Literary Hidden Gems

Havana Gomez '22, Staff Writer

Over the past several months of quarantine, I have compiled a short list of hidden gems among the fiction books I’ve read. These novels range in length from 100 pages to 500 pages. I have been able to read a few of these multiple times, so these are some of my personal favorites. A few of these books may be too mature or have triggering scenes for some readers, so please read at your own risk. 

 

  1. Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliot- 320 pages

Written in the 2nd person point of view, a teenage girl, nicknamed Pea, has been struggling with an undiagnosable eating disorder. It causes her to have a list of “safe foods”, and anything outside of it would make her sick. At her best friend’s tubing birthday party, she meets a kind boy named Ben. A week after getting her phone number, he takes her on a date. In the following weeks, she is finally given a diagnosis of Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). Their relationship continues, without his knowledge of her disorder, while she goes to therapy for treatment. When she tells Ben about her disorder, things don’t go as planned, making things turn worse before they become better. 

  1. We Were Never Here by Jennifer Gilmore- 336 pages

Lizzie Stroller is rushed to the hospital after collapsing at a summer camp. Lizzie has to have her colon removed, but is comforted by a boy named Conner and his service dog, Verlaine. He visits her more often than not but quickly disappears after she gets back home. Their connections are short after he returns, and she soon realizes he is someone who just disappears for months at a time, but it nearly breaks her heart. Their confusing relationship is a rollercoaster of secrets and pain, and being together might destroy them both. 

  1. Dear Everybody by Michael Kimball- 288 pages

Dear Everybody is about a Newsreporter, Jonathan Bender, who commits suicide. The plot is set through the unopened letters to people in his life, his brother, and current events during his lifetime. His brother interviews many family members and acquaintances to Jonathan, trying to understand his life story and intentions. 

  1. Under Rose- Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall- 336 pages

Norah Dean has suffered from agoraphobia for the past three years of her life. Leaving her house became a painful and horrifying task for Norah to endure. Through a misinterpreted encounter, she meets Luke, her next door neighbor, through her window. When her mother has to go on a business trip, leaving her home alone, Luke starts to talk to her more and pass her notes through her front door. They establish an awkward friendship, and he understands her precautions, still wanting to be around her. Their relationship grows, as he becomes comfortable with her boundaries, until he accidentally goes too far. 

  1. The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout- 488 pages

Mallory and Rider had a difficult past together and were separated four years ago. Mallory was adopted by surgeons because their daughter passed away years before and they wanted a second chance to be parents. When Mallory starts her senior year in public school after being homeschooled, she meets Rider again. With her social anxiety, speech class, her only class with him, becomes the most challenging part of her day. Through her quiet nature and his harsh lifestyle, they tangle their way back to each other, no matter who or what tries to tear them apart. 

  1. When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka – 145 pages

During World War 2, Japanese-American families were seen as untrustworthy and vile creatures. A family of four living in California were sent to an internment camp in Utah. Their strong faith in the Emperor starts to break with the rest of their hope. Through five chapters, the family is explored anonymously and their stories become one of thousands similar to it. 

  1. Carrie by Stephen King- 199 pages

Carrie takes place in the late 1970s and follows the life of Carrie White. Carrie has been raised very strictly and religiously and she has been bullied at school for years. In her senior year of high school, Norma Watson and Sue Snell, the popular girls, take bullying to a new level. After an extreme incident at school, her mother is certain that her daughter is impure and corrupt from the boys in her school, so she locks her in a closet to pray for her sins. When Carrie returns to school, Sue wants to make amends, but after losing prom, Norma has a different plan to get her revenge.