Top Five Buddy-Read Books (Five Fall Favorites 2023)

Happy Wednesday, and welcome to the third day of the Five Fall Favorites blog party!

You can find all of the information about the Five Fall Favorites blog party by seeing my first post (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.

Today’s prompt is about buddy-read books that we’ve read and enjoyed!

Confession: I interpreted that term (“buddy-read”) as books with good friends in the stories, or books that we’ve shared with our friends. I didn’t realize that that term typically means books that you read at the same time as a friend… I can’t say that I’ve ever done that, except for some devotionals, so I’m going to stick with my first interpretation and improvise, haha.

I love books that have good friendships in them. There are so many books where friendships either seem to be forgotten, forsaken for romance, or portrayed through very unhealthy examples. I think we could all use substantially more examples of healthy, supportive, loyal, and strong friendships in literature.

That’s why I enjoyed the books below. I enjoyed their portrayals of friendship, in many different forms. And, I have recommended almost all of these to friends of my own. The first book in particular has made its rounds through me, some of my friends, my sister, some of her friends…it’s wonderful when books can impact a bunch of the people you know.

Let’s jump in and 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).

Blank Mastermind

Author: Rosey Mucklestone

Genre: Dystopian/Superhero/Christian

Target Audience: Young Adult (YA)

What Stuck Out to Me: I read this entire book for the first time in one sitting, staying up far too late to do it. First of all, the genre – a mix of superhero, contemporary, and dystopian – was descriptive and fascinating, something I’ve never read before. And amnesia tropes are some of my favorite, so the premise – about a protagonist who can’t remember who they are – intrigued me from the start.

I chose it for book besties because the main group of friends in this story is so tight-knit. They’re there for one another through thick and thin, and I love them.

This entire book is well-written and brilliant in my opinion. The characters are vibrant and memorable, the story a good balance of action, mystery, and reflection, the humor witty and nearly constant, thanks to the snarky protagonist, and the weaving of faith and deep themes powerfully done. It’s definitely one of my favorites, and I keep coming back to it. I try not to think about that one plot twist that I should have seen coming, but didn’t . . . .

Tricky Content: Some violence, intense situations, mild language, occasional grammatical errors, and a brief, subtle allusion to self-harm.

I’d Recommend It To: Teens and up that enjoy stories about superheroes, meaningful themes, amnesiacs, unique characters, and/or ice cream.

Here’s the link to add it on Goodreads!

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Author: John Boyne

Genre: Historical Fiction

Target Audience: Middle Grade and above

What Stuck Out to Me: I’d heard very little about this book when I picked it up, so it consistently took me by surprise. The Holocaust is a heartbreaking topic, and I thought it was fascinating getting to read a story set on the opposite side than I usually hear about. The contrast of the young protagonists’ innocent narrative voice vs his harsh, cruel surroundings and family actions really made me think.

There’s no easy way to cover this topic, but this book helped me emotionally connect even more to the victims of World War II, especially the Jews, and also imagine the lives of those on the opposing side. The forbidden friendship between the two main characters was both sweet and sad. They truly cared for one another, despite what adults around them said. Emotionally, I’d compare this book to Bridge to Terabithia. A story that may not be light or easy, but that tackles deep themes and sticks with you. It stuck with me.

Tricky Content: An implied affair, upsetting ending, deception, implied violence, and disturbing scenes and descriptions regarding the Holocaust. Many advocate that this is not an accurate look at this part of history, and warn not to take it as facts.

I’d Recommend It To: Mature middle grade readers and up that want to more deeply contemplate and feel connected to the events of the Holocaust/World War II.

Here’s the link to add it on Goodreads!

To Kill a Mockingbird

Author: Harper Lee

Genre: Classic Historical Fiction

Target Audience: Middle grade and above

What Stuck Out to Me: It took me far too long to pick this one up, even though I’ve heard such good things about it. After reading it, I can see why it’s a classic!

The settings were incredibly vivid, and I felt like I was really there. In addition, the characters were my favorite parts. Each one felt so real and interesting. In particular, I enjoyed the voice of the protagonist, through which we viewed the story. There was the expected childishness and innocence, but with a surprising amount of perception. The main group of friends were so cute and loyal to one another.

Lastly, that ending! And the themes woven throughout the story tied together so seamlessly that I didn’t even realize how powerful they were until the end when all the dots started connecting. There were some extremely meaningful lessons hidden in plain sight in this novel, and I highly recommend it.

Tricky Content: Drunkenness, one character has a morphine addiction, references to a man assaulting a woman, some violence (mostly not seen directly), some profanity, including racial slurs (as per the time period).

I’d Recommend It To: Teens and older that enjoy historical classics with strong, vivid characters and powerful themes.

Here’s the link to add it on Goodreads!

Nine Lessons

Author: Kevin Alan Milne

Genre: Contemporary Inspirational

Target Audience: Adults

What Stuck Out to Me: This one has book besties of a different sort, but I wanted to include it in here. In this book, the protagonist has rocky relationships with his wife and his father. Over the course of the story, that changes.

I tried this one randomly from my local thrift store one day, and it was worth the read. I’m not a huge fan of golf, and don’t usually read slower contemporary stories like this, but it was a cute read. By the end, I was very interested in each of the characters and enjoyed seeing their growth. The themes of family, forgiveness, and love were well-done.

Tricky Content: Marital fights, one slap, references to trying for kids/pregnancy.

I’d Recommend It To: Readers who enjoy family stories, romances between married couples, life lessons, and/or golf.

Here’s the link to add it on Goodreads!

Seasons of the Storm

Author: Elle Cosimano

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Target Audience: Young Adult (YA)

What Stuck Out to Me: I picked this one for today’s prompt because I enjoyed reading about the group of reluctant friends that make up the protagonists of this novel. By the end, they’re extremely close-knit.

I didn’t realize this was the first book in a duology (so now I’m a bit bummed that I don’t have the second, haha), but it wrapped up fairly well. The premise is fascinating, reminding me of a “Jack Frost”, dystopian type of novel. I think some of the mythology parts and worldbuilding went right over my head, but it didn’t keep me from enjoying the story.

The characters were all very different and interesting, and the constant action and tension kept me engaged. I thoroughly enjoyed trying to figure which were the real villains (I could never quite figure it out), and I could feel for each of the protagonists. The settings were well-described. The romances were sweet and, for the most part, I rooted for the characters to end up together in the end. It was a fun read.

Tricky Content: Some profanity, violence, vague mentions of suicide, deaths, kissing and references to more than that (though nothing is ever shown), drinking alcohol.

I’d Recommend It To: Young adults and above that enjoy mythological fantasies set in a contemporary world, packed with action, romance, and intrigue.

Here’s the link to add it on Goodreads!

Day three of the Five Fall Favorites blog event is now over! What are some of your favorite reads with book besties? Or how about books that you and a bookish friend have shared with each other? 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, an awesome giveaway, and so that you can find even more book recommendations!

See you tomorrow for some more bookish fun!

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10 thoughts on “Top Five Buddy-Read Books (Five Fall Favorites 2023)

  1. Wow, these are great recommendations, Bella! I haven’t read any of these but Mockingbird and Pajamas have been on my TBR for ever (very high up, too). And Mastermind intrigued me from the first time I saw it. The last 2 I haven’t heard of but they look good. Thanks!

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