We continue our “Books Authors Read” series with author Ruthie Baron, who wrote Defriended, an awesome horror mystery that has zipped its way around the Half Price Books corporate office at lightning speed. Ruthie herself is super funny, smart, and fun — and a huge Veronica Mars fan. We like her very much. Thanks for putting together this list for us, Ruthie! — Kristen D.
Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block
I’m cheating with this because it’s actually a collection of five books that tell the story of Weetzie Bat, the slinkster-coolest girl in all of LA, and her dreamy, badass clan of friends, lovers, friends’ lovers, daughters, daughters’ lovers, daughters’ band mates, etc. My freshman year of high school, I gave Dangerous Angels to a senior I really wanted to be friends with (she started giving me rides home from school so the plan worked!), and I’ve probably given away 20 copies since then—anyone who likes passion, wonder, or awesome clothes will like these books.
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
One of my favorite genres of fiction is “protagonist I want to be like whose situation I don’t want to be in.” It’s not that Esch, the 15-year-old newly pregnant narrator of Salvage the Bones, is some sort of saint, but she’s fiercely loyal, deeply loving, and crazy smart, so watching her and her rural Mississippi family prepare for an approaching gulf storm is wrenching… and gripping and beautiful and tender and makes for one of the best books I’ve read in the last 10 years.
September Girls be Bennett Madison
I have not been able to stop thinking about this book since I devoured it last month—it’s a coming-of-age story that calls shenanigans on the “today you are a man,” bar mitzvah-y idea of coming of age, because of course change is not a singular event and being a man (or a woman or a teenager or a sex siren sea creature) is not a singular thing. The writing is sharp and gorgeous and haunting and–best of all–hilarious and an absolute pleasure to lose yourself in.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Blue Sargent lives with a coven of psychic women in a town that houses a posh boarding school, the hot rich guys who go to said boarding school, and at least one big magical mystery. If you’re not sold yet, let me assure you that it is even more than the sum of its spooky, weird, very funny parts.
Tears of Autumn by Charles McCarry
I love a spy novel (I’m seriously considering getting this tattooed on my person), and this one is as thrilling and absorbing as they come. McCarry was a CIA agent during the 50s and 60s, so his writing about the Vietnam War and his JFK assassination theory are especially believable, but the geopolitical history lesson is just the icing on the good old fashioned intrigue cake.
Ruthie Baron is the author of Defriended.
You may follow her on Twitter at @ruthiebaron.