Book recs: favorite novellas

I recently realized I love novellas. Don’t get me wrong, some of my favorite books or series are super long and I love getting to spend a lot of time with my favorite characters and see their development over a huge page count. But there is also some comfort in a story that can be told in a smaller amount of pages, often self-contained or as a complementary addition to an existing series. And sometimes we just need to read something short, be it to get out of a reading slump or to meet our goodreads goal.

So here’s a few of my favorite novellas I’ve read so far, roughly divided into 5 and 4 stars.

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5 stars

The Pursuit Of… by Courtney Milan — this is the novella that made me want to write this post in the first place. If you haven’t seen me talk about it on twitter then know that I finally reread it after about 1.5 years of reading it the first time, and it made me laugh and tear up just as much as the first time. It’s such a comfort read and every one of my friends who’s read it after I recommended it to them has loved it, so you should too! It follows a Black American soldier and a British soldier on their road trip together as they fall in love. Their relationship is so lovely and it has a great happy ending and please please please read it! It’s listed as book #2.5 in a series but I haven’t read it and you don’t need to read the rest of the books to understand it (although I’m sure the rest of the series is just as good, I just haven’t had a chance to read it yet).

Peter Darling by Austin Chant — this is a gay and trans retelling of Peter Pan and like with all enemies to lovers romances I was HOOKED. Get it? Hah. It’s also a novella I re-read somewhat recently and it confirmed just as good as the first time. If you only read two books out of this list, make it this one and The Pursuit of… .

Wayward Children by Seanan McGuire — This is a series where some novellas are somewhat standalones and others depend on having read the previous books. I have only read the first three so far but I highly recommend them for Seanan McGuire’s amazing writing and for how diverse each story is.

The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells — Another series of novellas that follow a SecUnit that hacked itself and downloaded hundreds of thousands of hours of TV shows in order to escape reality (how relatable), only for reality to simply Not Give It A Break (also very relatable). It’s just as good as it sounds and I highly recommend the audiobooks. There’s also a novel that’s coming out later this year and I can’t wait for.

The Deep by Rivers Solomon — A f/f standalone novella about water-dwelling creatures that descend from pregnant African enslaved women, and about the importance of history.

Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon — The only contemporary romance on this 5-stars section, and with good reason. A sex positive f/f romance between two Black women, one of whom works as a stripper.

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4 stars

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone — A beautiful and poetic standalone novella about a time war and two time agents of opposing factions falling in love with each other over written words.

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole — This novella is set in a series and it can work as a standalone too. It follows two Black women in a past/present narration style as they get their second chance at a romance.

Finna by Nino Cipri — A weird and funny sci-fi standalone about what happens when you and your ex have to rescue an old lady who got lost in the Ikea-like store where you work, with portals to other deadly worlds. A somewhat second-chance f/nonbinary romance.

A Little Light Mischief by Cat Sebastian — A really nice historical f/f romance novel where one of the women has a little daughter. It’s also part of a series which I haven’t read and this hasn’t affected my reading at all.

A Lady’s Desire by Lily Maxton — Another historical f/f, also part of a series I haven’t read, also lovely and absolutely gay.

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Have you read any of these? What are your feelings towards novellas as a book length? Recommend me some novellas I should read!

10 thoughts on “Book recs: favorite novellas

  1. I have the idea that novellas are very specifically the best format for contemporary romance, because when they’re longer I get bored dskjfdhfsh I loved Treasure and Once Ghosted, Twice Shy for that reason too, but I didn’t really get along with either author’s novels.
    Great list! I hope to get to Finna soon.
    (Also my one true novella love remains most of the Tensorate series, but you probably already know that)

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  2. i saw peter darling and started tearing up, it was one of my most favorite reads last year 🥺😭💕 also the deep has been on my radar for a while bc ever since i read into the drowning deep i’ve been more interested in mermaid books. also great list!!!

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  3. i just finished reading time war haha! (wasn’t my thing unfortunately but i still thought it was good!) i’ve been meaning to read the murderbot diaries and peter darling for a while now, i’ll have to check if they’re on scribd >:) love this post and i’ll definitely be coming back to this when i need shorter books!! 💓

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  4. I loved TIHYLTTW and The Little Light Mischief! And novellas are amazing! A great way to boost your GR challenge or get out of a slump. Or just something manageable between bigger reads — my brain needs rest every now and then lol. I have nearly all of the rest on my TBR too 🙂
    Great list, thank you!! ❤

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