The best books to escape the real world

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been a geek at heart, fangirling over anything from anime to Star Wars. Growing up without the internet and before cell phones were glued to our palms, I spent many hours escaping into other worlds. It was these journeys that bolstered my imagination and inspired me to take readers by the hand—or eyeballs, rather—and help them escape into the stories that I write. While the YA books I’ve written are contemporary, my love for skipping out on reality was obviously the inspiration behind them, even if it’s only through role-playing games. I just hope my recommended books provide others with the same level of out-of-world enjoyment they gave me.


I wrote...

Playing Her Secret Crush

By Casey Griffin,

Book cover of Playing Her Secret Crush

What is my book about?

All her life, Katie has been chosen last for everything: the last picked on the playground, the last picked by her absent father, and definitely the last picked by boys—even her secret crush, Alex, friend-zoned her. This senior year, Katie is determined to come first. But then Alex asks her to help him find a date?!

Alex has been living life in the fast lane, but he's ready to slow down—with a girlfriend. The last person on earth he’d consider? The girl his brother developed serious feelings for before he died: Katie. The only way Alex is going to get over Katie is by falling for someone new. And who better to help him find his new crush than the girl he can’t stop thinking about? What can possibly go wrong?
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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Casey Griffin Why did I love this book?

I can’t say enough good things about this trilogy! It’s so beautiful and imaginative. It’s probably one of my top faves of all time! You know when you’re just drifting from “okay” book to “okay” book and then you find that one? The one that sinks its claws into you and you can’t put it down for anything? The one that, after you’ve finished, leaves a hole in your life that your rebound book just won’t fill? This was that one for me. 

By Laini Taylor,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Daughter of Smoke & Bone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

The 10th anniversary edition of the first in Laini Taylor's breathtaking fantasy trilogy

'Remarkable and beautifully written . . . The opening volume of a truly original trilogy.' GUARDIAN

Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.

The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. 'He never says please', she sighed, but she gathered up her things.

When Brimstone called, she always came.

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a…


Book cover of City of Bones

Casey Griffin Why did I love this book?

I devoured the books in this series, one after another. It’s like a YA paranormal soap opera on a post-Halloween sugar high—pure drama candy. If you have ever dreamed of discovering you have powers and can suddenly fight demons hidden in our mundane world, then raise your hand because this one is for you. You just raised your hand, didn’t you? 

By Cassandra Clare,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked City of Bones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Discover this first installment of the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series and “prepare to be hooked” (Entertainment Weekly).

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing -- not even a smear of blood -- to show that a boy has died. Or was he…


Book cover of Tithe

Casey Griffin Why did I love this book?

I’ll admit, I read this one a long time ago, but I remember it dragging me along into the wee hours of the morning and sparking my imagination. It was this series that filled my daydream reserve long before I knew how to put those dreams down onto paper. Holly Black was definitely one of those authors who inspired me to write. 

By Holly Black,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Tithe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the realm of very scary faeries, no one is safe.

Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother's rock band until an ominous attack forces the sixteen-year-old back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms—a struggle that could very well mean her death.

Holly Black's enormously powerful voice weaves teen angst, riveting romance, and capriciously diabolical faerie folk into an enthralling, engaging, altogether original reading experience.


Book cover of Artemis Fowl

Casey Griffin Why did I love this book?

Okay, so you could argue that this is middle grade, but I’ll just argue back because I wanted to include it on my list. Besides, he grows older through the series (See? I told you I would argue). Love, love, love this book! The best part is that Artemis doesn’t just stumble upon a fairy by accident, which happens too often in these kinds of books. No. He kidnaps one! I’m such a huge fan of an “unlikeable” character, and Artemis is one I love to… er, unlike.

By Eoin Colfer,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Artemis Fowl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Now an original movie on Disney+!

Twelve-year-old criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl has discovered a world below ground of armed and dangerous--and extremely high-tech--fairies. He kidnaps one of them, Holly Short, and holds her for ransom in an effort to restore his family's fortune. But he may have underestimated the fairies' powers. Is he about to trigger a cross-species war?

Disney's “Artemis Fowl” is directed by Kenneth Branagh and stars Ferdia Shaw, Lara McDonnell, Tamara Smart, Nonzo Anozie, with Josh Gad, and Judi Dench.


Book cover of Twilight

Casey Griffin Why did I love this book?

Rewind to the time before all the Twilight mania. I bought this book when it first came out (the cover screamed at me from the shelves). I was absorbed by this simple story about a normal girl who falls in love with a vampire and the dangers that come with that forbidden romance. I mean, who hasn’t been stuck in a boring rut, wishing a love-struck sparkly vampire would interrupt the humdrum? This is daydream gold. Ignore the Hollywood drama and the airbrushed photos of a sparkly Rob-Pat and enjoy it for what it is—a classic story of girl meets vampire.

By Stephenie Meyer,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Twilight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

When 17 year old Isabella Swan moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father she expects that her new life will be as dull as the town.

But in spite of her awkward manner and low expectations, she finds that her new classmates are drawn to this pale, dark-haired new girl in town. But not, it seems, the Cullen family. These five adopted brothers and sisters obviously prefer their own company and will make no exception for Bella.

Bella is convinced that Edward Cullen in particular hates her, but she feels a strange attraction to him, although his hostility…


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A Cursed Son

By Day Leitao,

Book cover of A Cursed Son

Day Leitao

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Romantic & sexy dreams link a false princess to a dangerous, disgraced fae prince in this fun, steamy enemies-to-lovers romantasy. As a royal decoy, trained to replace the Krastel princess even in a political marriage, Astra’s life is not her own. With a duty like that, how can she dream about love?

And yet she knows she has a kindred soul. She can feel his presence every night, surrounding her with his warmth. But ice-cold reality crashes in when Astra’s carriage is attacked by the Crystal Court’s disgraced prince. It turns out that he is the man in her dreams.…

A Cursed Son

By Day Leitao,

What is this book about?

Romantic & sexy dreams link a false princess to a dangerous, disgraced fae prince in this fun, steamy enemies-to-lovers romantasy.

In her dreams, he envelops her in love. In real life, he imprisons her in ice.

Assassin, liar, impersonator-dreamer.

As a royal decoy, trained to replace the Krastel princess even in a political marriage, Astra's life is not her own. With a duty like that, how can she dream about love?

And yet she knows she has a kindred soul. She can feel his presence every night, holding her in his arms, surrounding her with his warmth.

But ice-cold reality…


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