1. The Wrong Boy by Willy Russell
British writer Willy Russell is perhaps best-known for Shirley Valentine, which later became a hit movie, but this is the book that made me want to be a writer. It’s painfully honest, heart-warming, raw, poetic, and unique. Narrated by the ‘wrong boy’ himself, it’s about a teenager who opens up and tells his life story through a series of letters to The Smiths’ singer, Morrissey. Set in the North West of England, the novel depicts the reality of its place and era perfectly.
2. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
A stunning and shocking novel that paints so many different pictures of India. Is the protagonist a hero? It’s a question that lingers throughout. I had never been to India when I first read this book, but its wonderful description led my imagination right there. I have since visited and the book now has an even deeper meaning for me. Not surprisingly, this won the prestigious Man Booker Prize in 2008, the year it came out.
3. One Day by David Nicholls
Like many people, I just fell in love with the nostalgia of this book and a story that rings so true in different ways to its readers. There is so much familiarity in this novel, I think, especially for people who went through university life and are in their 30s today. It’s funny, romantic, frustrating and heartbreaking. It’s hard to put it down once you pick it up because the characters are like your best friends.
INFO: Hayley’s book The Day She Met Shirley Temple is available from www.amazon.com