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1. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

This was easily one of my favorite reads from last year. Like most teenagers my age, I grew up with the Percy Jackson series, which brought the tales of Greek mythology to mainstream American culture. Of course everyone knows who Achilles is, but there’s a lot of debate as to whether or not he and Patroclus were lovers, friends, or something else. In The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller assumes that Achilles and Patroclus were in fact lovers, and creates a beautifully written love story spanning their early adolescence into the Trojan War. Fair warning: you will cry ugly tears at the end of this book, but it’s so worth it.

2. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuinston

I’m usually not a fan of contemporary romance, but seeing this book all over the internet encouraged me to try it out. It’s a hilarious, well-written love story between the son of the US president and the prince of England. It includes all of the greatest tropes in fiction – including everyone’s favorite enemies-to-lovers. It’s honestly such a comfort book, and it definitely gets you out of a reading slump if you ever find yourself in one.

3. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone pales in comparison to Leigh Bardugo’s spinoff duology – Six of Crows and its sequel Crooked Kingdom. The 6 main characters are all extremely well-written, and each of their love stories are unique and unconventional. On top of that, the plot is amazing and well written. I finished Six of Crows in just two days because of how incredibly well done it is. It’s a well-paced fantasy novel that any fan of Shadow and Bone should read.

4. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

If I’m being honest, I’m not the biggest fan of science fiction. Nevertheless,  Ready Player One was easily one of the best science fiction novels I’ve ever read.  It’s filled with 80’s and 90’s pop culture, including TV shows, video games, and movies. The beginning is a little difficult to get through because of all of the world-building and explanations. But once you get past that, you simply can’t put it down. I finished the last half of the book over the course of a 5 hour shift at work, and I regret absolutely nothing.

5. Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas has a unique ability to write plots so addicting that you don’t notice how long the book is. This book is about 800 pages, but despite the size, it’s easy to follow. The plot is well-written and complex, the world-building is a bit complicated but fantastic, and the characters are well-rounded and not one-dimensional at all. For fans of Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses, this book is something new and different, as it’s set in a world more relatable to modern audiences. The sequel, House of Breath and Sky, comes out in February 2022 and I absolutely can’t wait to keep reading.

Risa is a freshman at Michigan State University studying business. She loves to write, bake, and watch TV. In her spare time, she can be found playing Sudoku or keeping up with whatever Bachelor show is currently airing.
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