Are you experiencing a quarantine or some other major life event that is causing you distress and worry? Or are you simply headed on vacation and ready for a book you can't put down? This post contains the best fiction books to escape reality.
Just a week ago, I did not yet know that much of America would be experiencing a quarantine. I couldn't even find an open bank today! So many of us are experiencing so much anxiety and frustration at the necessary but difficult changes to our daily lives that are keeping us at home for most of every day.
So, I have compiled a list of my favorite books to escape reality below. In the wake of the Coronavirus quarantine, I sent one escape book to each of my former bridesmaids as a means of self-care. Many of the books I selected for each of my ladies are on the list below!
Related post: And if you are looking for an escape because you are stuck inside, check out my quick guide on how to read more books when stuck inside.
Read on for the list and why I recommend each one personally.
Best Fiction Books to Escape Reality
American Royals by Katharine McGee
Best for fans of royals
New York Times Bestseller
American Royals is the popular first book in a new series that explores what the modern United States of America would be like if George Washington had become King instead of President.
It has major vibes of the tv show "The Crown" with a lighter, more modern twist. Immerse yourself in the royal lives of Princess Beatrice, as she gets closer to becoming America's first queen, Princess Samantha, who is chasing an off-limits guy, and Samantha's twin, Prince Jefferson, who is third in line to the throne and dealing with two different ladies vying for his love.
If American Royals isn't the perfect book for escaping reality, I don't know what is! It's also a great beach read and one of the best light novels to read. I gifted it to my bridesmaid who lives near DC.
Cover Story by Susan Rigetti
Best for fans of Inventing Anna, The Dropout, and Catch Me If You Can
Cover Story follows the diary entries of an unassuming college dropout who becomes a ghostwriter for the wealthy daughter of a foreign mogul living at the Plaza Hotel in New York. But behind all the glamour is a trail of lies, fraud, and stolen identities. I simply couldn't put this book down, and I was left questioning everything I just read.
Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Best for fans of music and documentaries
- NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
- Book of the Month Club's Book of the Year 2019
- NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR • The Washington Post • Esquire • Glamour • Real Simple • Good Housekeeping • Marie Claire • Parade • Paste • Shelf Awareness • BookRiot
Daisy Jones & The Six by beloved author Taylor Jenkins Reid was the darling book of 2019, and for good reason! It was also one of Reese Witherspoon's book club selections. It's a unique fictional story of a 1970s band and why they broke up, told totally in documentary format and complete with song lyrics from their famed album. This book gets an "A" for creativity.
Think: vintage sex, drugs, rock & roll and questionable relationships. Daisy Jones & The Six is reminiscent of the band Fleetwood Mac and transports you to a time of peace, love, happiness and so much more. I gifted it to my bridesmaid who is a music lover.
The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz
Best for fans of heartwarming family stories
The Grace Kelly Dress has been my favorite escape book of 2020 so far. It's light and hard to put down, yet it's also nostalgic and heartfelt, with a bit of the real-life of a royal.
The Grace Kelly Dress is not really about Grace Kelly / Princess Grace of Monaco, it's about a replica of her wedding dress and how it connects the lives of three women in three different decades. But, the life of Grace Kelly is also softly woven through this tale.
Who doesn't love to dive into a book about a wedding, let alone one that also includes a royal?! It also makes a great beach read and the perfect addition to an Around the World Reading Challenge for Monaco. I gifted this modern gem to one of my bridesmaids who loves Hollywood glamour.
Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Best for fans of fantasy
Over 500 million copies of this series sold!
You probably don't need an explanation why Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone is one of the best books to escape reality. But I will say this: I recently listened to this book and truly enjoyed traveling into the audio world of Harry and friends.
And now (quarantines during the Coronavirus) is the perfect time to get those kids and pre-teens into reading. I can't imagine a better book for kids stuck at home than Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone. You can also check out the illustrated Harry Potter collection for younger kids.
And if you are already a Harry Potter fan, check out my Harry Potter gift guide, my favorite Harry Potter ASMR rooms on YouTube and my review of Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone with book pairings.
The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand
Best for fans of beachy mysteries
New York Times Bestseller
The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand just may be my favorite "escape" read during the quarantine. I truly felt transported to the island of Nantucket while indulging in this "death at a wedding" mystery, which makes for the perfect beach read.
As you try to figure out whether the death was an accident or murder (and if so, whodunnit?), you learn that all the major players have secrets making them darker than their glossy exteriors. Oh, the drama and intrigue!!
While the bride and groom may not be the "perfect couple" after all, this is quite literally the "perfect" book for Summer and/or a beach and/or an escape and/or all of the above.
Elin has done it again! (And I have read so many of Elin's books.) And, by the way, while I have been correctly guessing the ending of the recent thrillers I have read, I did *not* correctly guess this ending. So, yeah, I recommend The Perfect Couple very highly.
Related post: Best Authors Similar to Elin Hilderbrand
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Best for fans of classics
I personally believe Pride and Prejudice is the best historical fiction escape book, and it's also one of the best fiction love stories and a life-changing book of a very relevant celebrity! It's the classic love story of Elizabeth Bennet, eligible bachelor Mr. Darcy and his seemingly unsavory pride and Elizabeth's sisters, who are also searching for a suitable husband in early 1800s England.
But, you probably already knew that. I will add that I loved the Audible version of Pride and Prejudice read by actress Rosamund Pike, as a fresh means to immerse yourself into a love story of the past.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Best for fans of pop culture and intriguing characters
New York Times Bestseller
Beloved author Taylor Jenkins Reid has made this list twice with the highly recommendable book The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (seriously, I don't know anyone who didn't like it and everyone in the book community seems to always recommend it). It's one of my personal top 3 go-to books to recommend!
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is the captivating old Hollywood tale of the life of famed actress Evelyn Hugo and her seven husbands. But, that's only the beginning. Don't read too much about this book before you actually read it because there's a surprising twist in the main narrative of the novel.
This book is perfect for really everyone, but especially those who escape by tracking Hollywood gossip, pop culture and guilty pleasures.
For more, read my full review of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Best for fans of Young Adult books
To All the Boys I've Loved Before is the first in a series of three books, and it's one of the best books to escape reality because it takes you back to the innocence of high school. Lara Jean is one of three Korean American sisters living with their widowed father. She is as sweet and charming as candy as she writes letters to the boys on which she has had crushes.
Then, her sneaky little sister sends the letters out and teenage drama ensues. Lara ends up "pretend" dating one of her popular suitors, and it's everything you miss about high school. It's also a really cute movie on Netflix.
I gifted To All the Boys I've Loved Before to my bridesmaid who loves "Gilmore Girls" and Hallmark channel movies.
For more, read my full review of To All the Boys I've Loved Before.
Verity by Colleen Hoover
Best for fans of shocking thrillers
Verity is an escape because it's such a mind-blowing thriller that goes that much further across the line of other thrillers, as a struggling writer gets the job of finishing the books of best-selling author Verity after she is injured in an accident.
But there's so much more to Verity's real life story. It's dark. It's twisted. I escaped into it in one sitting on an overnight flight and didn't sleep a wink. I have no doubt you can drift into Verity's madness as well.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
Best for fans of character-driven novels and humor
Where'd You Go, Bernadette? is a popular character-driven novel that's literally about escapism. Quirky Bernadette has lost her creative juice as real life as a mother and wife has taken hold of her heart and mind. As some slapstick events occur, everyone thinks Bernadette is crazy. So, she disappears to isolation in Antarctica on a quest to find herself again.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette? has humor but also an important theme of what can become of a creative person forced to stifle her creativity. The dialogue is witty and the actual escape of Bernadette makes you feel like you have escaped reality as well. I love a great character, and Bernadette is one of my faves! This book is also a cute movie, but the book is much better.
Those are the best books to escape reality when you are stuck inside, stressed out or on vacation. Take a breather and dig in!