Hello, friends and book lovers! It has been a while since I did a good, old fashioned book recommendations post, so that’s what we’re doing today. Today I’m recommending some standalones, which are personally my favourite type of book. I feel like series are more loved and recommended, but standalones deserve love too.
I tried to recommend books I haven’t recommended 900 times yet, as well as some more recent books I haven’t had the chance to talk about yet. So let’s get into the recommendations!
The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neil
This book follows two orphans, Pierrot and Rose, who fall in love as children while performing as clowns, are temporarily separated, and reunite as adults to make a better clown show. That premise sounds vaguely ridiculous, but it’s a really beautiful story. It’s the only book I’ve seen described as being similar to The Night Circus that I actually found similar to The Night Circus. Set in Montreal during the great depression, it has a really great, whimsical setting and feel to it. I really enjoyed it, and think it’s very underhyped.
The Book of Essie by Meghan Maclean Weir
The Book of Essie follows Esther (Essie), who is the daughter of a televangelist with a reality show who gets pregnant and marries the local Gay, Roarke, to save her family name. It’s super interesting and a really fun read. Roarke and Essie have a great dynamic and I found their friendship/fake relationship really great to read. I love the behind the scenes aspect of this reality TV show setting, as well as the religious elements. This book also has some fantastic subversion of expectations. I definitely recommend it (obviously).
The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
I don’t typically enjoy thrillers, but I did enjoy this one. It follows Rowan, who has been hired as a nanny at a secluded mansion. It’s a fairly typical haunted house story, but still manages to have a lot of twists and turns and high stakes. Some of the twists were unpredictable, but others were pretty good. Overall, this was a fun, high stakes read, even if it wasn’t super scary or thrilling.
The Son of the House by Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia
This book follows two women, Nwabulu and Julie, who come from very different backgrounds but become unlikely friends, and are kidnapped one day. It chronicles each of their lives up to the kidnapping, and a little of the post-kidnapping. Basically, it combines all my favourite things into one book. Nwabulu and Julie are great protagonists with really interesting perspectives. I loved reading about their lives and struggles, as well as their triumphs and successes. This book also had a twist that I should’ve seen coming but literally made my jaw drop when it happened. I highly recommend it.
Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers
Honey Girl follows Grace, who has always been pushed to be perfect her whole life and then gets married in Vegas to a woman whose name she doesn’t remember. It then follows Grace’s personal struggles, as well as her decision to try to make the relationship work. Though I didn’t love this book as much as I wanted to, I still think it’s a great read that a lot of people will enjoy and get something out of. It’s fun yet poignant, and deals with a lot of heavy themes while still maintaining a relatively light feeling overall.
Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel
Of course I need a Mandel recommendation thrown in here. This book follows Lilia, who was kidnapped as a child by her father and leaves her boyfriend suddenly one night. I loved this book. I loved reading about Lilia’s childhood on the run, the investigation into her kidnapping, and her boyfriend’s journey to finding her. It was so well-written and has such a great atmospheric feeling. Highly recommend.
If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha
I know I just recently recommended this book, but I’m recommending it again so y’all don’t forget. It follows four women, Kyuri, Miho, Ara, and Wonna, who are all struggling with Korea’s expectations for women in different ways. I loved reading about the women and their experiences. Each character is distinct and felt like a real person. The setting was also great, and the writing was super effective.
Ragged Company by Richard Wagamese
Ragged Company follows four homeless people who befriend and retired journalist and find a winning lottery ticket. It’s so well written, and the characters are really fantastic. They’re all very real and distinct, with interesting backstories and current-day hardships. It’s one of those books I fell into, and I really recommend it if you’re looking for a slower, character-driven novel.
The Majesties by Tiffany Tsao
This book follows two sisters, one of which has just poisoned their entire extended family and the other of which is the sole survivor and is looking back at their life to try and figure out why this happened. I loved the sisters and their dynamic, and I loved reading their backstories and journeys. The writing is really engaging without being too showy. I also enjoyed the really lavish, rich person setting.
Women Talking by Miriam Toews
This follows a group of Mennonite women who have just learned the men are drugging and raping them, and have gathered to decide whether to stay or leave. It’s written from the perspective of the outsider in the community, a non-Mennonite man, who has been asked to take minutes of the meeting. Though I found the writing and the hands-off perspective a little awkward, I think this is still a really interesting book. It has such important, interesting discussions and really interesting ideas. I definitely recommend it.
So there are my standalone recommendations! Have you read any of these? What were your thoughts? What are some of your favourite standalones? Let me know!