Trying out a new genre is a tricky thing. You want to find the perfect book that’ll ease you in without being too out of your comfort zone that it’ll scare you away for good. Luckily, we’ve rounded up some books that are the perfect blend to help you get started. The books on this list mix in elements of various genres—from romance to thriller, horror to nonfiction, and more. These genre bridges will help you step out of your comfort zone in no time!
Fantasy → Historical Fiction
Emily says: Fantasy is my all-time favorite genre, and while I do love getting lost in a wholly imagined land, I sometimes find myself wishing to learn a bit about our own world along the way. I was enthralled when I read THE LOST QUEEN by Signe Pike. Taking place in sixth century Scotland, Languoreth is the titular lost queen, sister of Lailoken, who inspired the legend of Merlin. As you can imagine, not only does it have the wonder of magic and superstition in each page, it also utilizes historical research to reimagine actual wars and conflicts with Anglo-Saxons at the time. This is the perfect read for fantasy fans looking to incorporate more history into their line-up, or vice versa!
Nonfiction → Horror
Sharon says: Normally, if I was seeking a book providing social commentary on the issues of the day, the last place I would turn to would be a horror book. However, Stephen Graham Jones’s THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS turns the genre on its head with its exquisite blend of commentary on identity politics with slasher horror. Following four American Indian men facing the repercussions of a mistake made in their youth, THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS “reveals and subverts ideas about contemporary Native life and identity” (Tommy Orange). If you’re looking for chills, thrills, and insightful observation on cultural identity in equal turns, look no further than THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS.
A USA TODAY BESTSELLER
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
In this latest novel from Stephen Graham Jones comes a “heartbreakingly beautiful story” (Library Journal, starred review) of revenge, cultural identity, and the cost of breaking from tradition.
Seamlessly blending classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary, The Only Good Indians is “a masterpiece. Intimate, devastating, brutal, terrifying, warm, and heartbreaking in the best way” (Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts). This novel follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in violent, vengeful ways. Labeled “one of 2020’s buzziest horror novels” (Entertainment Weekly), this is a remarkable horror story “will give you nightmares—the good kind of course” (BuzzFeed).
Romance → Mystery
Heather says: If you’re a romance reader who’s been meaning to try more mystery novels, allow me to suggest Sherry Thomas’s A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN. A Sherlock Holmes retelling in which the famous detective is actually a woman named Charlotte Holmes, this first book in the Lady Sherlock series defies simple categorization. Why? Because not only does it offer a fresh, gender-swapped take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic mystery stories, but it also hints at long-repressed romantic feelings between Miss Holmes and her longtime friend, Lord Ingram. While A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN is primarily about Charlotte’s determination to clear her family’s name when they are wrongfully suspected of murder, the case wasn’t the only thing that kept me flipping pages. Nope, I was living for the unmistakable tension between Charlotte and Lord Ingram, whose relationship just gets more fascinating as the series progresses. What I’m saying is that whether you’re in it for the fun mystery or the slow-burn romance, you’ll find something to like here.
Literary Fiction → Thriller
Emily says: I’ve always preferred literary fiction to thrillers, so I was surprised at how much I loved Zakiya Delila Harris’s debut; I was so wrapped up in it that I started adding more thrillers to my TBR, a genre that I’ve probably explored the least. Nella Rogers is the only Black employee at the fictional publisher Wagner Books. When a new Black employee, Hazel, becomes her cubicle neighbor, she can’t wait to start bonding; however, Hazel isn’t at all who she expected. And when threatening notes start appearing on Nella’s desk, suspicions arise. This book blew me away. Zakiya layers this story with so many possible suspects—from a disgruntled famous author to Hazel herself to a mysteriously vanished editor—plus with the dynamic setting of NYC publishing and clever social commentary, this book had me wow-ing both the twists and the prose.
“Riveting, fearless, and vividly original. This is an exciting debut.” —Emily St. John Mandel, New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Hotel
Get Out meets The Devil Wears Prada in this electric debut about the tension that unfurls when two young Black women meet against the starkly white backdrop of New York City book publishing.
Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust.
Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.
It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there’s a lot more at stake than just her career.
A whip-smart and dynamic thriller and sly social commentary that is perfect for anyone who has ever felt manipulated, threatened, or overlooked in the workplace, The Other Black Girl will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last twist.
Fiction → Nonfiction
Allie says: I've been primarily a fiction reader for my entire life, and it’s not for lack of trying other genres. I often browse nonfiction titles and find myself incredibly intrigued by the topic matter or approach. However, when it comes to actually reading the books, I lose steam. It's not unusual for a dense nonfiction book to put me in a reading slump, until I eventually make the decision to "save it for later." And then it will usually sit on my shelf for years, unread. Susan Orleans’s THE LIBRARY BOOK was the first nonfiction book that was able to hold my attention. And not even just hold my attention––I was enraptured. THE LIBRARY BOOK explores the 1986 fire that nearly destroyed the Los Angeles Public Library. Throughout the book Susan Orleans investigates the fire and how it could have occurred while also exploring the role of libraries in contemporary society. If you love mysteries and books, you’ll find THE LIBRARY BOOK compulsively readable and incredibly interesting.
Romance → Thriller
Saimah says: VERITY is not the kind of book you would expect to have been penned by Colleen Hoover. She definitely took a dark turn with this book, but I’m here for it! Verity Crawford is a bestselling author, but after a terrible accident she is no longer able to finish her successful series. Her husband, Jeremy, and her publisher decide to hire another writer to complete the series. That’s where Lowen Ashleigh comes into the picture. Lowen is a writer who is struggling financially when the opportunity to finish the Noble Virtues series falls into her lap. She heads to the Crawford home to review Verity’s notes for the previous titles in the series so that she can start writing the next book. While digging through Verity’s office she comes across a manuscript of what appears to be Verity’s autobiography. Lowen can’t resist reading the manuscript, thinking it could help with the writing of the new novel, but she soon discovers the shocking secrets that the Crawfords may never want revealed to the world!
Contemporary Fiction → Thriller
Molly says: I’m excited every time Jennifer Weiner publishes a new book. I know whatever the plot, I’ll likely be reading an unputdownable and funny novel featuring a strong but imperfect female protagonist and tackles the complexities of female friendships, romantic relationships, and personal growth. BIG SUMMER features all these qualities but takes an unexpected twist from women’s fiction into a mystery thriller. Plus-size Instagram influencer Daphne is #livingherbestlife when her ex-best friend Drue shows up out of the blue and asks Daphne to be the maid of honor at her fancy Cape Cod wedding. Daphne isn’t interested in reviving their friendship but can’t resist Drue’s charm and charisma, and the wedding weekend turns out differently than anyone anticipated. If you’ve ever wanted to try reading thrillers, BIG SUMMER is a surprising, big-hearted read that will ease you into the genre.
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“Sexy and satisfying, Big Summer is the perfect quarantine read.” —USA TODAY
“The beach read to end all beach reads.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Big fun, and then some. It’s empowering and surprising—a reminder to put down the phone and enjoy each moment for what it is.” —The Washington Post
A deliciously funny, remarkably poignant, and simply unputdownable novel about the power of friendship, the lure of frenemies, and the importance of making peace with yourself through all life’s ups and downs. From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Good in Bed and Best Friends Forever, Big Summer is the perfect escape with one of the most lovable heroines to come to the page in years.
Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time—she doesn’t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media—so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless.
Drue was always the one who had everything—except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphne’s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. She’s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song.
A sparkling novel about the complexities of female relationships, the pitfalls of living out loud and online, and the resilience of the human heart, Big Summer is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, and figuring out what matters most.
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