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  • Writer's pictureKaya Long

5 Book Recommendations for 2023

Updated: Feb 4

Whether you are a literature fanatic or not, it is safe to say that nearly everyone has the goal of reading more books in the new year. It can be hard to get back into reading if you have fallen out of it, let alone finding a good book to read. With that said, here are five amazing books that collectively have something for everyone, from a chilling thriller to a heartfelt memoir.

A Memoir You’ll Always Remember: Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Recommended Age: 14+

Michelle Zauner, 'Crying in H Mart' (PC UNKNOWN)

This is a fantastic memoir written by Michelle Zauner–-who is a music artist known as Japanese Breakfast–-about her tumultuous relationship with her mother growing up (in part due to cultural disparities), and the heart wrenching experience of taking care of her mother as her health declined in the later years due to sickness. Through the use of vivid imagery, Zauner describes the process of reconnecting with her Korean heritage after her mother’s passing through food and the memories interwoven within familiar dishes and flavors that masterfully transcend beyond the words on the page. Every reader is bound to find some struggle or feeling to relate to within this evocative story that is well balanced with a hearty dose of comedic relief.

A Fantasy Novel that Makes You Wonder: Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Recommended Age: 14+

Matt Haig, 'The Midnight Library' (KAN LAILEY)

This is a riveting fantasy novel without the dragons and wizards, but rather a library that goes on forever, filled with books–-each another version of the same life. It is an exploration of a question that everyone is bound to ask themselves: What if? The story follows Nora Seed–-a woman that finds herself between life and death–-as she explores the parallel versions of her reality and discovers that the lives she’s fantasized about are not what she had imagined them to be. By the end of the novel, it becomes clear that you can never know how any one decision or event altered the course of your life. Not to mention, this is definitely a good read for those who have been grappling with existential crises (it happens to the best of us), as Haig asserts that “You don’t have to understand life. You just have to live it.”

To Get You Out of a Reading Slump: In 5 Years by Rebecca Serle

Recommended Age: 16+

Rebecca Serle, 'In 5 Years' (ANNE MOLEN)

This is a unique sort of page turner that will not send a chilling shiver down your spine like an ominous thriller might. The story escalates quickly, drawing the reader in, taking them on an emotional rollercoaster, and never letting go until the final page. There is an intriguing sort of dramatic irony dynamic between the protagonist and the rest of the characters that makes the plot particularly riveting. Serle allusively reveals the conclusion of the book at the start, leaving the reader eager to know how a situation that seems so backwards–-given what they know about the protagonist’s life–-could turn out to be a premonition of the future.

A Compelling, Courageous Story: The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré

Recommended Age: 15+

Abi Daré, 'The Girl with the Louding Voice' (PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE)

This is a beautifully written novel with outstandingly vivid and evocative language. The story follows Adunni—a young girl on her tumultuous journey from the confines of poverty—as she relentlessly pursues her dream of receiving an education and finding her voice. The hardship Adunni endures is heart wrenching, but her unwavering determination and bravery in the face of it all is compelling and inspiring. While some characters will make your blood boil with rage, the characters that show Adunni kindness and help her along the way will fill you with hope for humanity. This is the kind of story that reveals just how powerful compassion can be, as you never know what somehow has been through. But most of all, it conveys just how much courage it takes to follow one’s dream.

A Face-Paced Thriller: Falling by T. J. Newman

T.J. Newman, 'Falling' (MELISSA YOUNG)

This is the kind of thriller that you won’t be able to put down. Newman meticulously crafts the kind of gripping suspense that leaves you on the edge of your seat and hanging onto every word, desperately needed to know what will happen next. It is a great escape from day to day life, as it grabs the reader’s full attention, leaving no room for the mind to wander or for boredom to creep in. There is a certain comfort in being able to stress about something that you know is a work of fiction, but is riveting enough to keep your mind fully engaged. Even if thrillers typically are not your thing, I would recommend giving this book a try, as it might just persuade you to read more books like it.

While brand new books can be a little pricey, luckily there are plenty of cheaper alternatives. Instead you can always try to borrow these books in your local library, buy them from your local bookstores, download ebooks/audiobooks, or buy cheaper used books from a place like Amazon. Happy reading!

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Melinda Mizuno
Melinda Mizuno
Jan 10, 2023

OMG these all sound amazing and since I just finished a book (The SIlent Patient), I was on the hunt for another. Definitely going to start my way at the top of this list and work my way down. Mahalo!

Jan 17, 2023
Replying to

Ooo I'll definitely check out the Silent Patient. Thank you for the recommendation Aunty Melinda! - Kaya

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