15 books that will help you escape from reality right now
As the Center for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend social distancing as a safe way to contain the spread of the coronavirus, many of us are currently left at home, looking for something to do other than read the negative news that seemingly changes by the second. In times like this, there’s something to be said for the comfort a book can offer. But much like scrolling through your Netflix queue for hours yet finding nothing that actually seems worth watching, looking for a quality book that will keep you rapt from cover to cover can be daunting. That’s why we at HelloGiggles decided to compile a list of escapist book recommendations based on our personal favorites, to help alleviate some of the boredom and anxiety we all are feeling right now.
Whether you’re super into crime thrillers, suspense novels, or lighthearted romantic comedies, we have something for you. Check out the books we couldn’t put down below.
1. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
Once in awhile a book comes around that so blows you away, you wish you could erase your memory, reread the book, and experience the same sense of shock and awe all over again. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is that book. In it, criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber has been given the opportunity of his career when he begins working with Alicia Berenson, a formerly famous painter who has just shot her fashion photographer husband five times in the face, and has since gone silent. As Theo tries to get Alicia to talk, she becomes more of an infamous figure, and the prices of her past paintings skyrocket. But no one knows why she did what she did, and Theo is determined to find out.
2. The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
A.J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window, described this book as “Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day.” Aiden Bishop is on the hunt to try and figure out who killed Evelyn Hardcastle, but unlike most detectives, Bishop has several opportunities to crack the case. Given eight days to solve it, Bishop wakes up on each day inhabiting the body of one of the eight witnesses who were there on the night of the murder. But some of those witnesses are more helpful than others.
3. The Return by Rachel Harrison
After her close friend Elise goes missing, Julie never gives up hope that one day she will return. Then, on the second anniversary of Elise’s disappearance, she comes back, but something seems off and Elise has no recollection of what happened when she was gone. When she reunites with college friends Molly and Mae, it’s up to the trio to figure out what happened to Elise while she was missing.
4. Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
Kissing a mystery man and then finding out the following Monday he’s your new boss? Incredibly awkward. Befriending a new woman in town, and later finding out she’s your boss’ wife? Even more awkward. This is the situation Louise finds herself in when she is drawn into the world of David and Adele, a seemingly perfect couple with a dark secret. As Louise digs deeper, she finds more questions than answers—and you’ll never guess how this one ends.
5. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
Before this book becomes a movie starring Amy Adams and Julianne Moore, crack it open and find out what the major twist is. Anna Fox’s severe agoraphobia has her living at home by herself, drinking too much wine and spying on her neighbors. When the picture-perfect Russell family moves in across the street, Anna becomes intrigued. But when she witnesses what seems like a murder, she begins to question her own reality, and the validity of what she witnessed. Trust us, you won’t see this ending coming.
6. Pretty Guilty Women by Gina LaManna
A man is murdered at a fabulous destination wedding, with four different women confessing to being the killer, saying they all acted independently. Ginger, Kate, Emily, and Lulu all seem to have their own justification for committing the crime, but who is telling the truth? This book is the perfect beachy read, even if the beach isn’t going to happen anytime soon.
7. The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
The Last Mrs. Parrish had us spellbound until the very end, with the most clever, unpredictable twist we’ve seen in a while. Amber Patterson has a plan—leave her boring, uneventful life in the dust by stealing someone else’s. Once she catches sight of Daphne Parrish, her target is locked. Through some extensive research and crafty manipulation, Amber plays on Daphne’s sympathies to work her way into her life, all the while seducing her rich husband Jackson Parrish and dethroning her as the star socialite of Bishop’s Harbor. Little does she know, Daphne’s hiding something of her own.
8. Reputation by Sara Shepard
The author of Pretty Little Liars, Sara Shepard, knows her stuff when it comes to betrayal, rumors, and murders—Reputation is no different. After 40,000 personal emails of Aldrich University’s staff, students, and alumni are leaked online, Kit Manning finds her husband, Dr. Greg Strasser, murdered. Returning to the town she long since escaped, Kit’s sister Willa knows something doesn’t seem right about the night Greg was killed, and she’s determined to get to the bottom of it.
9. Wilder Girls by Rory Power
Hailed as a feminist Lord of the Flies, Wilder Girls is like no survival book you’ve read before. Currently quarantined on the island where their private school is located, students Hetty, Byatt, and Reese have been ravished by the mysterious illness, the Tox. They’ve watched as students and teachers alike have died and transformed, mutating in strange and unpredictable ways as the result of the unprecedented virus. Rations are thinning out, and the promise of a cure grows distant by the day, so the three friends decide to take the situation into their own hands.
10. Anna K: A Love Story by Jenny Lee
Anna K. thinks at the age of 17, she’s got her life figured out. Popular in her Manhattan private school crowd and dating Alexander W., Anna K. coasts while watching her friends and loved ones get into trouble. That is, until she meets Alexia “Count” Vronsky, a notorious flirt and hedonist who Anna can’t help but be intrigued by. Though she thinks better of it, Anna becomes closer with Alexia, only for a shocking revelation to later threaten it all.
11. Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
If you’re looking for something sweet to its core, with some seriously great baking recipe ideas (hello, monster cake), you will absolutely fall in love with Tweet Cute. Pepper is an overachieving high school student, balancing the growing divide between her mother and sister with the family’s chain-restaurant Twitter account. Jack is the class clown who spends his days working at the family deli, trying to break out of shadow of his twin brother. When Pepper’s mom steals Jack’s grandma’s famous grilled cheese recipe, a viral Twitter war breaks out, forcing the two to duke it out even as they warm up to each other. All’s fair in love and cheese.
12. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
What happens when you’re up for the same promotion as your sworn enemy, and you’re determined to battle it out to the death only to realize…maybe he’s kind of cute? Lucy finds herself in this position when she’s pitted against her work counterpart and arch nemesis Joshua for their dream job. But as tensions boil, Lucy and Joshua start to realize how similar hate and love can feel.
13. City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
Not a romance per se but still one hell of a good read, City of Girls will transport you to New York City in 1940 when shows were campy, show girls were stars, champagne was flowing, and the war was Europe’s problem. 19-year-old Vivian Morris gets a taste for a life seemingly without consequences when she moves in with her Aunt Peg who owns the dilapidated theater, the Lily Playhouse. As Vivian gets more sucked into the hedonism of New York City, and all the shiny things it has to offer, she soon learns that what she does for fun won’t affect just her.
14. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
After a string of bad luck, Olive is ready to get away for her sister Ami’s wedding—even if that means dealing with her sworn enemy, Ethan Thomas, who just so happens to be the best man. When a bizarre turn of fate leaves the entire wedding party sick with food poisoning, excluding Ethan and Olive, the duo decides to put their feud on hold and take advantage of the now-available honeymoon to Maui. But pretending you’re newlyweds has a funny way of making you feel things, even for someone you thought you hated.
15. Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
If you really want your mind to be elsewhere, try zipping through Florence on a vespa with a cone of gelato in your hand—that’s the feeling Love and Gelato is sure to give you. Lina never wanted to go to Tuscany, but it was her mom’s dying wish that she meet her father, so with little choice, she heads there for the summer. She’s determined to be miserable, until she discovers her mom’s diary from the time she spent abroad in Florence. Suddenly, it connects Lina to her new surroundings, and her mother, in a way she never felt before. A world of romance, art, and delicious food is finally opened to her—and she’s actually willing to explore it.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, HelloGiggles is committed to providing accurate and helpful coverage to our readers. As such, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, we encourage you to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments, and visit our coronavirus hub.