Recommendations based on Water for Elephantsby Sara Gruen

* statistically, based on millions of data-points provided by fellow humans

  1. The Thirteenth Tale

    by Diane Setterfield
    A mysterious storyteller reveals a dark family secret, transforming the lives of those around her.

    Vida Winter, a famous novelist in England, has evaded journalists' questions about her past, refusing to answer their inquiries and spinning elaborate tales that they later discover to be false. Her ... (Wikipedia)

  2. White Oleander

    by Janet Fitch
    A young girl's struggles to survive in a series of foster homes, finding strength in her resilience.

    Astrid Magnussen is a 12-year-old girl living in Los Angeles , California with her mother, Ingrid Magnussen, a self-centered and eccentric poet. Astrid's father, Klaus Anders, left before Astrid was ... (Wikipedia)

  3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

    by Betty Smith
    A coming of age story set in Brooklyn, depicting a young girl's struggles and growth.

    The novel is split into five "books", each covering a different period in the characters' lives. Book One opens in 1912 and introduces 11-year-old Francie Nolan, who lives in the Williamsburg ... (Wikipedia)

  4. Cutting for Stone

    by Abraham Verghese
    A sweeping journey of two twin brothers and their search for identity, belonging and family.

    The story is told by the protagonist, Marion Stone. He and his conjoined twin Shiva are born at Mission Hospital (called "Missing" in accordance with the local pronunciation), Addis Ababa , in ... (Wikipedia)

  5. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

    by Lisa See
    Story of two women in 19th-century China, exploring the power of female friendship.

    In rural Hunan province called Puwei (nicknamed the Common Beauty Village), a county in China, Lily is destined to become a, laotong, pair with Snow Flower, a girl of the same age from Tongkou (the ... (Wikipedia)

  6. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

    by Jamie Ford
    A touching story of the intersection of love, family, and culture during World War II.

    Henry Lee, the son of Chinese parents in Seattle , Washington, is the only Asian child at his elementary school. His father makes him wear an "I Am Chinese" button so he will not be mistaken for a ... (Wikipedia)

  7. The Other Boleyn Girl

    by Philippa Gregory
    A historical fiction recounting the rivalry between two sisters vying for the love of King Henry VIII.

    In 1521 England, Queen Catherine of Aragon's failure to provide King Henry VIII a male heir has strained their marriage. Thomas Boleyn and his brother-in-law Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk, plan ... (Wikipedia)

  8. The Art of Racing in the Rain

    by Garth Stein
    An uplifting story of a race car driver and the bond between humans and animals.

    Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by ... (Goodreads)

  9. Nineteen Minutes

    by Jodi Picoult
    A small town is rocked by a school shooting, examining lives of those involved and the aftermath.

    The story begins on March 6, 2007 in the small town of Sterling, New Hampshire , tracking the lives of a number of characters on an "ordinary day." The characters include Alex Cormier, a superior ... (Wikipedia)

  10. The Cider House Rules

    by John Irving
    A moral journey through the rural landscape of 1940s Maine, exploring issues of responsibility, family, and love.

    Homer Wells grows up in an orphanage where he spends his childhood trying to be "of use" as a medical assistant to the director, Dr. Wilbur Larch, whose history is told in flashbacks : After a ... (Wikipedia)

  11. Sarah's Key

    by Tatiana de Rosnay
    A French journalist unravels an untold story of the Holocaust, uncovering hidden secrets.

    From beloved international sensation and #1, New York Times, bestselling author Tatiana de Rosnay come's her most celebrated novel, Sarah's Key,—now in mass market paperback!, Paris, July 1942: ... (Barnes & Noble)

  12. The Invention of Wings

    by Sue Monk Kidd
    A powerful story about a girl's journey to freedom, despite the limitations of slavery.

    Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world—and it is now ... (Goodreads)

  13. She's Come Undone

    by Wally Lamb
    A young woman's trial-filled journey to self-acceptance and self-preservation.

    Dolores Price is heartbroken when her handsome, but irresponsible father, Tony, leaves their suburban home for another woman. She and her mother, Bernice, move into her uptight Catholic grandmother's ... (Wikipedia)

  14. Little Bee

    by Chris Cleave
    A Nigerian refugee's quest for survival and a British woman's search for redemption.

    Using alternating first-person perspectives , the novel tells the stories of Little Bee, a Nigerian refugee, and Sarah O'Rourke (née Summers), a magazine editor from Surrey . After spending two years ... (Wikipedia)

  15. Her Fearful Symmetry

    by Audrey Niffenegger
    Two sisters explore a haunted London estate, uncovering secrets of a mysterious past.

    Elspeth dies of leukemia. Her apartment, located beside Highgate cemetery in London, is left for the daughters of Edwina, her estranged twin sister. Elspeth's nieces, identical twins Julia and ... (Wikipedia)

  16. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal

    by Christopher Moore
    A retelling of the life of Jesus Christ, told through the eyes of his childhood best friend.

    Biff is resurrected in the 20th Century to complete missing parts of the Bible , under the inefficient supervision of Raziel ; wherefore Biff narrates that he and Joshua (by Biff's account, the ... (Wikipedia)

  17. The Pact

    by Jodi Picoult
    A tragic story of teenage friends struggling with a tragic lapse in judgment.

    In the fall of 1979, the Golds, consisting of a recently pregnant Melanie Gold and her husband Michael Gold, moved into the small town of Bainbridge, New Hampshire . They moved in next door to the ... (Wikipedia)

  18. Where the Heart Is

    by Billie Letts
    A journey of resilience and courage, as a young woman faces her struggles with poverty and hardship.

    This novel opens with Novalee and Willy Jack, her then boyfriend, traveling from Tennessee to California , where Willy Jack claims he was promised by his cousin, J. Paul, a job working at a train ... (Wikipedia)

  19. Prodigal Summer

    by Barbara Kingsolver
    Three interconnected stories of nature, romance, and family in the Appalachian Mountains.

    Prodigal Summer tells the story of a small town in Appalachia during a single, humid summer, when three interweaving stories of love, loss and family unfold against the backdrop of the lush wildness ... (Wikipedia)

  20. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret

    by Judy Blume
    A young girl's journey of self-discovery, navigating the transition from childhood to adolescence.

    Margaret Simon is just eleven going on twelve when her family moves from New York City to Farbrook, New Jersey. Margaret's mother is Christian and her father is Jewish . Margaret has been raised ... (Wikipedia)

  21. And the Mountains Echoed

    by Khaled Hosseini
    Interconnected stories of family and love, tracing the consequences of decisions made throughout life.

    The novel opens in the year 1952. Saboor, an impoverished farmer from the fictional village of Shadbagh, decides to sell his three-year-old daughter Pari to a wealthy, childless couple in Kabul. ... (Wikipedia)

  22. The House of the Spirits

    by Isabel Allende
    Epic family saga spanning generations, exploring the power of love and the impact of politics.

    The story starts with the del Valle family, focusing upon the youngest and the oldest daughters of the family, Clara and Rosa. The youngest daughter, Clara del Valle, has paranormal powers and keeps ... (Wikipedia)

  23. Where the Red Fern Grows

    by Wilson Rawls
    A young boy embarks on an adventure with his beloved hunting dogs, learning valuable life lessons.

    An old man named Billy Colman rescues a redbone hound under attack by neighborhood dogs. He takes it home with him so that its wounds can heal. In light of this event, he has a flashback to when he ... (Wikipedia)

  24. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

    by Fannie Flagg
    A nostalgic tale of friendship, courage and resilience set in the American South.

    Throughout the novel the narrator and time period change, and the reader relies on the chapters' headings to establish the date and the source of the chapter. Some of the narration comes in the form ... (Wikipedia)

  25. I Know This Much Is True

    by Wally Lamb
    A man's journey of self-discovery, coming to terms with family trauma and understanding his identity.

    The novel takes place in Three Rivers, Connecticut in the early 1990s. Dominick Birdsey's identical twin , Thomas Birdsey, suffers from paranoid schizophrenia . With medication, Thomas is able to ... (Wikipedia)

  26. Orphan Train

    by Christina Baker Kline
    A story of two women's intertwined lives, spanning generations and crossing continents.

    The #1 New York Times Bestseller “A lovely novel about the search for family that also happens to illuminate a fascinating and forgotten chapter of America’s history. Beautiful.”—Ann Packer Moving ... (Barnes & Noble)

  27. Fall of Giants

    by Ken Follett
    Epic historical fiction recounting the tumultuous events of World War I and its aftermath.

    The novel begins with the thirteen-year-old Billy Williams, nicknamed 'Billy With Jesus', going to work his first day in the coal mine underneath the fictional Welsh town of Aberowen in 1911. Three ... (Wikipedia)

  28. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

    by Robin Sloan
    A young man's exploration of an unusual bookstore, unlocking a world of secrets.

    The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, but after a few days on the job, Clay ... (Goodreads)

  29. East of Eden

    by John Steinbeck
    Exploration of the timeless struggle between good and evil, set against a backdrop of a family saga.

    In his journal, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck called East of Eden “the first book,” and indeed it has the primordial power and simplicity of myth. Set in the rich farmland of California’s Salinas ... (Goodreads)

  30. The Graveyard Book

    by Neil Gaiman
    A young boy's journey through a graveyard, learning the secrets of the dead.

    The story begins as the man Jack murders most of the members of a family (later revealed to be the Dorian family) except for the toddler upstairs. Unknown to him, the toddler has climbed out of his ... (Wikipedia)