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READING REVIEWS: Add Sally Rooney’s Books to Your Reading List

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SDSU chapter.

From Colleen Hoover to Emily Henry’s books, TikTok has played a huge role in the popularization of many young adult romance books. However, I feel one author has been completely overlooked: Sally Rooney. The Irish author has written a plethora of New York Times bestsellers, all of which focus on perplexing relationships, an array of social dynamics, and spontaneity. With only three books published so far, two were already brought to life in the Hulu television series. While similar in themes, each of her three books zoom in on stories that make readers question their own relationships and aspects of their life. While I’m still reading her most recent book Beautiful World, Where Are You, here are my thoughts on her two most popular books!

1) Conversations with friends (2017)

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The shy college student and writer, Frances, has gone through her life with most things handed to her. Through her somewhat possessive and outgoing best friend, Bobbi, Frances meets a photographer and her husband Nick. While Frances usually lies under the radar, she catches Nick’s attention. Despite being married, Nick entertains a relationship with Frances. While at first, their affair held no emotional meaning, over time, France’s inevitable feelings came out.

The book follows Frances and her relationship with a married man. Frances not only struggles to come to terms with her own identity but the various relationships in her life like her inconsistent friendship with Bobbi or her unreliable parents. Conversations with Friends leads readers to question the standards and meanings of their own relationships, as well as their relationships with themselves. 

My thoughts: 

Rooney’s first novel focuses on an abnormal relationship, giving readers the opportunity to see a different perspective on a primarily looked down upon and taboo topic. Using an affair, Rooney displays the various sides seen in relationships and self-identity, which readers can relate to. Conversations with Friends was definitely a heavier and more enticing read, which I was not expecting, but definitely enjoyed. The unconventional plot and the emotional characters made it hard to put the book down. Rooney included just enough plot points to keep the reader engaged, which helped balance out the deeper themes. 

If you’re looking for a book different from most romantic storylines and focused on a college student trying to find herself and understand life around her, I definitely recommend you read Conversations with Friends!

2) Normal People (2018)


Normal People focuses on Marianne and Connell, polar opposites who eventually realize they are more alike than they thought. While Marianne is a social outcast and Connell is one of the most popular boys in school, they one day realize their instant connection and start a secret relationship. When they left home for college they lost touch, but later found each other at the same school. After growing up, they seem to switch roles, with Marianne finding her place while Connell becomes shyer. Despite the time apart and their evolving personalities, the inseparable Marianne and Connell still found themselves unable to actually make their feelings for each other known.

Throughout the book, we follow the couple through their highs and lows, ultimately leaving the readers wondering whether or not they will finally tell each other how they feel.

My thoughts:

Rooney’s most popular book encapsulates young love and the troubles that come with it. Normal People was the first book of hers I read –the characters and storyline immediately drew me in. Rooney doesn’t hold back with her tear-jerking and sometimes frustrating plot, illustrating the roller-coaster relationship between her characters. Similar to Conversations with Friends, Normal People also includes some unexpected heavier issues from abuse to depression, but it only further illustrates the deep and healing relationship between the characters. 

I highly recommend reading Normal People out of all of Rooney’s books, especially if you want to read a different and deeper side to a relationship. 

If you’re looking for a new book to add to your reading lists, definitely consider adding any of Sally Rooney’s books. All of her books contain a deeper and more complex perspective on a variety of plots and more specifically, the dynamics of relationships. While only around 400 pages each, Rooney’s books offer a short but perplexing read, any reader can enjoy. 

I’m a first year journalism major with an emphasis in advertising! From writing Op/Eds to reviewing newly released albums, I love pursuing my interests in journalism and learning about a variety topics. I am so excited to be apart of Her Campus!!