There is one solid truth when it comes to bookworms that nobody can deny: we’re all amazing and have amazing taste in books. With that said, everyone’s taste is different. We may find ourselves naturally gravitating towards one genre and avoiding others because they’re out of our comfort zone. Well, sometimes we all have to explore something a little different. Fear not! For I am coming to save the day, riding in on my white horse, waving my wand above my head affectionately named “A Beginner’s Guide to Reading A New Genre.”

The Beginner’s Guide to Reading A New Genre 

Urban Fantasy: Start with City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Urban fantasy is fantasy that takes place in an urban setting. It can be completely made up or grounded in reality, futuristic or even historical, but the point is that our story takes place in a sprawling metropolis that has a sense of grounding it in reality despite its fantastical elements.


High Fantasy: Try Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

High Fantasy – A fantasy novel taking place entirely in an imagined world. These authors are the heroes of world-building!


Paranormal: Like The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Paranormal – This is a book whose storyline evolves around the paranormal or supernatural, and often combines elements of the major players in speculative fiction: fantasy, science fiction, horror, and even some suspense for good measure.


Science Fiction: Try The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid 

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

Science Fiction – An entirely fictionalized piece of literature that incorporates imagined futuristic scientific technological advances into its plot. Oftentimes it portrays time travel or space exploration. Naturally, chaos ensues.


Dystopian: Read The Uglies series by Scott

Dystopian – Often found within science fiction novels, dystopian literature focuses on a setting that is the direct opposite of society’s standards, often in a future setting where something has gone horribly wrong. It often serves as a vehicle of societal commentary about something that has taken a turn and is intended to make you think.


Horror: Check out Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton

Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton

Horror – This is used to describe a story that has a central goal of inducing feelings of horror or terror in its readers. This genre often lends itself to being mixed with thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction.


Thriller: Start with The Program Series by Suzanne Young

The Program by Suzanne Young

Thriller – A thriller, quite honestly, is a piece of fiction that elicits thrills in the reader. Characterized by the mood it is intended to cause you to feel, it is often fast paced, mysterious, and features a twisting plot line that can lend itself to mixing with nearly any other genre.


Contemporary Fiction: (of course you must) Try To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Contemporary Fiction – A piece of fiction that is grounded in contemporary times. Entirely made up and could potentially happen, but it is not, at its root, completely realistic with societal commentary.


Realistic Fiction: Start with Long way Down by Jason Reynolds

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Realistic Fiction – Very close to contemporary fiction and at times used interchangeably, this is a kind of story that portrays something, well, realistic. It is an event or occurrence that can believably happen to someone or something.


Romance: Try When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Romance – Oftentimes this falls under the contemporary umbrella, though it could be of a historical or paranormal nature as well. This is a tale where romance is the main plot, not a subplot for an overarching story.


Historical Fiction: Read Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

Historical Fiction – A book that is rooted in history. Although characters may be fictional and there can be an introduction of fantastical or paranormal elements, the setting is entirely historical.