I tend to read books based on the current season. In the summer, I only want to read about summer vacations and warm weather. I feel like it makes the book more real, like I could really picture it happening. With fall upon us, I had to give up my novels beach reads for something a little more seasonal. Fall will always mean back to school for me, even if those days are long gone for me. Fall just makes me so nostalgic for the days when I would wake up early on an autumn morning and have something warm for breakfast at home before heading to class. I think that is why I enjoy young adult novels so much. They bring me back to a time of fond memories. The two books I’m going to highlight are great fall reads that I highly recommend!
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
“Varsity tennis captain, Ezra Faulkner, was supposed to be homecoming king, but that was before—before his girlfriend cheated on him, before a car accident shattered his leg, and before he fell in love with unpredictable new girl Cassidy Thorpe.” – via Amazon
This book is a classic coming-of-age story, Ezra was a popular jock until one day everything he knew changed. He was in a tragic car accident and would no longer be able to the play tennis. Ezra begins to lose everything he has ever known: popular friends, cheerleader girlfriend, a sport he’s played his whole life and his way into college. When he goes back to school that fall after the accident, Ezra rediscovers a friend he had long discarded, Toby. Toby brings Ezra into his circle of friends and introduces him to debate. With much hesitation, Ezra joins the team and soon encounters the mysterious Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy shows Ezra a whole new side of life, one he’s been blind to, sitting with the jocks and cheerleaders. He falls in love with Cassidy but it seems as though perhaps she is hiding a tragedy of her own.
Ezra talks about how everyone has their own tragedy and how it is theirs alone, in the beginning of the book. Throughout, the reader begins to see this isn’t true. While yes, something terrible that happens to you affects you, it also affects those that surround you. Ezra took on the burden of his accident alone and let it almost ruin him.
This is such a great illustration of how striving to fit in can often make one feel like an outsider. Once Ezra stops trying to impress in horrible popular friends, he starts to discover who he really is. He sees that friends are more than just a status symbol but people who care about him, that he actually enjoyed being around.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves John Green, the writing style and subject matter is quite similar.
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Just as the other book focused on tragedies, this one is built around accidents. It was an accident for Allyson to meet Willem and every turn their adventure took was based on an accident. Allyson is a good student who would never break the rules. She goes on a European study trip because her parents set it up, but it is way out of her comfort zone. She would rather stay home than travel the world. In just one day, Allyson’s whole world is turned upside down. She meets a boy named Willem and decides, against her better judgement, to follow him to Paris for one day of adventure. The things she encounters along the way are all so new to Allyson. After that day, something terrible happens and Allyson finds herself reliving the day over and over for a whole year. She starts college but is still hung up on WIllem and that day.
In the beginning, it holds Allyson back. She has trouble making friends, and does badly in school. After opening up to one of her classmates, she confides about that day to him. She decides she needs to go back to Paris and figure out what went wrong.
This book is full of ups and downs, happy accidents and terrible mistakes. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and wanting more. I really recommend it! There is also a sequel, that I’ve started to read, told from Willem’s perspective and it begins on the day after the Paris adventure day. I’m really interested to see the story from his point of view, I think it will answer a lot of questions I had at the end of Just One Day.
Fall is a month of change and transformation. These two books fit perfectly in the category of fall reading based on the changes that both of the characters go through when they meet that one person. What are you’re favorite type of books to read in the Fall? Leave any recommendations in the comments!