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Fiction Reviews: Books That Might Pique Your Interest

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 Tulane chapter.
  1. Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

Before reading this new novel by Yoon I had read one of her other books titled Everything Everything. Her writing style is quite unique and has a way of making her words read as smoothly as waves ebbing and flowing on a sunny day. Although her book seemed targeted towards younger ages, it was still an easy read if you need a heartfelt romantic escape. Her novel follows a high school girl who is coping with the recent separation of her parents. The manner in which their marriage ended, her father having an affair, has led the protagonist Yvette to evaluate her outlook on love. She believes that falling in love is not worth the risk of heartbreak and betrayal that she witnessed between her own parents. When she stumbles upon a book called Instructions for Dancing, Yvette suddenly obtains the power to visualize the fate of others’ relationships. On her quest to remove these new abilities, Yvette stumbles into a romance herself, one that is burdened with her disapproval of love. This charming story captures the gut-wrenching heartbreak of romance yet also the all-consuming joy with the quote “If you get very, very lucky in this life, then you get to love another person so hard and so completely that when you lose them, it rips you apart. I think the pain is the proof of a life well lived and well-loved.” This is perhaps one of my favorite quotes from the book, and it’s Nicola Yoon’s favorite too. 

  1. Grown by Tiffany Jackson

I stumbled upon this book on a random park bench in Boston with my friend. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed this book. The story eerily aligns with the horrors of R. Kelly, giving insight into how people in power can abuse and manipulate people, especially young girls. The author had been in a similar situation herself and wanted to share a story that allows young Black girls, like she once was, to feel less alone. The author gracefully explores how stereotypes and racism can exacerbate these horrors. Although there is a content warning along with this story, I think Tiffany Jackson beautifully tackles the tough topics of abuse, addiction, and kidnapping. It is important to note that just because this story was able to have a happy ending, in real life this isn’t always the case and it’s important to know not all victim’s stories are able to hold the same outcome. The protagonist, Enchanted, becomes involved with the superstar Korey Fields while she is trying to make it big in the music industry. Despite their age difference, and Enchanted being a minor, the two go on tour together with the promise of Enchanted being able to record her own album. The lies and torture that Enchanted faces at the hands of Korey Fields can be hard to read, but Jackson allows those tears to fall and forces you to hold Enchanted close to your heart. The details of the victim’s story is never an easy read, but if you are able to digest these heavy topics, Grown is definitely worth the read. Prepare to change your perspective on what it really means to be “grown”.

  1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Although this book was given to me by my mother, reading it was part of a tradition with my friend where we read a book and then watch the movie together. Out of all the books we’ve chosen for our little tradition, this was my favorite one. Delia Owens perfectly calculates the suspense and anticipation of a murder mystery book while also making space for a love story. Where the Crawdads Sing takes place in 1960s North Carolina where the “Marsh Girl” is accused of murder. The novel takes you from the past to the present, exploring the traumas of growing up secluded in the marsh whilst incorporating a courtroom drama that reminded me of a book I read depicting the Scopes trial. With the author’s love of nature and her own story of isolation in Africa, this book can find a way into everyone’s heart. Even though we haven’t all lived completely isolated for years, loneliness is something we can all relate to, especially after living through the pandemic. It is very touching to see how people choose to navigate this loneliness and what can come from unchecked independence. While this book will go down as one of my favorites, the only drawback I encountered was the lack of dialogue, however, that is merely a personal preference. If you’re looking to feel some sadder emotions and yet enjoy when a book has the capacity to bring you to tears, then this one’s for you. I do, however, not recommend the movie.

  1. The QB Bad Boy and Me by Tay Marley

If you’re anything like me, you grew up spending hours on Wattpad. Looking back most of those “books” were quite cringy and horribly written, but they still hold a special place in my heart. Wanting to go back to those days, I bought The QB Bad Boy and Me and hoped to feel that same spark I felt as a middle schooler reading Wattpad romances under the covers way past my bedtime. To my disappointment, those days belong in the past. This book was very clearly made for someone in middle school, but it was still a fun read that brought me back to that period of my life. The writing style was pretty bland and the characters lacked the chemistry I expected them to have. There was very little buildup to the budding relationship, which I think is required for any romance book. It was missing all of the typical Wattpad quirks that made these stories so special for me as a child. Personally, I don’t think the book is worth the read, but I do think it was just made for a much younger audience. If you’re looking for that Wattpad essence, I would recommend The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood.

Stephanie is a sophomore at Tulane University. She is double majoring in Psychology and Anthropology as well as minoring in Chemistry. When she's not writing you can find her sipping an oat milk latte at Mojo or shopping on Magazine Street!