Slow burns are nice, but sometimes you want book with a little less backstory and a little more hurry—the kind of story that resets your reading palate by packing an entire tale’s worth of events into just twenty-four hours. Because sometimes life can change drastically in a matter of minutes. Nothing proves that better than these six books.
Release, by Patrick Ness
Adam Thorn is not having a good day. His ex-boyfriend and his best friend are both leaving town, his boss fires him after Adam refuses his sexual advances, and his parents continue to be just as homophobic as ever. It feels like his life is pulling apart at the seams, as he wonders who’ll be left to love him once his ex and best friend are gone—maybe his new boyfriend, Linus? Adam isn’t sure, but he’s definitely going to need this terrible, horrible, agonizing day to figure it out. Add in an element of the supernatural as the ghost of a classmate seeks revenge on her killer, and you’ve got a gorgeous, haunting look at the ups and downs of everyday life (or afterlife).
The Sun Is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon
I’m a sucker for books with alternating points of view, and Yoon’s sophomore novel is one of the best. When Natasha and Daniel meet, they’re both on the verge of major life events. Just hours away from being deported to Jamaica, cynical New Yorker Natasha is gunning hard for one last chance to stay in the United States. Meanwhile, Daniel is in Manhattan to interview for admission to Yale, even though he really just wants to be a poet. After they cross paths, Daniel is convinced it’s love at first (or second) sight, while Natasha…is less convinced. Will a day spent together keep them together or push them apart forever? Science meets magic in this wonderfully diverse read for the skeptical romantic.
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The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, by Jennifer E. Smith
Hadley doesn’t want to go to her father’s wedding to the woman he left her mother for, and missing her flight is just the cherry on top of a crap sundae—until she meets Oliver, who’s also on his way to London. He’s just what Hadley needs on this trip, and the two form an instant connection. Then their flight lands, they lose sight of each other, and they head their separate ways. But Hadley can’t get the boy from the airport out of her mind; she’s determined to track him down, wedding or no wedding. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is a fast-paced romantic romp that’ll give you all the feels.
This Is Where it Ends, by Marieke Nijkamp
Claire, Tomas, Autumn, and Sylv are just about to start the last semester of their senior year at Opportunity High. But on the first day of school, a fellow student brings a gun to school, locks the auditorium doors, and opens fire. This Is Where It Ends takes place over the next fifty-four minutes, as each character navigates the unfolding tragedy. Claire watches from outside the school, while Tomas attempts to free the people trapped in the auditorium. Meanwhile, Autumn (the gunman’s sister) and her girlfriend Sylv are stuck in the middle of it all. This Is Where it Ends is heartbreaking, suspenseful, and absolutely impossible to put down.
Love & Other Train Wrecks, by Leah Konen
When their Amtrak train breaks down in the middle of a snowstorm, Ammy and Noah decide to brave the weather and catch a bus—despite their less-than-awesome first meeting. Naturally, they miss the last bus, and things just get more complicated from there. But as they travel together, Ammy and Noah swap stories and quickly realize they have more in common than they thought. Can you fall in love in less than a day? Ammy and Noah are about to find out. Charming, hilarious, and just a little bit over the top, Love & Other Train Wrecks is a holiday romcom you don’t want to miss.
They Both Die at the End, by Adam Silvera
If you like books that make you cry, bump They Both Die at the End to the top of your to-read list. In an alt-future world, everyone receives a Death-Cast notification when they’re within twenty-four hours of their demise. After getting their Death-Cast calls, New Yorkers Mateo and Rufus meet through the Last Friend app, which pairs people looking for someone to spend their final hours with. Determined to make the most of their End Day, Mateo and Rufus push each other to have the best last day of their lives possible, quickly going from friends to something more. Get your tissue boxes ready and prepare to sob your way through this lovely romance.