Standalone Books I Hold Dear (so far) [list]

We’ve all got those books that we absolutely adore and recommend to anyone and everyone. For me, my personal stack is full of books that I hold very close, near and dear to my heart. They come from a range of genres and target reader groups and cover a variety of topics.

Here’s my short stack of my favourite standalone books that, I would feel comfortable and confident in recommending to people – depending on what they’re looking for.

I did a quick video on for this book stack too if you’d rather watch than read. But if not, no worries! Keep scrolling for my list!

My Dark Vanessa

My Dark Vanessa – Kate Elizabeth Russell
This is one of the hardest books that I’ve ever read. There are triggers for sexual grooming, assault and rape of a minor. It is an essential book for part of the #MeToo movement and if you feel like you can safely read this book then I urge you to do so.

It’s a very, very difficult read and it goes to some incredibly dark pages. It’s unflinching, uncensored and raw. But it’s also expertly written and the author has some undeniable talent.


Sadie – Courtney Summers
This book is one I can recommend in both physical book and audiobook. The audiobook is done via a full cast and as the story involves a podcast it lends itself beautifully to the audiobook format.

For fans of true-crime (although this is fiction) – Sadie is a dark and all-too-real exploration into revenge and the human condition. It’s raw and has an ending that will leave you pondering the events long after you’ve finished reading.

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
A great choice if you are looking for a classic without being bogged down by older language and elaborate descriptions (think good old Dickens, being paid by the word.

It’s a quick, lush and extravagant foray into 1920’s excess and obsession. I originally wasn’t a fan of this book when I first read it- but since then it has grown on me and I absolutely treasure the story, the themes and characters for all their flaws and faults.

Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic – Silvia Moreno-Garcia
I’ve not read many adult horror books – so you might be wondering what authority I have to speak on this, but it won the Goodreads Award for horror in 2020 – beating out Stephen King! So there’s a lot of us that like it!

For me, it’s a beautifully gothic and elegant delve into atmospheric horror. There’s body horror, there’s elegance, representation, unnerving scenes and great dialogue. I think it’s great for those new to horror and horror hounds alike.

The Kingdom

The Kingdom – Jess Rothenberg
This is a YA fantasy that offers beginners, or light, look into ethics and what it means to be human. At a Disney-esque theme park, the anamatronic princesses begin to become self-aware, and then there’s a death…

But how can you try someone who isn’t human, for a human crime? What is humanity? A swift, fast-paced novel that has amazing characterisation and a mystery that will keep you trying to figure it out all the way through.

In Paris With You

In Paris With You – Clémentine Beauvais
Aside from the personal connection have to this book, I can’t recommend it enough for those who are either looking for a novel in verse and/or something that recognises love as the bittersweet reality that it so often is.

Set in Paris and spanning several years between our two protagonists, this retelling of Eugene Onegin is funny, romantic, realistic and yet still completely original. The narrative voice is so charming and the characters are both flawed and relatable.

They Both Die at the End

They Both Die At The End – Adam Silvera
This is the only book (to date) that has succeded in making me cry – and I mean UGLY cry. When I finished this book I cried. Then 20 mins went by, and then I cried again.

This is a queer book with an ending that really shouldn’t surprise you, considering the title of the book, but it is both bittersweet, adorable and yet – despite its frightening concept – quite real. If you’re looking for something a bit on the sad side, this is the book for you.

The Upside of Falling

The Upside of Falling – Alex Light
I am not exactly a huge reader of YA contemporary, or any type of fluff really. And yet this book charmed the absolute pants off of me. I initially read it as a pallete cleanser as it was quite short and promised to be sweet. And yes, it was! For both! But it’s also a really genuinely cute book with some great characters and an A-B plot that is thoroughly enjoyable.

I’d highly recommend this for anyone looking for a cute, quick read to just help them forget any issues. Also for fans of fake-dating tropes too!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being A Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
This is quite possibly the most quintessential teenage novel ever. It graces a lot of bookish lists for everything from teen books to feelgood reads.

As cliche as it sounds, there’s a reason this book is everywhere and on everyone’s lists and why so many people like it. Yes, it’s a realistic portrayal of the teenage experience, but it can be read and enjoyed by adults too. I can’t recommend this enough. You’ll feel infinite.

And that’s my list of comfort books!

What books are on your ‘comfort’ list or that you recommend to everyone? Let me know in the comments.


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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Most of my favorite standalone are actually classics: some of them are contemporary

    1. Spinning Silver
    2. Uprooted
    3. Secret Garden
    4. Little Women
    5. Tom Sawyer
    6. Bleak House
    7. Nicholas Nickelby
    8… in even more Dickens books
    9. Hunchback of Notre Dame
    10. Les Misérables, which I really do hold close to my heart
    11. Don Quixote
    12. The Iliad
    13. The Odyssey

    Liked by 3 people

    1. A lot of those sounds really great!

      Liked by 1 person

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