As spring semester begins, and with it the hassle of a burgeoning schedule, we will likely find ourselves sacrificing some of our hobbies due to utter exhaustion. Last year, my recreational reading fell by the wayside, and I decided to trade out some of my screen time for a return to literature. But with so many options and so little time, it can feel like you’re spending more time looking for a good book than actually reading one. So here are a few reads to get you started:
- You’ve Reached Sam by Justin Thao
After Julie’s boyfriend Sam dies in a sudden car accident, she’s left reeling. She desperately calls his cell phone, only for Sam to pick up and respond. Their sudden connection provides opportunities for closure and acceptance amongst members of the community but also serves as an obstacle, with Julie unwilling to say goodbye to Sam. A story about grief, guilt, and reconciliation, You’ve Reached Sam will smash your heart to smithereens and then slowly piece it back together just in time for the finale.
- If I Fix You by Abigail Johnson
When Jill Whitaker’s mother leaves without so much as a goodbye, Jill is the only one aware of the reason behind her mother’s departure. Alienated by her secrets and unable to do what she does best, fix things, Jill comes to realize that she’s the one who needs fixing most of all. Johnson doesn’t shy away from investigating complex relationships, and every character will absolutely pull at your heartstrings.
- They Cage the Animals at Night by Jennings Michael Burch
Detailing the true story of Burch’s childhood, They Cage the Animals at Night depicts the gritty realities of orphanages, institutions, and foster homes. From financial hardships to abusive homes, Burch has survived it all and lived to tell the tragic tale. Demonstrating both the darkness and kindness of humanity, this book is the only autobiography that I have enjoyed reading, despite its dark contents.
- Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
The first in a trilogy, Serpent & Dove beautifully showcases Mahurin’s gift for creating charismatic complex characters. The book focuses on Louise “Lou” le Blanc, a witch on the run, and Reid Diggory, a Chasseur sworn to kill all witches. In a twisted turn of fate, the two are forced into marriage and all hell breaks loose from there. This novel is one of my personal favorites, and I can’t wait to finish the trilogy.
- How to Disappear by Ann Redisch Stampler
Nicolette Holland is on the run, a suspect for the murder of a girl from her hometown. Jack Manx is in hot pursuit, forced to kill her due to an unfortunate family history. But when the two finally meet, nothing goes according to plan. Admittedly, I’m still currently reading this book, but I’m heavily invested in the outcome. Switching between Nicolette and Jack’s perspectives every chapter, the book’s narrative may be more unreliable than one may think, and I’m excited for what’s to come.