Reader Recommendations with Lani Riley / by Madeleine

Happy Hump Day! Wednesdays are actually pretty fun for me this semester, with an early a.m. ballet class followed by a quick workout at the gym with my bestie, and rounded off with a few hours of quiet time to work on my writing. Hump day has never looked so good! 

If you're struggling to get through the week and need an extra boost, I have no less than eight books for you to pick up at the library for a relaxing, reading-filled weekend! This list comes recommended by the aforementioned bestie, who also happens to be my roomie. Lani and I trade recommendations regularly but have different tastes, so she's here to talk about a few of her favorites.


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Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison

This is the first book in the Georgia Nicolson series, and it pretty much epitomizes my preteen literary experience. Georgia is a bit self-centered and boy-crazed, but most importantly, she's hilarious. I remember trying to hide the titles from my parents, because they are a bit raunchy (book 2 is called On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God), though the content is pretty much age appropriate for the 13 - 15 crowd.

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

One of my favorite books. This historical fiction novel follows Liesel Meminger from ages 9 to 15 in Nazi Germany as her adoptive parents hide a young Jewish man. The Book Thief is narrated by Death, and has beautiful writing and memorable quotes. "The consequence of this is that I'm always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both."

{I can attest to the greatness of this one. I read it last year and was completely captivated.}

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Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley

 If you haven't read this book, pop culture has probably skewed your perception as to what it's about. I'm going to dispel some myths right now: Frankenstein is the man, not the monster. The Monster is not silent, slow, and stupid. He's an intelligent being who questions his existence and resents his maker. Frankenstein's monster also has some killer monologues. Shelley essentially founded the science fiction genre, and this story brings up some though-provoking moral issues.

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In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories retold by Alvin Schwartz

A classic, creepy collection of children's short stories. I haven't read them in a long, long time, yet "The Green Ribbon" still haunts me to this day. All of the stories are pretty predictable, yet delightfully spooky.

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The Crazy Man by Pamela Porter

Written in free verse poetry, this award-winning young adult story is about Emaline, a girl living on a farm in Canada in 1965. When her father leaves, Emaline's mother hires a man from a local mental institution to help out around the farm. While I wouldn't say it was my favorite book, it was a quick and enjoyable read and I'd recommend it, especially to readers who are hesitant to tackle a poetry book. It also highlights how society often fails to really help those with mental illnesses, and even though this story takes place decades ago, there are some stark similarities in the prejudices we still have.

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

This book is a vampire story, but don't let that put you off - it ain't no Twilight. Originally written in Swedish, Let the Right One In is a gritty and gory tale that focusses on Oskar, a bullied 12-year-old who befriends Eli, the vampire next door. This story can be heavy at times and make you feel uneasy, but it's well-written and hard to put down. I'd also highly recommend watching the Swedish movie after reading the book. The film manages to capture the eeriness of the plot while pairing it with some great cinematography, and it's on Netflix!

{I'll be adding this one to my list...both on Goodreads and on Netflix!}

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

In this young adult book, Alexie writes semi-autobiography that is currently one of the most banned books in the country. I read this book for a Children's Literature course and really enjoyed it. It's a multicultural coming-of-age story about a Native American boy who leaves his school on a reservation in order to get a better education at a white school. This book tackles a lot of issues and really highlights the poor conditions in which Native Americans live, and how the upkeep of their reservations has been severely neglected. It's a very funny story, yet has many darker moments.

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

 As a fangirl, I loved this book. Fangirl is aboout Cath, who is obsessed with the Simon Snow book series (i.e. Harry Potter). She has just left for college and has a hard time adjusting. While her twin sister is effortlessly social and happy in her new surroundings, Cath typically will lock herself away in her room to work on her Simon Snow fanfiction (which she's pretty famous for on the internet). She meets a boy (of course) who likes her for who she is, fanfiction author, socially awkward, etc. etc.. The way I describe it makes this book sound a tad dull, but Fangirl is very sweet and relatable (for me anyway, because I may or may not be Cath). I'm definitely going to read it again in the future.


Part of what I love about this reader recommendation series is that it gives both you and me an opportunity to find a new read. In the same way that I love books in the 9-12 year old subsection of children's fiction, Lani is a good source to go to when you need a recommendation for a young adult (YA) book. I'm 100% in agreement that anyone who hasn't yet read The Book Thief should do so immediately, and I'll be adding a few of these to my library list for the coming months (especially Fangirl, as we all know that I'm a real-life Harry Potter fangirl). I also love that she loves Frankenstein, because I feel like that's one classic that is under-appreciated, and she's right that the story has been so skewed by generations of change. 

Thanks for sharing Lani!