Twelve books you must read

If you had to narrow down your book collection, which ones would you keep?

I wonder about this often, which is why I’ve put together a list of all my time favourite reads.

I’ve had some of these books since my teen years (yikes); some only a few months. But what they all have in common is the connection I have with the characters and storyline, which is why they’ve made it onto this list.

So let’s get to it!

Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park. I read this in high school, when I was around 15 and almost 20 years later I still love it. Abigail Kirk is a sullen teen who finds herself transported back in time to the slums of Sydney. There is a reason she is there and she spends the whole story working out why that is. This book has a bit of everything; magic, love and a glimpse into Sydney at a different time. Worth a read!

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding. You’ve probably seen the film starring Renee Zellweger (which was brilliant in my opinion) and the book is just as good. Bridget is a singleton in her thirties who paints (writes?) a very honest portrayal of how life actually is. It’s written in a diary style and has so many laugh out loud moments. Bridget Jones in so relatable and honest that you just can’t help falling in love with her.

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot. I feel like Meg Cabot is such an underrated author. Sure, the Princess Diaries are targeted towards a teen audience but her quirky, relatable style of writing appeals to everyone who’s ever felt like an outsider. Mia Thermapolis is an awkward 15 year old who suddenly finds out she is the heir to a throne. Between juggling algebra, her high school crush and an overbearing best friend, being a princess is the last thing Mia needs and she does everything in her power to keep it a secret. There are a few other books in this series however I’ve always loved the first one that extra bit more.

The Pact by Jodi Picoult. You know I had to add a Jodi Picoult book in; she is one of my favourite authors! I read The Pact over 10 years ago and still reach for it today. It’s just such a good read. Chris and Emily have been best friends since birth and as teens they fall in love. When Emily is found dead all fingers point to Chris and their families must piece together what happened. Like many of Jodi’s books, there is some gripping courtroom drama and lots of explosive scenes. The perfect book to get stuck into!

Citizen Girl by Nicola Kraus and a Emma Mcloughlin. This is a quirky look at corporate life and what it means to be a feminist working in a man’s world. The style of writing is a bit hard to grasp at first however once you get into the story it’s a really interesting read. Girl (that’s her name) is a young feminist trying to make her mark on the world. When she is unfairly fired she lands a seemingly amazing job with a company that appears to stand for all that she believes in…until it doesn’t. I took this book on my first NYC trip and it was really special reading it while I was there!

Cartel by Lili St. Germain. This is part of a 3 book series that is just amazing. Marianna, a 19 year old college student from Columbia is traded to the Cartel in exchange for her fathers debt and she must do everything she can to survive. But what she didn’t count on was falling in love. This is not a love story. It’s a story with love in it but the circumstances are horrific. It has similar tones to the tv show Sons of Anarchy; violence, human trafficking and general illegal activity. Marianna is such a strong character that you can’t help but fall in love with her. Not for the faint hearted though!

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. If you’re a long time reader of this blog you’ll know I absolutely love this book. The Storyteller centres around reclusive Sage, her grandmother and an elderly man called Josef and switches between the present time and World War 2. There is so much emotion in this book and I never fail to cry at the end. If you’re interested in stories from the Holocaust I think you’d enjoy this.

Petals on the Wind by Virginia Andrews. I was obsessed with this book in my teens and read it many, many times. It follows Flowers In The Attic (the author’s breakout novel) and the lives of the Dollanganger children after they escape the attic. The story is a bit twisted and perverse and reading it now as an adult shows just how disturbing it is! But, I do love the character of Cathy and her attempts at having a ‘normal’ life after the trauma she went through in the attic. The writing is a bit old fashioned and retro but it’s still a fascinating read!

The Idea of You by Robinne Lee. I’m just going to put this out there; this is probably the best story I’ve read in years. It’s not so much the actual story, it’s the way it made me feel. God, it made me feel so much. Solene is a divorced mum of one who starts a fling with a 20 year old boy band member (he is actually based on Harry Styles!). What starts as initially just sex develops into actual love. I don’t know what I love more about this book; the exotic locations Selene and Hayes meet up in, the beautiful style of writing that Robinne uses or the two characters who I feel I know. I could go on and on about this but it won’t do the story justice. I’ve probably read it about twelve times since I bought it a month ago and try to read a bit of it every day. I am a woman obsessed. Just do yourself a favour and read it!

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. Were you a Twlight fan when the movie came out? I was. I remember the world went Twilight mad and you couldn’t go two feet without seeing the pale faces of Edward and Bella. The first book will forever be my favourite as it perfectly captures all the feelings of first love. Whenever I read it I feel 17 again; all those intense feelings of longing come flooding back! If you live under a rock, basically human Bella moves to Forks and falls in love with a vampire called Edward Cullen. For obvious reasons it’s not the safest coupling and Bella and Edward must fight to keep each other and their families safe.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. Quirky, touching, heartbreaking. These are just some of the ways to describe Me Before You. Lou is a 20 something year old who has had a pretty ordinary life. That is, until she meets Will, a former successful businessman who has been left a paraplegic after a tragic accident. He turns her world upside down and suddenly Lou is faced with some pretty tough decisions. What I like the most about this story is how Will changes Lou’s life forever. There are also two books that follow me Before You which is important to know as you will become obsessed.

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume. I’ve never met a Judy Blume book I didn’t like and this is one of the best. Summer Sisters follows Vix and Caitlin, two friends who spend summers together on Martha’s Vineyard. It chronicles their lives from around 12 years of age through to their 30s and along the way they deal with love, loss and heartbreak. I read this way back when I was 15 and have loved it ever since; I find that I relate to different stages of the book as I get older. Definitely a must read.

There you have it, the comprehensive list of books to read by yours truly! I really hope you enjoyed it and let me know if you have any recommendations of your own, I’d love to hear them.

Roxane.

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