) who discovers a secret city below the streets of Manhattan. Early on in the story, she befriends Kiki Strike, the leader of the Irregulars – a diverse group of six girls with remarkable skill and talent. There aren’t any words that can describe Kiki Strike that do her justice. While Ananka is the narrator of the series, Kiki is very much the soul of the story.

Her mysterious background serves as the conflict for the first and third book, the second novel focusing on the strained friendship of the Irregulars. The series is filled with danger, romance, and history – a complete must-read for over winter break when you’re itching for an adventure.

4. Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Photo from Goodreads

I first read this book back in my junior year of high school—funnily enough, over my winter break. Once you start reading, you can’t put it down until you’ve reached the shocking ending and finally figure out what happened to Elise.

The novel’s protagonist, Anna, and her friends go to Aruba during their Spring Break of senior year where Anna’s best friend, Elise, is found brutally murdered. Anna becomes the prime suspect, causing her other friends and boyfriend to question her innocence and character.

Anna is a very, very, very interesting character – to say the least. She borders the line of being insufferably captivating, and throughout the novel you want to jump into the story and fight for her innocence. When I got to the end, I was completely shocked and forced one of my childhood friends to read it as well, who has still not forgiven me for putting her through that emotional roller coaster.

5. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

I came upon this book by accident.

While browsing through the young adult section in Brookline Booksmith, I was looking for a different author with the same last name, Laurie Halse Anderson. Peter Pan was always one of my favorite Disney movies to watch – even the live action film, Hook – and I became fascinated by the synopsis provided on the back of the book. It’s a beautiful story about Tiger Lily and Peter Pan before Wendy Darling came into the picture. Tiger Lily does not care for love stories or happy endings, but that all changes when she meets Peter.

She risks everything for Peter, but in the end, it’s not their dangerous enemies trying to keep them apart that she should be worried about – it’s Wendy. The novel is heartbreaking but absolutely wonderful. It was the first book I’d read in a while that truly made me feel something when I put it down, whether it was a brief moment of happiness or the continuous ache in my heart. I still have yet to find a book that makes me feel so strongly, as this one did.

If I could list each of my favorite books, I would – but there’s too many! I hope you enjoyed some of these selections and have a happy winter break!

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