Sally Rooney has become one of the most highly recommended authors in the bookish world. From Booktwt to the Bookstagram community, three of her books have taken the world by storm. Author of Normal People, Conversations With Friends, and Beautiful World, Where Are You, Sally is a brilliant writer, and her thoughts will resonate with every reader who experienced life and its disappointments.
Basically, Normal People follows two characters from the moment they meet till they grow up and whatever happens in between those moments. This book has been adapted into a series as well.
Having read this book, we think these are a few books that you will enjoy as well. We have included books that are sad, real, and diverse, and surely, these won’t replicate the book Normal People in its true essence, but you will absolutely enjoy these books.
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A Little Life
Willem, JB, Malcolm, and Jude are four classmates in a small Massachusetts college. Together they move to New York to make their own ways in life. But they are broke and ambitious people. As time passes, they change, and their relationships transform as well.
Soon they come to realize that their greatest challenge is Jude himself, who is haunted by an unspeakable childhood. His trauma will not be easy to overcome, and it might also define his life forever.
A Visit From The Good Squad
Bennie Salazar, the male main character, is an aging former punk rocker and record executive. Sasha is a troubled young woman working for Bennie. Although they both are unaware of each other’s past, readers learn their stories in extreme detail. We meet Bennie as he struggles in his adult life, and we learn Sasha has the urge to steal everything. This is a story of redemption, hunger, transformations, and survival.
Acts Of Desperation
The unnamed narrator meets Ciaran, a magnetic writer in this book. She falls for him even when she knows better. They have a brief yet all-consuming relationship until he rejects her. Longing for him, she becomes jealous and obsessed and decides to hang onto him and his love if he comes back to her. In this thought-provoking book, the author asks why we want what we want and how we actually want it.
Young Ifemelu and Obinze are in love, living in a military-ruled Nigeria when they meet. Both of them decide to leave for the West for a fresh start. In the new land, for the first time, Ifemelu learns what it means to be black, while Obinze is gone away to London. Over fifteen years pass when they meet again in a newly democratic Nigeria. This second chance reignites their passion for each other and their homeland too.
A collection of short stories, it focuses on topics such as suicide, sexual violence, depression, and prostitution. This mainly features tales of desire and dislocation in 1980s New York. The characters in the book try but fail at making real connections and indulge themselves in cruel activities and power games.
Before We Were Strangers
They met fifteen years ago and became fast friends. But life happened; they grew up and lost touch the summer after their graduation. Grace and Matt separated in New York City, but now their chance encounter brings hope- a second chance at love. Will they finally get the ending they deserve?
In this book, readers get to see the journey of a young woman struggling with anorexia while the woman’s long-distance boyfriend struggles with his addiction to alcohol. They are on a road trip when they discover a book on veganarchism. Both of them believe they have found their direction but will these two young lovers escape the culture that keeps them sick?
Irina has an obsession- she takes explicit photographs of average-looking men. She is placed on sabbatical from her bar job. But, in the midst of her messy life, she is offered an exhibition at a fashionable London gallery that could turn her life around. However, what it does is only trigger a self-destructive tailspin. This debut book explores gender roles in the 21st century while also focusing on other taboo topics.
Call Me By Your Name
Passionate romance blooms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parent’s mansion on the Italian Riviera. Both of them feign indifference at first, but as time passes, things grow intense. Their passion intensifies, leading them to test the charged ground between them. In less than six weeks’ time, they will experience something that will mark them for a lifetime, a thing that neither of them will ever truly find again.
Conversations With Friends
21-year-old Frances, an aspiring writer, is a cool-headed college student. She and her lover, Bobbi, performs spoken word poetry together. Melissa is a young journalist who spots their potential. Melissa is also married to Nick, a bored actor.
At first, Frances and Nick flirt casually, but soon things escalate, and she loses control over everything. A desperate Frances begins to yield to a painful way of living life from moment to moment as she tries to rebuild her life.
Days Of Distraction
The 24-year-old narrator of this book is working as a staff writer at a tech publication. Her job is to report on the achievements of Silicon Valley billionaires and start-up bros. But her request for a raise hasn’t been fulfilled yet. So, when her boyfriend decides to move to New York for grad school, she follows him. However, it doesn’t turn out as she might have thought.
Everyone In This Room Will Someday Be Dead
When Gilda discovers a flyer for free therapy at the local Catholic Church, she immediately responds. However, when she reaches the church, a misunderstanding leads her to replace the deceased receptionist’s Grace. As soon as she begins working, she finds Grace’s friend trying to reach her via email. She begins responding to those emails as Grace, but she isn’t aware that this act of sympathy could change her life too.
Everything I Know About Love
The journalist and former Sunday Times columnist Dolly Alderton has shared her stories in this memoir. From falling in love to getting dumped, from finding a job to realizing no one compares her girlfriends; this book takes us through Dolly’s bad dates and good friends and tells us that we are enough. Everything is terrifying, and early adulthood is hard for everyone but with this memoir, it can be a bit easier.
Ava left Dublin to move to Hong Kong in pursuit of happiness, but it isn’t going as she planned. She befriends Julian, a banker who offers her a shortcut to a life she could only hope for. Soon, she moves into his apartment and lets him buy her everything.
Then, Julian leaves for London for work. She then meets Edith and pretends that Julian is just an absentee roommate. Until Julian informs her he’s returning, which forces her to make a tough choice: to stay where she is or take a leap of faith.
The unnamed protagonist of this book wonders how one grieves if no one in the family talks about their feelings. After her father dies, the protagonist revisits memories of her father but only struggles with questions that have no solid or real answer and misunderstandings that can’t seem to end. So she turns to her mother and grandmother in the hope of finding an answer but what she finds is her own life reflected in theirs.
Her Body And Other Parties
In this collection of short stories, the author shares stories about the violence that women and their bodies endure. The stories included in this book are titled The Husband Stitch, Inventory, Mothers, Especially Heinous, Real Women Have Bodies, Eight Bites, The Resident, and Difficult At Parties. From horrifying tales of violence to heartfelt sentiments, these stories prove that Carmen has a voice of her own.
In Five Years
Dannie Kohan is perfectly happy with her life. She aced her job interview and accepted her boyfriend’s marriage proposal; she sleeps knowing that her life is on the right track. But when she wakes up, it’s five years in the future when things are completely different. When she wakes up next, she is back in time and continues with her life. Until she meets the same, she sees in her vision, and her life changes again.
In this book, two teens fall in love. They fall for each other, but there’s also something else. They both love heroin as well. Tar wants to run away for reasons only he knows. Meanwhile, Gemma wants to live an adventurous life. But, these two kids have a lot to see, to learn, and their hit might have brought them bliss, but what follows will only be despair.
Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982
Kim Jiyoung lives in a small apartment on the outskirts of Seoul. She has quit her job to be a mother because that’s what is expected of Korean women. But then she starts behaving strangely. She impersonates the voices of women, alive and dead, so her husband sends her to a male psychiatrist. Jiyoung’s whole story is narrated for the readers and the psychiatrist, but can he truly cure her?
Edie is a young Black woman who is just trying to survive. She doesn’t know what she is doing until she meets Eric, a white, middle-aged man who works as an archivist, a wife, and an adopted black daughter, Eric’s life is completely opposite of what Edie is dealing with. When she runs out of options and has nowhere left to go, she finds herself in the middle of Eric’s home and family.
The 24-year-old woman, Rachel, has made calorie restrictions her entire religion and is content with subsisting. That is until her therapist encourages her to take a 90-day communication detox from her mother.
Apparently, it’s her mother who raised her and taught her calorie counting. She meets Mariam, a young woman who works at her favorite fro-yo shop. Mariam is determined to feed her, and as they both grow closer, Rachel will learn many things about mysticism, mother, milk, and honey.
My Year Of Rest And Relaxation
The narrator of this book is young, thin, pretty, a college graduate with a perfect job, yet she isn’t happy. She even lives in a nice apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, which is paid for by her inheritance. There’s a void in her heart, and something is terribly wrong, but what? As the young woman spends a year under the influence of drugs, the author tries to show how necessary alienation can be for a person.
Emma and Dexter meet on 15th July 1988 for the first time. It’s the night of their graduation, and tomorrow they will go on their separate paths. But, where will they be on the same day next year, and the other after that, and every year that follows in their life?
At a pub in South East London, two young Black British people meet. They both have many things in common and are eager to make their mark in a city that celebrates and rejects them simultaneously. Slowly, they both fall in love, but even when they are destined to be together, things can always change. Torn apart by fear and violence, will these two find their way back?
In 2008 in South London, two couples faced a moment of reckoning. On the one hand, Melissa has a new baby and is determined not to let it change her. Michael loves her, but it’s still not enough for him to stay faithful to her. On the other hand, Stephanie is happy with Damian and their kids; however, Damian has changed since his father’s death. Will they take the leap, or are they too afraid?
Rebecca and Mickey are 30-something struggling New Yorkers. She is a freelance journalist whose beat is economic inequality, while her husband is an actor. They move to Palm Beach, where Mickey’s been offered a job.
However, once they reach there, he moves on to work for a billionaire while she agrees to work as a ghostwriter for the billionaire’s wife. After a medical crisis hits them, they become dependent on the billionaire who has become their problematic benefactor. But then the secret comes out, and they will be forced to make a choice.
Queenie is stuck in the middle. As a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman, she has never fitted into either culture. But, a messy break-up with her white boyfriend leads her to seek comfort in the wrong places. Until her mind is filled with questions like what she is doing and why, and who she even wants to be, in a world that’s determined to answer these haunting questions for women, Queenie must find her true identity.
Show Them A Good Time
This book is a collection of stories that includes unforgettable and hilarious women and girls. Through this book, Nicole tells the stories of strange worlds that women inhabit and the parts they must play. From internet dating to mysterious disappearances, Nicole tries her best to show these strange worlds that will resonate with every reader.
Such A Fun Age
Alix Chamberlain has made a living with her brand. Emira Tucker is a young Black woman and also her babysitter. One night, when Emira is out late with Alix’s child, the store’s security guard accuses her of kidnapping the kid and gathers a crowd. The whole encounter is recorded by a bystander. Later, when the video unearths someone from Alix’s past, both women will have to relearn what they know about themselves and each other.
Tess has just arrived in New York City. Soon, the 22-year-old woman lands a job as a “backwaiter” at a celebrated restaurant that begins her story. She learns everything about champagne, cocaine, love, dive bars, and fine dining rooms. But, as her hunger awakens for food and fine wine, she also finds herself becoming eager to learn new things, experience, and belong somewhere that ultimately leads her to a dark love triangle.
Catherine and James first met in Dublin in the late nineties. She is a sheltered college student, and he is an adventurous young artist- completely opposite, yet they become close friends. While she is opening herself to new experiences, his life becomes a prison, stopping him from being himself.
Time passes, and their life takes them in different directions. Apart from James, she will learn that there’s a fine line between helping someone and hurting them, and when the crisis hits, it will only jeopardize everything further.
The Course Of Love
We all have felt that rush of falling in love, but what comes after that? Rabih and Kirsten meet, fall in love, get married and even have children. But, no long-term relationship is simply filled with HEA.
It’s more complicated than that, and in this book, a reader gets to explore how love can survive and thrive in the long term. Anyone who believes in love will enjoy this journey, from falling in love to falling apart to falling back together.
It’s 1995, the year when email is still new. Selin is a freshman student studying at Harvard, where she has signed up for subjects she hasn’t heard of. She befriends Svetlana, her Serbian classmate, and also begins corresponding with Ivan, who studies in Hungary. They have barely spoken, but with each email that’s exchanged, writing begins to take on a new meaning for Selin.
Six teenagers meet at a summer camp for the arts and soon form an inseparable bond. Time pass, and their bond remains the same, but everything else has changed. Jules, who was an aspiring comic actress, quit her dream to settle for something more practical.
Jonah stopped playing guitar to become an engineer. Meanwhile, Ethan and Ash got married and became successful true to their dreams. This story follows these friends as they rise up and fall down.
The Marriage Plot
Madeleine Hanna is an English major trying to understand why it became laughable to read Cheever, but it was cool to read Marquis de Sade. While she is focusing on this, two very different guys enter her life.
As they grow up and graduate, they enter the real world, which makes them reevaluate everything they know. While Madeleine married Leonard, Mitchell traveled the world to forget her. Are the great love stories really dead, and can new stories be rewritten for modern times?
The Paper Palace
Elle has visited the family summer place her whole life, but this morning it hits differently. Last night, she did something that forced her to make a tough decision. She must choose between the life she has with her husband and the life she has always imagined with her childhood love. But, there’s a tragic event that changed the course of these friends’ lives, something that won’t let them go after what they truly desire.
The Vanishing Half
The Vignes’s twin sisters ran away at the age of 16, and nothing has been the same between them ever since. Several years have passed, and today, while one of them lives in the same town they tried to escape, the other hides who she really is. Now, their daughters’ lives are about to intersect, and it will upend their lives once again.
Topics Of Conversation
This book is filled with conversations between women. These are the stories they tell each other as well as themselves. The unnamed narrator tells her story spanning twenty years. She was hungry for experience and determined to upend her life, and this is her story of shame, love, self-sabotage, desire, and every other feeling a woman feels.
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