100 books like Normal Sucks

By Jonathan Mooney,

Here are 100 books that Normal Sucks fans have personally recommended if you like Normal Sucks. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps

Randy J. Paterson Author Of How to Be Miserable in Your Twenties: 40 Strategies to Fail at Adulting

From my list on building adulthood in your twenties.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been conducting psychotherapy for over 30 years, much of it with young people navigating the tricky path between dependent adolescence and independent adulthood. I’ve seen the downsides of stasis and stagnation, and the tremendous benefits of learning to stand and take the tiller of one’s own life. Many of my goals in writing, vlogging, and doing therapy involve helping young adults steer their way around the potholes in the paths they aspire to tread. More broadly, I have worked on various fronts to “give psychology away,” as instructed during my training, making psychological and life-management knowledge as open and as easily accessed as possible. I operate one of Vancouver’s largest psychotherapy services and provide training to clinicians across Canada in effective mental health interventions for mood- and anxiety-related concerns.

Randy's book list on building adulthood in your twenties

Randy J. Paterson Why did Randy love this book?

Adulthood seems like a necessary and possibly desirable life stage, but HOW exactly does one do it? What are the essentials? Brown steps away from cheerleading and the examination of deep psychological concepts, and instead focusses on the actual skills you need in order to be a tolerably functional, reasonably independent adult. From how to roast a chicken, to coping with upsells at the lube shop, to responding to dinner invitations, she inventories the things every grownup should (and often doesn’t) know.

By Kelly Williams Brown,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From breaking up with frenemies to fixing your toilet, this way fun comprehensive handbook is the answer for aspiring grown-ups of all ages.

If you graduated from college but still feel like a student . . . if you wear a business suit to job interviews but pajamas to the grocery store . . . if you have your own apartment but no idea how to cook or clean . . . it's OK. But it doesn't have to be this way.

Just because you don't feel like an adult doesn't mean you can't act like one. And it all…


Book cover of #ENTRYLEVELBOSS: How to Get Any Job You Want

Meg Jay Author Of The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now

From my list on figuring out your 20s.

Why am I passionate about this?

Meg Jay, PhD, is a Clinical Psychologist, and an Associate Professor of Human Development at the University of Virginia, who specializes in adult development and in twentysomethings in particular. She earned a doctorate in clinical psychology, and in gender studies, from the University of California, Berkeley. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages and her work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review and on NPR and BBC. Her TED talk “Why 30 Is Not the New 20” is among the most watched of all time.

Meg's book list on figuring out your 20s

Meg Jay Why did Meg love this book?

Three cheers for Entry Level Boss. I love Alexa's voice. I love her advice. And I love that she's broken down getting a job into the steps that every twentysomething wants and needs. Anyone who wants that first job--but is not sure how to get it--should read this book.

By Alexa Shoen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked #ENTRYLEVELBOSS as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An easy-to-follow, nine-step process for how to land your dream job and cut through the noise of job-searching in the 21st century.

Banging your head against the wall about the job search? Wondering why nobody’s even bothering to send you a rejection letter (much less an interview request)? You are not alone. This process is a beast, but there’s good news: #EntryLevelBoss is the book for you. This is an easy-to-follow roadmap for transforming yourself from frustrated job seeker into hired, happy, productive human.

One part behind-the-scenes memoir, one part playbook, #EntryLevelBoss lays out career coach Alexa Shoen’s proven 9-step…


Book cover of Everything Will Be Okay: Life Lessons for Young Women

Meg Jay Author Of The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now

From my list on figuring out your 20s.

Why am I passionate about this?

Meg Jay, PhD, is a Clinical Psychologist, and an Associate Professor of Human Development at the University of Virginia, who specializes in adult development and in twentysomethings in particular. She earned a doctorate in clinical psychology, and in gender studies, from the University of California, Berkeley. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages and her work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review and on NPR and BBC. Her TED talk “Why 30 Is Not the New 20” is among the most watched of all time.

Meg's book list on figuring out your 20s

Meg Jay Why did Meg love this book?

The best way to reassure people is to give them good information. That’s what Dana Perino does for young women in this engaging guide to life and work. From clearing your inbox to clearing your mind, if you follow the advice in this book, you’ll be well on your way to much more than okay.

By Dana Perino,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everything Will Be Okay as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

GREAT NEWS! is a no-nonsense how-to guide to life for young women looking to reframe their thinking, to believe in themselves, to take risks, to understand their power, and to feel better overall.

Young women seek out advice from Dana Perino every day -- at work, through friends, and on social media. The story of her own quarter-life crisis, And the Good News Is..., brought countless readers to her inbox looking for guidance. Through her mentorship program, "Minute Mentoring," Dana quickly realized that quarter-life crises have begun following young women well into their thirties. Many of them are distressed but…


Book cover of An Ordinary Age: Finding Your Way in a World That Expects Exceptional

Meg Jay Author Of The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now

From my list on figuring out your 20s.

Why am I passionate about this?

Meg Jay, PhD, is a Clinical Psychologist, and an Associate Professor of Human Development at the University of Virginia, who specializes in adult development and in twentysomethings in particular. She earned a doctorate in clinical psychology, and in gender studies, from the University of California, Berkeley. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages and her work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review and on NPR and BBC. Her TED talk “Why 30 Is Not the New 20” is among the most watched of all time.

Meg's book list on figuring out your 20s

Meg Jay Why did Meg love this book?

An Ordinary Age is an antidote. It is for twentysomethings everywhere who are sick and tired of being sick and tired that the lives they wake up to everyday don't match the ones they see on Instagram. It is a book for real twentysomethings, that is, ones who deserve to know that their lives and their efforts aren't just good enough: They are well and truly good.

By Rainesford Stauffer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Ordinary Age as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Best Book of 2021 —Esquire?

Featured on Good Morning America

"A meticulous cartography of how outer forces shape young people’s inner lives." —Esquire, Best Books of 2021 

In conversation with young adults and experts alike, journalist Rainesford Stauffer explores how the incessant pursuit of a “best life” has put extraordinary pressure on young adults today, across our personal and professional lives—and how ordinary, meaningful experiences may instead be the foundation of a fulfilled and contented life.

Young adulthood: the time of our lives when, theoretically, anything can happen, and the pressure is on to make sure everything does. Social media…


Book cover of The Power of Neurodiversity: Unleashing the Advantages of Your Differently Wired Brain

Ann Ozsivadjian Author Of Helping Your Autistic Child: A self-help guide for parents

From my list on neurodiversity: our unique and brilliant brains.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a clinical psychologist who has specialised in neurodiversity and neurodivergence for the past twenty years. Human brains, emotions, and behaviour have always fascinated me, hence why I studied psychology. Neurodiversity was a natural field to enter for someone interested in both child development and neuroscience. I am also an avid reader and wax lyrical about the value of literature for understanding both one’s inner self and the world around us.

Ann's book list on neurodiversity: our unique and brilliant brains

Ann Ozsivadjian Why did Ann love this book?

I found this book while I was researching for my own book and have been recommending it regularly to families ever since. It promotes a positive view of neurodiversity without being ‘PollyAnna-ish’–I would call it positive realism.

It was written over thirteen years ago now, so not all the language will be perfect for everybody by today’s standards. However, the concepts are still very current, and they are expressed sensitively. Clinical conditions such as autism, ADHD, and dyslexia are described in a very accessible way, demonstrating how symptoms are on a continuum, and many of us can relate to at least some features of most of the conditions.

Chapters on depression and anxiety are included, and while these arguably fall under mental health rather than neurodiversity, I was really glad of their inclusion in this book, as the overlaps between mental health conditions and neurodiversity are many, and clinical distinctions…

Book cover of The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain

Ed Thompson Author Of A Hidden Force: Unlocking the Potential of Neurodiversity at Work

From my list on challenging perceptions of neurodiversity.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young businessperson in London in my early 30s, I was as ignorant of neurodiversity as much of the rest of the world. In the mid-2010s, I got fascinated by the topic thanks to conversations with autistic family members, who encouraged me to bring some of my expertise in corporate diversity programs to the field of “neurodiversity at work”. The topic of neurodiversity chimed with me, too, as I’d suffered a traumatic brain injury in a serious car accident, and there were aspects I could relate to. I founded neurodiversity training company Uptimize to help ensure organizations across the world understand how the importance of embracing and leveraging different types of thinkers.

Ed's book list on challenging perceptions of neurodiversity

Ed Thompson Why did Ed love this book?

I was struck at the time, reading The Dyslexic Advantage, by the detail and nuance Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide presented about many of the common strengths of dyslexic brains.

Dyslexia, like other forms of neurodivergence, has typically been seen in (only) a negative light – yet many famous and successful business people are dyslexic, and credit this with their success. Indeed, a study in 2006 found that as many as a third of all entrepreneurs are dyslexic!

In a business world reliant on innovative thinking, The Dyslexic Advantage highlights the multiple attributes of dyslexic thinkers – from insight to pattern matching – and makes an overwhelming case for the (better) inclusion of dyslexic thinkers in society and at work. 

By Brock L. Eide, Fernette F. Eide,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dyslexic Advantage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An updated edition of Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide's popular dyslexia book with a wealth of new material and improved dyslexic-friendly font.

What if we viewed dyslexia as a learning and processing style rather than as a learning disorder?
 
Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide use their impressive backgrounds in neurology and education to debunk the standard deficit-based approach to dyslexia. People typically define “dyslexia” as a reading and spelling disorder. But through published research studies, clinical observations, and interviews with dyslexic individuals, the Eides prove that these challenges are not dyslexia’s main features but are instead trade-offs resulting from an…


Book cover of Worthy of Love

Laina Villeneuve Author Of Birds of a Feather

From my list on neurodiverse women who love women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was thrown into the deep end to learn about autism when our first son was diagnosed as autistic. As first-time parents, how were we to know that the struggles we faced went beyond the norm? We also have twins, one of whom is ADHD and the other dyslexic. Thus, not only have I spent a lot of time learning about autism, but I also enjoy turning to fiction to learn how others both struggle and find solutions. I started writing because the bedtime routine with my kiddos was very difficult. Nearly twelve years later, I am still using my writing to overcome the obstacles in my life. 

Laina's book list on neurodiverse women who love women

Laina Villeneuve Why did Laina love this book?

This book follows the life of Nadine after her release from prison.

She’s shunned by just about everyone except Bella with whom she works at a discount store. This author uses the self-doubt each woman harbors to develop a delicious conflict. Nadine doesn’t think she is worthy of Bella’s affection because of her time served, and Bella doesn’t think she is smart or accomplished enough for Nadine who, before her conviction, was a high-powered lawyer.

I loved seeing how the compassion they offer each other restores the self-worth necessary for a successful relationship. Especially satisfying was the revelation Bella has when Nadine suggests that Bella might be ADHD, not stupid.

This book’s acknowledgment of how damaging societal perception can be to the individual is so powerful. 

By Quinn Ivins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Worthy of Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An age-gap, workplace lesbian romance about learning you’re never too broken to be worthy of love.Nadine Bayani was at the top of her game. The brilliant, ruthless lawyer was in line to be White House chief of staff—until she confessed to campaign finance crimes that cost her party the election.Now Nadine’s out of prison, broke, hated by millions, and stuck doing a menial retail job in rural Virginia where she barely earns enough to survive.Bella Clarke has worked at Overstock Oasis since she flunked college. She wants to go back to school, but secretly doubts she’s smart enough. At least…


Book cover of Fifty-Four Things Wrong with Gwendolyn Rogers

Sally J. Pla Author Of The Someday Birds

From my list on neurodiversity and autism representation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up undiagnosed autistic. I got excellent grades and never caused much trouble, so no one could tell what was going on inside. But sensory overload and confusion over social dynamics kept me in a bewildering muddle. Books and stories are what helped me through! But there were no stories featuring neurodivergent kids like me, so, as an adult, I resolved to write some. I want to bust stigmas and write honest, fun, heartfelt stories for kids who might be going through their own ‘bewildering muddles.’ Now, I'm an award-winning author of several children's novels and a picture book. I'm also co-founder/editor of A Novel Mind, a web resource on mental health and neurodiversity in children's literature.

Sally's book list on neurodiversity and autism representation

Sally J. Pla Why did Sally love this book?

Young Gwendolyn Rogers struggles in middle school and with friends. She’s impulsive and makes poor decisions – and longs for a clear diagnosis of ADHD. Author Caela Carter, who has ADHD herself, lets us slip inside her character in such a fascinating way. We see how much Gwendolyn longs to get things right, how much she cares about her family and friends, even though she makes mistakes and does things to annoy them.

By Caela Carter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fifty-Four Things Wrong with Gwendolyn Rogers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

From the critically acclaimed author of the ALA Notable and Charlotte Huck Honor Book Forever, or a Long, Long Time comes a moving own-voices story that shines a light on how one girl’s learning differences are neither right nor wrong…just perfectly individual. For fans of Alyson Gerber, Cammie McGovern, and Kathryn Erskine.

No one can figure out what Gwendolyn Rogers’s problem is—not her mom, or her teachers, or any of the many therapists she’s seen. But Gwendolyn knows she doesn’t have just one thing wrong with her: she has fifty-four.

At least, according to a confidential school report (that she…


Book cover of My Life of Crime: Essays and Other Entertainments

Patricia Lynne Duffy Author Of Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens

From my list on neurodiversity by authors who are neurodiverse.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a neurodivergent person myself, I have always been fascinated by the fact that each of us perceives the world in a way that is as unique as our fingerprints. My book was the first book by a synesthete about synesthesiaWhile writing the book, I interviewed many neuroscientists, synesthetes, and other neurodiverse people. Later, I was invited to contribute a chapter, “Synesthesia and Literature,” to the Oxford Handbook of Synesthesia. I am now a regular contributor to Journey through the Senses Online Magazine, where you can read interviews with authors whose books spotlight synesthesia and other forms of neurodivergence. I am also the co-founder of the American Synesthesia Association.

Patricia's book list on neurodiversity by authors who are neurodiverse

Patricia Lynne Duffy Why did Patricia love this book?

This book made me laugh out loud!

In this winner of the 2023 Independent Publisher Book Award bronze medal, the author tells true tales of his everyday life as a writer in New York City’s East Village and Brooklyn. We hear stories of the quirky situations and characters he encounters, stories that often take a meandering path due to, as the author tells us, his diagnosis of A.D.D. (attention deficit disorder).

The author’s unique, quirky writing style has him begin one funny story, which then leads to another and another, then circles back to the first. As author Tyler Gore himself said in an interview, “I strongly feel that both my sense of humor and my creativity are connected to my A.D.D., and that seems like a fair trade-off for occasionally losing my glasses on the train.”

By Tyler C. Gore,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Life of Crime as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An awkward visit to a nude beach. A bike-pedaling angel careening through rush-hour traffic. The mystery of a sandwich found in a bathroom stall. A lyric, rainy-day ramble through the East Village. With the personal essays (and three other entertainments) in this debut collection, Tyler C. Gore reveals the artistic secrets of his life of crime: a charming wit, compassionate observation, perfection of style, and, over all, a winsomely colorful light tinged with just enough despair. Whether stewing over a subway encounter with a deranged businessman, confessing his sordid past as a prankster, or recounting his family's history of hoarding,…


Book cover of Focused

Alysa Wishingrad Author Of The Verdigris Pawn

From my list on for chess lovers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love games; board games, card games, head games*; any kind of situation in which employing strategy is the only way forward. And yet, I’m not a big game player—aside from word games. I’m also endlessly fascinated by the mechanisms of power and how societies arrange themselves. The marriage between writing and understanding politics (in the traditional, not the partisan sense) is my true north. Writing a book in which a chess-like game provides the foundation felt inevitable for me, for what game better explores the dynamics of power and strategy? *I don’t play head games, but I do find manipulation fascinating fodder for writing.

Alysa's book list on for chess lovers

Alysa Wishingrad Why did Alysa love this book?

Focused is a beautiful exploration of one girl’s experience coming to terms with an ADHD diagnosis. The writing is rich and filled with emotion, and I very much felt like I was living inside Clea’s head, which gave me incredible insights into her strengths and struggles. That she’s a gifted chess player perfectly illustrates for young readers that neurodiversity isn’t about being broken in any way, it’s not a reflection of intelligence or ability, but simply it’s another way of being in the world, one that requires finding the right tools. 

By Alyson Gerber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Focused as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

3 starred reviews!
"A story full of charm, compassion, and empathy." -- TODAY
 
Following Braced, which had three starred reviews, comes a story of a girl caught between her love of chess and her ADHD.
Clea can't control her thoughts. She knows she has to do her homework . . . but she gets distracted. She knows she can't just say whatever thought comes into her head . . . but sometimes she can't help herself. She know she needs to focus . . . but how can she do that when the people around her are always chewing gum…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in neurodiversity, dyslexia, and ADHD?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about neurodiversity, dyslexia, and ADHD.

Neurodiversity Explore 84 books about neurodiversity
Dyslexia Explore 20 books about dyslexia
ADHD Explore 41 books about ADHD