By: JoAnn Snavely
This week I went on the hunt for new books, and I thought who better to ask than some of my friends. The following is a list of books that I have compiled with some all-time fan and all-time personal favorites, and in this list I’ll explain why these are cult favorites. From romance, to period pieces, and dystopian classics this list is chock-full of new books or old favorites to ignite or fuel a love for reading.
HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins
Content Warning: violence, death, gore, and brief alcoholism
No book list would be complete without Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The first book in the Hunger Games universe is a must read for anyone. This dystopian novel based in the country of Panem, follows Katniss Everdeen, a teen living in district 12 battling her way through the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games are an annual competition held in Panem. In the games, two teens from each of the twelve districts (one male, one female) are chosen/volunteer for the battle, some have been preparing for this their entire lives while others have barely been able to survive life prior to the games. What’s the prize? Glory? Money? Bragging rights? Life? This thrilling novel depicts Katniss’s experiences in the games from the moment she volunteered for the games, her interviews leading up to the games, all the way until the games itself. This book crafts the ultimate female protagonist. Katniss is the perfect example of a role model because of her resilience and bravery. This book is perfect for anyone looking for a series to get lost in– with it’s well written characters, well thought out storylines, and addictive twists and turns at every page. Not only is this a book series, it is also a movie series with an iconic cast with stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson, and Josh Hutcherson starring in the films.
RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard
Content Warning: violence, drinking, gore
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard is an up and coming staple in literature. Red Queen is the first installment in the Red Queen series. This dystopian fantasy novel will grip readers with an intense action-packed storyline. The protagonist of the book, Mare Barrow, and her family belong to the Red blood social class. Mare has to go to many expenses to provide for herself and her family, including stealing from the Red bloods. One day Mare steals from the wrong person, or so it seems, when she steals from the heir of the throne, Cal. From there on out, Mare discovers many secrets about herself as she finds herself turning into the Red Queen. This story has tons of twists and turns with the ultimate plot twist in the end, making it an iconic story. The author, Victoria Aveyard, does an amazing job bringing the story to life. The series itself is extremely detailed, leaving no stone unturned. Along with shedding light on the effects of classism and war on not only individuals, but society itself, this story is perfect for anyone looking for an action-packed fantasy story with twists and turns at every page. This fast-paced story is one must read.
THE OUTSIDERS by S.E. Hinton
Content Warning: violence, suicide, murder, death, criminal behavior, mentions of sex, abuse, and drinking
Age Warning: 12+
The Outsiders is a cult-classic tale of friendship for teenagers, written by a teenager. S.E. Hinton wrote the Outsiders when she was only 15, publishing the story when she was merely 18. The novel tells the story of Ponyboy Curtis, a 14-year-old-boy living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It follows his experiences in discovering what’s right and wrong in society. The town is divided into two sections: the west side being the affluential side, while the east being the side of town stricken by poverty. Either you’re a Soc, living in the west side or a Greaser living on the east side, there is no middle ground. These two gangs have spent years rivaling each other until one day, everything changes. This story emphasizes the cultural differences between different economic classes, and the differences in day-to-day livelihood. What stands out is how differently each gang is treated, the differences in consequences and hardships they face, and most importantly how far they will go for someone they love. It has become a classic story loved by educators, teens, and adults alike. This story is one that will undoubtedly not disappoint. This novel is the perfect look into 1960s culture and is perfect for anyone who loves suspense or is looking for a quick read and is ready for a good cry.
THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS by Chloe Gong
Content Warning: Gore, gruesome scenes, violence, drinking, and smoking
Age rating: 14+
This story by Chloe Gong is a tale as old as time. Two past lovers and heirs of gangs –Rome and Juliette– are thrown into each other’s lives again after a monster awakens in Shanghai of 1926. Their job: to figure out how to put the monster to a halt. This story follows their experiences with defeating the monster. This book shows the power love can have, and the importance of loyalty in and of itself. Juliette Cai, the heiress of the Scarlet gang is the perfect female protagonist. Being the perfect example of a strong woman. She doesn’t let anyone stop her from accomplishing her goals, no matter the cost. This story is the perfect young adult story for anyone interested in a slow burn, enemies-to-lovers’ romance. It is an iconic story that is sure to grip readers and become a new fan-favorite.
RED WHITE AND ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuinston
Content Warning: Some sexual content, language, and brief homophobia
Age Rating: 16+
This novel by Casey McQuinston is trailblazing the Young Adult genre, having already gone viral on the social media app TikTok. This enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy was the perfect debut novel gaining McQuinston thousands of adoring fans. This story follows Alex-Claremont-Diaz, the son of the first ever President of the United States. Like all things in politics, after an accident at the royal wedding, Alex is forced to become “friends” with his arch nemesis, Prince Harry of England, to maintain his reputation in the public eye as his mother prepares for re-election. While being closely watched by the media and the pressures of being under public watch almost all the times. The two enemies find themselves becoming closer than anyone suspected. Will this young couple’s romance be able to flourish under constant watch? What consequences can this entail? Read this enticing romantic comedy to find out more. This story is perfect for anyone looking for the perfect romance story. This book has single handedly created a fictional universe that is so strong and so loveable–that it’s impossible to not fall in love with every single character. If you’re looking for the perfect story with characters you’ll love, this story is for you.
THE FIFTH WAVE by Rick Yancey
Content Warning: gore, death, violence
Age Rating: 12+
The Fifth wave series is personally one of my all time favorites. This trilogy is arguably one of the staples in the world of Young Adult dystopian series. This book follows Cassie Sullivan and her experiences following a world in the aftermath of 5 waves. The first wave being the loss of all electricity. The second wave being global natural disasters. The third wave then hits bringing a deadly disease to spread killing almost all those who lasted the previous two waves. By the 4th wave, the others were on Earth, bringing their final two stages in human destruction to the table. This story details Cassie’s battle in surviving the final two waves. This novel has many twists and turns making it addictively good, gripping the reader almost immediately. I would recommend this book to anyone, but especially anyone who loves post- apocalyptic stories, this is exactly that. This novel has been compared to Hunger Games and The Road, so if you’re a fan of either, I would most definitely recommend those to you. This novel has a book to film adaptation along with it with notable cast members such as Chloe Grace Morets, Nick Robinson, Alex Roe and Liev Schreiber.