Four books to cozy up with in winter

Jordis Kieffer, Staff Writer

    It is finally the middle of the winter and it can get boring throughout the winter but don’t worry. Reading these four books will keep you occupied during these cold times.

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

       Summary: The Hate U Give is a YA book about a 16-year-old Black girl named Starr from a poor neighborhood who goes to a private school outside her neighborhood that is full of privileged kids. One night while she is in the car with her childhood best friend, a cop pulls them over and ends up shooting and killing her best friend right in front of her. From there the story tells Starr’s journey of speaking up to the world about the shooting and how her and her neighborhood are treated. 

     Common Themes:  BLM, police brutality, challenging the system, and many more. 

     Adaptations: There was a movie adaption in 2018 starring Amandla Stenberg, Rousell Hornsby, and Algee Smith.

    Why it’s Worth the Read: The Hate U Give is a raw, gripping story that is so current to today and deals with many modern social issues. The author also has an amazing way with words and makes the book seem like a real person is sharing their story, and not a fictional character. I also feel like this book should be read by all teens because it teaches great lessons about speaking up, finding yourself, and more. It leaves many reflecting on how our world is today.

  • The Castle School (for Troubled Girls) by Alyssa Sheinmel

   Summary: The Castle School (for Troubled Girls) is a novel about a girl named Moira and her dealing with grief after her best friend died. She ends up getting sent to a boarding school in the middle of nowhere with other girls who are there dealing with their own issues while having therapy sessions. While she is at the school she hears music in the middle of the night; which leads to the discovery of why the boarding school is so isolated and strange, while also facing her grief. 

   Common Themes: Grief, addiction, mental illness, and valuing friendship.

   Why it’s Worth the Read: This book is worth reading because it does an amazing job at portraying mental health and how different teens deal with it differently. Along with that the author also does a good job making the characters diverse and making them have different ethnicities, backgrounds, and sexuality. The author makes tinier chapters for each of the other eleven girls at the school, allowing readers to understand their issues and their perspectives. Also, the author does a good job describing the setting in every scene and since the book takes place mostly during the winter in a cold castle it gives you this cold winter feeling you would typically feel during the winter.

  • All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

   Summary: All The Bright Places is a young adult romance book about two characters named Finch and Violet, who meet while they are both attempting suicide. Once Finch realizes Violet’s intentions he stops her and talks her out of it. Later on through the story they end up partnering for their senior project that makes them travel around Indiana seeing unusual sights. While they travel to these sights they end up falling in love, while Finch teaches Violet how to deal with death and learn to live.

   Common Themes: This book shows an extensive amount of themes such as finding your identity, finding trust and support from those around you, how to deal with grief and the thought of death, and learning to take in the small moments in life.

   Adaptations: In February of 2020 Netflix released a movie adaptation of All the Bright Places, starring Ellie Fanning (Violet Markey), Justice Smith (Theodore Finch) and many others.

   Why it’s Worth the Read: All the Bright Places is an upsetting and sad book that teaches many lessons on how to deal with death and grief, and finding joy in your everyday life. The book is very quotable and the words are super compelling. Also the book takes place throughout Indiana and mentions places many people from Bloomington might have heard of.

  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

     Summary: The Little Prince is a classic children’s book and if you haven’t read it yet, now is the perfect time to read it. Don’t worry about the fact that it is a children’s book because this book is great for anyone of any age. The Little Prince is about a prince and his journey to and from different planets. Throughout his journey he meets characters such as the kings, the fox, the snake, the pilot, the rose, and many others. During the journey he learns a lot of lessons from the characters he meets while he also tries to protect the planet he is on and the characters he meets on Earth.

    Common Themes: This book is jam-packed with themes such as children vs. adults, learning to enjoy the tiny things in life rather than the big things, truth, friendship, and curiosity found in children.

    Adaptations: In 2015 The Little Prince got an animated movie targeted for families to watch. The movie isn’t exactly like the book but still shares the same common themes/lessons.

   Why it’s Worth the Read: This book should be read by anyone of any age. It teaches so many lessons that adults and kids should learn. The book also takes older people back to their childhood, leading to thinking back on memories. The Little Prince also has a lot of symbolism throughout it making it worth reading for those who are older and pick up on stuff like that.