There will always be those moments where your totally unsure of yourself. A period where one part or phase of your life is ending and another is beginning. During that period, you’ll probably unknowingly seek media, or people, that support the feelings of hesitancy, worry or uncertainty. Books- to me a remedy of everything- are mediums of connected-ness; there is nothing better than finding that book that just gets you.
If you are going through something similar to this, or know someone who is, here are my top 5 books that may help and soothe that inherent anxiety that comes with moving to a new stage of life. Whether you’re starting a new school, finishing school, moving to a new town or changing the way you see yourself and the world around you, these books are for you. These are the books that have been my friend in these times.
Ashleigh’s Top 5 Books for Change
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Summary;- Cath, a self-professed fan girl and fan fiction writer by night, is furiously trying to adjust to College life. Life is so much easier for Cath inside the world of her beloved characters- Simon Snow and Baz. Simon doesn’t have to deal with declaring a major, her room mate and her room mates strangely alluring best friend, or a sister who seems to have totally changed personalities.
Why you should read it; This book is one of the first books that I have found that gets the life and experiences of someone with Nerdy/Bookworm tendencies. This book helped me transition to a new college and degree and the great strides of independence that came with turning 21 and growing up for real. This book assured me that I was a fully functional human being and it was totally fine if I didn’t know where I was going with my life. It gave me warm fuzzy cuddles as I groped with accepting the real world over my much preferred fandom world, and really helped me understand myself and my reactions to other people more.
This is a book for my fellow nerds adjusting to full-fledged adult life. Perfect for someone like me who was moving from University/college to the real world or moving to a post-graduate qualification. This would also help someone brand new to University/College life.
Paper Towns by John Green
Summary:- Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew.
Why you should read it;- This wouldn’t be a list for books about life changes without mentioning a John Green book. Green spends a lot of time in all his books contemplating the things that make us human and allowing his characters moments of intense introspection. His characters are so similar to his readers, that he essentially allows those readers to cling onto this character development and internal change and facilitate similar moments for themselves. The reason I chose paper towns is simple; Q is one of those every-man characters who the readers can identify with. He attempts to take on life from a different perspective and while he figures out, in the end, it’s not the sort of life he wants to lead, he’s glad he did it anyway. This makes it the perfect book for readers heading towards a life changing decision. Green offers us multiple methods of coping and lets the reader decide what method best suits them; will you pull a Margot? Will you embrace life like Ben? Or will you try and decide with the most evidence like Q?
This book is a multi-generational book that could be used in a multitude of different situations. This book would go down just as well for a 15-17 year old as it would for someone struggling in their 30’s despite the “young adult” category it is often given.
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
Summary;- In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Why does happiness have to be so hard?
Why you should read it;- This book is so moving it’s almost unreal. The plethora of emotions you feel is incredible and this book will be a remarkable lifeline to so many people. For someone who is struggling to cope with depression, this is the book for them. For someone struggling with a part of themselves which others perceive to be wrong or too different and out there, this is the book for them. Everyone can find some part of themselves in Aaron, whether it is coping with loosing childhood friends, a family members death, a struggle with perceiving themselves and defining their unique identity, or the many other things Aaron struggles with. Silvera doesn’t hold back, and his insight into life is amazing. This book will soothe you and help you feel not so alone. It will also remind you, that things can be way worse and change shouldn’t be feared.
This book is for people going through mental and emotional changes; coming to terms with themselves, their heritage, their sexuality, their background and their connection to the big wide world.
The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins
Summary:- In a dark vision of the near future, twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live TV show called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.
When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister’s place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature. May the odds be ever in your favour
Why you should read it:- Sometimes, it’s the books we least expect that help us. The Hunger Games series is one of those. The series deals with grief in an intuitive way, and respectfully shows us PTSD in a way that’s recognizable and teaches that it’s ok not to be ok. It shows us the perils of relentlessly pursuing vengeance but also lets the reader know that everyone has different ways of overcoming bad things. This book is also the perfect escapist tool; once you’ve been sucked in, you are glued to the pages and find a refuge with Katniss, Peeta and Gale inside the pages. This book will help you work through that inherent anxiety comes with changes you can’t control and help you understand that sometimes big problems can be shared so that you solely don’t have to carry the burden.
This is for anyone who’s feeling out of control or out of touch with their surroundings and hates the feeling. This is for people feeling dispassionate with their current life situation or for anyone looking for new life goals.
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Summary:- Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson has always been at home in her own skin. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does.
Why you should read it:-This is one of the best self love books I have had the privilege to come across. This isn’t your typical underdog story. This is so much better. It is utterly unpredictable but so hopeful and helpful for anyone who has looked at their body and not felt totally happy (i’m sure most people). This isn’t just for people who’ve felt too big, I would suggest that someone who felt too under weight would find similar inspiration here. Murphy presents a variety of different personality types and body types for our introspection. None of them are totally at home in their own skin. All of them struggle against the self imposed societal norms. This book simultaneously encourages you to find your best assets and love your worst, while it makes you feel fired up and impassioned. This book makes you want to go out and hug everyone you meet telling them how beautiful they are.
This book is for people who are experiencing any sort of change in the way they see themselves; changes to their body, their perceptions of their body, their mental health and changes to levels of confidence.
I hope that people find these recommendations useful and that they find the book in there for them. These are my own personal recommendations for books that have helped me through times of change and may not work for everyone. I tried to pick books different from what would usually be recommended, and tried to pick a variety of different genres, author styles and subject matter. Each book was chosen for a particular type of change that people usually encounter.
Please leave a comment down below providing your own recommendations for books for change.
Have an excellent day 🙂