Top 5 Secondhand Favorites (Five Fall Favorites 2023)

Happy Tuesday, and welcome to the second day of the Five Fall Favorites blog event!

You can find all of the information about the Five Fall Favorites blog party by seeing my first post from yesterday (click HERE), or by going to our wonderful host, Kate Willis’s, site (click HERE).

For a quick recap, each day this week, bloggers (me included) are each sharing their five favorite books under a variety of prompts – the goal being for us all to find some great new reads!

This week’s theme is all about who and where we’ve gotten our books from.

Top Five Secondhand Favorites

Today’s topic is one I’ve been looking forward to: secondhand favorites! I get most of my books from secondhand stores, and I’m pretty sure the employees of my local thrift store expect me to walk out with an armload of books every time I’m there. Probably because I almost always do.

Can you blame me when they frequently have books for a dollar or less each?

Yes, books from secondhand stores sometimes aren’t in the best of conditions, and you never know what you’re going to find in there, but that’s part of the fun for me! It feels like a treasure hunt. I’ve been able to find ones that have been on my TBR for a long time, ones I’ve never heard of but end up being favorites, and some that I’m not sure I’ll like for a much lower price.

It’s a great way to constantly be trying new genres, authors, and types of books. The only downside for me is that I can’t let myself go there very often… I always think I’ll read faster than I do.

So today, we’re going to look at five of my favorite books that I’ve found from secondhand stores! Because I try such a variety of genres from thrift stores, I picked a wide selection to share.

Let’s look at those five books now! (I’ve reviewed many of these in more depth on Goodreads, so if you’re interested in reading my thoughts – or just other reviews in general – you can find the Goodreads link under each book, or by clicking on the book’s title).

The Selection

Author: Kiera Cass

Genre: Dystopian Romance

Target Audience: Young Adult (YA)

What Stuck Out to Me: I admit, I picked this up solely because of the gorgeous cover. The premise itself read like a mix of The Hunger Games, Cinderella, and The Bachelor, as well as a tad like the Biblical story of Esther (though it’s not in any way Christian fiction) – a fascinating mash-up.

The large cast of characters was fun to meet, the competition engrossing, and the setting interesting to learn about. It was an all-around solid read.

The plot itself wasn’t too deep, but I’m a sucker for dystopians, so I did enjoy this! I binge-read it and its sequel in one day, and it was a fun “junk food” kind of book.

Tricky Content: Occasional mild language, frequent kissing (way too many for my comfort zone, but nothing significantly further than that), war-based violence.

I’d Recommend It To: Teens and above that enjoy light, princess-y dystopian romance reads.

Here’s the link to add it on Goodreads!

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Genre: Contemporary/Historical Fiction

Target Audience: Adults

What Stuck Out to Me: I never know quite what to say about books by this author, as they’re incredible, but also not ones I would recommend to just anyone. Like The Kite Runner, I couldn’t put this down.

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the historical aspects or setting, but it was well-described and felt extremely real to me. The characters also were incredibly relatable and each felt like real people. The plot was constantly moving and engaging, and the themes were deep and impactful.

The story itself was bleak. The author didn’t hold back from putting his characters through pain, over and over again. There was tension throughout the entire novel as I felt like horrible things could happen at any moment. So I can’t say that this was a happy read overall, but it was well-done and moving.

Tricky Content: Assault, abuse, death, sprinkled expletives, mentions of rape, some graphic descriptions, etc. Definitely not a book for young readers, but, for adults, I felt it was tactful rather than excessive.

I’d Recommend It To: Adults (or mature young adults) that like deep and gritty stories set in historical settings (in this case, Afghanistan).

Here’s the link to add it on Goodreads!

What Would Jesus Do?
(alternatively, In His Steps)

Author: Charles M. Sheldon

Genre: Classic Christian Fiction

Target Audience: Teens and above

What Stuck Out to Me: I first read this back in high school, and it’s stuck with me since. The story revolves around a church deciding to ask themselves the question, “What Would Jesus Do?”, and only make choices that align with what they think Jesus would choose.

This is a fascinating premise, and while I don’t always think our choices are supposed to be what Jesus would have done while He was on earth (He was fully God after all, unlike us), it’s thought-provoking.

I felt the story was well-written, and I enjoyed seeing glimpses of so many character’s lives as they explored the very difficult and practical decisions that emerged from trying to follow Jesus in their professional, personal, and spiritual lives. It made me think about my own choices, and how I might do a better job of standing up for what’s right in my own life.

Tricky Content: It’s been a while, but there were mentions of drinking, gambling, entertaining women of the streets, and other sinful behavior as the characters determine what the right choices are.

I’d Recommend It To: Any Christian who wants to be newly inspired to live an authentic life of following Jesus.

Here’s the link to add it on Goodreads!

Pride and Prejudice

Author: Jane Austen

Genre: Classic Historical Romance

Target Audience: Teens and above

What Stuck Out to Me: I’m not usually a romance readers, but I thoroughly enjoy this one. It took me until after I performed in a production of this story to actually read the book, and I can’t believe I waited so long!

While the writing style can deter some people, once I got into the classic language, I enjoyed it. The characters are so vivid and entertaining, and I loved getting to see all the different personalities interacting.

There’s so much humor packed into it as well, and countless quotable lines, and I think both of those things helped me enjoy it that much more. The setting was interesting to read about, very classy and elegant. And of course, the romances were prevalent, but well-done. I appreciated that no two romances were the same, so I stayed interested. This is a classic for a reason, and I’ll be reading it again.

Tricky Content: Several religious exclamations (“good Heavens, Lord, etc.”), and one unmarried girl lives with a man for two weeks.

I’d Recommend It To: Teens and above that enjoy classic regency romances with humor, wit, and happy endings.

Here’s the link to add it on Goodreads!

What She Knew

Author: Gilly MacMillan

Genre: Contemporary Mystery Thriller

Target Audience: Mature teens and above

What Stuck Out to Me: This was a completely blind pick from my local thrift store. I didn’t know anything about it, but it didn’t take me long to become extremely invested. I didn’t want to put it down.

The story deals with the harsh reality of a young boy that’s gone missing from his mother on a walk. All signs point to abduction. While his mother grieves and does everything she can to find him, you get to meet a huge case of characters in her life, each with their own twisting stories.

While the constant intrigue, tension, and suspense kept me very engaged, the part I appreciated most about this book was how messy and real everything was. All of the characters had their own lives, emotions, motives, and backstories, and it was both heart-breaking and a breath of fresh air to feel like these were real people in the situations, reacting like real people would. The tone of the entire story was dark, but it wrapped up well. I’m glad I gave this book a shot.

Tricky Content: Several expletives, child abduction, grief and mental anguish.

I’d Recommend It To: Young adults and above that like intense contemporary stories that deal with difficult, but real topics.

Here’s the link to add it on Goodreads!

We’ve reached the end of day two of the Five Fall Favorites blog event! What are some of your favorite books that you’ve found from secondhand stores? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? If so, what did you think? I’d love to hear from you!

Again, check out Kate’s host blog here, for additional information and so that you can find even more book recommendations!

See you tomorrow for some more bookish fun!

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13 thoughts on “Top 5 Secondhand Favorites (Five Fall Favorites 2023)

  1. I went to a secondhand bookstore in a city I visited once and walked out with $50 worth of books. A month later almost to the day I went back and once again walked out with an armful of books. They remembered me. XD But all this talk of thrifting makes me wanna shop books!!

    Anyways. I’ll try to make do with adding books to Goodreads…

    I’ve read and loved In His Steps + Pride & Prejudice, but The Selection is on my TBR… ‘junk food books’ are something I enjoy occasionally. A Thousand Splendid Suns & What She Knew both sound really cool. Specially ATSS. I love hisfic, and even more so when it’s about a more unknown country!! Thanks for the recs!

    1. Haha, that’s awesome! xD I totally agree – I actually did stop by my local thrift store yesterday and may have gone out with a couple of books… so you have more self-control than me!

      You’re so welcome! Yeah, sometimes ‘junk food books’ are okay to pass the time and take our minds elsewhere. I enjoyed it! And yes, you might like ATSS! It was pretty interesting.

  2. Oh, more dystopian! I’m always looking for good ones.
    Lol, I feel ya with thrift store book buys. Normally, our thrift stores don’t have great books, but our local library had a huge used book sale (…and we went out with more than what we were expecting to get XD.)

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