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If you’re trying to get back into reading, or just looking for compulsively readable books, this list of 11 books is a great place to start. 

I tend to read more contemporary fiction than any other genre, and my favorites usually straddle the literary and contemporary lines–they aren’t too highbrow, they tell a great story, and they have excellent writing and character development.

Of course, not all books that fall in these categories could be called “unputdownable”–a book that keeps you up way past your bedtime, or that has you hiding in the closet to read it, or saying, “just one more chapter!” because you have to find out what happens next.

The ones that get that designation usually have characters you care about deeply, high stakes, or an interesting timeline (very short or very long often captures my attention)–or some combination of all of these.

It can be a little hard to pinpoint exactly what makes a book a page turner, but I’d love to hear what elements make a book unputdownable for you–and also share your favorites! Here are eleven of mine.

1. Far From The Tree by Robin Benway

Easily one of the best audiobooks I’ve ever listened to, this story of of three siblings who find each other as teens is a heartwarming, complicated, and realistic exploration of the many meanings of family. Read More.
  Buy From Amazon

2. All Stories Are Love Stories by Elizabeth Percer

Two major earthquakes hit San Francisco within an hour of one another, paralyzing the city. A big story made small, following one man’s attempts to walk home to his partner and two former lovers trapped beneath the rubble, this is filled with urgency and humanity at its best and worst. Read More.
  Buy From Amazon

3. On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

A teen who aspires to hip-hop stardom grapples with poverty and racism and is pulled between her own ideals and the persona the industry wants her to adopt. A compelling follow-up to The Hate U Give that–among other things–showcases the incredible talent and creativity of freestyle rappers. Read More.
  Buy From Amazon

4. Boy Swallows Universe: A Novel by Trent Dalton

A boy tries to save his family from the drug kingpin in his seedy Australian suburb. Gritty, violent, and just a little magical, but filled with heart and a main character striving to become a “good man.” I can’t stop raving about this 2019 release. Read More.
  Buy From Amazon

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