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The best fiction books to escape reality transport your mind. You’ll find an escapist guilty-pleasure read to suit you here, whether you’re experiencing a significant life event that is causing you distress or simply taking a break and looking for a book you can’t put down. There are fantasy, romance, and other fictional novels to whisk you away, so let’s get literary!

top 3 books to escape reality.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo | A Court of Thorns and Roses | The Perfect Couple

Best Fiction Books to Escape Reality

My curated list of books to escape reality focuses on escapist genres, including romance, fantasy, and other guilty pleasures, like mysteries.

Romance

  1. American Royals by Katharine McGee
  2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  3. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (top 3)
  4. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Fantasy

  1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (top 3)
  2. Fourth Wing by Rebecca J. Yarros

Other

  1. Cover Story by Susan Rigetti
  2. Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano
  3. The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand (top 3)
  4. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

Reviews of the Best Books to Escape Reality for Adults

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

  • #1 New York Times bestselling series

Best for fans of Beauty and the Beast and faeries

My Review: ★★★★★

A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR) is the first in a viral fantasy romance series sensation. It’s a loose re-telling of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, but it expands beyond this story and also offers several differences.

Feyre Archeron is a nineteen-year-old huntress who lives as a peasant with her father and two sisters, Nesta and Elain, after her mother’s death and some financial troubles.

After killing a faerie wolf, she is taken to the magical land of Prythian by a masked faerie, Tamlin, as a form of retribution. In Prythian, she discovers a world that is as beautiful as it is dangerous. She navigates her growing feelings for the powerful Tamlin and seeks a way to break a dark spell threatening the faerie and human realms.

Why it’s a great escape: Fantasy is always escapist, but here, especially, the writing style in ACOTAR is simply captivating — like poetry — and this draws you into the magical world at its core. The fantasy world is also breathtaking, with magical “Courts” themed by seasons and time of day (i.e., Spring and Night).

Related Posts: ACOTAR Printable Bookmarks | ACOTAR Cell Phone Wallpaper | ACOTAR Character Guide | ACOTAR Map | ACOTAR Spicy Chapters | ACOTAR Quotes


American Royals by Katharine McGee

  • New York Times bestseller

Best for fans of royals

My Review: ★★★★☆

American Royals is the first book in a Young Adult series that explores what the modern United States of America would be like if George Washington had become King instead of President.

Immerse yourself in the lives of these siblings: Princess Beatrice, who is getting closer to becoming America’s first queen; Princess Samantha, who is chasing an off-limits guy; and Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson, who is third in line to the throne and dealing with two different ladies vying for his love.

Why it’s a great escape: If American Royals isn’t the perfect book for escaping reality, I don’t know what is! It’s as juicy as the TV show “The Crown,” but with a lighter, more modern twist. It’s also a great beach read and one of the best light novels to read.

Related Post: American Royals Series


Cover Story by Susan Rigetti

Best for fans of Inventing Anna, The Dropout, and Catch Me If You Can

My Review: ★★★★★

Cover Story follows the diary entries of an unassuming college dropout who becomes a ghostwriter for the wealthy daughter of a foreign mogul living at the Plaza Hotel in New York. But behind all the glamour is a trail of lies, fraud, and stolen identities.

Why it’s a great escape: I absolutely could not put this book down! As you follow a trail of “escapes” in this con artist book, you’re also gobsmacked by the massive plot twist at the end. I was left questioning everything I had just read, and my jaw was on the floor.


Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

  • One of New York Public Library’s Best Books of 2021
  • An American Booksellers Association bestseller
  • Praised in Country LivingParadeBustleGoodreads, and many more

Best for fans of Only Murders in the Building and comedic mysteries

My Review: ★★★★☆

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It begins in a Panera Bread. A tired and frantic, recently divorced single mother of two and down-on-her-luck writer, Finlay, is discussing the plot of her next murder mystery with her agent.

A woman mistakes her for a contract killer and offers her payment in exchange for murdering her evil husband.

Struggling to make ends meet on her own, Finlay becomes intrigued. But, then she becomes entangled in a murder mystery bigger than she ever expected.

An investigation with ties to the Russian mob follows as Finlay attempts to discover and develop her new self, alongside a cast of characters, including her nanny and partner-in-crime, Vero Ruiz, her ex-husband, and two new men of romantic interest.

Why it’s a great escape: Once you start reading this series, you want to keep going! The mysteries offer immersive intrigue, yet the scenarios in which Finlay finds herself are also laugh-out-loud funny. Lastly, the romance subplots are the cherry on the sundae!

Related Post: Finlay Donovan Book Series


Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

  • #1 bestseller: New York TimesUSA TodayWall Street JournalSunday Times UK
  • Goodreads Best Romantasy Book of 2023Choice Award, semi-finalist
  • Best Books of the Year: Amazon, Apple, Audible, Google Play, Newsweekand more
  • Barnes & Noble Best Fantasy Book of 2023

Best for fans of war stories and dragons

My Review: ★★★★★

Fourth Wing was the biggest “romantasy” series smash hit of 2023.

Violet Sorrengail is a 20-year-old resident of Navarre. She’s about to enter Basgiath War College in the Scribe Quadrant, like her father, studying books and history. But, her mother, the General, has other plans and orders her to seek entry into the elite Riders Quadrant, which is extremely dangerous and deadly.

Violet herself is petite and frail, so she’ll have to fight extra hard to survive. This is especially true since people like the powerful Wingleader Xaden Riorson have it out for her.

Why it’s a great escape: It’s an absolutely heart-stopping journey of dragon-riding plus magical powers, symbols, powerful books, a deadly bridge, a gauntlet, a Squad Battle, War Games, mythical creatures, and, of course, love. It’s also very spicy. You’ll love dragons more than you ever thought possible.

Related Posts: Empyrean Series in Order | Fourth Wing Character List | Fourth Wing Map | Fourth Wing Book Club Guide | Fourth Wing Book Review | Quotes From Fourth Wing | Fourth Wing Cell Phone Wallpaper | Fourth Wing Spicy Chapters | Fourth Wing Printable Bookmarks


The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand

  • New York Times bestseller

Best for fans of beachy mysteries

My Review: ★★★★★

The Perfect Couple is about a “death at a wedding” on Nantucket. As you try to figure out whether the death was an accident or murder (and if so, whodunnit?), you learn that all the major players have secrets making them darker than their glossy exteriors.  Oh, the drama!

The bride and groom may not be the “perfect couple” after all.

Why it’s a great escape: While all of Elin Hilderbrand’s books are escapist beach reads, The Perfect Couple not only transports you to the island of Nantucket but it also offers an especially intriguing “death at a wedding” mystery. This blend makes it one of the best Elin Hilderbrand books I’ve read (and I’ve read most of them). It’s also a 2024 Netflix adaptation to watch.


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Best for fans of classics

My Review: ★★★★★

Pride and Prejudice is the classic love story of Elizabeth Bennet and the eligible bachelor, Mr. Darcy, who has seemingly unsavory pride. It also follows Elizabeth’s sisters as they all search for a suitable husband in early 1800s England.

Why it’s a great escape: It’s one of the best fiction love stories and offers the beauty, romance, and whimsy of the Regency period. The Audible version, read exquisitely by actress Rosamund Pike, is an especially escapist way to immerse yourself in a charming romance for the ages. Pair it with one of the adaptations for added escapism!

Related Posts: Pride and Prejudice Quotes | Pride and Prejudice Book Covers


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

  • New York Times bestseller

Best for fans of pop culture and intriguing characters

My Review: ★★★★★

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is the popular old Hollywood tale of the life of famed actress Evelyn Hugo and her seven husbands. But, that’s only the beginning.

Don’t read too much about this book before you actually read it because there’s a surprising twist in the main narrative of the novel.

Why it’s a great escape: It offers the salaciousness of Hollywood gossip, pop culture, secrets, and guilty pleasures.


To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

  • New York Times bestseller

Best for fans of Young Adult books

My Review: ★★★★☆

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the first in a series of three books. Lara Jean is one of three Korean American sisters living with their widowed father. She writes letters to the boys about whom she has had crushes. Then, her sneaky little sister sends the letters out, and teenage drama ensues!

Lara ends up “pretending” to date one of her popular suitors, and it’s everything you miss about high school.

Why it’s a great escape: It takes you back in time to the innocence of high school and first loves, and Lara Jean is as sweet and charming as candy. It’s also a really cute movie on Netflix.


Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

Best for fans of character-driven novels and humor

My Review: ★★★★★

In Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, quirky Bernadette has lost her creative juices as her roles as a mother and a wife have taken over her life. Some slapstick events unfold, making everyone think Bernadette is just plain crazy. So, she disappears to isolation in Antarctica on a quest to find herself again.

Why it’s a great escape: Where’d You Go, Bernadette? is a popular novel that’s literally about escapism. It has a lot of humor, but it shares an important theme about the harm of stifling one’s creativity too. It’s an especially good book for mothers, who can relate! The movie adaptation was also great.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is it called when you read to escape reality?

Reading to escape reality is called “escapism.” It involves using books to avoid real-life stress or problems. This provides relaxation because it transports your mind to different worlds, experiences, and adventures.

Why do I read books to escape reality?

You read books to escape reality because they offer a mental break. Immersing yourself in different worlds and experiences provides relaxation, reduces stress, and enhances creativity. It’s a valuable form of self-care.

What is book escapism?

Book escapism is the practice of reading to temporarily detach from real-life challenges. It immerses readers in different worlds, providing mental relaxation and distracting them from everyday stress and responsibilities.

Conclusion

The best fiction books to escape reality transports your mind to different worlds, experiences, and adventures. The romance and fantasy genres are especially great at this. To recap and help you decide what to read first or next, my top 3 picks are:

SHOP THE BEST BOOKS TO ESCAPE REALITY

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