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The Talon

The Talon

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June 20, 2024

Here Are Some of My Favorite Books to Consider Reading This Year!

Here Are Some of My Favorite Books to Consider Reading This Year!
Amarillys Jones

           Throughout the past years, I have read around 300+ books. I have found that many make me feel anger, regret, sadness, and extreme joy. 

      As we start the new year, I want to give you book recommendations that will make you feel all these emotions, but in a beautiful way. Here are my top 5 favorite books that will touch you somehow. 


All of these novels deal with heavy subjects. These are death, grief, suicide, PTSD, depression, anxiety, cheating, etc. Trigger and content warnings are located below with each listed book. Please look into these novels and always remember to take care of yourself! 

  We Are Okay by Nina Lacour 

My first article ever was a review I did for this novel. I was hit with raw emotions and a connection I never thought I would feel with a fictional character. 

My thoughts still stand today. I gave this book a five-star rating. If I could give it 6 stars I would. The description on Goodreads reads as follows:

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

If you want my in-depth review, you can check out my article here: Book Review: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour 


Beach Read by Emily Henry 

In August of 2022, I went on a family vacation to Florida. In preparation, I started to pack some books I had on my TBR (to be read) for that summer. One book that stood out was Beach Read by Emily Henry. 

It had such a cute cover and intriguing plot not many romances have. On Goodreads the description is described as: 

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites. In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

Due to this, I was ready to dive into the story. I picked it up and got my playlist ready for what I was going to read. 

When I was done I rated this book a 5 stars. It was the best book I have read in a long time. 

January is one of the best main characters I have ever read about. I related to her so much and felt everything she felt. One specific moment was when she realized she had been lied to for so long. 

January’s Father cheated on her mother and she had no idea until she attended his funeral and met his mistress. Everything came crashing onto her because the person she loved so dearly and cherished did something so vile. The way Henry depicts the isolation and step back January has to take to grapple with the situation was heartbreaking, but at the same time so beautifully done. 

Augustus is my all-time favorite fictional male character. “When I watch you sleep,” he said shakily, “I feel overwhelmed that you exist. I’ve never met someone who is so perfectly my favorite person” This has to be the most heartwarming and thoughtful thing someone has ever said. Or in this case, a fictional character. 

He is the definition of “My fictional Boyfriend” material. I love him so much. He’s a character that most can relate to as he is a hopeless romantic and figuring out what he wants in life. 

    This is a novel you need to pick up this winter or summer! 

Normal People by Sally Rooney 

In 8th grade, I started to get back into reading after the lockdown. In doing so, I went to Target and bought a bunch of books. One of these books was Normal People by Sally Rooney. 

I saw a lot of mixed reviews on BookTok and decided I wanted to see where my thoughts would be in the discourse. 

The Goodreads description states the following:

At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school soccer team while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her housekeeping job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers – one they are determined to conceal.

A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years in college, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. Then, as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.

Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.

I rated this novel 5 stars and made an in-depth review about it here: Book Review: Normal People by Sally Rooney 

Marianne and Connell will forever be in my heart. Please read this book if you want an engaging discussion about love and the general perspective of social class. 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid 

In 8th grade, I expanded my reading genre to a whole new level. I was used to reading adventure comics, romance novels, and the classics the school would issue. 

That all changed when I decided to scroll on TikTok one afternoon. I saw the novel The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and thought “This looks like a cool read. I guess I’ll buy it”. To which, I did. 

I sat down on my bed and started reading. When I finished the book I was left with Heartbreak and sadness, something I never thought a book with the title of “Seven Husbands” would do. 

Evelyn Hugo is a relatable character and very outspoken in ways I wish to be. Her actions are shocking and the lengths she will go to have you on the edge of your seat. She has lived such a life that creates this constant suspension that makes you want to know what happens. I rated it 5 stars as a whole and believe that anyone can love this book. Go read it!

Here is the Goodreads description: 

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career. Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story nears its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

  The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky 

During the summer of 8th grade, I was scrolling on Netflix to find a movie to watch. In doing so, I found a movie by the title of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I was curious as to what that title even meant so I clicked on the movie and started to watch it. 

When the movie ended I knew that this was the best movie I have ever watched in my entire life. The characters were so raw and I connected with each one. There was not a time I didn’t cry, laugh, or find a deep connection with the storyline. Charlie as a main character means a lot to me, especially as someone who has been diagnosed with PTSD. 

I have never met a character that felt like they knew me and had this sense no one else got. I realized that the movie was created based on a novel and immediately ran to Google. 

I did a whole background search and immediately bought the book. To which, the book was amazing. 

It felt so much more personal and I connected with Charlie on another level. To this day I cannot pick which one is better. All you have to do is read this book IMMEDIATELY!!!!! I rated this novel a 5 stars as well if you couldn’t tell. 

Located below is the Goodreads description: 

standing on the fringes of life…offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor. This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being A WALLFLOWER. This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that the perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.


  The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand 

Towards the end of 2022, I wanted to read one more book before the year ended. I was in a sad book mood and was looking around my bookshelves trying to figure out what sad book I wanted to read. 

I then spotted The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand. I decided to pick it up because the title seemed sad and if it wasn’t, I was still reading a book on my TBR. 

It was the best decision I could have ever made. I rated this novel a 5 stars and if I could rate it a 6 I would. The mental health rep in this boom was phenomenal and the acts of grief were so raw. You felt everything Lex was going through and what she had to live through. 

The ending made me sob and I hope it makes you sob too. If you are into sad books you need to pick this up. 

The Goodreads description states:

There’s death all around us.

We just don’t pay attention.

Until we do.

The last time Lex was happy, was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn’t look at her like she might break down at any moment. Now she’s just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that’s all she’ll ever be. As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there’s a secret she hasn’t told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything. Lex’s brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn’t have to be real to keep you from moving on.

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About the Contributor
Amarillys Jones
Amarillys Jones, Co-Editor in Chief-Lit Mag, Book Columnist/Junior Content Editor
Co-editor in-chief of the Book Columnist/Junior Content/ Literary Magazine Editor. Amarillys Jones has been in the Communications and Journalism Program for three years and is a member of the Class of 2025. She tends to be quiet and reserved most of the time. Their favorite thing to do is read. If they could read for the rest of their life they would. They have other interests in baking, painting, song artists (most specifically Phoebe Bridgers and Taylor Swift), boxing, and wrestling. They are also president of the Book Club.