The first special interest I ever had was books. When I was a kid, I would read anything you put in front of me, even the dictionary or phone book. Once I hit high school, I began writing and fell out of love with reading. 

Thanks to BookTube, I have decided to start reading again and it has been a whirlwind! I have read 25 books since July 1st (this article is being written on August 17th!) 

Here are five books I rated five stars (with some superlatives!)

The Unexpected 5 Star: Layla by Colleen Hoover

My rating: 5 stars

Goodreads rating: 3.77 stars

Publication date: December 8th, 2020

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Thriller

Format read: Paperback

Goodreads summary: When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.

Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.

Content warnings: violence, death

I went into this book with zero idea what it was going to be about, and when I tell you my jaw hit the floor multiple times throughout reading this. I highly recommend going into this book with only the vague information in the description above. As someone who is now a pretty big Colleen Hoover fan (who isn’t right now?), I thought this was excellent and is by far my favorite book of hers I have read so far. Read this even if you have previously read Hoover’s books, because it is so different!

The Heartwrenching 5 Star: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

My rating: 5 stars

Goodreads rating: 4.04 stars

Publication date: September 29th 2020 

Genre: Fantasy, Contemporary Fiction, Magical Realism

Format read: Hardcover

Goodreads summary: Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?

A dazzling novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived, from the internationally bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and How To Stop Time.

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.

Content warnings: discussions of suicide, death

I have a hard time getting into books, so the urge to DNF (did not finish) a book early on is strong, but books like The Midnight Library remind me why I try not to DNF anything; this book turned out to be phenomenal and I cried like a goddamn baby. As a philosophy nerd, this book tickled me and really got into my head. It talks about the morality of humanity and the multiple theories of the way our decisions impact our lives, even the seemingly “smallest” ones. If you are someone who enjoys in-depth conversations about life, or is super into the idea of multiple realities (specifically the Butterfly Effect) pick up this book!

The Grumpiest 5 Star- A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

My rating: 5 stars

Goodreads rating: 4.37 stars

Publication date: August 27th 2012

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Humor

Format read: Paperback

Goodreads summary: A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

Content warnings: discussion of suicide, death, some homophobia,  fatphobic language

If you are a fan of the “grumpyxsunshine” trope but also enjoy crying your heart out over a good book, I highly recommend picking up A Man Called Ove (Ove is pronounced oo-vah). I found myself giggling at some of the shenanigans in this novel then having my soul crushed two pages later. It is a rollercoaster of a book,  but the adrenaline is very much worth it. 

The Gay-est 5 Star- The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

My rating: 5 Stars

Goodreads rating: 4.47 stars

Publication date: June 13th 2017 

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, LGBT

Format read: Paperback

Goodreads summary: Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

I know that every TikToker and Booktuber has probably recommended The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and I will be honest, I was prepared to be very let down by this book but I 100% understand why everyone and their mother seems to be enamored with it. It has drama, death, Hollywood glamour and a lot of queer love and heartache- what more could you ask for? I will be reading everything Taylor Jenkins Reid writes because this book was fabulous. 

The Young Adult 5 Star- All This Time by Mikki Daughtry and Rachael Lippincott

My rating: 5 stars

Goodreads rating: 3.95 stars

Publication date: September 29th, 2020

Genre: Romance, Young Adult, Contemporary

Format read: Paperback 

Goodreads summary: Kyle and Kimberly have been the perfect couple all through high school, but when Kimberly breaks up with him on the night of their graduation party, Kyle’s entire world upends—literally. Their car crashes and when he awakes, he has a brain injury. Kimberly is dead. And no one in his life could possibly understand.

Until Marley. Marley is suffering from her own loss, a loss she thinks was her fault. And when their paths cross, Kyle sees in her all the unspoken things he’s feeling.

As Kyle and Marley work to heal each other’s wounds, their feelings for each other grow stronger. But Kyle can’t shake the sense that he’s headed for another crashing moment that will blow up his life as soon as he’s started to put it back together.

And he’s right.

Content warnings: mentions of death, physical trauma

Halfway through this book I was prepared to hate the plot twist but I ended up falling in love with it instead. I flew through the last 100 pages because I just needed to see how this all ended. There is pain and love and hope and loss and the writing is truly special. I love reading books that make me cry, and I made the mistake of finishing this book in a doctor’s waiting room. I had to hold back the tears because I didn’t want to concern the room, but it took everything in me to not cry. This is the least hyped book on this list but rest assured, this is well worth the read.

Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments! 🙂