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Not having time to read for fun in college frustrates me every single semester. I miss being able to go through a book or two in only a few days. To satiate my want to read, I figured I would take a look at my bookshelf. These are some of the books that are on my To-Read list and what I think makes them unique and worth reading. Without further ado, here is a little peek at what I have on my bookshelf!

Kids Like Us by Hilary Reyl

I’ve been wanting to read this book for the past five semesters! I picked it up because the protagonist, Martin is a person with a disability. He has Autism. I am double majoring in early education and special education so this immediately piqued my interest. We talk often in class about authentic representations of people with disabilities in media and I have never read about with a protagonist like this before. I want to know how Martin is portrayed. Of course, I am also excited by the plot. Martin moves from Los Angeles to a small town in France while his mother works on producing a major film. Martin begins making new friends at his new school and even thinks he’s falling in love for the first time! But something comes up that makes Martin believe that his friends only like him because of his famous mother. 

I can’t wait for when I have enough time to read this book and have all of my questions answered!

Inappropriation by Lexi Freiman

I was intrigued by this book at first because of the cover. The art style really drew me in and made me curious. My curiosity was reinforced by the reviews that I saw for it on goodreads.com. They were very mixed and the main thing I heard about it was the author was ‘trying too hard.’ The protagonist, Ziggy, goes on a wild coming of age adventure at her new private all-girls school. The journey includes Ziggy’s understanding of feminism, racial and ethnic identity politics, and other aspects of intersectional inclusion. I, personally, and interested in all of those topics, and the humor from the few pages that I skimmed seemed up my alley. The satire in this book may not be everyone’s taste, but I am excited about it!

Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America edited by Ibi Zoboi

I normally never read anthologies. I tend not to enjoy short stories as much as novels because I end up always wanting more. However, I saw this book and immediately added it to my basket when shopping. Even as a 21-year-old college student, I am still coming to terms with my ethnic and racial identity (see my article that talks about this!) and the title pulled at my heart-strings. I can’t tell you what any of the stories are about yet but the title is self-explanatory. I want to read this book because it pertains to my own identity, but I am certain it will be a great read for anyone else.

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

I bought this book for two reasons. The first reason was that I took a children’s literature course last semester that really opened my eyes to the academic benefit of graphic novels and what I’ve been missing all of these years by avoiding them. Also, my professor went on to mention that YA and Adult graphic novels exist and that they may be more friendly for busy college students who don’t have enough time to read novels anymore. The second reason was that I want to read more LGBTQ+ literature. I’ve noticed a pattern that I only read heteronormative literature and I think that it’s silly to limit myself. I love sappy romance novels and it shouldn’t matter whether the protagonists are gay, bi, or straight. This one has an adorable art style and an empowering plot against emotional abuse in relationships. 

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old by Hendrik Groen

If I’m being honest, I can’t put my finger on what really caught my eye with this book. If I had to define it, I would probably say that the title itself is a great hook and the fact that it seems to be a memoir is even better! The book talks about a year in Henrik’s life living in his elderly care home. He expresses that he is still full of life even if his body doesn’t quite agree anymore. I have never read a book with an elderly protagonist before so I am eager to earn what Henrik believes about old age.

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks 

Here’s another romance graphic novel that I grabbed from Barnes & Noble. I love Rainbow Rowell’s novels so I am sure I will love her graphic novel as well. I don’t know too much about this book, but I do know that I like the feature of an interracial couple and the art style is cute! It reminds me of Steven Universe.

The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson

This is a fantasy novel with historical fiction undertones. Set in Grenada, Spain during the Spanish Inquisition, two Muslim characters, Hassan and Fatima, use their magical powers to escape tyranny and religious oppression. If I’m being honest, the synopsis of this novel is a little bit too short for me to really glean anything from it, but I think this just makes me want to know more. 

Bloom by Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganucheau

Last but not least is another romance graphic novel. Bloom is another LGBTQ+ romance and is SO sweet! I added this one last because I have actually started reading it, but I’m not very far yet. Ari is an angsty 19-year-old who wants to move to the big city with his friends in order to make it big with their band. But, his family business is at risk if he leaves. Ari goes on a quest to find a replacement for him at the bakery. In doing this, he meets Hector, a culinary school student who is more than happy to take the job. They bond and the rest is very predictable. If you pick any book off of this list to read, I recommend this one. It’s light, it’s fluffy, and it makes you feel good. 

There are many, many more books that I have sitting unread on the shelves. I want to get around to reading every single one of them eventually, but these are the ones I thought were most intriguing to me as of today. I hope this article serves as motivation for you to pick up a book that you’ve been waiting to read or as motivation to go to your local library to see what they’ve got. Happy reading and happy spring semester!

Samantha Kress

Millersville '21

Samantha is a dual early education/ special education major with a minor in integrated STEM. On campus, she is involved in the Student PSEA, Creative Writing Guild, Marching Band in the color guard, and now is a part of the HerCampus team!
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