Read Harder

6 Books to Get You Started on the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

Danika Ellis

Associate Editor

Danika spends most of her time talking about queer women books at the Lesbrary. Blog: The Lesbrary Twitter: @DanikaEllis

Just because you’re doing the 2024 Read Harder Challenge doesn’t mean you can’t sign up for other reading challenges! In fact, in my experience, the kinds of people who do the Read Harder Challenge are also the ones who have several more reading challenge trackers in their dedicated reading journals. You all are dedicated and ambitious booklovers!

That’s why every other week in the Read Harder Newsletter, I’ll be sharing recommendations for other reading challenges from across the internet, plus readathons and other bookish activities you should know about.

Today, I want to talk about the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge, which is always a buzzy one. I’m going to give a recommendation for each of the top six (of 50) prompts, but let me know if you’d like to see more, and I can do some follow-ups in future newsletters.

1. A book with the word “leap” in the title

the cover of Lucky Leap Day

Lucky Leap Day by Ann Marie Walker

2024 is a leap year, so why not use that extra time to curl up with a leap day romance? Cara learns while visiting Ireland that it’s a tradition there for women to propose on a leap day…and the next morning, the day of her flight home, she wakes up wearing a tinfoil ring with a guy she doesn’t recognize in her bed. Whoops. Finn (and his dog) tag along with her to LA, trying to convince Cara to give this marriage a chance.

Alternate options: Leaping Beauty: And Other Animal Fairy Tales by Gregory Maguire, The Salmon Who Dared to Leap Higher by Ahn Do-hyun, and The Cat, the Cash, the Leap, and the List by Sue Campbell.

2. A bildungsroman

Real Life by Brandon Taylor book cover

Real Life by Brandon Taylor

A bildungsroman is a coming of age story about a novel about the “moral and psychological growth of the main character.” This a common theme for YA books, but it is not isolated to that age category. Wallace is a queer Black man from Alabama attending university in the Midwest, struggling to find a place to belong even amongst his friends. Brandon Taylor is an acclaimed author with a poetic writing style that will draw you in.

Alternate options: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. For even more, check out this Book Riot list of 24 of the Best Coming of Age Novels!

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Those are my recommendations for the first six prompts of the 2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge. Let me know in the comments: are you trying to complete the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge? Are there any other reading challenges you’re doing this year? And would you like more POPSUGAR Reading Challenge recommendation lists in the future? Let’s chat about it!

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