Like me, most of you probably have people in your life that don’t read. Some of my friends have told me they want to read more, but school killed the desire for them or their lives just don’t leave enough room for it or they can’t find anything that interests them.
Regardless of their reasons, when it comes to recommending books, I tend to go for the shorter ones. The last thing you want to do is intimidate a new reader by getting them to read a Cassandra Clare or Sarah J. Maas novel. I also chose books based on content I think people could relate to.
Some of the books on this list are ones my non-reader friends have said they enjoyed when they read them. So, if other non-readers liked them, chances are others might too.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
The first time I read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was for my book club in high school. I thought it was a stupid title, yet I flew through it in two days. Not only is it short, but Junior, the main character, is one of the best, funniest, most relatable protagonists I have read in young adult literature. The book is the perfect balance between serious and humorous. I even used this book with my students when I was a teaching assistant in college and they enjoyed it, too. And some of them weren’t readers until they picked up The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
A friend of mine who is one of those people who wants to read but can’t find the time made the time to read The DUFF when she did. She loved this book, and the movie, too. When I read it myself I saw the appeal. Bianca is headstrong and sarcastic, but flawed and vulnerable. Young readers can relate to her as she overcomes the peer pressures of high school.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of the books that my non-reader friends said they loved. While I personally did not fall head over heels for this book, I did see the value in the story. Charlie, the main character, is like a lot of kids in high school. We feel lonely and misunderstood. Then, we find those people who get us and who we click with.
Paper Towns by John Green
My favorite of John Green’s books he’s published so far. High school kids get involved in a mystery left behind by their enigmatic friend Margo. This leads them to learn a few things about the girl they thought they knew, as well as sends them on a whirlwind trip around their little town. I would recommend this book to non-readers because Paper Towns is just so fun. I couldn’t put it down when I read it.
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
I just loved this book so much when I read it. The Upside of Unrequited is cuteness overload. Molly is a relatable protagonist: a seventeen-year-old girl who has had many crushes but no real boyfriend. The characters are real people with real families—Molly and her twin sister Cassie are sperm donor babies born to two moms. Molly is overweight and has anxiety. Reid, one of Molly’s love interests, is chubby, too. Cassie is a lesbian and her love interest, Mina, is a pansexual Korean-American. This book is filled with diversity and I loved it.
Plus, I shared some of the quotes from The Upside of Unrequited on my Snapchat, and some of my friends asked me what I was reading. Then, they bought it for themselves to read.