It’s Grace here, in the midst of finals (with only one left, thank goodness.) It’s been a tough few weeks for me — and for a lot of people around me — and so I figured I’d put together a round-up of some books that just make me instantly happy. Definitely looking forward to laying out on the beach next week with a stack of books and some good folks. Whether you’re looking for a read that’s funny, hopeful, or just a little sweet, I hope these can bring you the joy that they do for me.
The Consequence of Loving Colton by Rachel Van Dyken | Goodreads
This isn’t supposed to be a young adult book, but it’s close enough. I can always tell when a sister is reading this because they laugh out loud. (Legitimately, I can hear Hannah dying in the other room and it’s always such a daymaker.) This romantic comedy is so satirical, and its commentary is divine. Plus, it’s a fun read, even if it is way over-the-top. WILD.
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier | Goodreads
If you’re looking for an adventurous read, Ruby Red covers quite a few bases. For one, the main character Gwen is extraordinarily clever. So the book is riddled with subtle moments that make me chuckle. Also, there are great relationships (including an elaborate family dynamic), well-choreographed action scenes, and a time-travel narrative that’s pretty spotless. I’ve avoided reading the last book in the hopes that I can keep it going forever in my mind. An underrated series. (Also, I’m about to listen to this on audio, and I’m excited for the British accents!)
Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh | Goodreads
Again – not a YA book. But, this book is a laugh-out-loud compilation of some of Allie Brosh’s greatest works, as well as some new strips. She tackles everything from childhood birthday cakes to unintelligent dogs to days when it’s really hard to get out of bed. Her assessment of a lot of these topics are absolutely spot-on, and conveyed in a way that’s both hilarious and thoughtful. Side note: my hall at school is meme-themed (thanks Elora!) and my roommate’s nameplate is the Hyperbole and a Half figure.
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales | Goodreads
There’s a hard distinction in YA between books that deal with sad characters and books that deal with sad characters in ways that still seem to fit in the context of daily life. Sometimes, I want to read about a character going through a tough time mentally, but not a book that reminds me the entire time that it’s a sad book. This Song Will Save Your Life contains a miraculous portrait of a suicidal girl who feels almost entirely “other”, who goes on to find herself in her hidden hobby of DJing. With that being said, it’s not preachy. It’s hard-hitting at times, it’s colorful, and it feels like a book that has a full life in it. You can read my review here. It’s also included in my 2016 gift guide.
Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson | Goodreads
Might seem like a bit of a strange choice, and maybe it’s because I always read Calvin & Hobbes as a kid, but I always get a lot of comfort from this series. The combination of articulate expressions of concepts that seem out of place for a six-year-old — the futility of time, the meaning of life, the purpose of conformity, and so on — and his absurd situations make for a read that reminds me of a lot of the little things that are important in the end.
Love Poems from God by Daniel Ladinsky | Goodreads
Whenever I’m a little down, even if I haven’t been feeling particularly religious, it’s always a comfort to read these. They’re not super focused on church, or religion, or anything, despite their subject matter. They are truly written like love poems to the ideas of faith and support and things that keep us going. I always read them to my girls at camp before we fall asleep, and they make me believe that everything will truly be okay.
let go of my hand, I would
weep so loudly,
I would petition with all my might, I would cause
so much trouble
that I bet God would come to His senses
and never do that
(Like, the passion conveyed in this book for life itself is just astonishing. A lot of the poems are focused on appreciating what we have, getting through struggles, etc,.)
Anna and the French Kiss by Amy Perkins | Goodreads
Filled with sweet — and funny — moments, Anna and the French Kiss is a great book to read if you’re feeling a little down. When Anna moves to Paris for her senior year, she immediately feels out of place. Navigating her way around a new city and a new group of friends is difficult, but she handles it in ways that are graceful and heartwarming.
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell | Goodreads
Rainbow Rowell is a pretty standard go-to in terms of cute, funny reads, so it’s not particularly memorable of me to recommend her. However, her ability to craft stories that both incorporate real struggles that feel distinctly human — paired with witty one-liners and funny situations — make Attachments a winner. It’s down-to-earth. Also, for lovers of The Office.
The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems by Pablo Neruda, Mark Eisner | Goodreads
Now, I really love this book — and I don’t label it as sweet just because of its romantic context. The way it paints everyday sights and occurrences is valuable, and always cheers me up a bit. Even if it’s a sad poem: Tonight I can write the saddest lines…
“Take it all back. Life is boring, except for flowers, sunshine, your perfect legs. A glass of cold water when you are really thirsty. The way bodies fit together. Fresh and young and sweet. Coffee in the morning. These are just moments. I struggle with the in-betweens. I just want to never stop loving like there is nothing else to do, because what else is there to do?”