By Sophia Sajan (’22)
- The Mortal Instruments
“When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…”
Following Clary Fray, a regular girl, who’s hunt for her missing mother lands her on a magical journey through a land of demons, vampires, werewolves and many more, hidden right under her nose and visible only to her.
The Shadowhunters series are so good you won’t be able to put them down. Quarantine will go by in a flash! There are over 5 different series by author Cassandra Clare, each as good as the last. If you are a potterhead (Harry Potter), a Tribute (Hunger Games trilogy), part of the Divergence (the Divergent series), or a member of Dashners Army (the Maze Runner), then this series is for you!
- Harry Potter
“Harry Potter, a boy who learns on his eleventh birthday that he is the orphaned son of two powerful wizards and possesses unique magical powers of his own, is summoned from his life as an unwanted child to become a student at Hogwarts, an English boarding school for wizards. There, he meets several friends who become his closest allies and help him discover the truth about his parents’ mysterious deaths.”
Obviously, if you have not read this infamous series by now you better get started. And what better time than now?
Harry Potter has so many fans because it’s so good! Billions of hooked readers could tell you so too. You cannot argue with the eight successful movies, either. Why would it be translated into over 73 languages if it wasn’t so goshdarn good? I mean, who doesn’t wanna be a wizard? Maybe I am a little biased, seeing that I used to wear Hermione’s time turner in third grade and actually own three wands… but still! Harry Potter is a classic. If you can’t get through this series without enjoying anything even a little bit, you can give up reading forever and I won’t try to convince you otherwise. However, you can not say you don’t like reading if you haven’t at least tried the first four books out. Reading The Hatchet in third grade and not liking it should not mean that you won’t enjoy this series.
“Eragon, a poor farm boy, lives in Alagaesia, a kingdom ruled by Galbatorix, a powerful but evil monarch. One day, Eragon discovers a beautiful stone that he soon realizes is a dragon’s egg. When the creature hatches, Eragon sets forth on a path that could restore the glory of his homeland’s legendary Dragon Riders and perhaps overthrow Galbatorix.”
The Inheritance Cycle is not for everyone. I am one of the someones who have read it twice and listened to it once (all 400 hours of it). That’s a lot coming from someone who never reads anything more than once. This series is for the fantasy nerds; the kids who would be playing Dungeons and Dragons had we been born 30 years earlier. Dragons and sorcery and wizards and elves and all sorts of magical things that’ll leave you undoubtedly wanting more.
However, be warned, this is not a light read. If you are someone who can read books in a single day, this will not be one of said books. There are over 500 pages in book one, and it only gets bigger from there. You will disappear for a week when you start this. But, the great thing is, you will never complete homework assignments faster than when you want to read the next pages of the Inheritance Cycle.
- Red Queen
“Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver-blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.
To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction.
One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.”
When you get into the Red Queen Quartet, you won’t move until you’ve finished them all. I know I didn’t. Hours go by without realising, and you’ll suddenly snap out of that enticing world to find it’s dark outside and you’ve skipped dinner. Mare Barrow is a realistically flawed heroine perfect for anyone needing a little empowerment in their lives. This book doesn’t feature the cliche fearless heroes; Mare just wants to survive. Watching this character change throughout the book is addicting beyond measure.
A must read for any Selection or Cinder fans.
- John Green
Do not be mistaken; John Green is an author, not a novel. If you haven’t heard of the man responsible for the tear-jerking Fault in Our Stars then do you even read, bro? You may have seen his YouTube channel, Crash Course History, during class a couple times. Regardless, his books are for all the kids out there who are feeling misunderstood and/or alone. Each novel is entirely unique and you will see absolutely zero similarities with anything else. Every character is deep and complicated, more so than the protagonist simply being “the hero” or “the smart one”. John Green’s books are the type of books that leave you thinking, “holy moly I’ll never see the world the same way again.”
- Anne of Green Gables
“When aging brother and sister Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert decide to adopt an orphan boy to help with chores around their farm, Green Gables on Prince Edward Island, neither is prepared for the feisty and imaginative redheaded girl who is mistakenly brought to them instead. Nor are they prepared for the way in which she will change their lives. Through a series of hilarious misadventures, Anne’s uncompromising spirit makes her a striking presence in the close-knit village, bringing new friendships, first crushes, and, for her foster parents, a love and openness unimaginable before her arrival.”
All eight of L.M Montgomery’s Anne books chronicle reality to a T. The highs and lows and joys of life are so prevalent in every word that it remains one of the best pick-me-ups I’ve read.
For any reader out there, you are familiar with the fakeness of a lot of literature. The type of romance novels that leave you like, “This would never happen in real life” or “High schoolers don’t actually party like this, what is this nonsense?” To a degree all fiction maintains this element of unreality; displaying an unattainable existence we all wish we had.
Anne of Green Gables weaves a tale that feels true, that a reader feels actually happened. Consistently communicating a tone of actual life that readers can feel in each chapter. The feeling remains hard to describe still, but I think “real” describes it best. I have a hard time believing that these events didn’t happen.
- Ready Player One
“It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of 10,000 planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune – and remarkable power – to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved – that of the late 20th century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt – among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life – and love – in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.”
I am completely convinced this is the fate of our world. This is the future, I have no doubt. Apart from being a brilliantly original and well-written story, it doesn’t appear impossible. Yeah, Harry Potter’s magical wands and flying broomsticks are highly improbable (I’m holding out hope still), but Ready Player One isn’t in the realm of impossibility.
Recently, my older brother Simon bought an Oculus. For any who do not know, Facebook owns this virtual reality headset called Oculus. Years ago, when VR was in early development it got a lot of press, people were really excited about the idea. Upon the first release, many people got motion sickness and public opinion went down the drain. Now there’s hardly any attention being paid to it. However, all those little issues were ironed out and the Oculus is real. A player feels like they’re actually falling if they jump out of the helicopter, facing Darth Vader in Vader Immortal III remains genuinely terrifying– he’s seven feet tall, it truly terrifies all five feet of me– and escape rooms are really interactive. These devices create real worlds, just like they do in the book. Everything lines up. In every game you can look up, down, around, and you have no clue where you are standing/sitting in the real world.
While the environment slowly dies people will eventually not wish to leave their homes. But one can travel anywhere with an Oculus. It appears a brilliant access point to schooling for anyone who can’t physically reach one. Watch TV on a whole different level, or game like never before.
Mark my words, Ready Player One predicts our future. You must read it to be prepared!
- Handmaid’s Tale
“After a staged terrorist attack kills the President and most of Congress, the government is deposed and taken over by the oppressive and all-controlling Republic of Gilead. Offred, now a Handmaid serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife, can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Despite the danger, Offred learns to navigate the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules in hopes of ending this oppression.”
The best description of this book would have to be “complete”. This universe Margaret Atwood creates is so immersive and flawless that it feels real. There are no loopholes to the point where a reader can genuinely see this oppressive world within their own. It’s chapters will have you asking, “Is this where our world is headed? Could this actually happen?” Out of all the books I have ever read, Handmaid’s Tale sits upon a tier of its own; one simply cannot compare with anything else because there is nothing out there quite like it.
If you’re looking for a light read, you won’t find what you’re looking for here. In every word readers can feel the weight of the situation. Every vivid, heavy image takes you right there alongside the Handmaid, witnessing all that horror and gore. There is a story simply being told, no explanations, no easy answers, the readers are simply along for the ride. As a reader, you want to look away but can’t. One wants to know everything, but Atwood offers nothing, leaving it up to the readers to put all the threads together.
- Opposite of Always
“When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack.
But then Kate dies. And their story should end there.
Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind.
Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do to save the people he loves.”
Your classic young adult romance with a twist: time travel. But not really, because this comical protagonist has no control. Welcome to Groundhog Day 2.0, an addicting and heart-warming journey of love and self discovery. Jack and Kate are the couple you cannot stop shipping, and you will have to keep reading just to make sure both characters end up in the right place. This novel features the type of friendships and relationships that a reader will envy and want to see more of. Those movie moments where you want to scream at your TV, that is what it’s like to read this book, but in a good way!
“Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.
But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.”
Caraval won’t make things simple for you. There will be no easy explanation in this series. Mysteries and magic woven into a tale of sisters struggling to make it out of an elaborate game alive… who to trust? Don’t get too attached to anybody; you never know who will be the final betrayer. This trilogy will leave you with more questions than answers and the end of each book will leave you desperately wanting back into the world of Caraval.