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

With all of the downtime at home that I had this year due to the pandemic, it is no wonder that I wound up reading so many great books. The great thing about reading is that you always end up learning something new and are transported to different places and events through the writing. I am proud to say that I read a total of thirty books this year, but I narrowed the list down to the top five that I highly recommend to all of you.

1. Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid 

This was one of the first novels that I read this year, and it set the bar incredibly high. Set in the 70’s, this book is a fictitious account of an up and coming singer and troublesome rock band that come together to form a new group that transcends the music scene at the time. While the characters and songs detailed throughout are all fictional, I was still dumbfounded several times over how real everything felt. By the end of the book, I was desperately wishing that the band actually existed so that I could find their music online and listen to it. Daisy Jones & The Six is completely unforgettable and worth the read.

2. Beach Read by Emily Henry 

Just reminiscing about this book makes me want to read it all over again. I was expecting a light-hearted romance novel but was pleasantly surprised to find that Beach Read ended up being so much more than that. The story follows two authors that are living next to each other for the summer who agree to the challenge of writing books with genres that the other usually writes. What captivated me about the book was both the progression of the characters’ relationship and their dialogue. I still vividly remember finishing the last chapter on a plane and quietly tearing up in my seat over how much I loved the ending. All I can say before I start to accidentally spoil anything is read Beach Read!

3. Know My Name by Chanel Miller 

I wholeheartedly believe that everyone should have to read this book. This is the memoir of Chanel Miller, the woman whose name was first brought to light when she revealed herself as the victim in the heavily publicized sexual assault case on Stanford University’s campus in 2015. Miller reclaims her identity in the book as she pens her experience of both the night of the assault and through the years of trial after. Know My Name is inspiring, it is heartbreaking, and it will make you question the systems that we have in place in society that are supposed to protect us but often do the opposite.

4. 28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand

I was incredibly excited when I found out that one of my favorite authors, Elin Hilderbrand, had written a new novel. As always, she managed to have me engrossed in the book from start to finish. 28 Summers, just like many of her other books, is set on the idyllic island of Nantucket. Hilderbrand’s story follows Jake McCloud and Mallory Blessing, who over twenty-eight years agree to only meet each other during one weekend of every summer. The novel makes you think a lot about life and love given the unique situation that the two main characters are in. It is a story that is as beautiful as it is devastating.

5. City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

skyline of New York at night
Photo by Luca Bravo from Unsplash
As a historical fiction book set in the New York City theater world, this was everything that I wanted it to be! City of Girls is a gripping story about Vivian Morris, who drops out of college to join her aunt’s theater company in New York City. The novel follows Morris over most of her life, offering insight and life lessons on friendship, forgiveness, love, family, and sexuality. The protagonist is one that I’ll never forget due to her powerful voice throughout the book.

Zara Fatteh is a sophomore at University of California, Davis studying International Relations and Spanish. She enjoys traveling with her family, trying new restaurants, and reading as much as she can.
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