12 Books To Read In Your 20s and More Critical Linking

This Critical Linking is sponsored by the Unbound Worlds Sci-Fi and Fantasy Library Sweepstakes. Get details and enter here!

There are far more worthy books than any of us will get to read in a lifetime. So you better get cracking in your 20s, at the latest. Below are 12 books earnestly if somewhat arbitrarily recommended. To read them all is to learn about wartime, race in America, growing up feeling like you’re different, how cities are built and lived in, grief, the power of imagination and much more.

This list is pretty much a Swiss Army Recs list, and it’s a good one.


The world’s largest mechanical flip books are located in an unexpected place: at a summer camp in the forests of Strafford, New Hampshire.

This is so fun.


In 2011, I made book cover pumpkin patterns in response to talk of how dark and scary YA was getting. Years have passed and book challenges have come and gone, but the media continues to use kidlit fears as click bait, so here’s another round of the most terrifying thing around this Halloween: children’s books. 

These are so, so great. Get your kid lit pumpkin carving on.


The extroverted cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks addressed media Wednesday dressed as Harry Potter himself. He walked up to the podium donning full Gryffindor robes, while playing “Hedwig’s Theme.” “You got to bring your own music,” Sherman told reporters. “This is a serious occasion. It’s Halloween.”

Athlete book nerds are my favorite thing, and this might be the best thing I’ve read/seen all week.

Kelly Jensen: Kelly is a former teen and adult librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Twitter @veronikellymars.