Like many of my friends, I’ve resolved to read more books this year. After all, we gain so much from expanding our literary endeavors. While I am typically a classic books kind of gal, it’s always refreshing to read modern novels that focus on relevant issues.
If you are searching for a new perspective on the world, then check out these 7 top modern books:
1. “This Is How It Always Is” by Laurie Frankel
Rosie and Penn begin a parenting journey they never expected when Claude, one of their five biological sons, struggles with his gender identity. Throughout the novel, they learn to navigate the challenges of keeping his identity a secret and the dangers that result from breaching trust. Filled with heartbreak and humor, “This Is How It Always Is” captivated me with its raw honesty. I laughed, cried, and cherished each character. This novel is a must read!
2. “Coming Clean” by Kimberly Rae Miller
Mental illness is a predominant theme in “Coming Clean,” but not in the ways you might anticipate. This memoir shares the true experience of a young woman who grew up in a home that “started to resemble the bottom of a garbage can.” Her father’s compulsive hoarding and mother’s addiction to shopping threatened her relationship with her parents. It is like the show “Hoarders: Buried Alive,” but from the view of a loved one rather than the hoarder themselves.
3. “Call Me Tuesday” by Leigh Byrne
Some events change everything. Tuesday Storm learned this difficult lesson first-hand after her sister’s illness and a tragic accident renders her mother mentally unstable. This fictional memoir highlights the realities of abusive homes, including the fearful desperation of Tuesday’s father as he wages an internal war to divulge his wife’s secrets for the sake of his daughter.
4. “Bear Town” by Fredrik Backman
Backman certainly displays his creativity in this captivating novel. The small community of Bear Town revolves around its local hockey team. Although the opening chapters might move slowly for non-sports fans, “Bear Town” touches on current issues like sexual assault, homophobia, and sexism as members of the community go to great lengths to preserve their image—even if that entails compromising their morals. I greatly appreciate how the story explores issues from multiple viewpoints: the victim’s, the abuser’s, and each of their parents’, coaches’, and friends.’
5. “The Atonement Child” by Francine Rivers
Dynah Carey seems to have the ideal life with a loving family and a handsome fiancé. That is, until she is raped. An unwanted pregnancy leaves her faced with a difficult decision. Does she embrace the budding life inside of her or should she compromise her Christian beliefs to end her nightmare? Abortion is a controversial topic, and Francine Rivers does an amazing job at conveying the complexities of a woman’s choice.
6. “Call Me By Your Name” by André Aciman
“Call Me By Your Name” is not one of those generic summer romance books. Elio meets Oliver, his father’s most promising student, at his parents’ elegant Italian mansion. The boys cannot deny their growing affections as they experiment with their sexuality. The novel provides a real, raw view of homosexuality that avoids the clichés of both LGBT and heterosexual love stories.
7. “Dreamland” by Sarah Dessen
Caitlin is a high school girl seeking a whirlwind romance. She soon meets Rogerson, and becomes fascinated by how different he is from other boys at her school. Despite his abusive home, Caitlin is still surprised when he hits her for the first time. Sarah Dessen is a fabulous YA author with numerous books out, and in “Dreamland,” her talent definitely shines as she explores the conflict of cutting ties with an abusive relationship.
The insight these books offer is infinitely valuable. Whether they align with your personal situation or not, they have the power to revolutionize your thinking. Next time you need something new to read, give one of these novels a try!