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20th Aug 2021

5 amazing books like Normal People to keep you going until the release of Sally’s new book

Katy Thornton

Looking for a reading fix in anticipation of Sally Rooney’s third novel? Look no further.

Sally Rooney took the world by storm upon releasing Conversations With Friends in 2017. She portrays with a unique honesty how dysfunctional people in their early twenties can be when it comes to life and love. Her second novel Normal People was a similar vibe and became hugely popular following the tv adaptation starring Paul Mescal and Daisy-Edgar Jones, and its 2019 Man Booker Prize nomination. While we anxiously wait for Rooney’s third novel Beautiful World, Where Are You to appear on shelves in September, here’s some stories that will curb the craving until we can dive into Rooney’s next tale.

1. Exciting Times, Naoise Dolan

Released three years after Sally Rooney’s debut novel, Exciting Times follows a similar narrative to Conversations with Friends. Ava has moved to Hong Kong to teach English and finds herself living with emotionally unavailable banker Julian. Ava tells herself she’s fine with their relationship, but when Julian leaves on a business trip, Ava finds herself drawn to new friend Edith. Unable to decide who she wants to be with, Ava watches as the world she’s built for herself begins to implode.

2. Snowflake, Louise Nealon

Probably my favourite novel this year, Snowflake documents Debbie’s embarkment into college, commuting to Trinity everyday from her small dairy farm in the country. Like Connell in Normal People, Debbie finds it difficult to assimilate to college life and finds herself increasingly uncomfortable despite the friendships she begins to form. Snowflake is a beautiful coming-of-age story and will be just what you’re looking for while you wait for Rooney’s third novel.

3. You and I, Emily Gillmor Murphy

This novel is what I like to consider the original Normal People. Olive and Tom start university in Dublin, both endowed with baggage. Olive is initially sceptical of Tom’s past with women, but is soon unable to deny her connection to him. When a tragedy befalls Olive’s family, Tom becomes her support system. But he’s keeping a secret from her that is devastating.

4. One Day, David Nicholls

Another novel written from two points of view, Emma and Dexter meet on their graduation night from college. Again, like Marianne and Connell, they can’t seem to get their timing right, always missing each other or ending up in different relationships over the course of 20 years. One Day is definitely worth a read if you loved Normal People.

5. Where Rainbows End, Cecelia Ahern

Where Rainbows End, or Love Rosie as the movie adaptation was called, is the story of two best friends, Rosie and Alex. Like the previous characters on this list, they can never seem to fall in love with each other at the same time. Like Marianne and Connell, outside forces get in the way of their blossoming romance. Definitely worth a read, and the film starring Sam Claflin and Lily Collins is also very sweet.

Header Image via Instagram/normalpeoplehulu

READ ON: The tv adaptation of Exciting Times just got a major casting