The Midnight Library
by Eve Davies
An epitome of the proverb ‘the grass isn’t always greener’, The Midnight Library is the thought-provoking story of Nora Seed who, fed up with feeling like a failure, decides to take her own life.
Instead of death, Nora finds herself in limbo, in a library where each volume represents a version of her life that could have been. She experiences life as a rock-star, an Olympic medalist, an arctic researcher; she meets people from her root life and things seem to go her way, but there’s always something that’s not quite right.
The novel is a tonic to anyone who falls into a trap of what-if thinking. The lives she experiences get Nora contemplating her decisions around relationships, career paths, and the country in which she lives, but the ultimate message that Haig delivers is that we are all exactly where we are meant to be, no matter what our minds sometimes convince us.
The Ninth House
by Catarina Vicente
Though I never bought it as one, I know The Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo would be a gift for your book-loving friends.
A recovering addict dropout, Alex Stern has recently been accepted into Stanford, not for her academic record, but rather for her ability to see ghosts, for which she was recruited by the head of Stanford’s secret societies. Her task at the college is to monitor the secret societies’ use of magic, but everything turns to chaos when a murder takes place – with the members of the societies being the first suspects – her mentor goes missing, and her past starts catching up with her.
This book is perfect for mystery-lovers, combining the thrill of murder mysteries with the mystique of secret societies and magic, all at a fast pace with many twists. Though it can be graphic at times – trigger warnings for gore and touchier subjects – it is packed with plot, told from the dual perspective of Alex in the present time and her missing mentor in the past.
A sequel is imminent, but the book stands well on its own, and thus is the perfect bookish gift for friends looking for their next obsession.