6 Books That Left Me Speechless

And why you need to read them.

6 Books That Left Me Speechless
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And why you need to read them.

A lot of people have asked me for books that blew my mind.

That’s a rather difficult question to answer because, of late, I’ve been so meticulous in my book choices that almost every book I read has blown my mind. I even wrote a post about the books that I didn’t expect to like, but ended up loving anyway.

This post is different.

This post lists six books that are so good, that whether you love reading or hate it, you’re guaranteed to love them. Read on, and don’t forget to add these books to your summer and fall reading lists right away!

(Note: The links mentioned in this article are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase these books through these links, it will help me earn a small amount — at no extra cost to you. Thanks!)

1. Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Genre: Psychological Suspense Thriller

Image: Goodreads

Genuine Fraud is the story of Jule West-Williams and her best friend Imogen. And well, I don’t know what else to say without giving much of the plot away! If you’ve read We Were Liars by the same author, you’d know what I’m talking about.

The book is fast-paced, with shocking reveals coming from the flashbacks as well as the present narrative. There are a lot of unanswered questions in the beginning, and there will be points where you find yourself wondering what’s even going on. The slow build up of tension is what makes the book worth reading, even though a hardcore thriller reader might not be surprised by the final reveal.

Why you should read it

The book occupies a unique place in the suspense genre, combining character study with psychological horror. The fascinating part is that the story explores “bad” people who don’t get the punishment they deserve, and that’s what makes the book feel more gritty and honest.

Real life, after all, is messy. Sometimes, the bad people live on.

If you enjoy complicated characters and a delicious mystery that takes time to be set up and solved, you’ll definitely enjoy this book.

Purchase the book here.

2. Normal People by Sally Rooney

Genre: YA Romance, Coming of age

Image: Goodreads

This is the story of Connell and Marianne — two people who are made for each other, but they don’t know it. In school, they pretend not to know each other, and even though everybody in the world realises the chemistry between them, the kids themselves are oblivious.

Starting from school to college, stretching all the way to post-graduation, Marianne and Connel spend time in abusive relationships, in the company of people who are blind to who they are, just because their ego and low self-worth wouldn’t let them stay with each other. The book traces their story through various stages of life until finally, they find their way back home.

Why you should read it

There are’t many “new” elements in the story, but you’ll fall in love with it anyway. Sally Rooney makes her characters unique. They stand out because of their way of looking at the world, the decisions they make and the aspirations that drive them.

I loved the author’s attention to detail, in the little gestures and expression changes she highlighted to show us what the characters actually want, irrespective of what they are saying. I loved some quotes and this story made me keep turning the pages. I just couldn’t put the book down.

I especially loved the mental health representation. Rooney deals with abuse and trauma masterfully and you can’t help but empathize with her characters.

Purchase the book here.

3. Here to Stay by Mark Edwards

Genre: Murder Mystery, Psychological Thriller

Image: Goodreads

38-year-old loner Elliot has a near-death experience that leads him to decide that he won’t live life carefully now and be reckless.

When he meets a beautiful stranger, Gemma, and instantly falls in love with her, Eliot is done playing it safe. On a whim, he and Gemma decide to get married.

After they settle in, Gemma’s parents come to stay with the newlyweds for “a couple of weeks”.

The trouble starts when the in-laws refuse to live, turning Elliot and Gemma’s life into a living hell. Things get even worse when a series of unsolved murders start happening all around Cuckoo lane, leading Elliot to raise some pertinent questions- Why did Gemma’s niece say her grandparents were “evil”? Why did Gemma invite them over if she knew? Are the in-laws behind the murders?

Why you should read it

In this domestic thriller of how a single wrong decision can ruin your entire life, Mark Edwards weaves a tale that appears so predictable at first, until the last chapter hits you like a punch in the gut.

No matter how many thrillers you’ve read, you’ll not see that ending coming!

Purchase the book here.

4. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Genre: Semi-autobiographical, Psychological Fiction

Image: Goodreads

If you’re familiar with Sylvia Plath’s story, reading her semi-autobiographical novel would make you cry. A young poetess — brilliant and beautiful — who killed herself by sticking her head in the oven while her two toddlers were sleeping in the adjacent room.

The book isn’t as dark as the author’s reality.

The Bell Jar follows Esther, a young writer full of dreams who never seems to fit in at any place, with any person.

Sometimes, she feels as if she’s trapped inside a bell jar — a place that distorts her worldview and traps her inside, isolating her from everyone around her. Plath’s words are an accurate depiction of clinical depression — how a person never really feels “sad”, but more of “empty”, like a shell.

I felt very still and empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo.

Why you should read it

If you’ve ever lamented over the lack of accurate mental health representation in fiction, you should read this book. Plath’s writing is raw and honest, drawing you into the story and making your chest feel tight with emotion.

This is a book that….truly left me speechless.

Sylvia Plath’s genius for using simple words to paint a heartfelt, colorful picture never fails to leave me spellbound.

Purchase the book here.

5. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

Genre: Young Adult, Mental health rep.

Image: Goodreads

Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to make it big in life, which involves getting the perfect job.

The process, of course, starts with getting into the right school: Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School.

But once enrolled, the pressure becomes too much and Craig is unable to eat, sleep, or even think straight. One night, he nearly kills himself. The suicidal episode lands Craig in a mental hospital where he’s finally able to tackle the core of his anxiety.

Why you should read it

A book that follows the story of a suicidal teen’s hospitalization on an adult psychiatric ward. Doesn’t that sound too dark?

Yes, it’s dark but also funny and ultimately hopeful. The overarching theme is how getting help in the darkest times of your life can lead to miracles when the stars are aligned in your favor.

Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness. It only breaks my heart to know that the reality isn’t as rosy. The author himself committed suicide when he was 32. The tragedy of his reality is perhaps one of the reasons that makes the author’s fiction so enthralling.

Purchase the book here.

6. Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Genre: YA Queer Romance

Image: Goodreads

A beautiful coming-of-age story of two Mexican-American teenagers growing up in El Paso, Texas during the 1980s.

Aristotle (Ari, to his friends) is a silent, self-doubting silent guy, who has learned from experience to bottle his feelings up. Dante is an expressive, fair-skinned boy who meets Ari at the pool one afternoon and asks him if he should teach him swimming.

You can call Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe a love story. But in its heart, it’s a story of self-discovery. It’s about friendship, family, trust, loyalty, and learning to be honest to ourselves about who we truly are.

It’s a take on the pains of being a misunderstood teenager and the struggle of dealing with a world so hell-bent on ostracising what it considers as “different”.

Why you should read it

The book will take you back to that lovely phase in your adolescence when you were able to see the world through rose-tinted glasses. The writing is gentle and loving, and will make you smile throughout. This is a very special book that isn’t simply read but needs to be experienced.

Purchase the book here.

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