Crossing California by Adam Langar: This book is great in so many ways. It’s about three Jewish families in Chicago during the Iran hostage crisis, and through a variety of perspectives shows the characters lives changing and interfering with each other. You’ll often see one character from several different perspectives…for example, a character who is likable when looked at by their friends is not so likable when narrated by herself. You may love the characters or you may hate every single one of them. I’ve been itching to reread it, but a relative permanently “borrowed” the book so I have to dig up another copy first.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: Super popular book, so I probably don’t need to explain it, but it’ll give you a reason to use the phrase “epistolary novel” and listen to The Smiths and have feelings.
Hairstyles of the Damned by Joe Meno: PUNK ROCK. MIXTAPES. CATHOLIC SCHOOL. LOTS OF MARIJUANA. THE FALL OF THE NUCLEAR FAMILY. HORROR MOVIES. GENERAL IDENTITY DESPAIR. The author is from Chicago and I’m kind of in love with Chicago, so yeah go read it now.
Ghost World by Daniel Clowes: Disclaimer: this book is a graphic novel, and a beautiful one. It centers around outcast mean-girl BFFs Enid and Rebecca the summer following their high school graduation. They wander around their namelessly sprawling urban home and mock pretty much everybody they come into contact with, but you want to give them a pass if you’re familiar with the sense of aimlessness that comes when trying to figure out just what to do with your life.