When you finish a book, sometimes you’re ready to move on and jump right into reading the next one on your list. It’s not that it was a bad book, but it might have left you feeling just a bit “meh”. Maybe the characters didn’t resonate with you, the story dragged on in places, or the genre just wasn’t your jam. These are the books you probably won’t recommend or the ones you may forget about in a year or two. Your favorite books, however, leave you with a hangover that you actually don’t mind. After you turn that final page, you’re left in a blissful haze, still thinking about the world you just left behind. You’ll want to return to its pages almost the moment you finish. You’ll tell everyone you know (and maybe even unsuspecting strangers) that they absolutely need to read this book immediately. It will stick with you for life and has earned a permanent spot on your shelves—and in your heart.
You don’t often come by favorite books, but when you do, it’s like meeting a friend you’ll have for life. This year, our team has been fortunate enough to add several books to their lists of favorites. These are the books we’ve read this year that made a lasting impression:
I want to prepare you, this book will take you through a whirlwind of emotions, but even that warning does not even begin to cover it. If you’re intimidated by a large read with tiny font, I promise you that you will be so invested in this book that you will not even think about how much you’re reading in one sitting! A Little Life is about one man’s life, his depression, and his experiences. It is a story about his relationships and his impact on the people around him. There’s love, loss, and a main character who has intense emotions that you can’t help but find a piece of yourself in.
—Andi, Social Media Coordinator
If you know me, you know anything witchy is always on my list, so when I went with my gut in a Books-A-Million a few months back by grabbing this gem, it was just the right dose of romance, adventure, and magic that I needed. This story follows Maeve, the youngest of five children and the most reckless, as she begins learning tarot. Going from a complete nobody to the most popular at her all-girls school, she spends most of her days giving readings and dodging girls who want more than what she can offer. That’s all until she gives Lily, her old best friend, a reading. The next day, Lily goes missing. Maeve bands with the oh-so-beautiful Fiona and misunderstood Roe in their search into the unknown. If you’re obsessed already, there’s a sequel!
—Tierra, Editorial Intern
I will never ever pass up an opportunity to rave about this series. I’ve always considered myself a reader, but for a few years, I was stuck in a reading rut like no other. Enter: this absolute masterpiece of an adult fantasy series. It’s got everything you could want: a girl who goes from rags to riches, an enemies-to-lovers plot, tons of steamy sex scenes, characters you can’t help but root for, and a world that needs saving. I recommend this series to everyone—even if you don’t think you’re into fantasy. It’s that good.
—Garri, Managing Editor
I know I’m late to the Colleen Hoover game, but now that I’ve made it, I don’t plan on reading any other books until I finish everything she’s written; however, I always end up sad when they end because I get overly attached to the story. Hopeless is a little more YA than the books I usually read, but I ended up loving it and was so excited that it was a SERIES. The series follows a high school romance through the usual Colleen Hoover twists that you definitely won’t see coming.
—Jessica Jones, Social Media Editor
I was on the hunt for a fun summer read, and when I came across this Reese’s Book Club pick (#influenced), I had to see if it lived up to the hype. Let’s just say that it did not disappoint. The perfect combination of fashion and stealth, Chen takes you on a whirlwind adventure of two unlikely partners-in-crime (literally), Ava Wong and Winnie Fang, as they build a counterfeit handbag ruse. On the heels of AAPI Heritage Month, it’s icing on the cake that the storyline is interwoven with the underlying themes of culture and identity (not to mention written by an AAPI female author).
—Katherine, Wellness Staff Writer
It says a lot about me that it took me this long to finally read this book. As an addict of thrillers and murder mysteries, it literally took seeing the trailer for the movie coming out and realizing the story centers on a murder for me to finally pick it up. All that said, I truly think it is the best book I have ever read. It is beautifully written in a way that you just don’t find all that often, and I really think it is going to end up being considered a classic. The setting and characters pull you in and make you feel immersed in it, and the plot takes you through the full spectrum of human emotion—multiple times. I am so glad I read this before the movie comes out, and I’m going to make a point of reading it over every single summer.
—Madeline, Fashion Editor
I pretty much am constantly in the middle of reading a thriller book—so much so that they often just blend together in my head unless one is really good. When I think of all the books I’ve read this year, my mind goes straight to this one, which says a lot. Not only is the plot captivating and interesting, but you actually don’t see the twists coming, and it’s a stare-at-the-wall-in-shock type of book when you finish it. If you’re looking for a thrill, this is your next read.
—Madeline, Fashion Editor
I don’t know if I’ve ever been so excited for a book release (except maybe for a new Sarah Dessen book when I was in high school), and I’m happy to report that I was not disappointed. Like anyone else who regularly finds themself on BookTok, I’ve been working my way through Colleen Hoover’s novels and haven’t read one that I haven’t liked. But when I read Reminders of Him, it promptly took the spot of my #1 CoHo book (yes, even above It Ends With Us and Verity). This book is heart-breaking and heart-warming all at the same time, and the characters are easy to relate to and fall in love with. You’ll definitely be thinking about them long after you finish reading. Plus, it gets major points for being on Kindle Unlimited!
—Jess, Fashion Editor
This is another book that BookTok convinced me to read (and also another Kindle Unlimited pick). I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this book since I haven’t read this author before, but I was surprised at how much I adored this book. It has everything I like when reading: a great love story, parts that made me laugh out loud, parts that made my cry, and just the right amount of spice. This is a long book, but I still never wanted it to end.
—Jess, Fashion Editor
If you haven’t read anything by Dr. Dispenza before, your life is about to change. No literally–every page of this book blew my freaking mind. A lot of his work centers around how to heal symptoms and disease, how to achieve optimal health using the mind (crazy stuff!), and how connected the mind and body are. This book also covers the scientific side of manifestation, using neuroscience, physics, etc., to tune into frequencies to basically achieve our wildest dreams. I mean he literally teaches you to change your brain chemistry. This is one of those books that I recommend everyone read (a few times) and put into practice.
—Josie, Wellness Editor
If I was queen of the world (a girl can dream), this would be required reading for every person who has a menstrual cycle. As someone who has suffered with period issues (and related gut issues, fatigue, etc.) since I was 12 years old, I am so passionate about cycle syncing and teaching everyone to listen to their bodies instead of cover-up symptoms. This book is a comprehensive guide for any hormonal imbalance or reproductive system symptom and teaches you how to live with your period for optimal energy, health, glow, and creativity. A serious game-changer.
—Josie, Wellness Editor
Just like most of our team, I’m on a mission to read all of Colleen Hoover’s books, and this one was my most recent read on Kindle Unlimited. Though this one falls under the “New Adult” category and is more PG than her others, this best-selling contemporary romance novel is still full of complex characters and suspenseful twists. Parts of this book have similarities to the movie The Last Song like Beyah moving to the beach to live with her dad the summer before college and falling in love with one of the beloved locals (who at first glance seemed like she had nothing in common with), so it definitely gave me a feel-good nostalgic feeling about being in high school again. I read Heart Bones in a few days, so if you’re looking for your next quick and easy read, I highly suggest checking this one out.
—Keely, Senior Social Media Editor
I know what you’re thinking: She’s basic. But, in my defense, 1) basic things are favored for a reason, and 2) the rest of my CoHo-obsessed team got to this list before me which left me no choice but to mention one of the more popular, unmentioned masterpieces. And for that, I have no one to blame but myself. Next to Heart Bones and Reminders of Him, IEWU has an untouchable place in my heart. This was the first of the Colleen Hoover books that I read (and TBH, one of the first books I’ve read in my twenties), and when I tell you that I had a one-month long book hangover from this one, I’m not kidding. I’ve never been so moved by a book in my entire life, and the way that CoHo flawlessly puts you smack dab in the middle of an impossible-to-navigate situation truly made me change the way I view the world and relationships. And for the most iconic and touching dedications/acknowledgements of all time, ever. This book rocked my world and changed my life, and I truly am on the edge of my seat waiting for the sequel. (Note: Review the trigger warnings before you dive into this one!)
—Ashley, Branded Content Editor