If you’re feeling misunderstood: “Where The Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens
Topping the New York Times Bestseller list for 20 consecutive weeks, “Where The Crawdads Sing” instantly became a national sensation. The book describes itself as a cross between a murder mystery and a coming-of-age story. The protagonist, Kya, is one of the most likable characters I have ever had the joy of reading. Though the odds that anyone who reads this novel will be able to directly relate to Kya’s life of living in a swamp and befriending wildlife rather than fellow humans is slim, the writing and storylines run so much deeper than that. There is a raw relatability to Kya and her experiences, and we as readers feel ourselves growing up or re-experiencing adolescence and change with her. From first love to heartbreak, misunderstandings and familial struggles, these are only a few of the beautifully complex points woven in this incredible work of fiction.
If you’re feeling rebellious: “Daisy Jones & The Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid
“Daisy Jones and The Six” begins by combining two musical acts. Daisy is a free spirited singer; barely ever wearing shoes and completely ignored by her parents, she was raised more by her friends and the city than any sort of traditional authority figure. The Six is made up of a pair of brothers, a defected keyboardist and a killer rhythm section, but the record label feels the band is missing something. Told in the form of an oral history, with all of the contradicting opinions and memories you’d expect from recalling events of decades past, “Daisy Jones & The Six” is pure rock ‘n’ roll. It keeps you on the edge of your seat until well after the last sentence.
If you’re feeling worried: “Notes on a Nervous Planet” by Matt Haig
Combining elements of essay collections, memoir, speculation and history, Matt Haig’s “Notes on a Nervous Planet” is a true triumph. Haig describes anxiety in the broader context of our society as a whole and in doing so, invites us to examine our lives and interactions in new ways. From discussing consumerism, commenting on personal expenditures of time and providing personal stories about what has helped Haig himself overcome some of the overwhelming feelings he’s lived with his whole life, this book has something for everyone. What I think is most important about Haig’s work is his consistent message that “you are not alone.” Haig is open and vulnerable with his readers about his personal struggles and continues that beyond his written works, taking to social media platforms in attempts to combat some of the toxicity rampant within our culture.