Hello there lovely reader! Today’s blog post is another top five one, this time around I will be talking about my five favourite standalone books. I actually really like standalones, because they’re less of a commitment than series. The books on this list are my favourite standalones from varying genres, expect for fantasy, because I plan on doing a seperate blog post for that in the future. So now let’s get into the list!
1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life.
When she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is my favourite book ever, period. I’ve read this book twice now, and I’m usually not that big of a rereader, and I still want to reread many more times. I broke down both of the times I read this book. It’s such an emotional book, and you wouldn’t really expect that when you start it. The characters in this book just feel so real because they are flawed and even a bit annoying. It really feels like you’re reading an actual biography and not a work of fiction. Honestly it’s just a perfect book and it has a special place in my heart. So if you haven’t read it yet, this is me forcing you to read it.
If you’re interested in more of my thoughts, I wrote a review of my reread in January of this year. You can find that review here.
2. Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrande
Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep.
He’ll follow you home, and he won’t let you sleep.
Who are the Sawkill Girls?
Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.
Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.
Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.
Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires. Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.
Sawkill Girls is a YA horror with slight paranormal vibes. That just sounds amazing on its own. It’s been a while since I read this book, but I still remeber not wanting to put it down. I needed to know what would happen next. It’s just such an intriguing story. I don’t want to say too much more because the synopsis is already long enough and I don’t want to spoil you.
One last thing: if you liked Wilder Girls, I’m pretty sure you’ll also love Sawkill Girls.
3. Wilder Girls by Rory Powers
It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.
It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.
But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.
Honestly, Wilder Girls is just such a unique book and I still can’t believe it’s Rory Powers’ debut novel. It’s a YA horror/dystopian. I don’t think this book is for everyone, definitely not if you’re squeamish about bodies and body gore. So be warned: the horror element in this book is bigger than it seems from the synopsis and bigger than in Sawkill Girls. However, if you can stand that, please read this book! The writing and atmosphere is done so well and it’s also a book you just can’t put down.
And of course my recommendation also goes the other way around, if you liked Sawkill Girls, you’ll also love Wilder Girls!
4. The Power by Naomi Alderman
All over the world women are discovering they have the power.
With a flick of the fingers they can inflict terrible pain – even death.
Suddenly, every man on the planet finds they’ve lost control.
The Day of the Girls has arrived – but where will it end?
The Power is just such an intersting study of our world. Not only does it discuss what would happen if only women suddenly had a sort of superpower, but it also forms very precise critique on our modern day society. Everything in this book just feels so realistic, mainly because you get a few different perspectives from all over the world. It’s just a must read if you like feminist fiction like The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.
5. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.
2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?
Just like with The Power and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, everything in this book feels so real. It feels more like you’re reading someone’s lifestory than a work of fiction. Beware this book is not an enjoyable read nor is it easy to read. Still, this was a hard book to put down because you want everything to be alright in the end because you feel so much for the main character. This is once again a debut novel, and it’s hard to believe this is a debut because it’s so well written. If you can handle reading this book, I can only recommend it, but don’t read it if you think it’ll be too hard.
And that’s it for the list already. I’ve read so many more great standalones, it was really hard to choose only five books. I might make another blog post in the future with more standalones that I’ve loved, because there are just so many!
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to tell me (one of) your favourite standalone(s)!