There are two kinds of bookish people in the world. Those who read a novel and think “Hey, I should write my own novel!” and those who finish a book and think “wow, I am so glad that someone else wrote that book for me to read!”
Those in the first camp look forward to NaNoWriMo every year, or National Novel Writing Month which challenges authors to write an entire novel during the month of November. For those of you trying to complete your own NaNoWriMo this year, our adult reference librarians have planned virtual write-ins throughout the month to help get your word count up and keep you on track. Meanwhile, for those of us more interested in reading finished products while we watch authors hard-at-work – here are some of the best novels that started as WriMo projects.
By Rainbow Rowell
Cath is starting college on un-easy footing. Her twin sister, Wren, has decided they need to live in separate dorms, leaving Cath trapped with only an exceptionally acerbic roommate and the comfort of her favorite book series (and the hugely popular fanfic site she runs) to keep her company. And then of course there’s her roommate’s ex – the floppy-haired Levi, who insists on pushing Cath out of her comfort zone. If 2020 has you wanting to read something light, I cannot recommend FANGIRL enough. This is rom-com turned coming-of-age story with chapters of Cath’s fanfic scattered throughout. This is one of those books that sounds like it won’t work, but all the different elements come together beautifully.
THE NIGHT CIRCUS
By Erin Morgenstern
In a 20th-century circus, which mysteriously arrives and disappears by night, a girl named Celia, the magician’s daughter, is caught in a magical battle against the apprentice of a rival magician. As Celia and the boy, Marco, sharpen their magical skills over the years, they are propelled towards two inevitable results – their epic battle of magic will kill one of them, and they will surely fall in love. As a reader who is usually adverse to fantasy, I was caught up in the world of this novel from the very first page. THE NIGHT CIRCUS is an enchanting and rapture-filled historical setting for a dramatic fantasy to take place. Perhaps one of the most famous NaNoWriMo books, THE NIGHT CIRCUS is an obvious first-read for someone wanting to get caught up in a dramatic setting.
ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS
By Stephanie Perkins
Were you, like so many, disappointed by EMILY IN PARIS? The remedy comes in the form of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. 17-year-old Anna Oliphant has big plans for her senior year until her romance novelist father ships her off to boarding school in Paris, France. Though she is at first unhappy about spending her senior year abroad, she quickly becomes enchanted with Parisienne life and with a boy named St. Clair – the only problem? St. Clair has a girlfriend. This is a perfect escapist novel for when you want some romance, a happy ending, and a reminder that home is people, not a place.
WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH
By Elizabeth Acevedo
Emoni Santiago has a lot on her plate. She’s a senior in high school, a single mother to a two-year-old daughter, works part-time, and still manages to carve out time to do what she loves most – making near-magical dishes in the kitchen that transport her diners. With high school drawing to a close, Emoni signs up for an elective culinary arts class her senior year that will bring her one step closer to the path she wants to be on, but makes her uncertain how she will continue to care for her daughter. This is an introspective and touching novel from an author who won a Printz medal and National Book Award for her debut novel. Though this book is anything but light reading, it is a stunning and steadfast look at growing up and figuring out life.