These books do not stink

Book lover discusses books she actually does love


Photo by Abby Elliott

After critiquing some of the worst books she’s ever read, Allen decided to bring light to some of the best.

Story by Emma Allen, staff writer

Since I was but a wee tot, I’ve loved books and reading. Though there is little time for that anymore if it’s not assigned for school (and we all know those usually aren’t any good anyway), I still hold many stories close to my heart. 

“Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling

C’mon. You had to know this would be on the list. This was the first long, hefty series I read. The books were huge, and my obsession was even bigger. Even after all these years, the writing impresses me. The ability to weave together so much magic, backstory, tradition and character is astounding. Sure, there are plot holes, but it would be difficult to find something that spans as far as the “Harry Potter” universe does without finding some inconsistencies. From the perspective of a reader, it’s fun and magical and heartbreaking. From the perspective of a writer, it’s simply awe inspiring. Though I’m naturally not nearly as obsessed as I was in fourth grade, there’s no denying that those books will be a part of my life. Always.

Anything by Rick Riordan

Riordan is another popular staple in the diet of a reader. His books are great at any age. He’s best known for the “Percy Jackson” series, which some may know as “That One Series with the Absolute Garbage Movie Adaptations.” Despite this, the books have flourished, though many ignore his other serieses. Those particular people are missing out. The less popular “Heroes of Olympus,” “Trials of Apollo,” “Magnus Chase” and “Kane Chronicles” hold their own quite easily. The thing that draws in an audience is the natural charm of the humor in the books, so if a good laugh is what you’re looking for, Riordan’s books are what I’d suggest. (You just might cry too.) 

Anything by Cassandra Clare

Clare is another author that puts out bestseller after bestseller. Similar to Riordan’s books in one sense, they all take place within the same world. While Riordan’s books are all about putting a spin on mythology, Clare’s are all about the different aspects of the Shadowhunter world. There are currently six series released or planned to be released about this demon-hunting society: “The Mortal Instruments,” “The Infernal Devices,” “The Dark Artifices,” “The Last Hours,” “The Wicked Powers,” and “The Eldest Curses.” Of the ones completed, my favorite has been “The Dark Artifices” because it has the best cast of characters thus far, with its giant family, both found and blood-related. Not only that, but it delves deeper into the lore of the Shadowhunter world. These series are more that never fail to amaze me with the incredible way hundreds of years of completely made up history is woven together to make sense and tell a beautiful story at the same time. 

“Daisy Jones and the Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid

And now we shall take a very sharp turn from fantasy. This book is completely magic-less, and yet the book itself is a form of magic. It’s not something I would’ve expected to be as popular as it is, nor is it something I expected to like. It follows the story of a band from the 70s that has since broken up. I listened to the audiobook, which was a great decision on my part. It has a full cast, a different person reading for each character, which is good considering there are a lot of them. You’re reading a book, but it feels like watching a documentary, but not one of those poorly made documentaries about a really specific subject that you watch when the teacher doesn’t want to teach or thinks that this really specific subject is interesting when, in fact, it’s not. No, this book reads like a documentary that sucks you in. One that makes you gasp and laugh and cry. One that keeps you wondering what happens next and then makes your heart physically hurt when that thing does happen next. In short, it’s wonderful.

“They Both Die at the End” by Adam Silvera

You may think this book isn’t even worth reading. “I already know how it ends,” you’re saying. “They both die at the end, duh. What’s the point if they’re just going to die?” Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s absolutely worth reading. It’s a very popular question — what would you do if you knew you only had one day to live? This book follows two people who must answer that. They must figure out who they want to tell goodbye, what experiences they have to have before they’re gone. It also explores the way that people’s lives connect, whether it be for only a few minutes, a lifetime, or only a day.

“Six of Crows” Duology by Leigh Bardugo

There are rumors of a third book in the series, but it’s still years away. For the purpose of this, I will be considering just the duology. This is yet another that belongs in a collection of books that take place in the same universe (this time, the Grishaverse). The other books are good too, but these two, “Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom”, are on an entirely different level. Usually, a book is strong in one or two of the following areas: plot, characters, and world-building. The thing that sets these books apart is the fact that they are incredibly strong in all three areas. It’s a heist story with a group of ragtag criminals in a city called Ketterdam, and it’s phenomenal. Each of the books on this list has its own strengths, but this is the one I’d recommend for the reader who doesn’t know what they’re looking for or one who’s looking for a little bit of everything. 

“Arc of a Scythe” Trilogy by Neal Schusterman 

This series has been fairly popular since its release, and for good reason. It takes place in a world where death has been conquered, so in order to control the population, people are trained in the art of killing. The series as a whole leads to a flood of moral questions revolving around both the protagonists and the antagonists. Though the romance in the first two books is certainly not a strong point, the plot and world-building is so strong that I, someone who finds romance fairly important in a story, didn’t even mind that it didn’t meet the standards the rest of the book set. 

The entire series is fantastic, but I specifically wanted to talk about the final book, “The Toll.” Obviously I can’t go into too much detail, lest I spoil it, but I just have to say something about this masterpiece. First of all, the writing of romance was significantly better. Secondly, foreshadowing was artfully planted all throughout the series, and characters with seemingly unrelated storylines, introduced at seemingly random times, all came together in the series finale to conclude the tale. The ending was perfect. It was so fascinating to watch the protagonists finish the story in a way that was satisfying, yet retained the slight edge of creepiness that loomed over all three books. 

All in all, these are some of my favorite books of all time. Whether it be for the characters, plot or the overall marvelousness of every single thing about it, all of these are worth reading at least once, if not several times. There have been times with the books on this list that I finished it and immediately started right over. If you ever need a good book to read, please try one of these. You won’t regret it, I promise.