30 Books to Give Your Friends Going Through a Quarter-Life Crisis
Being a 20-something woman these days can be overwhelming, to say the least. You're navigating the anxieties of postgrad life as an "adult" (whatever that means), sorting through the ups and downs of dating, trying to hold onto friendships with your girlfriends who may be in different stages of life, and hunting for your dream career. Not to mention comparing yourself to all your Facebook friends who look like they have it all figured out, even though — let's be honest — they don't know what they're doing either. If you're on the verge of a quarter-life crisis, we've selected a collection of books with poignant advice, hilarious personal experiences, and worst-case scenarios to help you get over the my-life-is-hopeless hump — or at least laugh about it!
— Additional reporting by Haley Lyndes and Brenda Janowitz
F*ck! I'm in My Twenties
Based on the Tumblr of the same name, F*ck! I'm in My Twenties is full of Emma Koenig's too-funny (and too-true) musings, illustrations, diagrams, and lists on life as a 20-something making her way in a big city.
What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self
If you need some encouraging words of wisdom from other women who've survived their 20s, then you should pick up Ellyn Spragins's What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self, a collection of 41 heartfelt letters by famous women to their younger selves.
30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She's 30
By Pamela Redmond Satran and Glamour editors — featuring advice from famous ladies like Maya Angelou and Katie Couric — 30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She's 30 is the ultimate guide for women in their 20s.
Never Have I Ever
Katie Heaney hilariously chronicles her lackluster love life in Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date. At 25, the blogger and writer had a college degree, plenty of friends, and a loving family — but she'd never had a boyfriend or even been on a second date.
Don't Worry, It Gets Worse
Don't Worry, It Gets Worse: One Twentysomething's (Mostly Failed) Attempts at Adulthood by Alida Nugent follows her realization that postgrad life wasn't quite what she thought it would be. The humorous collection of essays is about transitioning from collegiate life to becoming a "mature and responsible adult that definitely never eats peanut butter straight from the jar and considers it a meal."
Based on Kelly Williams Brown's blog Adulting, Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps is for you "if you graduated from college but still feel like a student," "if you wear a business suit to job interviews but pajamas to the grocery store," and "if you have your own apartment but no idea how to cook or clean."
My Boyfriend Wrote a Book About Me
TV writer Hilary Winston shares about the time her ex wrote a novel about their relationship in My Boyfriend Wrote a Book About Me.
Girls in White Dresses
Jennifer Close's funny, sweet, and touching novel Girls in White Dresses follows a group of 20-something girlfriends dealing with their own life complexities as they attend bridal shower after bridal shower.
20 Something, 20 Everything
Christine Hassler's 20 Something, 20 Everything: A Quarter-Life Woman's Guide to Balance and Direction is a motivational book to help young women going through the trials of their 20s realize that they're not alone. It touts that "readers can turn questions into maps that lead toward creating a career, a relationship, and a life that fits just like a favorite pair of jeans."
Bitches on a Budget
Rosalyn Hoffman's Bitches on a Budget: Sage Advice For Surviving Tough Times in Style is a "fashion guru, travel agent, grooming consultant, therapist, sommelier, and life coach" for the young-adult women pinching pennies in a less-than-ideal market.
Nice Is Just a Place in France
Nice Is Just a Place in France: How to Win at Basically Everything by "The Betches" is a tell-it-how-it-is guide for young women to succeed at life. Tips include the following: "Don't be easy. Don't be poor. Don't be ugly."
People Are Unappealing: Even Me
With a quick wit and dark sense of humor, Sara Barron shares her personal stories of 20-something life in her memoir People Are Unappealing: Even Me.
Graduates in Wonderland
Best friends Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale write about their true tales of post-collegiate excitement, disappointment, love, and heartache in their epistolary memoir Graduates in Wonderland: The International Misadventures of Two (Almost) Adults. Perfect for anyone who has been through or is currently going through a quarter-life crisis.
The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing
From relationships to careers, Melissa Bank explores what it's like to "grow up" as a woman in today's modern world in her collection of fictional short stories, The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing.
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life From Dear Sugar
Wild author Cheryl Strayed has written a fair share about love, especially as the columnist behind "Dear Sugar." Her relationship, dating, and sex advice — which was compiled in her book Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life From Dear Sugar — is insightful, funny, and heartfelt. Here are some of our favorite love quotes from the book.
A Phoenix First Must Burn
Called "Beyoncé's Lemonade for a teen audience," A Phoenix First Must Burn: Sixteen Stories of Black Girl Magic, Resistance, and Hope begs to be read. These stories center on Black women and gender nonconforming people, and take on many genres, including fantasy, science fiction, and folklore. Featuring some of your favorite authors (Elizabeth Acevedo! Ibi Zoboi!), this YA collection is a must-read.
The Upside of Being Down
In her first book The Upside of Being Down: How Mental Health Struggles Led to My Greatest Successes in Work and Life, Ban.do founder and CCO Jen Gotch shares the empowering story of building a multimillion-dollar brand, embracing her flaws, and finding creativity while struggling with mental illness. From her childhood in Florida — where her early struggles with bipolar, generalized anxiety, and ADD were misdiagnosed — to her rollercoaster career path, Gotch brings her signature wit, sense of humor, and inspiring energy to the page.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
In addition to making an appearance on this list, Lori Gottlieb's Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is being adapted for TV by ABC and Eva Longoria, so you might as well get in on the buzz before it arrives! The nonfiction book is a delightful dive into the author's head as she discusses being a therapist and what happens when she ends up needing to see one herself. You just might close this book feeling like your own life has been transformed.
Milk and Honey
Milk and Honey is a gorgeous poetry/prose collection about surviving abuse and violence, loss, love, and what it means to be a human and a woman. The book is divided into four sections, each of which deals with a different struggle. Kaur is a stunning writer, and her words will make you feel less isolated in your pain, however large or small it may be, and will teach you to find beauty in the world, even when it feels impossible.
If you don't put Michelle Obama's memoir in your cart immediately, you need to sit down and reevaluate your life. Becoming is an intimate, powerful glimpse into the life of the former First Lady of the United States. With each mesmerizing chapter, you'll become further immersed into worlds like Chicago's South Side, the White House, and more, while appreciating her effortless ability to come off as down to earth and also wholly inspirational.
The Defining Decade
No pressure or anything, but your 20s are crucial in developing who you will be for the rest of your life. Again, no pressure. Author Meg Jay addresses the overwhelming issues surrounding the decade and how to persevere both professionally and personally.
Comedy queen (and the woman everyone wants to be best friends with) Amy Poehler has three takeaways in her debut book: "Say Whatever You Want," "Do Whatever You Like," and "Be Whoever You Are." Sounds good to us!
In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell explores answers to a big question: What makes high achievers different? Look out for revealed secrets of software billionaires, famous soccer players, musicians, and more to better understand why they're in the position they're in today.
Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
J.K. Rowling has turned the moving commencement speech she gave at Harvard University's 2008 graduation into an inspiring book offering up wisdom and ways to embrace failure. Bonus reason to read: proceeds from Very Good Lives go to both Lumos (Rowling's nonprofit organization) and financial aid for students at Harvard.
All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation
Award-winning journalist Rebecca Traister breaks down being a single lady to a science as she investigates the lives of women in America through her brand-new book: All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation.
The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone
In this moving biography, Olivia Laing writes about loneliness, as told through the lives of six different artists. As a result, Laing discovers what it means to be alone, the causes of loneliness, and how to prevent it.
City of Girls
Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert brings us a very different story with City of Girls, a glamorous, sexy novel set in the New York City theater scene during the 1940s that revolves around the coming-of-age experience of 19-year-old Viviann and how the events of her younger years led her to the love of her life.
Everyone's favorite Love Warrior is back—this time with a book about how you can be your best Untamed self. Glennon Doyle is candid about how she fell in love with a woman while on tour for her memoir about repairing her marriage, and through her personal stories, teaches us how we can tap back into the person we were, before the world told us who we should be.
Out March 10
Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies: And Other Rituals to Fix Your Life
Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies: And Other Rituals to Fix Your Life tells the story of Tara Schuster's seemingly successful life as young vice president at Comedy Central and how because of her career, everyone thought she was fine. Little do most know, there's a whole world of anxiety and self-medicating behind it all. After reshaping all that she's come to know, she teaches herself self-love in a candid and hysterical way that we all can learn from.
But Like Maybe Don't?: What Not to Do When Dating: An Illustrated Guide
The creator of Instagram account But Like Maybe gives us an illustrated journey of her dating life and all the hilarious mistakes she's made along the way in But Like Maybe Don't?: What Not to Do When Dating: An Illustrated Guide .