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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Ottawa chapter.

I’ve been a bookworm since I was a child. Back in elementary school, you could often find me underneath a tree in the schoolyard, nose deep in my latest read. Those were the days when I could finish a book in two to three days, maximum. Now that I’m older, I have less time and motivation (boo!). 

However, during the pandemic, I picked up the habit as a way to combat the melancholy that I’m sure we were all experiencing from being stuck at home all day. Now, two years later, my TBR pile is growing taller by the minute, and I keep having to renew books at the library because I just have so many to read at once!

With that being said, I am always on the hunt for new recommendations—and I don’t doubt that you are, too. Here’s a short list of books I’ve read recently that I’ve adored. 

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

I wrote a review on this one a while ago, but it deserves an honourable mention here. I’m a big sucker for books that show humanity at its core, and this one does a fantastic job of that. My favourite part of this book was following each character through their lives—it made me feel closer to them, especially because their lives are so different.

Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

I’ll admit, I only made it through half of this one… because I had to return it to the library (it’s okay, I put it on hold again and I’m very much looking forward to finishing it). My favourite books are contemporary ones; to me, this book is the epitome of that genre. It tells the story of Caitlin, a young girl in high school whose older sister runs away on her 16th birthday (not for any particularly bad reason) and how that singular event shapes her life. What’s mesmerizing to me is that, despite how abnormal Caitlin’s situation is, the author makes you feel connected to her. I mean, yes, you’re literally in her head because the book is written from a first-person POV, but she tells the story in a way that makes you feel personally impacted by what she goes through. 

Beneath a Starless Sky by Tessa Harris

Now I love historical fiction, especially when it involves a romance (bonus points if there’s an aspect of forbidden love to it, which this one has). Lilli Sternberg is a young Jewish ballerina living in Germany in the years leading up to World War 2. She has dreams of starring in Hollywood films, but all that takes an abrupt turn during a chance encounter with a handsome Italian soldier, Marco. Things get even more complicated when the war breaks out and rumours soar that Marco is to be recruited to join the Nazis. What is the fate of their relationship? Is it doomed for failure? How will they survive? 

Every time I turned a page in this book, I was gasping. It’s one of those stories where you think you know what’s going to happen, but you really don’t. It’s the definition of an emotional rollercoaster—except, no matter what mental turmoil it puts you through, you can’t put it down, because you need to find out what happens. 

If this article encourages you to pick up any of these books, let me know how you like them! Or, if you’ve already read them, I would love to hear your afterthoughts, too!

Up next in the series: If You Loved This Book, Here’s What To Read Next. 

Nina Popovic is a fourth-year student majoring in Conflict Studies and Human Rights, and minoring in Communications at the University of Ottawa.