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Reading is one of my favorite hobbies, but it’s been hard for me to make time for it during the school year. Between doing homework, participating in extracurriculars, and mindlessly scrolling through TikTok, setting aside time for reading hasn’t always been my first priority. However, I had a lot of free time during my socially-distanced winter break and decided to pick up a few books during my six weeks off. If you want to get away from your computer screen after a day of Zoom classes or get immersed in a different world before you go to bed, I’d recommend any of these books that I read over break. 

 

  1. Sense and Sensibility–Jane Austen

    1. Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books of all time, so I had high expectations going in. However, Sense and Sensibility did not disappoint! This novel tells the story of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, as they come of age and navigate their romantic relationships. The two characters are opposites in many ways–Marianne wears her heart on her sleeve, while Elinor is much more reserved and mature. The story unfolds slowly, but the characters are really well-written and relatable. Austen does a really nice job depicting how these clever and strong-willed women are bound by the social restraints of English society during the 1700s.   

  2. The Duke and I–Julia Quinn

    1. Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Netflix’s hit series, Bridgerton. I have yet to watch the show, but I started the book series that the show is based off of. The Duke and I follows the life of Daphne Bridgerton–the eldest daughter of the Bridgerton clan. The novel is kind of like diet Jane Austen–it’s set in a similar time period (late 1700s, early 1800s) and takes place in England. Daphne Bridgerton is of marrying age, but she’s having little luck in finding a suitor. Daphne forms a fake-courtship with the Duke of Hastings–an emotionally closed-off bachelor who’s declared that he will never marry. The pact benefits them both–it raises Daphne’s prospects and takes the Duke off the market, which means that he no longer has to interact with crazy mothers who want to marry their daughters off. However, the plan goes out the window when Daphne and the Duke fall in love. Will they stay together? Or will the Duke’s past break them apart? 

  3. Little Fires Everywhere– Celeste Ng

    1. This suspenseful novel takes place during the 1990’s in Shaker Heights–an idyllic suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. Author Celeste Ng tells the story of two very different families whose paths cross through their children. The Richardsons are a picture-perfect family that abide by the rules. Artist Mia Warren and her teenage daughter become the Richardson’s tenants, and their children quickly become friends. Everything is fine and well until a custody battle involving one of the Richardson’s friends divides the town. Ng’s characters are complex and dynamic, and her depiction of Shaker Heights reminded me of my childhood town. The plot doesn’t move super quickly, but the suspense Ng creates along the way makes the build-up even more exciting.

  4. Dark Places–Gillian Flynn

I love mystery novels, so I couldn’t possibly make this list without including one. This story explores the life of Libby Day–a young woman who survived an attack that killed her mother and sisters when she was a child. At seven years old, her testimony landed her older brother–Ben–into prison for life. Twenty-four years later, Libby starts to doubt her brother’s guilt after she’s contacted by Lyle, a member of a crime-obsessed secret-society. Written by the author of Gone Girl, this story is quick-paced and contains a twist at the end that I never saw coming. This book sucks you in from start to finish, but it might keep you up at night. 

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