Winter Break Book Recommendations

Lucy Duchac and Autumn Treml

This winter break, cozy up with a hot drink and a good book recommended by someone from Arrowhead’s AP Literature class. 


Grace Erdman from 1/2 hour AP Lit as well as Katie Herrmann, Arrowhead’s teacher for AP Lit and Modern Lit, gave their recommendations with summaries below.


Title: Six of Crows

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Number of pages: 465

Recommended by: Erdman

Six of Crows is a fantasy novel set in a system relating to the natural elements as well as Russian culture. Set in the slums of a city, on an island, the setting is industrial. The main character works in a bar with gang affiliations. Read as they perform deals within the city, meet surreptitious people, constantly making the reader question who they can trust. 


Erdman, a senior at Arrowhead, recommended this novel for its “wonderfully developed and complex” characters. Erdman says, “we often read about characters that are really selfless…but it was really refreshing to read about a character who put himself first and acted really selfish because that’s a part of human nature.” Erdman says there is great diversity in the novel. “The representation and diversity in the book is really good: they have Indian representation, Black representation, Russian representation, and many of the characters are racially gray…which is great because then people from all different parts of society can be included.”


Title: This Is How You Lose The Time War

Authors: Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar

Number of pages: 208

Recommended by: Erdman

This Is How You Lose The Time War is a fantasy LGBTQ novel focussed around two agents on different sides of a war. The novel is written through ardent letters characters send to each other through the form of intricate puzzles, as they attempt to compromise their views of the war in order to find true happiness—happiness that they were not able to have before as they have fought in the war for eternity and will continue to fight for eternity. 


Erdman says she loves the novel’s prose: “The prose was beautiful and the descriptions of love and longing and yearning were some of the most beautiful descriptions [she has] ever read.” Along with the eloquent writing of the novel, Erdman describes its beautiful depiction of love: “They way [Gladstone] wrote love is genderless, it was written not between a man and a woman, not between a woman and a woman, not between a man and a man, but between a person and a person. It’s just two people who happened to fall in love with each other.”


Title: The Handmaid’s Tale

Author: Margaret Atwood

Number of pages: 311

Recommended by: Erdman

The Handmaid’s Tale takes place in a dystopian future society. Women are divided into fertile and infertile. Those who are fertile are named “handmaids” and given the sole job in society to get pregnant and breastfeed their progeny, a purely biological role in motherhood. The women are reduced to this life from the moment they are chosen fertile. 


Erdman says this novel is particularly interesting because Atwood wrote this novel to warn readers of a possible future we may face if certain ideologies continue. Atwood developed this point by writing her book solely on true historical events saying, “There’s nothing in the book that hasn’t already happened.” Erdman described a difficulty reading the novel, not in reference to reading ability, but the tragedy that the main character faces. Erdman says it “made [her] think over what’s going on and how it relates back to the world.” She says the novel truly makes you think about “how sexism works in society, and how if not kept in check it could easily destroy what we call the modern world, the free world.“


Title: The Plot

Author: Jean Hanff Korelitz

Number of pages: 336

Recommended by: Herrmann

The Plot is centered around Jacob Finch Bonner, a writing professor who feels he is reaching the lowest point of his career. Upon hearing one of his misanthropic students has faced a premature death, Jacob faces a moral dilemma as he is presented with the ability to, as Herrmann says, “steal the brainchild” of the student. Jacob ends up convincing himself that stealing this idea is justified and even admirable. As he enjoys the fame he gained, Jacob becomes nervous as he starts to get tweets from @TalentedTom, who seems to have noticed Jacob is not the author of the works he claims to have written. @TalentedTom begins to tweet almost indefatigably, getting more and more threatening as time passes. Jacob searches for a solution, but ends up completely caught off guard by as Herrmann says “a whammy of a plot twist.”