Skip to Main Content

Reading Recommendations

Get in Touch

Ask a Librarian

Available Mon - Thurs
10am - 6pm
Friday 10am - 2pm

 chat icon

Try Our FAQs

Learning Commons Quick Links

Tutoring - Writing, math and more

Learning Guides - Quick learning

Hours - Find out when we're open

Library Search - Find materials

Databases - Articles and more!

InterLibrary Loan - Request books

Books - Recommended books

eBooks - Thousands of free eBooks

Streaming Video - Learn by watching

Use the Library Search to find books, eBooks, articles, and more! 


Follow Us!

You can find Learning Commons information, book recommendations and so much more on JCTC's social media. 

facebook icon Twitter Icon instagram icon

Maria Nazari, Public Services Librarian, Recommends

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

After tragedy strikes, Alex, the sole survivor of an unsolved multiple homicide is offered the chance to attend Yale on a full ride, with a catch. Her ability to see the dead means she has been roped into an underground world where she must learn to monitor the occult rituals of Yale's secret societies, home to the rich and powerful, without becoming a victim herself.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

In a world steeped in magic and death, Harrow, a necromancer, receives an invitation to participate in a competition to become God’s right hand, but without a cavalier to accompany and protect her she'll have no chance. Unfortunately for her, the best (only) option she's got is Gideon, her childhood enemy, who's only going along with this to get out of her dead-end home. Emphasis on dead.

Bunny by Mona Awad
Samantha is an outcast at her highly selective MFA program, surrounded by a cult-like clique of four codependent writers that make up the rest of her fiction cohort. She is slowly drawn into their world, abandoning her best and only friend to take part in Frankenstein like rituals, where reality starts to blur and her friendships start to head down a deadly road.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
A dystopia set at what seems like a pleasant English boarding school, the students are well taken care of and highly educated, but taught nothing of the outside world. As Kathy grows up and her friends begin leaving the school, we learn the full truth of what it means to be human.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

In this classic work that is now a popular television series, Gaiman weaves action, magic, and Nordic mythology into a most-entertaining tale. He explores humanity through the lens of contrasting ancient deities to modern beliefs. Gaiman suggests that the modern dependence on media, technology and smart phones has replaced the gods of old. Shadow has just been released from prison, his wife dead, when he encounters the mysterious Mr. Wednesday, who claims to be a former god. He soon enlists Shadow’s help as they set off on a bizarre journey across America, a war between new and old gods circling around them just out of the corner of their eyes.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
A sweeping intergenerational saga that begins in the early 1900s in Korea and follows a family through the ravages of war, this story explores the complex dynamic between Japanese and Korean citizens as the family struggles to survive throughout the years. We open on a teenage girl as she falls in love with a wealthy stranger, though she is unwilling to accept being his mistress when she falls pregnant, instead marrying a minister who is headed for Japan. 

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Beneath London, there is a parallel world made up of the people who fall between the cracks, a world eerily familiar but completely strange at the same time. As Richard is cast into a fantasy beyond his imagination, all he wants to do is return home.

Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian
Set in 1989 in New York City, this book focuses on the life of Reza, an Iranian boy who knows he is gay, but knows nothing about being gay except the terror of AIDS sweeping the media. Judy soon falls for Reza and introduces him to her best friend, the only out gay boy in the school, as well as her uncle, a gay man with AIDS, as Reza tries not to break Judy’s heart or destroy their friendship in his attempt to discover his own truth and fight against the odds stacked against him.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
In this classic book examining the dark side of prestigious education, Richard quickly becomes seduced by an elite group of Greek studies scholars who isolate themselves from the rest of campus under the charismatic eye of their classics professor, until their world spirals into darkness and ultimately tragedy as they transgress the normal bounds of morality.

Persepolis and Persepolis 2 : the story of a return by Marjane Satrapi
A classic graphic novel exploring life growing up in Iran under the Islamic Revolution, this memoir tells the story of the author’s life in Tehran. An intelligent and brash child, Marjane discovers the toll a repressive regime takes on an individual and how to carry on in the face of devastation.

Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado
A collection of horror short stories that includes explorations of lesbian sexuality and violence enacted on women’s bodies, Machado blurs the lines between fantasy and psychological realism in tales that include plagues, weight loss surgery, doppelgangers, and ribbons and dresses that hide secrets.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The first in a trilogy and a sweeping mystery, political thriller, and exploration of how we interact with each other, the story ultimately begins 40 years ago with the disappearance of a young girl. Her now octogenarian uncle hires journalist Blomkvist, who is soon assisted by Lisbeth Salander, the titular girl with the dragon tattoo, a loner and genius hacker with a unique personality and an armful of trauma.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
A deeply atmospheric and dark horror story set in a haunted house, Noemi must figure out what is going on with her cousin, who is suspected of suffering from a mental illness. As she sets foot in the mansion, she realizes something is deeply, deeply wrong with the family who lives there and the house itself, and the only seemingly normal person in this house loves to talk about fungus.

Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain by Portia de Rossi
Portia de Rossi explores her life in the spotlight, as she developed an eating disorder as a way to cope with the pressure of rising to fame while desperately afraid the tabloids would find out about her sexual orientation.

Betsy Stopher, Public Services Librarian, Recommends



Recursion by Blake Crouch 

If you like realistic what-ifs with science terms and action, then Blake Crouch is a must read.

False Memory Syndrome has taken over NYC by implanting memories in its victims of a life they never had. Detective Barry Sutton must work with neuroscientist Helena Smith to uncover why this is happening and how to stop this disease before reality permanently shifts and crumbles. 




The Midnight Library by Matt Haig 

What if you could go back in time and live your parallel lives? Nora Seed gets an opportunity of a lifetime when she gets called to The Midnight Library to do just that. Each book randomly takes her to a life that she had envisioned herself having at one point, even showing her lives that she didn't even know were a possibility. But she only has a limited amount of time to choose which lives she wants to explore and she only gets to stay if fate deems that life is the "right" one for her. 



A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas 

This young adult novel introduces us to Feyre, a nineteen-year-old huntress, who kills a wolf that is protected by a faerie lord. For retribution, she must say goodbye to her family and live with the lord who becomes her captor. As she adjusts to the faerie world, she learns that the Fae aren't the evil villains she's been told in the human world. There's also a storm brewing in the faerie lands involving a power struggle that she gets caught in the middle of and has to figure out how to survive it. 


Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi 

X-Men meets Divergent by Veronica Roth in this fast-paced dystopian, action, romance. Because Juliette can kill with one touch, she's locked up and protected at all times. When a prison guard named Adam saves her, they forge an unexpected connection. Together, they try to figure out how to survive out in the wild where humanity has destroyed most of  civilization. 

Available as an eBook or an audiobook on Libby. 


Upgrade by Blake Crouch

From author of Dark Matter and Recursion, comes a novel about editing human DNA as the "next step in human evolution." When Logan's genome has been hacked, he has to decide if he will evolve into something that may not even be human. If he doesn't, it may be too late to stop a sinister plot that goes back decades and is part of his terrifying family legacy. 



Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard 

Society is divided into two groups, those with red blood and those with silver blood. Silver blood gives superhuman abilities and are served by the red blood. Mare is supposed to have no powers because she is Red, but she accidentally discovers she has an ability in front of the royal family during a tournament. To hide her power, the king forces her to marry his son. As she's dragged into the royal world, there's a Red rebellion on the rise and she will have to choose which side to fight on. 


Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson 

Imagine endless summers in high school hanging with your imagine having giant wings that allow you to fly as a result of a science experiment from mixing bird and human DNA. That is the type of adventure fourteen-year-old Max and her friends experience, except they're constantly on the run from genetically engineered "wolfmen" who want to capture them and take them back to their creators.  

Available only as an audiobook on JCTC. 


I Am Legend by Richard Matheson 

Inspiration for the movie I Am Legend starring Will Smith, this book is about scientist Robert Neville and his fight for survival. Zombie like creatures now plague the earth and have wiped out most of the human population. Robert spends most of his time in a deep depression as he tries to make contact with anyone who may still be alive. The other half of his time is spent trying to research and find a cure for these creatures who were once human. 


1984 by George Orwell 

A PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick. 

Set in a dystopian and futuristic world (even though 1984 has passed already), this book is based in London "where Big Brother is always watching you and the Thought Police can practically read your mind." Winston is considered dangerous because his memory still functions. As he's drawn into a love affair, he joins a rebel army called The Brotherhood, whose aim is to destroy those in power. 


Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout 

Trinity has an eye condition that decreases her vision everyday, but she can still see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her ability is the reason she's guarded by Wardens, shape-shifters who protect humans from demons. When the compound is attacked, she must work with Zayne, a Warden with secrets of his own, to save her family and the world.


The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

Set in London in 1791, Nella is a respected healer who uses her knowledge to create poisons for women to use against men that have wronged them. There are only two rules to follow: don't use against other women and record the murder in an apothecary register.

Back in present-day London, historian Caroline uncovers clues to the "apothecary" murders that plagued London two centuries ago. As she investigates, her life collides with Nella's in unexpected ways. 

Krista Dietrich-Osiecki, Library Coordinator, Recommends

In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson 

It's a travel book about Australia that is funny, interesting, and very descriptive. 


The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave 

It's about a woman and her step-daughter, trying to find out why their husband/father disappeared. It quickly drew me in and kept me guessing. 

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

I would recommend almost all of Christie's books, and this is one of her best. 

The Guernsey Literary by Mary Ann Shaffer 

A historical fiction novel about life on Guernsey Island during World War II as it was occupied by the Germans. It's about common people and how they survived in rough conditions. 

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier 

A graphic novel written for middle schoolers and up. It's about two sisters on a road trip with their mom and brother. It's mainly about sibling connections and divorce, written with humor and the graphics are very good. 

Emma by Jane Austen 

A classic that paints a wonderful, funny picture of country life in England in the early 1800's. Many versions have been made into movies, but the book is better! 

My Man Jeeves  by P.G. Wodehouse

Wodehouse wrote many books about Jeeves, a butler for Bertie Wooster. They are all extremely well-written, with clever dialogue. 

One for the Money  by Janet Evanoivich

To make some money, Stephanie Plum becomes a bounty hunter. She's inept, but very lucky and persistent. The books in this series are always best sellers for a reason. ;

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry  by Gabrielle Zevin

A baby is left in an independent booktore, which changes the life of the man who owns it. It has wonderful characters and encourages reading and local bookstores.;

Online Resources

There are many great apps and websites that support readers: 

  • Find eBooks that you can read on our databases or on open source options. 
  • You can read books on Libby through your Jefferson account. 
  • NoveList is a database that can help you find fiction book summaries and read-alikes. 
  • Worldcat can help you locate books in the libraries nearest you. 
  • Goodreads is a website and app that allows users to track what their reading, follow what friends are reading, and find new books. 
  • Book Riot is a media site dedicated to diverse books and readers.

My Book Spotlight