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Calabasas Courier Online

-22855 Mulholland Hwy. Calabasas, CA 91302-

Calabasas Courier Online

-22855 Mulholland Hwy. Calabasas, CA 91302-

Calabasas Courier Online

My 10 favorite books of 2023: writer’s pick


As the final chapter of 2023 ends, so do the up-and-coming novels. Step into alternate universes and escape reality. From star-crossed lovers to emotionally detached societies, there are a plethora of stories that have made an impact in student’s lives. These are 10 that stood out most.


  • Archer’s Voice

Archer’s Voice written by Mia Sheridan is a tragic romance that was a beloved read. Bree Prescott arrives in a lakeside town, Pelion, Maine. She holds out hope that here is the place she would finally find the peace of mind she so desperately needs. Her story intersects that of an introverted individual with a hidden anguish of his own, Archer Hale, on her first day in town. 


  • The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is a captivating novel that explores the consequences of a Faustian bargain. This is a tale of a young and handsome man, Dorian Gray, who makes a pact to trade his soul for eternal youth while a portrait ages instead. Wilde’s witty dialogue and sharp social commentary make this novel a thought-provoking exploration of vanity, morality, and the price of unchecked desires.


  • If We Were Villains

M.L. Rio’s novel If We Were Villains is the perfect winter novel. An engaging and poetic book set in the competitive world of a Shakespearean acting troupe. The plot portrays a group of friends whose friendships fall apart, resulting in tragedy and betrayal. Rio gracefully combines aspects of mystery, drama, and literary references, creating a gripping read for anybody who appreciates suspenseful narrative with a hint of Shakespearean drama.


  • The Stranger

The Stranger, otherwise known as The Outsider. Is a short, fascinating read by Albert Camus. The story explores the absurdity of human life. Meursault, the story’s emotionally unavailable protagonist, navigates through life’s events with detached apathy. Camus’ examination of  the meaning of life and the implications of society standards makes this novel a thought-provoking read that challenges readers’ views of morality and purpose. The text is sparse but powerful, providing a one-of-a-kind and captivating reading experience.


  • The Twisted Series

The Twisted Series by Ana Huang is a top romance series that delves between different troupes of love between a friend group. Going from “best friend’s brother” to “friends to lovers” to “forced proximity” and to “fake dating” each of the books are a must. Each book is perfect to bring on vacation to read by the pool or before bed to capture pure romance. 


  • People We Meet on Vacation

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry is a delightful romantic novel that follows the story of Poppy and Alex, two best friends with a tradition of vacationing together every summer. Told through a mix of past and present timelines, the novel explores their evolving relationship and the complexities of moving from friendship to something more. Emily Henry crafts a charming and emotionally resonant tale, filled with humor, nostalgia, and the exploration of the transformative power of love over time. It’s a perfect read for anyone who enjoys heartwarming and character-driven romantic stories.


  • Maybe in Another Lifetime

If anyone enjoys reading, Taylor Jenkins Reid books are a must for your “To Be Read” list on goodreads or even in your notes app. A favorite I’ve read of hers this year is Maybe In Another Life. A captivating and inventive novel that explores the concept of fate and the different paths life can take based on a single decision. The story follows the protagonist, Hannah Martin, who faces a pivotal choice at a crossroads in her life. What makes this book unique is its dual narrative structure, presenting two parallel universes to show the impact of that decision on Hannah’s life and relationships. Taylor Jenkins Reid beautifully wrote an engaging and fulfilling read.


  • Normal People

Sally Rooney’s Normal People explores a tragic yet relatable love story between Connell and Marianne, as they navigate friendship, love, and adulthood’s problems. Rooney’s writing depicts the characters’ flaws while illustrating a genuine connection, blossoming. The novel digs into the complexities of human connection and the impact that societal expectations may have on personal progress. And after the short read, make sure you don’t miss the live-action adaptation on Hulu. 


  • Every Summer After

Carley Fortune’s Every Summer After is the ideal summer read, full with love and a relaxing, lakeside aesthetic. When Percy returns to the lake for Sam’s mother’s funeral, after years of no contact with anyone from her hometown, their bond remains as strong as ever. But they’ll never know whether their love is stronger than their worst faults until Percy confronts the decisions she made and the years she’s spent punishing herself for them.


  • All the Bright Places

Jennifer Niven’s All the Bright Places is a touching tale about Violet Markey and Theodore Finch, two teenagers struggling with personal problems and tragedies. As they work together on a school assignment, their odd friendship blossoms into a deep and transforming bond. Niven’s eloquently written story accurately describes mental health struggles, love, and the impact people may have on one other’s life. It’s a moving read that deals with difficult themes sensitively and authentically. Make sure to watch the Netflix adaptation after reading!

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About the Contributor
Kylee Barnaj
Kylee Barnaj, Life & Arts Editor
I'm Kylee Barnaj, the Life and Arts section editor. I am a senior, and this is my second year on the Calabasas journalism team. I'm very eager and excited to bring my passions to the Calabasas Courier during the 23' through 24' school year.
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