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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Coastal Carolina chapter.

Known as one of the most acclaimed millennial authors—especially within the realms of the social media book communities, Sally Rooney has engraved her name into the concrete sidewalks of the internet with her three novels. It is almost impossible to meet a “book-toker” or “bookstagrammer” who has not at least heard of one of her books.

Sally Rooney was born in Castlebar, Ireland and attended Trinity College in Dublin. At Trinity, Rooney collected a degree in English and then went on to do a masters degree in Politics—that she did not complete and instead decided to study American Literature. Although it seems like her speciality is fiction, Rooney’s first publication actually happened to be poetry. You can read these publications in an Irish literary magazine called The Stinging Fly, which Rooney actually became editor of between 2017 and 2018. She still remains a contributing editor of this magazine although she handed the title as editor-in-chief to someone else. Rooney also published a non-fiction piece in 2015 titled Even If You Beat Me, which resulted in her being scouted by a literary agent who became interested in other work from her.

Sally Rooney’s books follow themes of relationships, sex, identity, and politics. She is a big fan of the miscommunication trope, which she uses as a tool to showcase the intensity of these themes in a person’s life. She published her debut novel, Conversations with Friends, in 2017, and her second novel the following year, Normal People. Both books have gained critical praise and popularaity and have been adapted into television series. Normal People aired on Hulu in 2020, starring Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal, who have both benefited in their careers since being a part of this adaptation. Conversations with Friends is set to air May, 2022, in perfect time for summer binge-watching. Her latest novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You (2021), is also a worthy read and proof that Rooney has mastered her craft and found her niche in fiction.

Rooney calls herself a Marxist and makes this evident in her writing when examining her character through a marxist gaze. Like in Normal People, with the contrasting difference between class with the wealthy-but-unpopular Marianne and lower-middle-class-but-well-liked Connell whose mother works for Marianne’s family as a maid. These differences in the class often are the cause of the miscommunication between them. In Beautiful World, Where Are You, the marxist theory is much more clear though the letters that two friends, Alice and Eileen write to each other directly discussing politics. With Beautiful World, Where Are You, she made the decision to not sell to a Israeli-based Publishing house in a campaign to stand against Israel’s oppression on Palestianians. In Lucy Knight’s article she says, “she did not feel it would be right to collaborate with an Israeli company ‘that does not publicly distance itself from apartheid and support the un-stipulated rights of the Palestinian people.’”

I’m sure you already have a Sally Rooney book on your incredibly long and daunting Goodreads’ TBR, but hopefully you take this as a sign to move it up the list and make one of her books your next read.

Brittney Plusnick

Coastal Carolina '23

Brittney Plusnick is an undergraduate student at Coastal Carolina University, majoring in English. In her free time she enjoys writing, traveling, and spending time by the ocean.