Hey everyone!! I’m super excited to present a collab with the one and only brilliant Grace @ This Stack of Books!
She’s an intelligent, awesome, funny, and friendly all rolled up in one amazing person. Somehow I had the privilege to work with her on a super fun, super useful book recommendation collaboration.
Basically, we each answer a set of questions regarding our preferences in books and give each other recommendations based on that. Grace’ll be posting the post where she answers the questions and I give the recs, and I’ll be posting the post where I answer the questions and she gives the recs. We’ll follow up with a post in a few weeks where we each read a few of the recommendations and review them. See her post over here.
What is your favorite book and why?
I love too many books to choose! Some of my favorites are An Abundance of Katherines, Leah on the Offbeat, Between Shades of Grey, The Book Thief and The Sun is Also A Star. I tend to connect with contemporary YA fiction the most nowadays. These books are my favorites because of the layers of the characters, believability of the story, and ability to make me react in either a joyful or melancholy way. An Abundance of Katherines shows readers that the happily ever after often portrayed in the media isn’t as easy to come by as we think. Leah on the Offbeat depicts a teenager going through hormonal changes, dealing with issues regarding weight loss, love, and sexuality, and many of these are subjects often glossed over in books (well, excluding love. We don’t even need any more books in that genre, lol).
Between Shades of Grey is a beautiful historical fiction taking place during Stalin’s reign, shedding light on a masked time of death and destruction with lovable characters. The Book Thief also happens during the Holocaust, told from the unique perspective of Death and with heart-wrenching characters (sobs loudly in the background 😭). The Sun is Also a Star tells the story of two completely different teens falling in love and it’s not ‘and they live happily after!’ which is obviously not realistic, but there is still an awesome ending.
What is your favorite genre and why?
My favorite genres are probably fantasy fiction, historical fiction, and realistic fiction (including romance). All of these are mostly novels, but I do enjoy online comics (Webtoons, anyone?) and picture books with beautiful art (why are they so underrated??) occasionally. When I read fantasy, they are mostly middle-grade and not young adult, although I have read some amazing YA fantasy series and am eager to read more in the future. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres because you learn about history as well as enjoyable amazing characters and a brilliant plot. Realistic fiction appeals to me only if it is young adult. I also read romance a lot, mainly between teens or young-ish adults. I do not read adult romance, only YA.
Who is your favorite author and why?
Because there is such diversity in the book industry, it’s impossible for me to pick just one author as my favorite. In the fantasy genre, my favorites would be J.K. Rowling (The one and only Harry Potter!!), Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass ❤ no further explanation is needed) and Rick Riordan (yess! Ships ships shippity ships). In young adult fiction- namely contemporary, realistic and romantic- my favorite authors include John Green, Nicola Yoon and Becky Albertalli. My favorite author in middle-grade realistic fiction is Sharon Creech. In historical fiction my favorite author is Ruta Sepetys.
What is your favorite book series?
Although this probably doesn’t count as a series (it’s more like a collection of multiple series by the same author), most of the books under the Rick Riordan umbrella are dear to me. I love how he studied on mythology and presents it in an entertaining way while crafting complex characters and weaving in diversity while he’s at it. I also like many other fantasy series such as Throne of Glass, Harry Potter, Keeper of the Lost Cities, The Land of Stories, and Unwanteds.
What type of book or book content do you avoid?
I typically avoid horror, mystery or thriller books, just like Grace, but not because I don’t like it; I’ve never actually read much of these genres so I am pretty eager to read more, especially of the mystery genre 😃. Dystopian just isn’t really my cup of tea although I did enjoy The Hunger Games. I also avoid science fiction, but that’s also because I haven’t read anything good in that genre so far. I’m open to recommendations in that genre although I’m a bit reluctant to try without a great review. I do not read adult books or books with a predominantly sexual theme although I am alright with some explicit content in books.
What are your favorite and least favorite tropes?
Even though it is slightly overused, I do enjoy a good quest or journey. And, yes, the infamous/famous prophecies 😃. I love novels where the protagonist has to take on a different identity for a quest although they are not a spy. I also definitely enjoy books that are written in poetry or letter format, especially poetry. This one isn’t really a trope, but I’ve tended to mostly read books with female protagonists or at least strong female side characters this year because I empathize with them in a deeper way. I also love reading about twins who overcome difficulties and their bond stays strong. ❤ I dislike love triangles, “the Chosen One” trope (although I read wayy too much of that and enjoy it. I’m such a hypocrite lol) and hate anything with a “nerd girl meets bad boy captain of the blank sports team and falls in love. She also magically becomes beautiful” cliché.
- This Side of Home by Renee Watson
I recommend This Side of Home because Aditi likes twin relationships, John Green, Ruta Sepetys, Becky Albertalli, and Marcus Zusak. All of these authors write books with unique and influential settings and cultures, and the characters are very realistic and flawed yet relatable, with day-to-day struggles. This Side of Home is the story of two twin sisters navigating life, relationships (not just romance! Family relationships as well, which I personally love!) and identity as their surroundings change.
MY REACTION: This sounds super fun! I’m excited to read this because I especially love John Green’s style of writing and flawed characters with awesome family dynamics (twins!!) are the best ❤
- You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins
You Bring the Distant Near is my go-to for a favorite book questions. I’ll take any opportunity to recommend it, and I also think Aditi may really like it because of the authors she likes. You Bring the Distant Near has relatable characters, wonderful settings, interesting character dynamics, and realistic relationships. Because Aditi likes Ruta Sepetys, John Green, and Marcus Zusak, I think she’ll really like You Bring the Distant Near.
MY REACTION: I’ve been wanting to read this ever since I saw this on Grace’s blog for the first time, but obviously I procrastinate and forget about this whenever we order from the library. This sounds amazing, also because I’m an American-born Indian girl whose parents are immigrants. I would probably relate with the main characters.
- On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
Angie Thomas wrote The Hate U Give. That is probably enough of a recommendation for somebody who likes realistic contemporary YA. But it’s also a wonderful book. On The Come Up has relatable characters and plenty of substance. It’s one of those stories full of texture and layers that grabs you right away and keeps you interested for several re-reads. On the Come Up just seems like a book that would be Aditi’s cup of tea.
MY REACTION: I really, really, really want to read The Hate U Give! It’s already been on my TBR, so this is just confirmation that I definitely need to read it! As for On The Come Up, I’m excited to read it- I definitely do think it would be my cup of tea.
- Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Ruta Sepetys may be best known for Between Shades of Grey, but in my opinion, the more overlooked Salt to the Sea might be even better. I think the author’s writing matured a lot in the three years between these books. The story told in Salt to the Sea is just as gripping as that in Between Shades of Grey, and maybe even less known. It’s the story of how several people’s lives intersect because of the sinking of the Lusitania towards the end of World War II. The writing is some of the best I’ve read, technique-wise, the characters are gripping, and also it’s amazing to read the story of how people’s lives can intersect with them not even knowing how much they influence others. I think Aditi will like Salt to the Sea because she already likes Between Shades of Grey.
MY REACTION: I started Salt to the Sea this year and the beginning was ok, but it was so confusing for me to follow. I didn’t understand what was going on in the plot and I might have given up on it 😞. I will give it another try because I’ve gotten really good reviews and I loved Between Shades of Gray.
- What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
This is a cute, romantic story. It’s the type of book I’d bring on a trip or if I just felt like reading something cheerful. It’s the story of how two teenagers become friends unexpectedly, and how it changes their lives. Because Aditi likes YA romances, John Green, and Becky Albertalli, I think she’ll like What to Say Next.
MY REACTION: This book seems really fun. I love light romance reads, and this book seems a lot like Turtles All The Way Down by John Green, which I also loved (I love a lot of books, don’t I?). I read the blurb and it intrigues me because of the mystery aspect involved. This seems like a really interesting combination!
- Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Children of Blood and Bone has been one of the most popular fantasy books of 2018, so Aditi may have already read it, but I’ll still explain why I recommend it. Children of Blood and Bone has a world so real it seems you could almost live in it while you’re reading the book. The main character is a flawed, relatable fighter. It’s a complex story of right and wrong, and those do well as fantasy. Because Aditi likes YA fantasy, I think she’ll like Children of Blood and Bone.
MY REACTION: I loved Children of Blood and Bone! It’s a great book, and I agree with everything you said about it. I’d also add that the historical, multicultural West African aspect of the story is a fresh take. I know I enjoyed this book a lot more because of that.
- Invictus by Ryan Graudin
Invictus is one of the better-done YA time travel stories I’ve read. There’s more focus on the characters than the science of time-space-who cares this is fiction, and it’s still exciting and adventurous. There’s a bit of a side-romance that is fairly realistic. Because Aditi likes Rick Riordan and Unwanteds, I think she might like this book.
MY REACTION: Invictus seems like a nice read- I haven’t read a lot of sci-fi so I’m glad that you recommended a good read. Also, I do look for characters more than detailed plot and the scientific aspect, so it’s important that Invictus has layered characters. However, I doubt anyone could deal out near-perfect romantic pairings and plot like Uncle Rick. SOLANGELO FOREVER Yes, I am a fangirl. 😂
- Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger
This book is a little bit hit-or-miss with people. Some people love it and some really dislike it. It’s a regency steampunk with a twist. It’s action-and-adventure with ballrooms-and-fan-fluttering. Some think that sounds like the most amazing book in the world, and some think that sounds like pickle ice cream. Because Aditi likes Rick Riordan and John Green, there’s a chance she’ll like this. But there’s also a chance she’ll think it’s pickle ice cream.
MY REACTION: Pickle ice cream. Hmm. Grace just made me love her ten times more just because of that dry humor. *applaudes* This actually seems like something I would like, although I can sense that if the writing or characters are bad, it will be a grand fiasco, sort of like America in The Selection. I read that series for the ball gowns, I’m telling you.
- Illuminae by Amie Kaufman
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman has been pretty highly acclaimed by fantasy and science fiction readers. It has almost 90,000 reviews on Goodreads and still has 4.3 stars, which says a lot. It’s told in letters, reports, and messages, which some people struggle with, but Amie Kaufman does a good job keeping the story flowing and not clunky. Because Aditi likes Rick Riordan, Keeper of the Lost Cities, and books with quests, I think she’ll like Illuminae.
MY REACTION: I searched up this book online and came to a conclusion: I’ve seen books like this on the library shelves before, except they have male protagonists that don’t seem very interesting, and I think this could be a favorite of mine if Kady and her love interest are written well.
- The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Most people who like Keeper of the Lost Cities love The Mysterious Benedict Society as well. MBS is a cute, puzzle-filled, almost-realistic story full of plots and twists.
MY REACTION: The Mysterious Benedict Society is one of my favorite series from when I was a bit younger! I recently re-read it when I was trying to convince my brother to read it (and I saw how well that worked out) and was reminded of what a great character Reynie is, despite my recent pickiness in only reading female characters. Goes to say that authors nowadays need to work on writing more likable boy characters (or maybe I’m just picky. either works).
Aaand, that’s it for my post! If you want to see Grace answer the questions and me recommend books for her, head on over to her blog for an overload of awesomeness! (That was an order, not a request.)
This was tons of fun to do and I’m so glad I got to know Grace much more as well!
Which of these questions or recommendations did you like the most? Which books have you already read? Which books do you want to read? Isn’t Grace the best xx?