Is the real world stressing you out? Is outside getting to that lock-yourself-indoors-with-the-heat-and-a-good-book point? These books will make it all seem not so bad. Here are the top bonkers-stressful books about disasters we’re very grateful have not happened in real life, and can’t help but love to read about anyway.
1. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Say what you will about the summer heat. At least six-foot tall praying mantises aren’t running wild.
About the book: Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.
To make matters worse, Austin’s hormones are totally oblivious; they don’t care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He’s stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it’s up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.
2. We Speak in Storms by Natalie Lund
This book is so haunting, full of ghosts, memories, and, of course, storms. Most gratefully, we aren’t dealing with a tornado that tears through the same place every fifty years, but this stunning debut will give you a chance to safely step inside and see that might look like.
About the book: It’s been more than 50 years since a tornado tore through a drive-in movie theater in tiny Mercer, Illinois, leaving dozens of teens — a whole generation of Mercerites — dead in its wake. So when another tornado touches down in the exact same spot on the anniversary of this small-town tragedy, the town is shaken. For Brenna Ortiz, Joshua Calloway, and Callie Keller, the apprehension is more than just a feeling. Though they seem to share nothing more than a struggle to belong, the teens’ paths continue to intersect, bringing them together when they least expect it, and perhaps, when they need it most. Both the living and the dead have secrets and unresolved problems, but they may be able to find peace and move forward–if only they work together.
3. When the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry
We’re pretty sure we don’t have to worry about a Stranger Things-esque alien invasion…unless that Area 51 raid actually happens.
About the book: Almost everyone in the small town of Splendor, Ohio, was affected when the local steel mill exploded. If you weren’t a casualty of the accident yourself, chances are a loved one was. That’s the case for seventeen-year-old Franny, who, five years after the explosion, still has to stand by and do nothing as her brother lies in a coma.
In the wake of the tragedy, Franny found solace in a group of friends whose experiences mirrored her own. The group calls themselves The Ordinary, and they spend their free time investigating local ghost stories and legends, filming their exploits for their small following of YouTube fans. It’s silly, it’s fun, and it keeps them from dwelling on the sadness that surrounds them.
Until one evening, when the strange and dangerous thing they film isn’t fiction–it’s a bright light, something massive hurdling toward them from the sky. And when it crashes and the teens go to investigate…everything changes.
4. The Waning Age by S.E. Grove
Life can be pretty stressful, but hey, at least that’s an emotion we can feel. In The Waning Age, emotions are a thing of the past, and this numb dystopian world will leave you grateful you don’t live there.
About the book: In a parallel present San Francisco, Natalia Peña works as a hotel maid, practices martial arts, and cares for her eleven-year-old brother, Calvino. In this version of our world, all children start to “wane” when they reach Cal’s age; by their teen years, they’ve lost their ability to feel emotion. But Cal isn’t waning. When a mysterious corporation kidnaps him for testing, Natalia’s reaction surprises her: she’s crushed, and she’ll do anything to save her brother from their experiments. But the road to his rescue leads her into the path of a dashing but troubled billionaire’s son, a cadre of killers, and, eventually, the shocking truth about waning.
5. The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh
Can we have the pretty vampires without the danger possibly-murdery part? Pretty please?
About the book: In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.
When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.
6. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Again, let’s all take a moment and be grateful aliens from outer space aren’t party crashing our earthly ongoings. Worse, the ones in this book look human…and are pretty intent on getting rid of all those pesky real humans. Just ask Cassie, who’s been on the run since the 1st Wave.
About the book: After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother-or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.