As we move into a new year, we’re all hoping for a fresh start. Goals are being made, resolutions are being set, and everyone’s hoping to kick 2021 off with positive feelings and excitement.  In light of this, we’ve decided to make a list of book recommendations to hopefully help you begin your year on the right foot.  Below is a list of 10 books that we feel have a great deal to offer for a variety of different tastes.  We hope you’ll take the time to lay back and read a good book this week and, most importantly, have a happy New Year!

  1. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke – This is the first in a delightful middle-grade series following a father and daughter with the ability to read things and people out of books.  It’s a magical, whimsical story of family, loss, and the magic of reading.
  2. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys – For those who like darker stories, this book is an exploration of one of the largest maritime disasters in history.  Set near the end of World War II, a group of people seeks shelter by traveling to the coast in order to reach the west side of Germany before the Russians take over. Definitely not for the faint of heart, it’s a truly beautiful and heartrending story.
  3. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell – Lovers of Jane Austen need to try this wonderful, Victorian-era author.  Wives and Daughters is the last of Gaskell’s published work, in fact, she died before being able to write the last couple of chapters.  However, it is easy to see where she intended for things to end up and her characters and relationships cannot be ignored.  Definitely worth a shot for those who love classics.
  4. Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson – What if the bad guy won?  Sanderson considers this question and more in this epic story following a group of rebels working to bring down the immortal Lord Ruler.  Such a great read for fantasy lovers, particularly for those wanting to challenge themselves with more in-depth world-building and a complex magic system.
  5. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares – This may be a bit outdated, but this story of best friends who have to separate for the first time in their lives can speak to all generations.  In this book, the reader becomes a part of the lives of four young women, all of whom have their own personalities and trials.  In spite of their differences, however, their friendship is a bond that is difficult to break.  Great for lovers of young adult contemporary novels.
  6. The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold – For those who like their non-fiction, this is a relatively short read that packs a punch.  As the title suggests, this book follows the lives of the five women famous for being killed by Jack the Ripper.  Hallie Rubenhold sets out to portray them as real people, not simply victims.  Many false rumors about the history of these women have reached out across the centuries.  In this delightful read, Rubenhold fights to tell the truth for those who have never been given a voice.
  7. Against Her Will by Serita Stevens and Jo Schaffer – This is a compelling young adult story following a group of rebellious teachers being kept in an institution for troubled teens.  Though everyone’s experience is different, this book provides a great opportunity to look into the world of those struggling with mental health and can be a good gateway book into other works that dig deeper into this particular topic.
  8. Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon – Another Victorian classic for the list.  This book follows a young man whose uncle has recently married the mysterious Lady Audley.  Full of suspense and fascinating characters, this is a delightful mystery that explores fascinating themes regarding class, the status of women, and mental health in the mid-nineteenth century.
  9. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill – Another fun middle-grade following a town in which every year a child is sacrificed to the evil witch in the woods.  This witch is not what she seems, however.  In fact, she doesn’t understand why they keep abandoning their children in the forest.  Whenever she finds these infants, she takes them to the other side of the forest to be adopted into loving families.  One year, however, she accidentally feeds one of the babies moonlight, giving the child magical abilities.  Upon realizing this, the witch decides to raise this child as her own.  It’s a wonderful story of family, power, magic, and love.  Definitely a light read to begin the year.
  10. Rook by Sharon Cameron – For lovers of futuristic novels, Rook takes place in a regressed society centuries ahead of us in time.  A catastrophic solar event destroys much of Earth’s population and technology has fallen into disrepair. Another French Revolution is taking place, leaving many in fear.  However, a mysterious person people call “The Rook” is saving those being set apart of execution.  Shannon Cameron pays homage to the classic The Scarlet Pimpernel in this delightful, YA novel following a young girl torn between duty and desire.