I’m in a book club with a few friends of mine. But we’re all busy people with our own responsibilities and lives. So, our book club reads are usually under 300 pages or so. It was my turn to pick recently and I thought I’d share some of the books that I rounded up for potential book club reads. These books are also really good for bookish discussions.
Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed // Review // It’s short, but it’s poignant, heartbreaking, and highlights contemporary issues of forced marriages. Naila is in a loving relationship with a Pakistani-American boy, who equally adores her. However, her parents don’t approve of him. So, they leave for Pakistan to make the Naila and her little brother return to their roots, but the parents ultimately succeed in forcing Naila into a marriage she never consented too. Reader’s discretion is advised for familial and domestic violence and abuse, and rape.
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo // Goodreads // Amanda Hardy is moving in with her father to start anew at a new high school, new town, new friends. But she has a secret, Amanda used to be called Andrew. This book is short, but has a distinct teen voice and contains important contemporary issues. However, reader’s discretion is advised for mentions of attempted suicide and suicide, attempted rape and sexual assault. So, it’s not for the very faint at heart, but it’s a well written ownvoices book about a trans teen by a trans author.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness // Goodreads // Patrick Ness certainly has a way with words and that’s no exception for this short novel. A monster has appeared to Conor forcing him to confront his fears and truths. This book was my most recent pick and it provided lots of discussion.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi // Goodreads // Thirty-six years old and at the tail end of a ten year long training to become a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage-IV lung cancer. It’s a touching memoir that delves into the careful balance of life and death, but ultimately what it means to live. This book made me cry.
The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera // Review // Highly recommend this one for strong teen voices, good scene setting, and discussions on family, assimilation, and double-standards.
Over 300 pages, but would probably be really good discussion starters
Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez // Goodreads // This book left me reeling! Naomi and her younger half-siblings move in with Henry, her step-father. East Texas, 1937. It’s no place for Mexicans or blacks. It’s a harrowing and difficult historical fiction to read, but it’s an important read nonetheless with compelling storytelling and a romance you want to root for. Reader’s discretion is advised for this one as well for child abuse, racist slurs and actions, profane language, and rape.
Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz // Review // On a much lighter note, it’s a heartwarming romance that’s swoony, but also difficult laden with teenage difficulties and angst. The issue at hand is living undocumented in the United States. Jasmine is a really sweet character with ambition. It was really easy to fall into the story.
As I finished wrapping up this list I noticed most of these books are contemporary and touch upon contemporary issues like immigration, forced marriage, and trans rights. I hope this list is a great resources for you and your book club or just another book recommendation list.
Have you read any of the books on this list? Which books are you going to pick up and read?