Howdy, gals and pals! It has been a hot minute since I did a good old recommendations post. I’ve done a bunch of themed ones recently, but I wanted to do a regular recommendations post and talk about some books I’ve read and loved recently.
So today I’m going to be talking about some standalones! I love standalones because I don’t like committing myself to a series. I mainly focused on standalones I loved this year, but I included some older favourites as well.
I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick
This is a YA mystery about a girl who takes a job as a nanny in the Hamptons and discovers that a girl, Zoe Spanos, went missing earlier that year. I ended up really enjoying this book, which surprised me as it’s a YA mystery, which I typically dislike. But it was really interesting, well-written and entertaining. The story was good and didn’t rely on any cheap tropes. The mystery was also really well done. I highly recommend it.
Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice
This book is a dystopian novel about an Indigenous community that suddenly loses contact with the rest of society. No phones, internet, TV, satellite, GPS, electricity, just a complete blackout. It’s one of the most foreboding, dread-inducing novels I’ve ever read. It’s written very simply, which adds to the tension. I read it at the peak of quarantine, and it was very timely. I cannot recommend it enough.
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
This was my first Butler and will definitely not be my last. This is a sci-fi and historical fiction about a woman, Dana, who keeps getting pulled back to the late 1800s, where slavery is still in full force. It’s so incredibly well-written, interesting, and suspenseful. I devoured this book and have not stopped thinking about it since I read it.
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
In this YA coming-of-age novel, Marin is coming to terms with the sudden death of her grandfather and working through a lot of her grief. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this book, but I read it in a day. I got really attached to Marin and her best friend, Mabel, and their relationship. I loved the story and settings. I will definitely be reading more of Nina LaCour in the future.
Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins
Another lesbian book! This YA romance is between the princess of Scotland and her roommate at boarding school. It’s enemies to friends to lovers, and it’s so cute and sweet and fun. I loved this book and it was exactly what I needed when I read it.
Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
I feel like I’ve talked about this book a ton lately, but I’m going to keep talking about it. This is a Muslim Pride and Prejudice-inspired romance. It is one of the funniest romances I’ve read, in a genuinely funny way. I loved Ayesha and Khalid and their dynamic. The explorations of religion and expectations were also great. I cannot recommend this book enough and will keep talking about it until everyone has read it.
Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
This is a YA magical realism novel about a group of friends whose stuff goes missing. I loved this much more than I was expecting to. It has really great relationships, from great female friendships to great sibling relationships to great romantic relationships, and a really interesting story. There’s also a ton of representation, with two bisexual characters and a lesbian character. I highly recommend it.
Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
This book is probably the one I was most shocked by because I loved this book, so much. I think it’s technically a series now, but it was a standalone when I read it so we’re counting it for these recommendations. It’s about two twins, Roger and Dodger, who were separated at birth in a scheme to become gods. It’s so well-written its offensive. It’s so interesting. It’s so fast-paced and action-packed and I just loved it.
She Would be King by Wayétu Moore
This is perhaps the most criminally underrated book I’ve read this year. It is a fictional and fantastical retelling of the founding of Liberia, and it’s brilliant. I loved the characters, the hints of fantastical elements, and the story. It was so well and interestingly written. I cannot recommend it enough and I want more people to read it.
So there are some standalones I want everyone to read! Have you read any of these? What were your thoughts? Are any on your TBR? What’s your favourite standalone? Let me know!