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Best Books From 2012

Whether you are participating in our In Case You Missed It Backlist Reading Challenge or simply found this post searching for the best books of 2012, you’ve come to the right place! Our list includes a mix of the best-selling novels of 2012 as well as highly-rated books published that year that flew a bit more under the radar.

Three angeled book covers representing some of the best books from 2012, with A Man Called Ove in the center

There are so many great books released each year that it’s impossible to keep up. The Book Girls typically read about 200 books a year between the two of us, but nonetheless, our TBRs (to-be-read lists) just keep getting longer. And we know we’re not alone! With that in mind, we decided to take a look back at some of the best books that we missed from past years.

In Case You Missed It…

We’ve compiled a list of highly-rated books from 2012, including a wide variety of genres, from contemporary and literary fiction to mystery, romance, and memoirs. Our goal was to make these recommendations much more than just a list of the 2012 best-seller books. In addition to popular titles, you’ll find hidden gems that we think should have been more popular.

While researching 2012’s best books, we also had fun reminiscing about some of the pop culture moments that defined the year.

Five Things We Were Talking About in 2012

  • We couldn’t get Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe out of our heads all summer, especially after seeing the music video the US Swimming Team made en route to the London Olympics.
  • Everyone was dancing to Psy’s Gangnam Style after the worldwide hit was viewed more than 2 billion times, “breaking” YouTube’s video-viewers counter.
  • After six successful seasons as a TV adaption from the YA book series of the same name, the identity of Gossip Girl was finally revealed in 2012. But if you still don’t know who it was, we’ll never tell…
  • YOLO (“you only live once”) was the pop culture phase of the year, but many were glad that the acronym’s popularity proved to be short-lived.
  • An interpretation of an ancient Mayan calendar led doomsdayers to believe the world would end on December 21, 2012, causing nearly every media outlet to attempt to assure people otherwise.

Best Books of 2012

A Man Called Ove book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

100% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Ove (pronounced Oo-veh) is a nearly 60-year-old Swedish man. He’s an ill-tempered, cynical protagonist who doesn’t like change… or anything or anyone, for that matter. He’s living a solitary life until a boisterous young family moves in next door. Not only do they break all the residents’ association rules (something Ove can not tolerate), but their chatty young daughters disrupt his strict routines.

It’s hard to say too much more about this book without giving anything away. But know that this novel is at equal turns frustrating, charming, insightful, touching, and hilarious.

The Book Girls Say…

Like many of Backman’s books, this novel starts out a bit slower, and it takes time for him to develop the characters and draw you in. But we promise that it’s so worth it to stick with this book. Despite Ove’s curmudgeonly nature, you’ll find yourself falling in love with this grumpy man as you get to know him better. By the end, it’s a heartwarming story that will stay with you long after you turn the final page.

Note that this book includes Ove’s thoughts of suicide, which could be difficult for some people to read. Some readers also take issue with Ove’s treatment of the neighborhood cat early in the book.

This book was adapted into a 2016 Swedish film of the same name, and a 2023 American film called A Man Called Otto.

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

Books With Characters in Their 60s

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

95% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

This novel is about four women who began their friendship during college in Bombay in the 1970s. Initially drawn together by their revolutionary fervor, the friends drift apart over the next 30 years as their lives take very different paths. One married an American, while another was caught in a repressive marriage and forced to wear a burka.

Through their stories, the author paints a portrait of India from the 1970s through the early 2010s. Ultimately, the four friends are reunited when one of them falls gravely ill and requests to see her friends together one last time.

The Book Girls Say…

When Angela finished this book, she couldn’t stop talking about it for months. These women and their stories stick with you long after the last page!

Sweetness of Forgetting book cover

Book Summary

Eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle needs a big favor. She needs a ride from Texas to Cincinnati, Ohio, to attend a funeral… tomorrow. She asks her hairdresser, Dorrie, to drop everything to take her there, but she gives few details as to why it’s so important she be there. Over the years, Dorrie, a 35-year-old Black single mom, has developed a friendship with Isabelle and agrees to drive the elderly woman across the country.

Dorrie has a lot on her mind between the new man in her life and her teenage son’s irresponsible decisions. But she’s also curious about Isabelle’s guarded past and hopes that along the way, she may be able to unlock some of her friend’s secrets. And she does…

Isabelle confesses that as a teen in 1930s Kentucky, she fell madly in love with a would-be doctor and the son of her family’s Black housekeeper. In the sundown town, where African Americans weren’t allowed after dark, theirs was a forbidden relationship with tragic consequences.

The Book Girls Say…

This highly-rated debut novel is described as a very emotional read, so keep the tissues handy.

IMPORTANT NOTE: When this list was compiled, we used the Goodreads publication date of 8/20/12. Since that time, we’ve learned that the publisher had the wrong date listed in Goodreads and the book wasn’t released until February 12, 2013.

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

91% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Bernadette lives with her husband and her teenage daughter in Seattle – a city where she’s never felt she fits in. She was once a renowned architect but now spends most of her time in the house, hiding from the other moms of her daughter’s elite prep school.

Unlike her Microsoft employee husband, Elgie, who has fully embraced the granola-eating, public transport-using, bike-riding culture in Seattle, Bernadette spends her days in the house relying on a virtual assistant in India for many of her daily tasks.

This becomes a real problem when her daughter’s stellar report card earns her a family cruise to Antarctica, and Bernadette becomes overwhelmed by the planning and preparations. When Bernadette disappears before the trip, her daughter Bee is determined to track her down, unraveling a web of secrets.

Much of this book is told in epistolary form, including notes from Bee’s school, email exchanges between Bernadette and her virtual assistant, and catty moms communicating about Bernadette’s eccentricities.

The Book Girls Say…

If you’re drawn to quirky and eccentric characters, you might love Bernadette as much as we do! This satirical novel was a Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for “Best Humor” in 2012, and it’s one of our favorite laugh-out-loud reads. But it’s more than just that… Maria Semple managed to create an enjoyable, witty, smart, and emotional novel!

Angela and her husband both enjoyed the audio version of this book, and this is one of the rare instances where we felt like the movie was almost as good as the book!

Sweetness of Forgetting book cover

Book Summary

Hope once dreamed of becoming a lawyer, but at 36, her life doesn’t look at all the way she imagined. Her mother died of cancer, her husband left, her bank account is almost empty, her family bakery on Cape Cod is failing, and she’s raising a troubled preteen on her own.

Now, she’s losing her beloved French-born grandmother, Mamie, to Alzheimer’s. But in a moment of clarity, Mamie is eager to share the secrets of her past before they are gone forever. She reveals mysterious bits and pieces of her tragic history in WWII Paris. With little more than a list of names, Hope sets out for France in hopes of piecing together a seventy-year-old mystery.

The Book Girls Say…

Each chapter begins with delicious recipes for the famous pastries from the Cape Cod bakery.

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

100% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

In The Snow Child, you’ll be transported to remote 1920s Alaska. Jack and Mabel are nearing 50 when they decide to move to Alaska. As newcomers to the harsh environment, it is a struggle for them. Between the intense physical labor required and the even more extreme loneliness, they’re not sure they’ve made the right decision with the move.

Then, during the first snowfall of the year, they decide to have some fun and build a child out of snow. In the morning, the snow child is gone, but they see a young girl running through the trees with the items they had used to dress the snow child. Is she real, or are they hallucinating and dreaming of the child they’ve always wanted?

The Book Girls Say…

Melissa thought the fairytale-like qualities of this book were phenomenal in both the writing and the storytelling. The book also fully transports you to the isolation of an Alaskan homestead, making the harshness of the environment and the preparation required to survive very clear.

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

95% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Fourteen-year-old June had a very close relationship with her uncle Finn and was devastated when he died in 1987 from AIDS, which was then still a mysterious and seldom talked about illness.

June meets a stranger at Finn’s funeral – someone who is also struggling with the loss – and as the two get to know each other, their unexpected friendship may be what they each need to heal.

The Book Girls Say…

This 2012 Goodreads Nominee for Best Fiction takes you back to the AIDS fears of the 80s and provides a great glimpse into the decade. That said, the book is more about the characters and relationships and has fewer details about the overall AIDS crisis.

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

Books Set in the 1980s

The Girl You Left Behind book cover

Book Summary

In WW1 France, Sophie is forced to cater to the Germans who have taken over her town and hotel while her husband Édouard fights at the front. When the Kommandant sees a portrait of Sophie painted by Édouard, he becomes dangerously obsessed.

A century later, the painting of Sophie now hangs in the London home of Liv, a copywriter. The portrait, titled “The Girl You Left Behind,” was a wedding gift from her late husband, who unexpectedly died way too young. When she discovers the value of the art and learns about its troubled history, her world is turned upside down.

The Book Girls Say…

This Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fiction is on the longer side at 480 pages, but it is the perfect opportunity to read a backlist title from a popular author if you enjoy historical romance.

Wonder Book Cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

100% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Ten-year-old Auggie has a facial deformity that previously prevented him from attending a traditional school. In his own words, “I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”

Wonder begins from Auggie’s point of view as he starts 5th grade but soon switches to include his classmates. While there are also chapters told from the perspective of his teenage sister, her boyfriend, and others, Auggie remains the focus of the story throughout. The multiple perspectives create a beautiful portrait of Auggie’s community as they struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

The Book Girls Say…

In a time when the world could use more kindness, listening to this book that inspired the Choose Kind movement is a wonderful family experience, and it can lead to some wonderful conversations. Of all the audiobooks that Angela has listened to with her sons – this one ranks #1 as everyone’s favorite!

Gone Girl book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

93% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

From the outside, Nick and Amy seemed to have a picture-perfect marriage. But on their fifth anniversary, Amy goes missing from their rented McMansion in the fictional town of North Carthage, along Missouri’s Mississippi River. Nick quickly becomes the prime suspect. Under the microscope of the resulting police investigation and media frenzy, it becomes apparent that their happy marriage might not have been so happy after all and that Nick – the town’s golden boy – might not be so squeaky clean.

Even as Amy’s fiercely doting parents put more pressure on him, Nick stands by his innocence. But if he didn’t do it, then where is his wife? And what’s in that gift box hidden in the back of Amy’s bedroom closet? Gone Girl combines sharp-edged wit and chilling prose to make reading this book feel like an addiction.

The Book Girls Say…

Although Angela isn’t usually drawn to domestic thrillers, she couldn’t put this book down! One of her friends described it as “dark and morally ambiguous,” and that’s the perfect summary for this psychological suspense novel. Be aware, however, that this book includes some coarse language, violence, and sexual content.

Angela usually loves audiobooks, but she wasn’t a fan of the female narrator of Gone Girl at the beginning – or maybe it was just influenced by her feelings about the female protagonist. But once she got further into the story, she enjoyed listening to it. If you’re considering the audiobook, we’d recommend listening to the sample on Amazon before committing to this format.

Book Summary

In May 1933, Seattle was covered with a surprise late snow. When single mother Vera returns from her night shift at the local hotel, she discovers that her three-year-old son Daniel has disappeared into the icy weather. While his teddy bear is found on the streets, new snow has covered any other tracks or clues.

Nearly 80 years later, in 2010, there’s another shocking May snowstorm in Seattle. Reporter Claire is assigned to write about the parallels to the 1933 “Blackberry Winter” storm. When she uncovers the story of Daniel’s disappearance, she refocuses her story on his case. The book alternates perspectives between Vera in 1933 & Claire in 2010.

The Book Girls Say…

Several of Sarah Jio’s books are set in Washington. If you are interested in the Seattle music scene in the 1990s, pick up Always. If you love books about bookstores, try Goodnight June, and if you haven’t read Sarah Jio’s debut novel, pick up The Violets of March, which is set on Bainbridge Island.

Mrs. Kennedy and Me book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

100% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

This is the memoir of Jackie Kennedy’s personal secret service agent, who was with her throughout her years as First Lady. In this intimate portrait, Clint Hill recalls being by Jackie’s side for some of her happiest moments as well as the darkest.

He traveled the world with her, shared in intimate family moments in and out of the White House, and was with her in Dallas on 11/22/63 when he jumped onto the back of the President’s car to shield Mrs. Kennedy in the moments after her husband’s assassination – a tragic day that he recounts moment by moment in this book.

The Book Girls Say…

Clint Hill has written other memoirs about his time as a secret service agent, including the 2016 Five Presidents, in which he reflects on his seventeen years on the White House detail under Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford, shedding light on their personalities and giving a unique insider perspective on many historical events of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. His newest memoir, My Travels with Mrs. Kennedy, tells more stories about his years traveling the globe with the First Lady.

Both of Clint Hill’s memoirs are vivid and insightful without feeling gossipy, and he provides an in-depth look at the politics of the day without feeling political.

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

Books Set in the 1960s

Bartender's Tale Book Cover

Book Summary

Tom and his 12-year-old son Rusty are a bit of an odd-couple family. Tom owns The Medicine Lodge, an isolated Northern Montana bar. Rusty wasn’t a planned child, and then his mother deserted them both. In 1960, Proxy, a dancer from Tom’s past, and Proxy’s daughter, Francine, arrive in town. Proxy claims that Francine is also Tom’s child.

The arrival of these unexpected guests upends everything Rusty thought he knew about his life. This novel is told through Rusty’s perspective using Doig’s skills in storytelling, humor, and character development.

The Book Girls Say…

While this is listed as part of the Two Medicine County series, you won’t be lost if you read only The Bartender’s Tale.

Home Front Book Cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

100% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

This book starts in 2005 on Jolene’s 41st birthday. She’s been married 12 years and a member of the National Guard for even longer as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot. When she’s sent to Iraq, her husband, who doesn’t understand her dedication to her career and country, tells her he no longer loves her.

She’s heartbroken when she arrives in Iraq, but thankfully, she has her best friend Tami by her side. The two encounter situations just as heartbreaking during their deployment. After reading about Jolene and Tami’s time deployed, some readers say they have a greater appreciation for our modern-day troops.

The Book Girls Say…

While many of us know Kristin Hannah for her fantastic and heart-wrenching historical fiction, she also has a gift for writing stories of friendship. Unfortunately, some reviewers do not enjoy the narration on this one, so it may be better in print or ebook form.

Kindle Unlimited as of: 10/02/2023
Sandcastle Girls book cover

Book Summary

In 1915, Elizabeth arrived in Aleppo, Syria, as a volunteer with the Boston-based Friends of Armenia to help refugees from the Armenian genocide. During WW1, When she arrives, she meets Armen, an engineer. When he has to travel into Egypt to join the British Army, he stays in contact with Elizabeth via letters. As they correspond, he finds himself in love with the wealthy American who is so different than the wife he tragically lost.

In the present day, Laura is a novelist in New York. When an old friend claims to have seen a newspaper photo of her grandmother, she begins a journey back through her family’s history. Eventually, she discovers a wrenching secret that has been buried for decades.

The Book Girls Say…

Chris Bohjalian is Armenian-American and was inspired to write this book by his grandparents’ background.

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

91% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

If you need a good cry, grab Me Before You. It’s both heartbreaking and romantic. You’ll slowly come to love Lou and Will and their story.

Will is a successful and adventurous world traveler until he’s in a tragic accident. Louisa has barely left her small village. When she gets talked into a job taking care of him, she looks beyond his gruffness and hopes he will see that he can still enjoy life.

This book has the theme of assisted suicide, which increased in frequency for terminally ill patients throughout the 2000s

The Book Girls Say…

Despite the heavy emotions that come with Me Before You, we both rated it five stars. This is the first book in a trilogy. The second book, After You, has a lower rating than the first, but the third book, Still Me, is rated very highly.

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

Books Set in the 2000s

Light Between Oceans

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

91% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

After fighting on the Western Front in WWI, Tom Sherbourne returns home and takes a job as a lighthouse keeper on an isolated island. It’s a half-day journey from the west coast of Australia, and supply boats only come once a season. During their years on the island, Tom and his wife, Isabel, suffer two miscarriages and a stillbirth. 

Then, a boat washes up onshore carrying a dead man and a crying baby. Against Tom’s judgment, the couple claims the baby is their own and raises her on the island. Two years later, when they return to mainland Australia, they must face the reality of their choice.

The Book Girls Say…

This novel was the Goodreads Choice Award Winner for Best Historical Fiction in 2012. We’ve both read this novel and were drawn in by the beautiful writing, the compelling characters, and the moral complexities of good people making bad decisions with the best intentions.

Rent Collector Book Cover - image of shanty-style homes on trash dump

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

100% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Sang Ly and her husband, Ki Lim, live in a shantytown built upon Cambodia’s largest municipal waste dump, where they make their living by picking recyclables from the trash.

Their poor living conditions are made even more challenging by their struggles to care for their chronically ill son, and to pay their ill-tempered “rent collector” named Sopeap. But when Sang discovers a secret about Sopeap, the two strike a deal that will change both of their lives.

The Book Girls Say…

This fictionalized novel is based on the real-life struggles of a family living in the Stung Meanchey dump, as chronicled by the author’s son in his documentary, River of Victory.

The Secret Keeper book cover

Book Summary

As a teenager, Laurel escaped to her childhood treehouse during a party on the family farm. From this vantage point, she sees a stranger come up the road and speak to her mom. Later that afternoon, she witnesses a shocking crime that changes everything she knows about her family – especially the mother she idolizes.

Fifty years later, Laurel is now a successful actress living in London. When the family gathers for her mother’s 90th birthday, she realizes it may be one of her last chances to get answers to the questions that still haunt her from that day. Those answers will take readers into Dorothy’s past, spanning pre-WWII England through the Blitz, to the 1960s, and beyond.

The Book Girls Say…

Readers say that just when you think you have the mystery figured out, new information will come to light that will keep you guessing.

The Fault in Our Stars book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

95% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Hazel has known her life would be cut short since she was first diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. She reluctantly attends the “Cancer Kid Support Group” at the request of her mom, but what she finds there is the last thing she expected – first love.

Hazel and the charming Augustus Waters have many things in common, including their favorite author, whom they are determined to meet, even if they have to travel to Amsterdam to do it. 

The Book Girls Say…

John Green helped the YA (young adult) book scene explode into mainstream popularity in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Another very influential YA author during the same time was Rainbow Rowell, who published the popular Eleanor and Park in 2012.

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

Books with Teenage Characters

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

95% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

This unique book is actually narrated by Bubo, the imaginary friend of 8-year-old Max. Because Max is on the spectrum, Bubo has been around years longer than most imaginary friends, and he worries about the day Max will spot believing in him. Bubo loves Max and does his best to protect him from bullies and guide him through potentially awkward situations. When something happens to Max at school, Bubo is the only one who knows about it and must figure out a way to save him, even though he can’t communicate with anyone else. 

The Book Girls Say…

This one will tug at your heartstrings for Max, Bubo, and any imaginary friends from your past! While this book is about a child, it is an adult novel that deals with some challenging issues.

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

Books with a Child Protagonist

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

96% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

The 1990s: Betty gave up a lot – universities, parties, boyfriends, and summer jobs – to care for her grandmother, Arlette. Arlette lives in a dilapidated yet charming home on the British Isle of Guernsey. When her grandmother passes away, Betty discovers that the will includes a beneficiary named Clara, whom no one in the family knows. So Betty travels to London to seek out Clara.

The 1920s: In the years after WW1, Arlette is starting a new life in bohemian London when she gets drawn into the hedonistic world of the Bright Young People. A couple of years later, tragedy strikes, and Arlette flees back to her home in Guernsey for good.

This rich detective story will transport you to London in both the 1920s and 1990s. As Betty investigates her grandmother’s life, she’ll uncover secrets that might also help her find happiness in her own life.

The Book Girls Say…

Readers say that this novel begins as a cozy historical mystery but soon reveals unexpected heart and depth.

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

Books Set in the 1990s

Indian Horse Book Cover, cabin in snow

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

100% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Saul Indian Horse wants peace. After hitting rock bottom with alcohol and entering an inpatient treatment facility, he discovers that healing must come through telling his life story as a member of the Ojibway tribe. Throughout the book, you’ll walk through Saul’s history, which includes being taken from his family and sent to a residential school, which was a common tragedy for many indigenous children. His heritage was again attacked as he got older and experienced harsh racism.

While the book will open your eyes to the challenges faced by indigenous people in Canada, it also shares Saul’s joys along the way and describes the landscape of northern Ontario in detail.

The Book Girls Say…

Angela’s Canadian friends have been raving about this book and the Clint Eastwood movie of the same name. They say it should be required reading for all Canadians.

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

Books Set in North America

Defending Jacob book cover

Book Summary

Assistant District Attorney Andy is well respected in his suburban Massachusetts county. He’s had the position for over 20 years and is tenacious in the courtroom. At home, he’s happy with his wife, Laurie, and their fourteen-year-old son, Jacob.

When a shocking crime blindsided their small town, the next turn of events is even more shocking. Jacob is charged with the murder of a fellow student. While Andy doesn’t believe his son is capable of a violent act, he’s confused by the mounting evidence.

The Book Girls Say…

This character-driven mystery blends a family drama with a legal thriller to create a suspenseful read. If you enjoy courtroom drama, this is a must-read.

In addition to being a hit novel, Defending Jacob was adapted into an Emmy-Nominated Streaming Series on Apple TV. You can also get it on DVD or Blu-ray.

Book Summary

When Cameron Post suddenly loses her parents to a tragic car accident, alongside her shock and grief, she also feels a sense of relief that they’ll never know she had – just hours before – been kissing a girl.

Orphaned, Cameron is forced to move in with her conservative aunt and old-fashioned grandma in rural Montana. Then, Cameron meets Coley Taylor – a beautiful cowgirl with a perfect boyfriend. The girls form a close friendship that seems to leave the door open for something more to develop in their relationship.

When Cameron’s ultra-religious Aunt Ruth tries to “fix” her niece through conversion therapy, Cameron must come to terms with her true self.

The Book Girls Say…

This book originally came to us highly recommended by one of our readers who first picked it up back in 2012 and said that the story had stuck with her all these years.

Midwife of Hope River Book Cover

Book Summary

Patience Murphy is an Appalachian midwife during the Depression. She has to fight against disease, poverty, prejudices, and her past as she works to safely bring new life into the world. Initially, Patience must take the hardest jobs that no one else wants to gain community trust. Her patients are those most in need but least likely to pay.

Outside of her midwifery, Patience encounters the horrors of coal mining, the Labor movement’s Union Wars, and the Klu Klux Klan.

The Book Girls Say…

Much like the main character, the author was a midwife in West Virginia. Her thirty-year career caring for women during childbirth in cabins and farms, and then as an RN in a teaching hospital, provided first-hand experience as she turned her career to writing.

The Witness book cover

Book Summary

Abigail lives in the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks and designs sophisticated security systems. She keeps to herself and supplements her own home’s security with a fierce dog and firearms. Police Chief Brooks is intrigued by Abigail, and he suspects that her past is more complicated than she shares.

Twelve years earlier, Elizabeth was lured to a house on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. Her mother was extremely controlling, so when she finally got to let loose at a club, she had too much to drink and left with a stranger.

The Book Girls Say…

The Witness was a Goodreads Choice nominee for romance. It is the 200th novel published by best-selling author Nora Roberts, who has sold over 400 million books in her long and incredibly successful career.

Wild book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

90% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

At only 22, Cheryl Strayed was in the midst of a crisis. Her mother passed away, and her marriage was already falling apart. At 26, after many bad decisions, she had nothing more to lose and impulsively decided to walk over 1000 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail.

She hadn’t trained or prepared but decided to set out alone anyway. This memoir shares her experiences on the trail and her reflections on what she learned along the way.

The Book Girls Say…

Don’t go into this expecting to learn how to hike the PCT successfully. She makes reckless choices in her life before hitting the trail and along the way.

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

Books with Characters in Their 20s

You are welcome to choose any book you’d like to read for the challenge, but we hope this list of books has given you a good starting point.

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Printable Book Lists

Readers who support The Book Girls’ Guide through our Buy Me a Coffee (BMAC) membership site have access to two different printable versions of this book list.

New for 2024, members can print a single page containing all the book titles from each guided challenge list. We will also continue providing the journal page format, which has space to indicate your interest level in each book, jot down notes, and rate the books once you have read them.

Two printable options of this book list


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Angela & Melissa

The Book Girls are best friends who jointly read over 200 books per year. We started Book Girls' Guide in 2019 to help others de-stress and find joy through the power of a great book. We do in-depth research on thousands of novels and non-fiction titles each year to provide curated book lists covering a variety of genres.

Debbie

Friday 26th of January 2024

I absolutely LOVE the ICYMI Challenge! So exciting, I am already obsessed with this new challenge. I own over 1,200 books not yet read and this is a great incentive to read some of these older ones (owned or to be newly added to TBR) and enjoy what i have previously missed out on! No words can express my gratitude and appreciation, but Thank you so much!

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