Everybody needs a book that’s so good you almost wish your plane wasn’t landing or that your road trip would go on forever. No book is QUITE that good, but these four do a darn good job making you wish the travel portion of your vacation was at least a little longer.
One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus
This was one of those books that I checked out from the library, kept renewing, and when I finally picked it up, I couldn’t even remember who had recommended it or a thing about it. And then, after it sat on my desk for two months, I blazed through it in less than two days. This young adult novel is about five students who get stuck in detention together and one of them dies. The one who dies ran a gossip site about his classmates at the school and the other four were all scheduled to have stories about them go up the following day. Which means all of them had motive.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
This book is on basically every list this year and for good reason. I blew through 400 pages in three days. It’s the story of a teenage girl who moves to Alaska with her mom and her recently-released POW dad who fought in Vietnam and is convinced that Alaska will give him the new start he needs. Spanning more than a decade of Leni’s life, she gets a front row seat to her father’s inability to handle the darkness that falls over Alaska and the darkness that he’s fighting within himself. I couldn’t put this one down. Be warned that you’ll want your tissues you for this one.
Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen
It’d be wrong to put together a booklist without a good World War II novel on it, and this young adult novel was so different than anything that I’ve read in years. You know that the author isn’t kidding around when Sarah’s mother is killed on the first page and it just gets darker and more tense from there when she strikes out on her own and meets a spy who convinces her to infiltrate a boarding school for the daughters of Nazi generals. The last time I read a WWII book that felt this new and fresh was The Book Thief.
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Jodi Picoult is probably one of the most popular authors living on the planet right now, but I hadn’t quite drunk the koolaid until this book. This book follows three characters: Ruth Jefferson, a black labor and delivery nurse; Turk Bauer, a white supremecist who comes to the hospital where Ruth works with his wife when they’re expecting their first child, and Kennedy McQuarrie, the white public defender assigned to represent Ruth when the Bauer baby goes into cardiac arrest and dies on Ruth’s watch.