The best books to be laughing on one page and crying on the next

Who am I?

I am a dystopian author who loves using writing to spread awareness about different social issues in society. As an avid reader, I feel like nowadays, the quality of literature has decreased. Authors have been focusing more on how close to trending topics and easy-to-read a book is than on its depth, themes, or any kind of element that is crucial in storytelling. This is why many recently published books have been difficult for me to connect with. As an author myself, I want that to change. Here’s a list of books that are so well written that it’ll feel like you’re riding a rollercoaster—of emotions.

I wrote...

A Gleaming Shard of Glass

By Sowon Kim,

Book cover of A Gleaming Shard of Glass

What is my book about?

Every six months on Regulation Day, children from the honorable city of Nepenthe take a required intelligence examination. Those who pass resume their lives as valuable students, but those who fail are imprisoned, no longer considered human.

When fourteen-year-old Grecia Rivera fails the examination—despite being one of the best artists of her age—her life is turned upside down. To avoid her prison sentence, she must abandon everyone she loves and escape from Nepenthe. But Grecia soon discovers that the outside world is just as brutal as the city she left behind. Now trapped within a society of runaways, Grecia must risk her life for freedom once again.

The books I picked & why

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By Neal Shusterman,

Book cover of Scythe

Why this book?

Scythe is a gripping story filled with philosophical themes and characters that will make you feel like you’ve just met some new amazing friends. I read Scythe after having read a ton of cliché and stereotypical YA dystopian novels, so the depth this book had surprised me so much that it engrained itself into my mind forever. Not only does this book answer questions about human nature, but it also asks you questions—and they’re so well formulated that I stayed awake a whole night thinking about them. And the characters…let’s say that never in my life had I been so attached to fictional people before.

The Giver

By Lois Lowry,

Book cover of The Giver

Why this book?

The Giver is close to my heart, as it played a huge role in my development as an author and was one of the first book recommendations my mother gave me. This novel shows you what it could take for humanity to reach perfection, and makes you question whether perfection is something really worth reaching for. It also introduced me to the wonderful dystopian genre, and showed me that literature is much more than entertainment: it’s a whole world of important messages that the world needs to hear.

The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet

By John Green,

Book cover of The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet

Why this book?

I’m not lying when I say that this book saved my life. I was going through a particularly difficult moment when I read it, and let’s say that it made me find the beauty in life once again. After reading The Anthropocene Reviewed, my once monochrome world burst with colors. This essay collection points out ideas about things in daily life that an average person would never notice. It makes you smile dumbly at the ceiling and say, “this world is beautiful.”


By Mel Torrefranca,

Book cover of Capsule

Why this book?

Since Capsule was actually written by a teenager, anyone from Generation Z will be able to relate to this gut-wrenching tale about friendships and memories better left forgotten. Each character is both unique and human, and the writing makes you stare into space in awe. This novel throws difficult-to-swallow truths at the reader, and leaves them without oxygen with a fantastic ending. For anyone who has struggled, this book is for you.

The Midnight Library

By Matt Haig,

Book cover of The Midnight Library

Why this book?

This book isn’t complex at all, but it still managed to make me cry enough water to replicate an ocean and rethink my life decisions. Just like The Anthropocene Reviewed, I was going through a very difficult situation when I read The Midnight Library, and I honestly don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t read it. I hope that anyone who reads it finds that gleam of hope that I found. It also reminded me of the simpler stories that I had read in elementary school, which made me really nostalgic and filled my head with great memories.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in dystopia, culture, and murders?

5,809 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about dystopia, culture, and murders.

Dystopia Explore 232 books about dystopia
Culture Explore 48 books about culture
Murders Explore 334 books about murders

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like A Clockwork Orange, Good Omens, and The Handmaid's Tale if you like this list.