Courtesy of Little, Brown Book Group
As we say our goodbyes to another Cleveland winter, we are welcomed by the signs of spring—birds chirping, the sun shining and the stress of impending finals looming in the air. Nevertheless, I can think of no better way to make the most of these pleasant months than sitting outside and enjoying time with the memorable characters from a good book. With spring being the quintessential season of new beginnings, I have compiled a list of books that showcase the beauty of first times and fresh starts. Hopefully, a book from this list will give you a break from end-of-semester fever, and give you a chance to enjoy the love and life of springtime.
“Red, White, and Royal Blue” by Casey McQuiston
Consider opening your reading-binge with Casey McQuiston’s rivals-to-lovers novel, featuring Alex Claremont-Diaz, the First Son and Prince Henry. As the pair navigates this high-profile relationship, they are faced with political scandals, publicity scares, family drama and the struggle to define and express their own sexualities. This story, while primarily a romance, provides insight into several modern issues, such as the lack of acceptance for the LGBTQIA+ community and the hardships of being in the public eye. In this non-traditional romance, McQuiston relays the resilience and strength of every individual who must fight for their identity, privacy and standing in society. A powerful message and a powerful couple—what more could you ask for?
“American Dirt” by Jeanine Cummins
Taking a detour to the thriller genre, Oprah’s Book Club List member “American Dirt”, tells the heartbreaking tale of a pair who try to escape their hometown of Acapulco after an infamous cartel leader ruthesthessly murders their entire family. As they make their way to the American border, the pair’s strength is tested at every turn. However, Lydia’s strong maternal instincts and Luca’s desire to abide by them without question allow them to get past these obstacles and build meaningful relationships. Though it is a thriller by name, this novel is more akin to an action novel, with an immersive plot. It is a tribute to every migrant who flees their repressive and violent societies in order to provide a better life for their children.
“Love and Luck” by Jenna Evans Welch
Another whirlwind romance, “Love and Luck” offers readers a getaway to Ireland through the eyes of main character Addie, who uses her guide, “Ireland for the Heartbroken,” to embark on an epic tour of all of the country’s hidden gems. Trapped in a tiny car with her brother Ian, along with his charming Irish friend, Rowan, Addie experiences the richness of Ireland while also getting time to reconcile with her brother—highlighting the unbreakable bond between siblings. Furthermore, the narrator of Addie’s guidebook gives her the comfort and advice she needs to mend her broken heart so she can fill it with love for someone new. Together, this story contains the complexities and sweetness of family, friendship and fun, all wrapped into one, making it a must-read this spring.
“Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng
Last on our list is “Little Fires Everywhere”, which follows Mia and her teenage daughter Pearl as they seek to find their footing in Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, as tenants of the Richardson family. In this highly structured community, Mia and Pearl stand as outsiders, drawing the attention of richer community members, especially the Richardson children. They get involved in a chaotic custody battle in the Richardson household, creating tension. As secrets unfold, the pair realizes the power of identity, the fragility of friendships and the mother-daughter bond. These heavy themes are exposed through Celeste Ng’s poignant writing, which builds realistic characters and plotlines and captures every human emotion. This is a must-read if you’re looking for a book to leave you with life lessons and a yearning to learn more. Also, “Little Fires Everywhere” was adapted for a limited drama series and is currently streaming on Hulu, so check it out after you read the book.
These four incredible springtime novels that are sure to uplift your spirits and renew your faith in the power of family, friends and love. As always, make the most of every reading minute this season by grabbing your favorite picnic blanket, a chilled beverage and a comfortable spot outside; reading is best done amidst the calm of nature. If you liked any of these books, or are looking for more, check out my winter book recommendations and stick around for a summer list in the future.