T5W: If You Liked This, Try That

Top 5 Wednesday is a goodreads group created by Lainey (gingerreadslainey) and now hosted by Sam (thoughtsontomes). This week’s topic is Books to Give as Gifts.

Create a recommendations guide for a person. Be creative with this. It can be simple such as “books for parents” […]. You can even take out the category completely and have all 5 be suggestions for different types of people!

I decided to write a list of recommendations based on well-known books and more underrated ones! It’s not exactly a holiday gift guide but it was the closest thing I could think of.

If you liked Far From the Tree by Robin Benway, read This Is What It Feels Like by Rebecca Barrow

I love well-written emotional contemporary, and that’s what these books are. While Far From the Tree by Robin Benway follows three siblings reconnecting after being in foster care/being adopted by different families, This Is What It Feels Like by Rebecca Barrow follows three girls becoming friends again through music after circumstances drew them apart. Both books follow three different PoVs, have heartwarming f/f romances, and deal with teen pregnancy without sounding like cautionary tales. They also have beautiful mental health representation and deal with the theme of recognizing that you deserve the good things that happen to you.

If you liked Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, read For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig

Both of these books follow girls of color fighting back against their oppressors and learning to use the magic they’re hated for, a power that influences the boundary between life and death. If you liked the romance and the plotline of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, I think you’re also going to like For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig, a book inspired by Southeast Asia during French colonization, following a bipolar girl who is a necromancer. It’s also a mixed media fantasy book, which was really interesting to read.

If you liked The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi, read In the Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard

Do you like lush, romantic stories set in dangerous palaces in which nothing is what it seems and doors can lead to magical gardens as easily as they lead to death? Do you want to read a retelling of a well-known western story that is inspired by non-western cultures? The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi, a retelling of Hades and Persephone inspired by Hindu mythology, and In the Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast with an all-Vietnamese cast, are the books I would recommend. The second one has an f/f romance in which the love interest is a shapeshifting dragon!

If you liked The Reader by Traci Chee, read The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

What about magical, slow-paced YA fantasy? The Reader by Traci Chee, a fantasy book about books, and The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana, a fantasy book about a princess going on a quest to save her kingdom from colonization, have many things in common. One of them is the beautiful writing (some of the best descriptions in YA fantasy), another the unique way their plotlines come together in the end. If you prefer plot-driven stories with a great atmosphere to character-driven ones, these are for you.

If you liked The Mortal Instrumens by Cassandra Clare, read Brooklyn Brujas by Zoraida Córdova

The Shadowhunter Chronicles is the kind of saga full of urban fantasy tropes that often manages to feel fresh anyway. I love the mythology and how many secrets there are in that world, which is something I also love about the Brooklyn Brujas series. It follows a family of brujas, but they are not the only magical people – as we see in the second book, Bruja Born (my favorite so far), there are also vampires and walking dead people (casimuertos). Many of the aspects of it are inspired by latinx traditions, it’s a wonderful multicultural series with a focus on family, and the first book, Labyrinth Lost, also has a bisexual f/f/m love triangle. I feel like Labyrinth Lost will especially appeal to the younger fans of TMI who want to see an interesting spin on the chosen one trope and a creepy but not too scary portal fantasy world. The Brooklyn Brujas series is very tropey like Shadowhunters, but it’s one of the things that make it work.

Have you read any of these?

6 thoughts on “T5W: If You Liked This, Try That

    1. The things I liked about The Reader had a lot in common with what I liked about The Library of Fates, and since you liked TLoF more than I did, maybe it will work for you? I hope you end up liking it and In the Vanishers’ Palace!


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