Hello, everyone! Today I come to you with a different type of blog post. Since I’m the master procrastinator, I’m putting off the nine reviews that I have pending to post this. And that’s because I’ve noticed something about myself recently: whenever I’m in a reading rut, the only books that can get me moving are from the adult genre.
Now bear with me – this is not me saying that adult books are generally superior which is why they can get me out, and keep me out, of a slump but rather it’s me emphasizing the importance of reading at different wavelengths. YA books are so fun, for me. I love reading them; I love the tropes, I love the youthful feel of them, I love that there is a strong online community surrounding them, but sometimes, it’s good to change it up. It’s good to venture into the adult genre and read something that you wouldn’t usually pick up.
But, how to do that? Adult fiction is such a vast genre – where do you start? How do you even begin to look around the hundreds and thousands of books that are released every single month to find something that’ll fit with you. The genre can be intimidating; the scope is larger, the books are longer, and there just isn’t the community to help you launch into it and widen your scope.
Now, I’m not going to pretend like I’m some established reader of the adult genre, but I do like to read at least a couple adult books every month. But I’d like to make this post anyway, to shed some light on books that you might be too intimidated to try, or books that you haven’t heard of because adult books simply don’t get the spotlight in your usual circle. These are books that will appeal to a large audience, which makes them really good “transition” reads, if you will.
Note: these are not all my favorite adult books – these are just books that I think are good transition books, and have a wide age appeal.
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S Y N O P S I S – Dark Matter follows the story of Jason, a physicist living a content life; he made some difficult decisions in the past, choosing to give up a large portion of his ambition and career to make way for a healthy family, but he is happy now. When Jason leaves his house one night, a man in a mask abducts him, asks Jason if he’s happy with his life before knocking him out cold. When he wakes up, Jason finds himself in an unfamiliar room surrounded by people in hazmat suits- all strangers, yet they seem to know him. Soon enough, Jason realizes that he hasn’t woken up in a different area. He has woken up in an entirely different world, a world where he hadn’t abandoned his career. A world where his wife is not his wife anymore, where his son does not exist, and a certain group of people are adamant on extracting information from him that he doesn’t even know…
This is a fairly recent adult read for me, but it was one that I fell in love with. It was near the top of my best books of 2016 list, because even after I finished it, I could not stop thinking about it. From the fast-paced, easy-to-follow writing style to the deeply sympathetic characters, to the sheer mind-fuckery of the plot (without it being too science-y either, so you could follow along pretty easily). Despite it exploring themes relating to infinity and parallel universes, it’s really a deeply moving love story at its core – about one man’s love for his wife and son, and the fact that he would do anything to find his way back to them, even if that means making impossibly difficult choices. I think it’s such a fun, fast-paced, enjoyable read that moves a lot like a movie in front of your eyes, and it just takes the science fiction genre to incredible new heights. If it helps, it was optioned for adaptation before it was released!
It’s quite perfect for fans of Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Grey, and anyone who loves Interstellar, Inception and Doctor Who.
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S Y N O P S I S – Hattie Hoffman is a senior in high school, and she’s admired by many – she has a stable boyfriend, lovely parents, and a dazzling personality that everyone is charmed by. But Hattie has a secret; she was involved in an online relationship with a man that was the only person Hattie related to in her small-town life, surrounded by people who have different ambitions. She’s an actor, and she’s spent her entire life playing parts, both on the stage and in her relationships, but with this one person, she can be herself. But before she can achieve her dream of moving to New York and becoming an actress, her body is found floating in the river, brutally stabbed. During the investigation, the town’s secrets begin to emerge.
This is another book that I read very recently, and I’m so glad that I requested it off Netgalley because I never would have read it otherwise. This, to me, is a perfect transition book because it rests precariously between the two genres’ target ages. The main character, Hattie (despite being dead) is a senior in high school, and a lot of the themes and characters are about coming-of-age, finding yourself in a cruel environment, etcetera. But it does feature a relationship between her and her English teacher, dealt with in an extremely sensitive and honest way without any glamorization or justification, which I really appreciated. I say it’s the perfect balance because the other main character is the teacher in question, and his perspective deals with the very adult themes of a broken marriage, a midlife crisis, etcetera. They come together brilliantly to form a dynamic, engaging, un-putdownable read.
This book is perfect if you enjoyed We Were Liars by E. Lockhart; Wink Poppy Midnight by Genevieve Tcholke; Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and if you watch Riverdale (I haven’t seen this but feel it’s of a similar nature), and Pretty Little Liars.
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I’m not going to write a synopsis for this because it’s a book that I believe should be gone into blind. It’s my favorite book of all-time, and if you know me, you’d know that I don’t say that lightly because I’m a tough critic and a tough rater. But I read this four years ago, and trust me when I say that I still haven’t stopped thinking about it. There’s just something about Donna Tartt’s writing that draws you in so completely and gets you lost in the words and pages. Each character is tremendously developed, despite them all being anti-heroes and really despicable people.
I know for a fact that this is a double-edged sword, because all the characters are college students. The setting is a Midwestern college campus with looming forests, romantic dormitories, etcetera, and if that appeals to you at all, you would really enjoy it. But it’s more sinister than any college novel you’ve ever read. It’s kind of a mystery in reverse – you know a murder happens, you know who does it, and you know who dies, but you don’t know why. There’s a special kind of intrigue about the fact that it’s a whydunnit rather than a whodunnit, and Donna Tartt executes it so perfectly. There is just the right amount of action and tension leading up to the murder, and the psychological aftermath after that is delicious in and of itself. There’s some talk about classics and cult-like things as well, and lots of secrets that come out like bombshells, and I honestly just cannot recommend this book enough.
This would be a perfect fit for you if you enjoy psychological thrillers and dramas – if you enjoyed Vicious by V.E. Schwab and Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (for its characterization), you might love this too. I’ve also said this time and time again, but I low-key think that The Raven Cycle is a rip-off of this book; the characters, the atmosphere, and even the setting is very similar.
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S Y N O P S I S – Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and at twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s great-uncle lives. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel. In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.
I read this book a while ago, but I remember that I was astounded by its simple yet beautiful prose, its deeply moving characterization, and the fast-pace of it despite it being a rather lengthy book. This, quite like Everything You Want Me to Be is a really great transition book because both characters are young teens, leading extremely difficult lives in increasingly tumultuous times. I also really love that All the Light We Cannot See strays far from the Jewish-Nazi romance, which I think is just a really disgusting trope – it focuses on the independent lives of a German boy and a French girl without falling into overused, tired, offensive tropes. It’s deeply impactful, and I’d highly recommend it – don’t be daunted by the size; you’ll fly through it!
This is perfect for fans of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, of course. I don’t have very many other recommendations or comparisons because historical fiction isn’t really a genre I usually reach out for.
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S Y N O P S I S – Sterling is an ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens–until the day its complacency is shattered by an act of violence. Josie Cormier, the daughter of the judge sitting on the case, should be the state’s best witness, but she can’t remember what happened before her very own eyes- or can she? As the trial progresses, fault lines between the high school and the adult community begin to show–destroying the closest of friendships and families.
The synopsis found on Goodreads skirts around the issue – it’s about a school shooting. But it’s not just about a school shooting, it’s about the aftermath, the legal side of it as well as the emotional side of it. I read it a while ago, but if I recall correctly, it focuses on several different perspectives, including the perspective of an ex-friend of the killer who witnessed the shooting, the prosecutor (who is also the mother of this ex-friend), the mother of the shooter, and several others. There’s always the precarious question of why this happened, could it have been prevented, and how do people move on from it? I especially appreciated that Picoult included the shooter’s mother’s perspective – it just adds yet another layer to an already impactful, moving novel.
If you’ve read The Hate List by Jennifer Brown (another book I’d highly recommend, and it’s YA), Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, and enjoyed watching One Tree Hill, you may really enjoy this book too.
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S Y N O P S I S – This is the tale of a magically gifted young man named Kvothe who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. It follows the intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king. From magic schools to dimly-lit taverns, The Name of the Wind is richly woven, creative and unputdownable.
If you’ve been around for a bit, you’ve probably heard of this book, and rightly so. Despite having not read its sequel (I’m still waiting on the third installment so I can finally binge), but The Name of the Wind is one of those fantasies that you need to read. The main character is endlessly fascinating – his life story, his current persona, everything about him screams bad-ass, and I love reading stories with bad-ass main characters. It involves magic schools and classes and a really sweet romance in the teen years, which makes it yet another great transition read because it focuses on themes of growing up and coming-of-age. It’s just a fantastic read, all-in-all, and I’d highly recommend it as a stepping stone if you’re interested in getting into adult high fantasy.
This is perfect if you enjoy Game of Thrones, if you’ve read and loved The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima, and even though it has very little similarities, and is just infinitely better, infinitely more intricate than Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, something tells me you’d enjoy it if you enjoy that series.
So there it is – if you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment below, and I might make this a series. There are so many other fantastic adult books out there that have double-appeal, and I cannot stress enough the importance of reading a wide variety of books, so I’d love to make more posts like this. Until then, thanks for stopping by, and happy reading!