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What to Read When You're Sick of Paranormal Fiction

What to Read When You're Sick of Paranormal Fiction

By Melissa Albert

Do you still get chills up your spine when the pretty girl in the book you're reading notices how supernaturally fast/strong/bizarre the hot new guy is? Or when she discovers that one or both of her parents were demons/angels/mermaids? Or that the dreams she's been having are actually coming true? ...No? Then maybe you're dealing with paranormal fiction overdose. Despite the awesomeness of authors like Laini Taylor and Nancy Werlin, sometimes you just want to read a book about people, with normal bodies, subject to the rules of gravity. This list is for those times:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower. There's no better time than NOW to read one of the best contemporary coming-of-age books around. As if you need a better reason than this.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. The author sets up a seeming love triangle in the first few chapters...then completely skips the expected romantic clichés. Frankie defies both her popular boyfriend and his sexy, intriguing best friend by going undercover to take the reins of their boys-only secret society. The pranks she convinces them to pull become more and more extreme, until she's left with no choice but to out herself as the society's puppetmaster. But what it's really about is Frankie learning how not to define herself by who her boyfriend is and what he wants her to be. She blows the lid off popularity myths and never fails to judge herself by her own standards.

Jellicoe Road. Abandoned by her mother as a child, 17-year-old Taylor now lives at the Jellicoe boarding school in the Australian outback, where she heads up the boarders faction of the territory wars—battles for turf between students, townies, and the Cadets, military boys who come to Jellicoe every year for training exercises. Taylor is haunted by the disappearance of Hannah, a local woman who is the closest thing she has  to a guardian, and by the pages of Hannah's unfinished book, about five kids touched by tragedy who grew up together on the Jellicoe Road. When Taylor realizes that the book might not be fiction, she seizes her last chance to figure out the truth about her past. This book will break your heart.

Bright Young Things. The first in Anna Godbersen's 1920s trilogy, set among New York society and the theatrical elite, follows a flapper, a wannabe actress, and the estranged daughter of a rich bootlegger. Though you can see the characters' bad choices (and their consequences) coming from a mile away, Godbersen's awesome evocation of 1920s glitz and hardship makes it a great read.

Splogger fic. No vampires were harmed in the making of Kat Rosenfield's scary-sexy Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone and Kathryn Williams' funny-delicious (seriously, it will make you hungry) Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous. Though lots of tomatoes and one poor girl named Amelia Anne don't get off so easily.

John Green! John Green! John Green! Have you been to this site before? If so, you're either already in the Green cult, or you're sick and tired of constantly hearing about him. So we'll only say this one more time: Go Green in 2012! Because without using a single fairy, demon, or jetpacking werewolf, he writes amazing books filled with ordinary, extraordinary magic.

Do you have any non-paranormal book recommendations to share?

Topics: Books, Life
Tags: books we love, ya novels, book recommendations, john green, teen fiction, perks of being a wallflower

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About the Author
Melissa Albert

Melissa Albert reads books, worries about other people’s dogs (they look thirsty), and eats horrible candy for fun and profit. When not wearing her extremely tasteful Sparkitor hat, she’s an editor for the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. You can find her on Twitter @mimi_albert, or in the hot pretzel section of your local cafeteria.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.

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