I’ve decided to start a new segment on my blog called Saturday Sentiments. When I first started this blog, I wanted it to strictly be a book review blog; however, I’ve realized how fun it can be to write about all things books, not just simply reviewing them. Blogging is a huge part of my life and I want to try and be as active as possible in the book blogging community. Starting a weekly segment of my own will hopefully keep me on track and make my blog a little more interesting. With my college graduation just around the corner, I’ll hopefully have more time to read and blog, and keep up with this fun segment. So, without further ado, I’d like to begin my first Saturday Sentiments!
Writing book reviews is a great way to recommend books. Recommending books based on books you already like is also a pretty great way to do it. Make sure to click the titles to visit the Goodreads page for each book!
1. If you like The Book Thief, you should read All the Light We Cannot See.
In The Book Thief, a young German girl named Liesel craves to read books in Hitler’s Germany. The story is narrated by Death, which is pretty cool, and tells the story of Liesel (the book thief), her foster parents, and what happens when they all assist in hiding a Jew during WWII.
All the Light We Cannot See is also set during the second World War and is told in alternating POVs. Half the story is told by Marie-Laure, a young blind girl living in occupied France with her father. The other half is told by Werner, a young German orphan who’s intelligence lands him in the Hitler Youth academy and beyond.
I read The Book Thief before ATLWCS and fell in love with both. I think The Book Thief is intended for a slightly younger audience than Doerr’s novel, but both tell the tales of young children during the war. Both are compelling, depressing stories that are worthy of your read! If you’ve read (or watched) The Book Thief, you should try your hand at ATLWCS.
Coraline tells the story of a girl who is neglected at home, so she finds comfort in an alternate world where everyone has buttons for eyes and loves to give Coraline attention. Eventually, Coraline realizes this other world isn’t what she thought, and she must play a game against her Other Mother to save herself and her real family.
Journey is much more of a children’s book and much less menacing. It’s a wordless picture book about a girl who uses a piece of chalk to enter a magical world. Using her chalk, she can draw anything her mind desires.
This one is kind of a stretch. The books are very different — one’s a chapter book, the other’s a picture book without words; one’s a creepy story, the other more of an adventure book. The alternate, magical world is what really connects the two, and I think if you like the creepy elements of Coraline, you’d enjoy the adventure of Journey.
3. If you liked Looking for Alaska, you should read We All Looked Up.
John Green is a master at breaking hearts, and Looking for Alaska does just that. The book follows Miles, or “Pudge,” as he transfers from regular high school to a private boarding school and goes on crazy adventures with his new friends, falling in love with a girl along the way.
We All Looked Up is about a group of four teenagers who become unlikely friends during the end of the world. An asteroid is heading straight for Earth, setting off a chain of events that affect the teens for the rest of their lives.
What really connects these stories for me are the chapter countdowns. In both novels, each countdown is leading up to something — an unforeseen, mysterious event in Looking for Alaska, and doomsday in We All Looked Up. These countdowns create a sense of tension in both novels, making the stories quite suspenseful. Both focus on friend groups and personal character arcs, and I think they’re both excellent novels to read.
The prophetic 1984 follows Winston Smith in a dystopian world where the government controls everything, from free thought to procreation. Frustrated with the oppression, he begins breaking the rules and eventually falls in love with a woman.
We, written in the 20s by a Russian mathematician, tells the story of cipher D-503 who lives in the One State, a place where freedom and happiness do not correlate. Everything is controlled by the government from the minutest detail. The novel is told in a series of journal entries that detail D-503’s life as he slowly starts to develop a heart and fall in love.
Though I haven’t read 1984 yet, I have read We and it’s one of my favorite books of all time. It was written before 1984 and I’m pretty sure it even inspired Orwell in his own writing. We is not very well-known, but it’s a fantastic book and I think if you enjoyed 1984 (which many people have, especially due to our new president), then We is the book for you.
5. If you liked Ashfall, you should read The Way We Fall.
Mike Mullin’s Ashfall is a dystopian about the Yellowstone supervolcano erupting, plunging the world into chaos and darkness. Alex is home alone when the disaster occurs and takes off on a dangerous trek to find his family during the aftermath.
Megan Crewe’s The Way We Fall is a dystopian about an epidemic that breaks out on a small island, causing the government to quarantine the entire island. Kaelyn begins to lose friends and family alike to the virus and races against the clock to figure out how to save those she loves, without contracting the virus herself.
I’m a big dystopian fan, so I could recommend dystopias left and right. I decided to connect these two because they’re less popular than things like The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, and books like that. While Ashfall follows a male character in a post-apocalyptic world, The Way We Fall is about a female character part of a slowly-dying popular. They’re not the greatest, but they’re good reads.
6. If you like The Girl on the Train, you should read Dark Places.
The Girl on the Train is pretty good, despite what people say (so don’t listen to them). It’s a mystery-suspense told in alternating perspectives between three women, blending the present and the past. When one woman is murdered, another becomes obsessed and thinks she can solve it. Unfortunately, she’s not the most qualified for the job, being a drunk, unemployed, ex-husband-stalking woman.
Dark Places also blends present and past with a dark story about a family murder. The only survivors are Libby Day and her older brother Ben, who was convicted of the crime. Libby used to firmly believe in Ben’s guilt until a group of people try to prove his innocence. Only then does she begin to question her own memory.
Both of these novels are truly suspenseful and dark with major twists at the end. Both have film adaptations and are told in alternating perspectives, both during the present and in the past. They are quite gruesome, but it’s impossible to put them down.
The Giver follows Jonas as he grows up in a seemingly-perfect community where there are no colors, no memories, and no negative emotions. When he turns twelve, Jonas is chosen to become the Receiver of Memory. He begins to discover that his “perfect world” isn’t so perfect after all.
Glitch follows Zoe in a similar perfect world. Everyone is implanted with computer chips that control all thoughts and emotions. Zoe begins to “glitch” one day and experiences things she never knew were possible. She struggles with her newfound identity and tries to find a way to escape the controlling government, all the while trying to hide her “abnormalities.”
By now, it should be clear how much I enjoy dystopias. These two are a little similar with their seemingly-perfect worlds and the controlling government, though those are typical of almost all dystopias. The two focus pretty heavily on technology and lean more towards sci-fi than fantasy. Both are fun reads and are both series, but I only continued with the Glitch trilogy — I pretend there are no sequels to The Giver. But you can, if you want. Just leave me out of it.
8. If you like It’s Kind of a Funny Story, you should read Suicide Notes.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story is kind of a funny story. Craig attempts suicide, survives, and winds up in a mental hospital with a gaggle of strange characters. Craig doesn’t think he’s like the others, but he does fall for one of the girls there (of course). Along the way, he realizes the people aren’t so bad, and discovers how to finally cope with his anxiety.
Suicide Notes is also a funny story. Jeff wakes up in the hospital after attempting suicide, but doesn’t feel he belongs in the crazy house. He must stay in the ward for five days, and the longer he’s there, the less crazy everyone in there seems to be.
Both stories heavily focus on mental illness (anxiety, depression) and suicide. They’re both quite comical and enjoyable. They stand out to me for being so similar, but they have their unique differences. I like that they tackle serious topics with a bit of comedy and realness.
All the books here are great, so if you haven’t read any of them, get started! You can trust me — I’m a book geek.