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When life gets tough, we all wish we could just disappear from the real world and live in a different dimension. While we can’t physically run away from our problems, escaping into a world of mystical creatures, passionate romances, and thrilling adventures by picking up a book is a close second attempt.

To be honest, books are everything. When reading, you get to experience so many different events through the lives of characters. Your mind literally begins to expand when you read a new book. 

With that, Kenzie and Gaby have teamed up to share a list of books we think you should pick up RIGHT NOW. Most of them have LGBTQ+ themes or characters, too. 

Kenzie’s Recommendations

If you ever lose me, you should know that I WILL be in the YA section at Barnes and Noble. While Young Adult literature is my favorite category of books, I am still open to reading anything. Therefore, you may also spot me in any used book section to ever exist. I guess you can call me a book collector… But the sad part is that I don’t do a whole lot of reading. (One day, my TBR pile WILL kill me.) 

But out of all the books I have read, here are some you need to pick up ASAP.

On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden

This is a beautiful graphic novel that is very queer and very melancholy.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

As soon as I finished this book, I wanted to flip right back to page one.

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman 

This book is the kind of book I’d want to write. It presents platonic love in such a brilliant way. Alice Oseman is my new favorite.

Breathless by Jennifer Niven

A beautifully written book about firsts… It makes you feel like you’re actually on the beach.

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

This book is as good as it is frustrating… It’s all about misses and messy first dates. It’s funny and real.

The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis 

THIS. BOOK. It’s so beautiful and so sad, and just… Ahh. I cried. It’s about living in a toxic home while struggling with faith and exploring one’s own sexuality. It broke my heart. 

Gaby’s Recommendations 

Growing up awkwardly anti-social and desperate for a way to live in my own imagination, I seek books filled with adventures, journeys, and random friendships with creatures to fill up the empty space in my mind that was bored. Adventure, fantasy, and sci-fi novels usually fill that empty craving easily, but like Kenzie, any book with an appealing cover and interesting summary calls to me and will be added to my shelf.

The Sci-fi Classics: Like any old soul, some of my top favorites are the classic books everyone has read, seen when it was produced into a film, and at the very least heard of. 

Maze Runner by James Dashner

A whole group of kids trained in an evil-corrupted organization where they are sacrificed and tested in a post-apocalyptic world. You’re also bound to grow attached to almost all of the characters and be heartbroken more than once.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

A novel that really focuses on a world where a power-hungry government thrives on control and fills their bloodlust entertainment by watching children get picked to fight to survive every year until one girl challenges the system. The kind of Y/N energy we all want.

Divergent by Haper Collins

Another dystopian government-control series that separates society into different categories, one where you are tied to a lifestyle/career for the rest of your life. The best part? Tris, the main character, goes from a life where she is raised to be selfless to a faction where she is courageous and built into a soldier. 

The 100 by Kass Morgan

While the TV show on CW was amazing and a top pick for sci-fi films/series, the show has nothing against the original book. One hundred delinquents get sent to Earth after years of a nuclear war that made Earth unsurvivable and radioactive, they’re forced to survive and create a structural society to be able to survive.

Young Adult

In a Book Club Far Away by Tif Marcelo

A domestic fiction book that focuses on rebuilding a friendship between three army wives, a friendship that defies all odds. An amazing, moving, heartwarming read for those who really need a women-empowering pick-me-up. 

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

LGBTQ+ friendly novel that really highlights what most of us are currently going through: really growing up and trying to make it in the world by being an adult, balancing our love lives and friendships, and trying to survive everything the world throws our way.

Books in general provide one thing to us no matter their genre or plot: a state of serenity where our emotions can go all over the place, but at the same time leaves us with this longing or satisfied feeling. The world of books is our own safe place, our own escape.


RIT Communications student and Marketing/Publicity Director for Her Campus at RIT! Blogger, writer, and designer by day, latina and disability advocate by night. Blog: BeTheAesthetic.wordpress.com; art/designing account IG: @betheaesthetic
Mackenzie (Kenzie) is the Campus Correspondent for Her Campus @ RIT. She is studying English and Creative Writing, with a minor in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Kenzie's goal is to become an editor in the Young Adult publishing scene and to provide more accurate representation of intersecting identities.
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