Books have always been my 'thing'. I can't remember when I learnt to read but I know that since then I've always had a book on the go. I try not to be a 'book snob' and will try something from every genre at least once. Sometimes if I'm feeling down or busy or stressed then I want nothing more than to get absorbed into a cheesy, young adult romance novel. But I also truely believe that the best books are the ones that leave you thinking. The ones that you close and can't stop thinking about. The books that make you question why things are the way they are and what you can do to change that. It's the books that really stay with me that effect me the most and remind me why I'm such a fanatic reader, why I crave the few minutes every day where I can get sucked into a different world. If you're looking for a book that's going to change the way you see the world then these five books are my recommendations.
The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger - I've read this book so many times and it impresses me every single time. One of my favourite things about this book is that my opinion of the central character, Holden, changes so much depending on the mood I'm in when I'm reading it. There have been times where I've loved him and times where I've hated him. The book is about a young adult who drops out of private school to face his problems. Sometimes I empathise with him and sometimes I find him really frustrating. But he has such a unique narrative style that I find I subconsciously copy his 'voice' for a few days after reading it. You phoney.
Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill - You may have seen me preaching about this book before and with good reason. It is absolutely amazing. We read it as part of Sassy Books and you can read my full review here. This book is set in a world where women are bred to be partnered to men and raised in a school where they are taught to be good wives. This book doesn't have a happy ending and it explores some pretty grim examples of sexism. What's scary is that it isn't hard to compare things that happen in this fiction novel to the reality of modern life. After finishing this book I stayed awake for hours just thinking about what happened. Louise O'Neill is a terrific and important writer and I can't wait to see what else she produces.
I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak - Zusak's other book, The Book Thief, has gotten a lot of well deserved attention. It's actually one of my favourite books of all time. But that doesn't mean his other works should be forgotten. I actually found I Am The Messenger to be a lot more 'hard hitting' and it's a considerably shorter book. In this story a young boy, Ed, is living a sort of loser-loner life. Until he stops a bank robbery and becomes a sort of local hero. But then he starts getting cards in the mail with clues on them. Upon arriving at the locations he realises he has to carry out 'tasks' that will help him make a difference in someone's life. It's not always easy and sometimes a little violent. This book made me think a lot about morality and the impact that you can have on someone's life. And Zusak is a wonderfully poetic writer.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson - Laurie Halse Anderson has a repuation for writing novels for young adults about really hard hitting subjects. And Speak is possibly one of her most famous novels. In the space of 200 pages some thoughtful and important points are made. This book is about a girl called Melinda who is outcast at school because she called the police to a local party and got it shut down. Melinda goes silent, she feels she cannot speak about what happened at the party. I don't want to spoil the storyline but this book could potentially be triggering for someone who has experienced sexual abuse and I think that warning gives a pretty big indication for the sort of hard hitting topics this book covers. I wish something like this had been on the curriculum when I was in high school as I think it's a hard read but starts some very important discussions.
More Than This by Patrick Ness - Ok so Patrick Ness is an absolute wizard. His books are just so good. I was literally so frightened when reading this book I had to get up out my bed and check that the scary character wasn't sitting in my cupboard waiting to get me. The main character wakes up in his childhood home in a world that appears to be abandoned. Or so he thinks. This book explores themes of artifical realities and what it really means to accept who you are and live your life to the fullest. Ness just writes so beautifully and puts so much thought into his work. He was also incredibly relatable and such a nice person when I saw him speak at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
What books made you really think about something? Leave me some recommendations.