reading recommendations and reviews

Read with Us!

Follow along with Alana and Samra as they make their way through their own personal reading lists and share their thoughts with you.

Turtles All the Way Down

From books like The Fault in Our Stars to Looking for Alaska, John Greene has a way with words that never fails to make me laugh hard and cry harder. I’m happy (and sad) to say that Turtles All The Way Down was no different. The book revolves around Aza Holmes, a 16 year old girl who struggles with crippling anxiety and OCD. She has a hard time coping with “regular” life and tries to distract herself with her best friend, Daisy. Now, in the beginning, this wasn’t the easiest read. Speaking from experience, it’s hard to understand what’s going on in the mind of someone who doesn’t completely understand their thoughts themself. I could relate deeply to this story due to my own experiences with anxiety and mental spiraling. There is a nice balance of the plot, and the premise that mental health can sometimes feel as if it will never be “cured.” I really enjoyed reading TATWD because it felt like a different side of Greene, who has openly discussed his own mental health journey.

I definitely recommend this novel, but would warn that this story doesn’t have your typical, cookie-cutter ending.

Alana’s Rating – 9/10

Relationship Goals

One word, REAL. This is a book that I desperately needed right now. We all know our twenties are a time of self-discovery, but at the same time we’re navigating our careers and relationships. If you’re trying to dive deeper into the “relationship” part of your life, then this book is for you… especially my single ladies and men! Pastor Mike Todd is the pastor of Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and this book was actually a sermon series he did at his church (that I still need to watch.) The book guides you through a more thought-out, meaningful approach to relationships and takes you through topics from singleness to marriage. Throughout the book, pastor Mike drops numerous gems and completely changes your mindset on attaining and maintaining healthy relationships. After reading, I felt the need to seriously reflect on the way I’ve been going about my relationships and how I view “relationship goals.”

Alana’s Rating – 10/10

The Betrothed by Kiera Cass

I am a hugeeeeee Kiera Cass fan, so obviously when I found out she was writing a duo-logy (two book series) I was immediately adding it to my Amazon cart. She did not disappoint! The book is about a young girl named, Hollis, who has the opportunity to be the future queen, if she plays her cards right. Hollis has been raised at the palace knowing that one day she would either win over the king, or be married off to another wealthy family. So, obviously, when it seems that she has won him over, Hollis is thrilled! Or at least, she should be right? She starts to wonder if this is really what she wants, or if there is another path to her happy ending. We follow along with Hollis through her roller coaster of journey, and there is definitely a plot twist I was not emotionally ready for. This book is for those who are fans of young adult fiction filled with romance and adventure. I cannot wait for book two to come out!

Alana’s Rating – 10/10

The Defining Decade by Meg Jay

I’m not sure what possessed me to pick up The Defining Decade by Meg Jay, but I’m really glad I did! Jay’s book is full of insightful stories about twenty-somethings working through very relatable baggage. The chapters of TDD unpack 11 key insights that Jay often sees her twenty-something clients struggle with. She does a great job of keeping the book light-hearted while managing to make some serious points about prioritizing your twenties. As any anxious person can tell you, ignorance is *not* always bliss, so getting a professional’s perspective on this “defining decade” was actually very freeing for me. I truly think anyone can take some insightful points away from what Jay is putting down here.

Samra’s Rating – 7/10

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