I’ve been thinking about this top 5 recommendation list for a while now. Basically, I wanted to look at authors’ sophomore (or second, if you’re not used to US terminology) novels. I think this topic is quite interesting because there’s a joke/myth in the publishing and writing world about the Second Novel Curse or the Sophomore Slump. It kind-of implies that the author’s second novel isn’t as good as their first. Well, I don’t think that’s true at all! Here are 5 books that explain why.
- The Deepest Breath by Meg Grehan – I yelled a lot about Meg Grehan’s first novel, The Space Between, so when I saw that she had another novel coming out this year I was STOKED. She writes in verse, so they’re very quick reads. I don’t think I’m able to do The Deepest Breath justice in any summary I could write, but basically it’s a middle-grade novel in verse about a girl discovering that she is queer.
- You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman – So I haven’t actually read Laura Silverman’s first novel, Girl Out of Water, but I’m definitely going to have to rectify that!! This is a brilliant second book about Ariel, a bisexual teenager who is dealing with A LOT – from pressure at school to family life to potentially getting his first boyfriend. It is a brilliant look at the pressures of school life, and I’d highly recommend you check it out.
- Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman – Again, I’m sure that most of you know by now about my love for Akemi. Her first book destroyed me, and then Summer Bird Blue destroyed me EVEN MORE. It’s about Rumi, a teenager who has just lost her beloved sister in a car accident. It explores grief and sexuality (as she is questioning whether she is aro-ace) and music. You can read my review here.
- The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker – This is one of the few sci-fi books that I’m really obsessed with. It’s about this small town which has been taken over by a mysterious virus where people fall asleep and never wake up. It’s less about individual characters and more about how a community deals with tragedy, and how humans act when catastrophe strikes. Her first book, The Age of Miracles, is also a truly brilliant read.
- Internment by Samira Ahmed – Author of Love, Hate, and Other Filters returned with a dystopian novel that is set five minutes in the future. It is a harrowing read about teenager Layla Amin and her parents, who are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens. It is truly one of the most horrifying and necessary books that I’ve read this year. Please check out the trigger warnings before reading.
Some second books that I would like to read include:
Have you read any sophomore novels this year? Tell me about them!