Buzzfeed recently asked subscribers to its Buzzfeed Books Newsletter to recommend the most engrossing, page-turning books they could think of. The results: 53 books that you’ll want to read in one sitting.
1. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
This is a quiet, simmering drama with a surprising sci-fi twist. It follows Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy as adults just beginning to come to terms with their unusual upbringing at an elite British boarding school. Ishiguro reveals the disturbing mystery of their specialness with such patience and poise that you’ll be captivated till the very last page.
2. Safekeeping by Jessamyn Hope
Please, for the love of all things holy, read Safekeeping by Jessamyn Hope. It follows Adam, an addict from New York City, traveling to an Israeli kibbutz (rural communal settlement) in 1994 to fulfill his grandfather’s dying wish. But the woman he’s set out to find, and the legend behind a storied family keepsake he carries, soon sets him on a course far more complex than he’d anticipated. Safekeeping is filled with the things that I love most in books: a time period that is close to my heart, characters that are beautifully dangerous, and a setting that feels incredibly alive in Hope’s hands.
3. The Book of Night Women by Marlon James
Lilith, born into slavery on a late-18th-century Jamaican sugar plantation, has unwittingly become the linchpin of an impending slave revolt. She’s left to grapple with a conflict of desires — does she pursue her forbidden attraction to the plantation master, or maintain allegiance to her community and their plot for freedom? The weighty themes and thick Jamaican patois in which the characters speak certainly don’t make this an easy read, but there’s a frightening beauty in theThe Book of Night Women’s brutality. By far one of the most devastating books I’ve ever read, this one also sucked me in and will stay with me for a very long time.
4. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
First off, if you’ve only seen the abominable movie, put it out of your mind. This book is the ultimate in literary romance. Henry has an extremely rare genetic disorder that causes him to pop out of the present and into random points of his own life, future and past. In one such journey, he meets Claire — then a child — and learns that they’ll much later fall in love. Gut- and heart-wrenching obstacles ensue as they work to maintain their relationship across time. A word of caution: It can take a little while to work out the logistics when first reading, but the emotional payout is so worth it.
5. 11/22/63 by Stephen King
Long story short: Everyman Jake Epping is coerced into a time-travel stunt to stop the assassination of J.F.K. and, in so doing, wreaks havoc on the entire world.
6. Who Asked You? by Terry McMillanWho Asked You? has everything you could ask for in a multigenerational family epic: the sage and soulful matriarch, a wayward son trying to find his way home, an addict daughter fighting for custody of her own child, and a full cast of other characters harboring their own secrets and personal struggles. McMillan is the master of wry humor and too-true characterizations, making this yet another totally captivating read.
7. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
A kind of literary fiction/murder mystery/heart-melting family drama mash-up centering around a teenager with Asperger’s syndrome. I loved it because I felt like I wasn’t reading a book so much as I was actually Christopher himself in the midst of his bizarre murder investigation.
8. Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy
This is the story of two lifelong friends, Benny and Eve, growing up in rural 1950s Ireland and learning to navigate the real world together — at university and beyond. The moment that Benny realizes she’s been slandered and betrayed by her closest friend, I actually threw the book off a balcony and almost hit my mom on the head. I raced downstairs to find the book so I could finish and see how everything resolved. The entire book is similarly riveting throughout.
9. Legend by Marie LuThe western U.S. is now the Republic, a nation at war. There, 15-year-old June is being trained to become part of the military elite. Day is her polar opposite, a teenage criminal born into the slums. They would otherwise have no reason to ever cross paths, until the day June’s brother is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. I couldn’t put this book down; it’s chock-full of adventure, betrayal, secrets, and suspense, leading up to a larger reveal of the Republic’s sinister inner workings and setting up the next two books in this thrilling trilogy.
10. Season of Storms by Susanna KearsleyThis is one of those books that you start reading in the middle of the afternoon and find yourself finishing at 5 a.m., wondering what year it is. It’s about a young English actress who travels to a mysterious mansion in Italy, having been cast as the lead in a decades-old play that is (shockingly) also shrouded in mystery. Kearsley does anamazing job with this beautiful story, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a fresh read!
11. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
In Thirteen Reasons Why, characters start receiving tapes from their classmate, Hannah, two weeks after she’s committed suicide. The tapes reveal Hannah’s account of how each person contributed to her death, culminating with Clay Jensen, who was hopelessly in love with her. Waiting to discover how he might have pushed her over the edge will keep you up late, flipping fast through the pages.
12. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Libby Day was 7 when her mother and two sisters were murdered. She testified that her brother did it but 25 years later meets a group of people who want to prove that her brother is innocent. Everything only gets more twisted from there.
13. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The year is 2044, and all human interaction has been relegated to virtual reality in OASIS, a complex future internet-scape entered via goggles and gloves. It’s no wonder that Wade Watts goes there to escape his grim life as an overweight outcast and orphan living in a trailer park. But now he’s stumbled onto the first of a series of clues and challenges that lead to an Easter egg hidden in OASIS’s core which, if he finds it, will earn him an immense prize. What follows is a fantastical, hilarious, and enthralling adventure, replete with villains, chases, battles, ’80s pop-culture lore, and a ton of heart.