2014 Best Realistic Reads

I love a good story. I connect with emotional characters. Which is why I think I have been drawn more toward realistic reads this year–I have needed to feel connected to something. This best realistic reads list includes the books that, for one reason or another, really resonated with me this year. So here we go!

The “Warm and Fuzzy”s

17228280Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
(Link to my review)

My Snippet Review: Such an adorable story about the development of a boy-girl friendship. This so realistically shows the complications and wonders of having a best friend of the opposite sex. This is such a joyous read, I just enjoyed every minute of it. Having this story told in dual perspective–it really allows for great character growth! A lovely read, from beginning to end.


17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen18599770
(Link to my review)

My Snippet Review: This book was a really fun read, especially for summer! I enjoyed Rachael Allen’s storytelling and the character development throughout the story. While there were a couple of things that could have been explored more, I really liked the friendship focus and Claire’s growth throughout the novel. I also loved learning more about the characters through the first kiss flashbacks. A light and fun novel, great for summer reading!


18293427The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
(Link to my review)

My Snippet Review: This book is oh so beautiful and bookish. It tugged at my heart from very first sight and just kept tugging until well after I was through. This is the story of a man who has lost everything of value to him and found something he never knew he needed. Zevin’s lyrical writing beautifully paints this powerful story across every page in this book. Even thinking about it now….I just can’t stop smiling!

The “Oh! My Heart!”s

Looking for Alaska by John Green99561
(Link to my review letter)

My Snippet Review: Dear John Green, please know, you have reached out to me personally. You have told a story that has become my story, that IS my story. If you wrote this book in an effort to touch one person’s life, just know you have succeeded. This goes deeper than just a book. This story is real life, with all it’s flaws. And it is beautiful.


16143347We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
(Link to my review)

My Snippet Review:Beautiful, thrilling, intriguing, emotional, truthful, wow-evoking. And that’s really all I have to say about it. I found the writing style to be beautiful and raw, and I found this story to be about more than snobby rich kids. You may agree with me; you may disagree with me. Oh well. You should read it if you haven’t.


To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han15749186
(Link to my review)

My Snippet Review: From the get go, this story is intimate and inviting for the reader. Han brings us right into the Song family, into the intricacies of a cultural single-parent home. I loved how personal this story was, how we are able to see Lara Jean’s character develop and grow over the course of the novel. This is an emotional, “hits home” story that will make you smile, laugh, swoon, and tear up. Real emotions, real story, real life. That’s what I love seeing in a realistic fiction story!


16045306Breathe Annie Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
(Link to my review)

My Snippet Review: I loved going on Annie’s journey with her. It is a physical journey of training to run a marathon. It is an emotional journey at learning to deal with her grief and guilt of the loss of Kyle. It is a mental journey as she learns to keep going, both in training and in life. It is a romantic journey that starts with friendship. Just take my “I just loved this book” sigh as a reason why you readers who love realistic contemporary reads should read this!


The “Real and Raw”s

Beautiful Music for Ugly People by Kirstin Cronn-Mills13221769

My Snippet Review: This is the story of an young man transitioning from being Gabe part-time to being his true transgendered self full-time. This is a story of how this journey affects Gabe’s relationships with his friends and family, with acquaintances, and with himself. He finds his voice through his weekly radio show, and that allows him to open up and play his “B-side” permanently. This is a very real and personal story about the struggle to be who you know you are in a world that may have a hard time accepting you. And it is powerful.


439288Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
(Link to my review)

My Snippet Review: Through her lyrical writing style, Laurie Halse Anderson tells a story that is hard to hear and impossible to forget. A powerful story filled with so much overwhelming emotion, this story will just break your heart again and again. And then it will break your heart when you think about how many people have stories like this. A realistic depiction of a very horrific yet real story. There is so much emotion packed in this short novel. Definitely one that everyone should read, because it is that important.


Landline by Rainbow Rowell18081809
(Link to my review)

My Snippet Review: Rainbow Rowell has done it again! She has created a truly beautiful and truthful story of a real person, of a real marriage, and of a real family. This story is emotionally raw, and even with magical elements, Landline is a very real story that readers can easily connect with. The structure allows for easy flow of reading, and once I picked it up, I just couldn’t put it down! Another beautiful story. Thanks, Rainbow!


17261129Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark
(Link to my review)

My Snippet Review: We need more books like this. We need more books that tell us it’s okay if our identity doesn’t fit into a box. We need more books that show us it’s okay to feel things that might not make sense. Fluidity. What a beautiful word that SO many people need to hear.


Pointe by Brandy Colbert13360957

My Snippet Review: The book I read so quickly that I didn’t have time to write down any of my feelings other than “WOW.” This is one of those books that is so incredibly intense in every aspect of the story, and the story itself just keeps spiraling and spiraling until everything clicks together. Pointe is on my list of “To Read Again” books for 2015, and then I can write a proper review for it. But I wanted to showcase it here because it was one of my favorite reads this year, and I think it deserves to get a little more attention. So go read it!


So, that concludes my list of realistic reads. All of these books are just so good, for a variety of reasons. Have you read any of these? Did you love them as much as I did? Did you read something that you loved so much that I didn’t mention? Let me know! I love recommendations!

Love and Wintergreen Mints,


6 thoughts on “2014 Best Realistic Reads

  1. ccplteenunderground says:

    I also read We Were Liars, Speak, and Pointe this year, and I am totally in agreement with your reviews 🙂 Beautiful Music for Ugly Children and Landline are both high up on my TBR list for 2015.

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