7 Books That Have Helped Me Mentally Escape Quarantine

When I was a kid, I never really appreciated movies and television. Hell, I never appreciated books. I didn’t take the time to realize the escape that they offered me, because I didn’t realize that is what I was getting. I didn’t understand that distraction was an escape.

Life is sometimes a pain in the ass. It becomes overwhelming and crazy. Right now, in this time of quarantine, I have needed an escape. Depression has been setting in and it’s been a hard thing to control.

But books have offered me a moment to step away and escape. What books have been the books that have helped me escape during quarantine?

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

Synopsis: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Dannie Kohan lives her life by the numbers.

She is nothing like her lifelong best friend—the wild, whimsical, believes-in-fate Bella. Her meticulous planning seems to have paid off after she nails the most important job interview of her career and accepts her boyfriend’s marriage proposal in one fell swoop, falling asleep completely content.

But when she awakens, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. Dannie spends one hour exactly five years in the future before she wakes again in her own home on the brink of midnight—but it is one hour she cannot shake. In Five Years is an unforgettable love story, but it is not the one you’re expecting.

Why I Love It: What I will always say about Rebecca Serle is she hits your heart strings, pulls at them and you don’t know when – but somewhere in the midst of her books – you will fall the fuck apart. She weaves words in a way that you don’t realize you’re reading, you’re engrossed in the world and these characters take you away. You are in the worlds that she creates and I love it.

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Synopsis: 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.

Why I Love It: I think for me in quarantine, I have come to examine many friendships in my life. I feel as though I have started to weed out things in my life that are toxic. But I have also found myself figuring out what matters most.

I have always loved Jennifer’s writing and I think that it hits a cord with people who are looking for complex stories told to you in a way that makes so much sense that you wonder why you’ve made the choices that you’ve made.

But you embrace it.

The Gift of Forgiveness: Inspiring Stories from Those Who Have Overcome the Unforgivable by Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt

Synopsis: Written with grace and understanding and based on more than twenty in-depth interviews and stories as well as personal reflections from Schwarzenegger Pratt herself, The Gift of Forgiveness is about one of the most difficult challenges in life–learning to forgive. Here, Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt shows us what we can learn from those who have struggled with forgiveness, some still struggling, and others who have been able to forgive what might seem truly unforgivable. The book features experiences from those well-known and unknown, including Elizabeth Smart, who learned to forgive her captors; Sue Klebold, whose son, Dylan, was one of the Columbine shooters, learning empathy and how to forgive herself; Chris Williams, who forgave the drunken teenager who killed his wife and child; and of course Schwarzenegger Pratt’s own challenges and path to forgiveness in her own life. All provide different journeys to forgiveness and the process–sometimes slow and thorny, sometimes almost instantaneous–by which they learned to forgive and let go.

The Gift of Forgiveness is a perfect blend of personal insights, powerful quotations, and hard-won wisdom for those seeking a way to live with greater acceptance, grace, and peace.

Why I Love It: I am not good at forgiveness. I just am not. I hold grudges like no other. But in quarantine I have had a chance to really think about it. What am I angry for? Why can’t I forgive? It’s a long and twisted road. And yes, I may not be ready for forgiveness, but I am learning about what forgiveness is.

And why I need it.

When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

Synopsis: Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her—and when he finally does, it’s perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose’s best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy…and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn’t stand a chance.

Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends.

Why I Love It: This book is one of the ones that made me fall in love with reading. I have never been one for Shakespeare, but this book made me fall for Shakespeare. I wanted to know more about these characters. I smiled, I laughed, and I cried to the very last page.

And it was worth it.

Chain of Gold

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

Synopsis: Cordelia Carstairs is a Shadowhunter, a warrior trained since childhood to battle demons. When her father is accused of a terrible crime, she and her brother travel to London in hopes of preventing the family’s ruin. Cordelia’s mother wants to marry her off, but Cordelia is determined to be a hero rather than a bride. Soon Cordelia encounters childhood friends James and Lucie Herondale and is drawn into their world of glittering ballrooms, secret assignations, and supernatural salons, where vampires and warlocks mingle with mermaids and magicians. All the while, she must hide her secret love for James, who is sworn to marry someone else.

But Cordelia’s new life is blown apart when a shocking series of demon attacks devastate London. These monsters are nothing like those Shadowhunters have fought before—these demons walk in daylight, strike down the unwary with incurable poison, and seem impossible to kill. London is immediately quarantined. Trapped in the city, Cordelia and her friends discover that their own connection to a dark legacy has gifted them with incredible powers—and forced a brutal choice that will reveal the true cruel price of being a hero.

Why I Love It: There is nothing that Cassie doesn’t write that is not a page turning work of genius. This is probably the best book she has ever written.

The Betrothed by Kiera Cass

Synopsis: When King Jameson declares his love for Lady Hollis Brite, Hollis is shocked—and thrilled. After all, she’s grown up at Keresken Castle, vying for the king’s attention alongside other daughters of the nobility. Capturing his heart is a dream come true.

But Hollis soon realizes that falling in love with a king and being crowned queen may not be the happily ever after she thought it would be. And when she meets a commoner with the mysterious power to see right into her heart, she finds that the future she really wants is one that she never thought to imagine.

Why I Love It: I have always loved The Selection. It was a book series that just made me happy. It made me smile. Kiera Cass has come back with a book that is just as rom-com, angsty, and a page turner like The Selection Series was. And hey – it works with my obsession with royalty.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Synopsis: Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people….

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash. 

Separated by distance – and Papi’s secrets – the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. 

And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

Why I Love It: The way that this author writes crawls into your head, talks about tragedy, life, love, family – you will be changed. This book is absolutely phenomenal. This book wrecked me and I am changed for reading it. Pick it up… you need it.

What books are you readying to help your mind escape quarantine?

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