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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 U Ottawa chapter.

It’s no secret that I’m a mood reader, though I’m sure many people can relate to that. Whenever I find myself in that perfect reading mood, I immediately grasp at it and try to take advantage. That’s when I usually get through my bigger books or books that I’ve put off. However, more often than not, I’m stuck in a reading slump and it sucks!

These five books are what got me excited to read again, which is deeply appreciated by my end-of-year reading goal!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower has always been one of my favourite books of all time. It’s emotional and hits me right in the feels every single time. I have a deep adoration for this book since it came to me at a perfect time in my life. Re-reading it brings me a sense of comfort like no other book has. When I met my boyfriend for the first time and we started dating, I annotated this book for him because it meant so much to me! I could go on about this, but it truly is my favourite book, which is why I go back to it when I need a reminder of why I love reading so much.

The main character, Charlie, narrates as if he’s writing letters to the reader. He recounts the order of events of his freshman year of high school as if it’s happening to him in real time, which adds to a more intimate reading experience.

Books that are easy to read and straight to the point make it easy to get engrossed in the plot and the characters—this is what Chbosky does fantastically. Be prepared to cry if you pick up this one.

If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio

This was the first dark academia book I’ve ever read and, I will admit, TikTok did influence me to start reading this novel. I read If We Were Villains in around three days because I was so enthralled by the story. The incredibly fast pace of this book will keep you guessing as to what happened to the ensemble of characters despite already knowing the inevitable outcome right from the beginning. It makes the intensity of the situation all the more dire, and Rio keeps that uneasy feeling of mystery throughout.

Since this is dark academia, the academia side plays a part in the plot quite a bit. All of the characters are obsessed with William Shakespeare, but even with my minimal Shakespeare knowledge from high school this wasn’t too much of an issue. It goes by incredibly fast, and that’s exactly what I love about these books that make me hungry to read another immediately afterward.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This book has been talked about endlessly on BookTok and BookTube, but I have to agree with the TikTok girlies that it’s worth the read! This book is juicy. It feeds my inner need to be nosy—because we all have that friend who loves to gossip and share things they know, so who am I to stop them from telling me?

The character work for Evelyn is stellar and she’s such an interesting protagonist for the simple fact that she’s not a good person. She’s someone who crawled her way to the top even if she had to do questionable things to get there. This is another book that is incredibly difficult to put down due to its pacing, and the way it is written makes you question whether you want to like Evelyn or even root for her after everything she’s done. Overall, a fantastic read that I would recommend to anyone.

A Certain Hunger by Chelsea G. Summers

The concept alone was enough to make me pick up the book. It’s about a food critic who is also a cannibal and she retells the story of her life up until she got caught for all her crimes. What really got me excited to read this book were the questions of ‘how’ and ‘why’ she committed her crimes. She describes life as a woman in a man’s world, and, while this book certainly has morbid descriptions of how she cooks and devours her victims, the writing style is amazing.

A Certain Hunger is a character study of Dorothy Daniels, our main character, and being in her head is a fantastic experience especially since Summers’s writing style is really what gripped me into the story. That is, if you can stomach the gruesome details!

Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree

This novel is an outlier in the entire list because, while the other books I’ve named are enthralling reads you can’t put down, Legends and Lattes possesses a much cozier vibe. This book is part of the fantasy genre but without the perils or stakes of other books. Sometimes I find myself getting tired of intense plots where the world is on the brink of destruction, and would rather mellow out with a mythical creature wanting to sell coffee with her sapphic girlfriend.

Set in a fantasy world about an orc retiring from her adventuring party to open up a cafe, this is her story of how she builds it all from the ground up from refurbishing an old building to ordering her very first coffee machine to hiring an assistant and a chef. The stakes are very low in this book, and I think that it was the healthy break I needed from the intense books I usually go for. Baldree truly made me appreciate and love the medium of writing and cozy world with this one, which is why I chose Legends and Lattes as the perfect book to close out the list.

For the creation of this list, I wanted to choose books that were gripping through their prose, storyline, and page length. If you’re struggling to trudge through your TBR, think about giving one of these a try! You may find a new favourite piece to pick up in your reading slump.

Janica Adame

U Ottawa '25

Janica, or Jay, is a third-year honours psychology student looking to pursue counselling. They play a lot of video games, read too many books, and pick up hobbies that are forgotten almost immediately. She looks forward to seeing her partner in the UK soon and loves to write a bit too much.