77 books like Transcendent Kingdom

By Yaa Gyasi,

Here are 77 books that Transcendent Kingdom fans have personally recommended if you like Transcendent Kingdom. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Sorry for Your Loss

L.S. Moore Author Of Bridgekeeper

From my list on YA paranormal thrillers told from a guy’s point of view.

Why am I passionate about this?

Have you noticed the scarcity of YA novels told solely from a guy’s point of view? If you aren’t a boy, the parent of one, or maybe a savvy librarian, you probably haven’t. I’m two out of three. I have two awesome sons. They’re avid readers and burned through the YA section and into adult fantasy and sci-fi long before I was ready for them to. Boys read! There’s a need for protagonists who identify as male. No surprise, my YA novels often feature ordinary boys doing heroic things. Thanks to years of spying on my sons and their friends, I have plenty of fodder to feed my muse.

L.S.'s book list on YA paranormal thrillers told from a guy’s point of view

L.S. Moore Why did L.S. love this book?

This rare story had me laughing out loud, sobbing, and sighing at the beauty of it from beginning to end. It’s not about a ghost in the paranormal sense, but the story revolves around a family haunted by the death of a son.

Pup (James) Flannigan, the youngest of eight siblings, is used to being the silent observer at his raucous family gatherings. When his oldest brother dies suddenly, grief and denial rattle the family to its core.

I fell in love with Pup immediately! He’s a funny, sensitive guy who’s powerless against his family’s tide of sadness until an art teacher encourages him to pick up a camera. Pup’s slow transformation from helplessly observing to using the camera lens to bring the damaged, grieving people he loves into clear focus is a beautiful thing to watch.

By Jessie Ann Foley,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Sorry for Your Loss 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?

From Printz Honor winner and Morris Award finalist Jessie Ann Foley comes a comitragic YA novel that will appeal to fans of Jandy Nelson and Jeff Zentner.

As the youngest of eight, painfully average Pup Flanagan is used to flying under the radar. He’s barely passing his classes. He lets his longtime crush walk all over him. And he’s in no hurry to decide on a college path.

The only person who ever made him think he could be more was his older brother Patrick. But that was before Patrick died suddenly, leaving Pup with a family who won’t talk…

Book cover of Such Pretty Flowers

Marielle Thompson Author Of Where Ivy Dares to Grow

From my list on gothic that explore different types of grief.

Why am I passionate about this?

My debut novel, Where Ivy Dares to Grow, inherently explores many kinds of grief through the lens of a gothic novel; the grief of losing one’s sense of self to mental illness, of family estrangement, of relationships that have run their course, of illness in loved ones, of beloved places no longer being the beautiful things we remember them as. While this was not something I did consciously while writing, the gothic genre simply seemed to be a natural fit to investigate mourning in so many untraditional senses, using a sentient home and timeslips as metaphors for the way that grief can seem to shift the world and swallow one whole.

Marielle's book list on gothic that explore different types of grief

Marielle Thompson Why did Marielle love this book?

This book explores grief tied together with a mysterious death. Holly received ominous, out-of-character messages from her brother before he suddenly took his own life, leaving her to try to figure out the truth of his violent death while working through her own grief.

She finds herself moving in with Dane’s girlfriend, Maura, in her gothic, haunting townhouse, hoping to get clues and to see her own grief reflected in the other woman’s. And while this grief does bring them together, the shallowness and violence of Maura’s mourning makes it clear that she knows more about Dane’s death than she’s sharing.

This is a story of how grief can become the haunted thing that lurks in gothic halls, and the extremes that it can drive people to, completely upending one’s world.

By K.L. Cerra,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Such Pretty Flowers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

RECOMMENDED BY GILLIAN FLYNN ON THE TODAY SHOW • “A lush, seductive Southern Gothic that’s deliciously queer . . . K. L. Cerra’s gift for gorgeous, gruesome atmosphere had me spellbound.”—Layne Fargo, author of They Never Learn
A woman investigating her brother’s apparent suicide finds herself falling for her prime suspect—his darkly mysterious girlfriend—in this “creepy, compelling, and utterly original” (Karen Dionne) thriller.

“Get it out of me.”

It was the last message Holly received from her brother, Dane, before he was found cleaved open in the lavish Savannah townhouse of his girlfriend, Maura. Police ruled his death a suicide…

Book cover of Ordinary People

Monica Starkman Author Of The End of Miracles: A Novel

From my list on good and bad psychiatrists.

Why am I passionate about this?

There are very few novels written by psychiatrists, and even fewer that accurately show psychiatrists at work. That is one of the major reasons that I wrote The End of Miracles. I’ve been a professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan, seen many patients, and taught many psychiatry residents, so I know a good deal about people with mental illness and its treatment. As a novelist, I also wanted to write a book that is exciting and gives pleasure to readers. I think I succeeded. Here are some comments from reader reviews online: “gripping”… ”thought-provoking”… ”spell-binding”… ”illuminating”… “a page-turner”… ”a rich and satisfying read”.

Monica's book list on good and bad psychiatrists

Monica Starkman Why did Monica love this book?

In Ordinary People, the boating-accident death of the older teenage son shatters the family.

Conrad, the younger son who was also on the boat, is tormented by self-blame for his brother’s death. After a suicide attempt and a psychiatric hospitalization, Conrad is released. He is still beset with guilt and depression and begins outpatient treatment with Dr. Berger, a blunt yet also an empathetic psychiatrist.

I like the way he helps Conrad reconsider his unrealistic guilt and helps him look at the limitations of his mother, a parent unable to provide him the warmth and support he needs. I like the way Dr. Berger is portrayed as caring and skilled, an example of how psychiatrists effectively treat their patients.

By Judith Guest,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Ordinary People as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the great bestseller of our time: the novel that inspired Robert Redford's Oscar-winning film starring Donald Sutherland and Mary Tyler Moore

In Ordinary People, Judith Guest's remarkable first novel, the Jarrets are a typical American family. Calvin is a determined, successful provider and Beth an organized, efficient wife. They had two sons, Conrad and Buck, but now they have one. In this memorable, moving novel, Judith Guest takes the reader into their lives to share their misunderstandings, pain, and ultimate healing. Ordinary People is an extraordinary novel about an "ordinary" family divided by pain, yet bound by their…

Book cover of The Miraculous Sweetmakers #1: The Frost Fair

Jane McMorland Hunter Author Of Urban Nature Every Day: Discover the natural world on your doorstep

From my list on novels set by the River Thames in London.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have lived in London most of my life, and what I love most about it are the wild places, the spots where the city and nature rub shoulders. When reading fiction, ‘place’ matters a lot to me, and if I am familiar with the setting, I like it to be accurate. That said, I love a little fantasy to stretch the boundaries. As well as being a writer and editor, I have worked part-time in bookshops for over forty years, and during that time, I must have read hundreds of novels set in and around London. These are five of my absolute favourites.

Jane's book list on novels set by the River Thames in London

Jane McMorland Hunter Why did Jane love this book?

As a bookseller as well as a writer and editor, I believe strongly that good children’s books should also be read by adults.

The setting here is 1683, and the River Thames is frozen. I studied history, and I often stand on London Bridge and try to imagine the flowing water as a field of ice with stalls and side shows on the frozen surface. Embankments and new bridges mean the river no longer freezes, but this story brings historical London to life and allows us to feel what it would have been like.

A magic nocturnal Frost Fair, a lost boy, and a determined twin sister are at the heart of this bewitching story, which is dark yet uplifting–a perfect combination that had me gripped throughout. 

By Natasha Hastings,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Miraculous Sweetmakers #1 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?

'Absolutely stunning... Real emotional depth alongside a fast-paced plot. Fantastic' A F Steadman

An amazing and captivating, curl-up-on-the-sofa debut about a magical frost fair and the lasting power of friendship, perfect for fans of Tamzin Merchant, Abi Elphinstone and Anna James.

The Great Frost of 1683 has London in its icy grip.

Thomasina and her best friend Anne sell sweets on the frozen Thames, amid rumours of the magical Frost Fair that awakens there at night. They say if you can find the fair, Father Winter himself will grant you any wish.

And Thomasina has an impossible wish: the return…

Book cover of AfterMath

Emily Waters Author Of Honey in the Marrow

From my list on grief and joy: you can’t have one without the other.

Why am I passionate about this?

While writing this book, a study on a professionally competent woman who is taken out by grief when her partner dies due to an act of violence, my grandfather passed away and my theoretical study of grief quickly became a real one. Working through Stella’s grief helped me work through my own and allowing her to heal and fall in love aided in my healing immensely. Grief is brutal and feels endless, but coming out of the other side of it with the support of the people around me changed me for the better. 

Emily's book list on grief and joy: you can’t have one without the other

Emily Waters Why did Emily love this book?

Besides well written non-fiction and sapphic romance, my favorite type of book is always going to be middle grade fiction.

In AfterMath, 12-year-old Lucy is struggling with the death of her younger brother from heart failure. When she changes school, she comes into the aftermath of a school shooting where her classmates struggle with grief of a different kind. Chock full of character development and with a solid plot, this takes a gentle look at grief, trauma, gun violence, terminal illness, and the real-life things that we have to face, no matter our age.

I love a story where children are resilient, though I wish they didn’t have to be so resilient all the time. 

By Emily Barth Isler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked AfterMath 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?

"This book is a gift to the culture." ―Amy Schumer, writer, actor, and activist

After her brother's death from a congenital heart defect, twelve-year-old Lucy is not prepared to be the new kid at school―especially in a grade full of survivors of a shooting that happened four years ago. Without the shared past that both unites and divides her classmates, Lucy feels isolated and unable to share her family's own loss, which is profoundly different from the trauma of her peers.

Lucy clings to her love of math, which provides the absolute answers she craves. But through budding friendships and…

Book cover of Hard Revolution

E.R. Yatscoff Author Of Teeth of the Cocodrilo

From my list on crime plunging you into new places away from the norm.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent over 30 years as a fire rescue officer, and my investigative experience in arsons and fires of all types had me working with police at times. Firefighters come in contact with a lot of crimes. Crime scene protection is important before cops and detectives arrive. I’m curious by nature, and I like cops. They have so many rules. Firefighters aren’t like that. When we arrive, there is little time to follow rules. I have a firefighter crime series published, but I chose Teeth of the Cocodrilo in the theme of exotic crime. I'm the only firefighter in Canada who has written firefighter crime novels.

E.R.'s book list on crime plunging you into new places away from the norm

E.R. Yatscoff Why did E.R. love this book?

Pelecanos creates a helluva crime story set in Washington, DC. Not so different of a place, right? Ah, but there is the backdrop of the Martin Luther King riots in 1968 and the cops are overwhelmed. Derek Strange is a Black rookie cop and with a white detective Frank Vaughan goes on a manhunt for his brother’s killer. The combination of the two is a great dynamic. Derek’s pretty sure he knows who the drug dealer is who killed his brother and won’t be put off by the riots. Trying to find the killer in the chaos is gripping. A lot of grit in here and tension. This is one story you

By George Pelecanos,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this epic showdown from "one of the best crime novelists alive" (Dennis Lehane), police officer Derek Strange hunts his brother's killer through a city erupting with rage.

Book cover of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Richard Glover Author Of Flesh Wounds

From my list on weird families and how to survive them.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Australian writer and journalist. I’ve written several humour books, as well as a history of Australia in the 1960 and 1970s called The Land Before Avocado. I also write for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Washington Post and present a radio show on ABC Radio Sydney. Of the books I’ve written, the one that’s closest to my heart is my memoir Flesh Wounds.

Richard's book list on weird families and how to survive them

Richard Glover Why did Richard love this book?

After losing both parents to cancer, almost simultaneously, twenty-something Dave becomes father to his much younger brother. Don’t be put off by the jokey title, this book is a heartfelt and hilarious celebration of young men and the way their competitive, raucous humour can be an expression of love and support. I guarantee you will love these two boys-on-the-way-to-be-men.

By Dave Eggers,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The author chronicles his life in the years after the deaths of his parents, when he assumed responsibility for the care and upbringing of his eight-year-old brother.

Book cover of Millions

Violet Plum Author Of Little Chicken Classic - Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er

From my list on for children which are also loved by adults.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love writing and illustrating all sorts of children's stories. The only thing my stories have in common is that none of their heroes eat meat, drink milk, or take part in the egg and spoon race. I write the kind of stories I want to read. I don't want to read about sex or violence. And I don't want to read foul language. I want something meaningful, something with a concluding note of optimism. Consequently, well-written children's stories often appeal to me. In fact, I've come to the conclusion that these are not just children's stories, they're good stories that anyone can enjoy.

Violet's book list on for children which are also loved by adults

Violet Plum Why did Violet love this book?

This is very hard to put down and an absolute joy to read. Two boys find themselves swimming in cash that was destined for destruction and decide to make the most of it. Problem is, in a few weeks this dosh won't be legal tender, so they've got to spend it fast! Anthony wants to invest in real estate, but younger brother Damian wants to do good with it and earn rungs on the ladder to Heaven, where his mum is. Sadly, doing good is not as straightforward as it might seem. My favourite bit is when he buys two dozen birds from a pet shop and sets them free. The liberated birds reappear from time to time throughout the story. 

By Frank Cottrell Boyce,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Millions 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?

What's the hook?

Entertaining and highly original, this novel appeals strongly to all young readers.

What are the themes?

Bereavement, family, grown up, self discovery, responsibility, relationships, social conscience and money and its power to corrupt!

Teaching points?

Many opportunities for studying framework objectives relating to humour, dialogue, characterisation and openings.

Book cover of King and the Dragonflies

Patricia Hruby Powell Author Of Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case

From my list on how to right social injustice (especially racism).

Why am I passionate about this?

Patricia Hruby Powell’s former careers include dancer/choreographer, storyteller, and librarian. She is the author of the YA documentary novel Loving vs. Virginia which is on ALA, NCTE, Indie Pics, and Kirkus ‘best books lists’. From a young age, her parents instilled in her a social conscience and a will to try to right injustice. She attempts to do this, in part, by writing books that might shine a light on injustice, for young readers, such that they will care and perhaps become activists—for whatever impassions them. Her books have earned Sibert, Boston Globe-Horn Book, International Bologna/Ragazzi, Parent’s Choice Honors among others.

Patricia's book list on how to right social injustice (especially racism)

Patricia Hruby Powell Why did Patricia love this book?

This book, on the younger range of YA, features twelve-year-old King in Louisiana bayou country. Not only is King Black, but he thinks he might be gay. He has a special friendship with Sandy, who is white and whose father is a known KKK member. The story opens with the sudden and unexpected death of King’s big brother Khalid, a soccer star. Khalid had told King not to hang with Sandy because he would appear to be gay and be shunned by his classmates. While suffering deep grief, King complies for a time, but without Khalid, without Sandy, he has no one to help him sort out his uncertainty and loneliness. He retreats to the bayou and the many dragonflies in this poetic winner of the National Book Award for Young Readers 2020.

By Kacen Callender,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked King and the Dragonflies 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?

A 2021 Coretta Scott King Honor Book!

Winner of the 2020 National Book Award for Young People's Literature!

Winner of the 2020 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction and Poetry!

In a small but turbulent Louisiana town, one boy's grief takes him beyond the bayous of his backyard, to learn that there is no right way to be yourself.



School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly

The Horn Book

Twelve-year-old Kingston James is sure his brother Khalid has turned into a dragonfly. When Khalid unexpectedly passed away, he shed what was his first skin for another to live…

Book cover of Topdog/Underdog

Will Dunne Author Of The Dramatic Writer's Companion: Tools to Develop Characters, Cause Scenes, and Build Stories

From my list on plays with characters who leap off the page.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a playwright who loves not only writing plays but also teaching dramatic writing workshops – mostly through my San Francisco program and Chicago Dramatists where I’m a Resident Playwright. My plays have received many awards and honors, including three selections for the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, and have been presented in Europe, Russia, and Australia as well as the U.S. Meanwhile my workshops and script consultations have given me the opportunity to work with thousands of writers over the past 35 years. This led me to begin writing books for writers, starting with The Dramatic Writer’s Companion, now in its Second Edition.

Will's book list on plays with characters who leap off the page

Will Dunne Why did Will love this book?

This is the play that made Suzan-Lori Parks the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

It features only two characters and takes place in only one room, but it is a dynamite exploration of the competitive relationship between two adult African-American brothers who have been abandoned by everyone else in their lives. One brother is a petty thief who wants to become a three-card-monte dealer. The other is an Abraham Lincoln impersonator who works as a target in a mock shooting gallery.

For me, the excitement of this play is all about discovering who these two men are, how they got that way, and how far each is willing to go to become a topdog in a world that has made them underdogs for years.

By Suzan-Lori Parks,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Topdog/Underdog as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A darkly comic fable of brotherly love and family identity, winner of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Suzan-Lori Parks' play Topdog/Underdog tells the story of Lincoln and Booth, two brothers whose names were given to them as a joke, foretelling a lifetime of sibling rivalry and resentment. Haunted by the past, the brothers are forced to confront the shattering reality of their future.

Topdog/Underdog was first performed at the Joseph Papp Public Theater, New York, in 2001. Its UK premiere was at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in 2003.

5 book lists we think you will like!

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