I tend to scoff at popular books that show up on EVERY summer reading list or pop up all over my bookstagram feed. I assume a certain amount of groupthink is involved or lack of wanting to voice a negative opinion when so many others praise a novel. However, there are exceptions to this random prejudice that I created based on practically no evidence : ) So, it was a useful exercise for me to put together my list of books that I loved despite the hype.
The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
This WWII historical fiction novel is enjoying a resurgence due to the release of the movie on Netflix in August. It’s probably my favorite WWII book, full of wonderful characters and a touching story.
Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
I’m a devoted fan of JoJo Moyes and Me Before You is still one of her best. The rest of the trilogy doesn’t live up to the standard, but you can read this one as a standalone.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with this grumpy old man, but he will win over anyone’s heart. Be prepared for ugly tears and have a box of tissues ready throughout. Ultimately though, this is a heart-warming and hopeful tale.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Before reading this, I assumed it was a typical steamy historical fiction romance. While those elements are certainly present in abundance, there’s a fascinating plot and intriguing characters that make this worth the read.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
This story of two sisters surviving in Nazi-occupied France is eye-opening. It showcases the horrors of civilian day-to-day life during a war and the impossible choices faced by these people. However, resilience and bravery are the themes that shine through.
The Martian by Andy Weir
Matt Damon is probably my biggest celebrity crush, so when I heard he was starring in this movie, I knew I had to read the book. As it turns out, the book completely captivated me. It felt extremely realistic and Matt Damon basically IS Mark Watney.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
After reading a slew of YA dystopian / fantasy books that all started to blur together, I was skeptical of this series. However, the plethora of passionate reviews finally convinced me to give it a try. Well, once I started I couldn’t stop!!! They’re incredibly fast-paced and fun. Pure reading pleasure.
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Gaiman is obviously a respected and beloved author, but I assumed his writing would be too “out-there” for me. Stardust is the first book I read and I was completely hooked. I actually wish it was twice as long so I could keep reading about these characters!
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
For some unknown reason, I picked this as one of my first Book of the Month selections. It’s a mystery/thriller that starts with a little boy being killed by a car. The twist in the middle literally made my jaw drop! I normally avoid this genre, but I honestly loved every minute of this one.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
I think I’ve recommended this book to more people than any other. It’s a geeky/nerdy love fest with a multitude of 80’s pop culture references and a virtual reality treasure hunt. P.S. Surprisingly I loved the movie, despite all the changes!
What popular books would you add to this list? Are there any that you hated but everyone else seems to love?
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