I usually trust my friends.
Granted, every now and again, it’s a bad idea (like the time my roommate wanted me to join in on drunk kung fu lessons on the hardwood floor while wearing socks; love you, friend, but no thanks). But most of the time, friend recommendations are a delight, because they come from someone who knows you and loves you and wants you to experience good things. And thanks to Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads, I’ve collected a quick list of the best ones I’ve ever received.
Which, admittedly, come from, like, two people. But they’re two people who know my tastes, and I’m so grateful for that!
The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron (The Legend of Eli Monpress #1)
Does the cover for this one kind of suck? Yeah, a little. Does the omnibus bind-up of the first three books look much better? Oh, definitely. But the point is not to criticize the cover. The point is to tell you that one of my college friends pitched the first novel, and they nailed it. All they had to say was that it begins with a wizard who is also a thief sweet-talking his way out of jail…by sweet-talking the door itself. After that, nothing else needed to be said.
In case you need a little more to go on than I did, though, know this: Eli Monpress is the best thief in the world. He’s cocky, he’s brilliant, and he’s almost always in over his head, even when he gets out. Every one of his adventures is a romp, and as the series goes on, Rachel Aaron explores so many consequences of abuses of power. I can’t stress enough how engaging and clever these books are, right from the very start!
Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire (Ghost Roads #1)
Another recommendation from the same friend, a recommendation I’m deeply grateful for. Until I picked up Sparrow Hill Road, I hadn’t read anything by Seanan McGuire. I was a little on the fence, and maybe put off by the covers of some of her books. They just didn’t look like they were going to click smoothly with me.
And then the same friend as above pushed me to just try this one book. Just start with the one.
Now, I’m hooked. Not only is Seanan McGuire a delight on Twitter (cat pictures every day!), but she writes SO MUCH, and it’s so clever! Sparrow Hill Road in particular, though, features a girl doomed to an afterlife of hitchhiking if she wants to resist the pull of the unknown afterlife, and it unfolds in a series of short stories that culminate in a heart-stopping showdown between our protagonist and the force that turned her into a ghost all those years ago.
If you haven’t picked up Sparrow Hill Road yet, trust me, and trust my friend: the time is now.
Sadie by Courtney Summers
Sadie was a recommendation from my best friend, one she pushed me over and over to pick up until I finally did. Initially, I put it off knowing it was a heavier story, and that it made my friend cry. But WOW does Courtney Summers pack a relentless sort of punch, one I recommend wholeheartedly! My best friend was entirely right about how much I would enjoy Sadie, and how it would rip my heart out all the same.
If you’re in the mood for an angry thriller/mystery with some of the most wonderfully balanced podcast elements I’ve ever seen in a book, Sadie should rocket to the top of your TBR.
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
And another one from my best friend, in part because I read it at her house! When I visited Seattle last year, we spent one day with her extended family, which involved a ferry ride. With all that time in the car, we ended up bringing books to read, and I plucked Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me off her shelves. A graphic novel with my best friend’s recommendation behind it? A perfect light car read!
Turns out maybe it’s not so light. Dealing with toxic relationships and mending relationships on the verge of failing, this book was a beautiful look into the not-so-perfect parts of dating, especially from a queer perspective. I fell wholly in love with the art style, and even more in love with the messages within. Occasionally tough but ultimately hopeful, it’s a wonderful read!
Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Okay, so this one was one part a rec from my best friend, and probably about three parts a rec from basically all of Book Twitter. Y’all go hard for Red, White, and Royal Blue, and I see why! While it isn’t my favorite book of all time, it was fun and light-hearted, with a distinctly fanfiction-esque tone to it. It’s not my usual type of read, and I don’t know if I’ll reread it any time soon, but it was fun, and that counts for a lot.
Plus, it’s made me excited for Casey McQuiston’s next book, One Last Stop! A rec is a success if it gets you to read more of an author’s work, right?