This week’s Top 10 Tuesday prompt is about book hangovers, and I especially loved this one because I think it gets to the heart of what drives readers to read. Of course there’s a lot that you can get from a book, but I think there’s a special sort of joy in diving into a world that immerses you so much that the world around you looks a little gray. I don’t get that feeling as much as I used to as a child, but every now and then a book will just take hold of me. Here are the last ten reads to have left me with a book hangover.
Into the Grey by Celine Kernan
This one caught me by surprise because I hadn’t expected it – it was a young adult novel from the perspective of a teenage boy, and usually the books that draw me in the most are books with main characters to whom I closely relate. However, the characters in this one felt incredibly real, and the world development was quite well done.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Uprooted is much more like my typical read – to such an extent that I was worried that it would feel derivative. However, the magic system in this one was intriguing to me, and quite a few fantasy tropes were turned on their head, which I always appreciate.
The Muse by Jessie Burton
This book was not at all what I had expected, though I can’t quite articulate what exactly I was expecting to begin with. However, there was a great mystery in this one about a young man who inherits a painting by a famous Spanish painter, and I love it when books shift back and forth in time to reveal a historical mystery. The characters in both timelines were interesting and the drama felt as tragic as reality often is.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
I think part of what added to the book hangover is the sheer speed at which Where’d You Go, Bernadette moves. Of course there’s stellar character development in this one, and that is its best quality, but the humor is perfectly placed in many places, and there is so much activity that I devoured this one in days.
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
Victoria Schwab always has incredible world-building, and City of Ghosts is no exception. As interesting as the characters were in this, the realism of the setting and the magic system is definitely what drew me in and kept me reading.
There There by Tommy Orange
I had expected There There to be more of an intellectual read, but instead it drew me in by my heart – the characters in this novel are so deep and sympathetic, and it really showcases how resilient humans can be. I feel like this is one of those books that everyone should read at some point, because it brings to light quite a few hardships in the native community that most Americans don’t want to look at. This book absolutely left me heartbroken.
Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink
I listened to this book as an audiobook, and usually I drag those out a little but this one was just weird enough to keep me hooked. It is of course a fantastic fantasy horror novel, but it also tackles quite a few greater cultural issues in America, and I really like the bravery with which it looks at our country. When I finished this one I immediately wanted ten more in this world.
The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison
To be honest, dystopian novels leave me with a book hangover more than any others, and I think that’s because good ones feel like just one tragedy away from our current way of life. This book definitely fit that – so much about this book feels like it could happen at any minute, and that both kept me hooked and also made me so angry at the sexism around us right now.
The Witch Elm by Tana French
I think the thing I loved the most about The Witch Elm is the disjointed, unreliable narrator – he suffers a brain injury at the beginning of the novel, and the entire rest of the novel is him trying to piece together something that happened in his past that he probably should remember but just can’t. It gave me the chills to think about what secrets could be erased from my memory that way, and that feeling haunted me for a long time after finishing the novel.
Broken Things by Lauren Oliver
Broken Things reminded me a good deal of A Great and Terrible Beauty, in the way that it looks at the complicated friendships that arise between teenage girls. That is definitely what drew me in to this one – I remember being that age, and the way that friendships often teeter that line between love and hate. Even once the book was finished, it left me thinking about my own teenage years and how awful they were in a lot of ways.