Note: This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure here, and it can also be found in the menu bar.
By now, it’s safe to say “Nicholas Sparks” is a household name. If for you it isn’t, then you should probably come out from under that rock you’ve been living under. It’s nice out here, there’s a breeze and sunshine and a lot of tears. Just kidding. Sort of.
If you search how many books he’s written, it literally says “at least 21” so I think the fact that even Google is unsure of the exact number is . . . Odd? Bizarre? I’m not sure how to feel about that. I feel let down. The point is, it’s a lot, and odds are you’ve heard of the man. Or read a book unknowingly. Or watched a movie.
There are so many options, how can one possibly decide which book is right for them? They’re all good, I’m fairly certain of that. Even if it’s not a book I’d choose for myself, I could be wrong, but I don’t think he’s written a book no one has wanted and bought. So, for the reader who wants to experience severe heartbreak and tragic loss without the real-life commitments, for the reader who has never picked up a Sparks book in their life and doesn’t know where to start, for the reader who just doesn’t know which one to read next: I give you my compiled list of my all-time favorite Nicholas Sparks novels, most definitely in a particular order. [Disclaimer: I have not read all of his books, this is obviously based off the ones I’ve read.]
The Last Song
The Last Song is hands-down my all-time favorite Nicholas Sparks book. It’s even an all-time favorite book, period. I read it for the first time in middle school, and since then I’ve picked it back up probably . . . Roughly 10 times? Maybe? Give or take? Don’t judge me, if I love a book I’m prone to reading it multiple times, even if it’s a ridiculous amount. Now that I think about it, I’m due to read it again.
Anyway, the book is amazing. I’m even willing to read it in hardcover, and we all know how much I prefer paperback (hello, blog name inspo).
Here’s a synopsis:
“Seventeen year old Veronica “Ronnie” Miller’s life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alientated from her parents, especially her father…until her mother decides it would be in everyone’s best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. Ronnie’s father, a former concert pianist and teacher, is living a quiet life in the beach town, immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church.
The tale that unfolds is an unforgettable story of love on many levels–first love, love between parents and children — that demonstrates, as only a Nicholas Sparks novel can, the many ways that love can break our hearts…and heal them.”
The story itself in this one isn’t what totally broke my heart; it was the subplot about John’s father. Dear John‘s main plot is fantastic, though, and of course well done. It doesn’t hurt that when I read the book I picture Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried, and Richard Jenkins. I’ve watched the movie a few times and read the book twice, and thankfully the film is one that’s pretty spot-on with the book (in my opinion at least, and I’m pretty picky about book-to-movie adaptations). While it’s not on my all-time favorites list, it’s a favorite out of all the Nicholas Sparks books, and that’s good enough for me!
Here’s a synopsis:
“An angry rebel, John dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army, not knowing what else to do with his life–until he meets the girl of his dreams, Savannah. Their mutual attraction quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah waiting for John to finish his tour of duty, and John wanting to settle down with the woman who captured his heart. But 9/11 changes everything. John feels it is his duty to re-enlist. And sadly, the long separation finds Savannah falling in love with someone else. “Dear John,” the letter read…and with those two words, a heart was broken and two lives were changed forever. Returning home, John must come to grips with the fact that Savannah, now married, is still his true love–and face the hardest decision of his life.”
The Longest Ride
Ahhhhh, I have to be honest I didn’t think I’d like this one very much. Silly me, I loved it. While I haven’t read it a second time yet, I thought about it long after I read it and even tried watching the movie (there will definitely be a post on this experience later). The Longest Ride was such a cute book, and I don’t recall crying a lot while reading it (what a standard, right?). This story was a nice adjustment from the usual Nicholas Sparks, or at least the stories I’ve read. And it’s kind of about a rodeo, and also an old man who is slowly dying, so if you’re into rodeos and sadness you’ll like this book.
Here’s a synopsis:
“Ira Levinson is in trouble. Ninety-one years old and stranded and injured after a car crash, he struggles to retain consciousness until a blurry image materializes beside him: his beloved wife Ruth, who passed away nine years ago. Urging him to hang on, she forces him to remain alert by recounting the stories of their lifetime together – how they met, the precious paintings they collected together, the dark days of WWII and its effect on them and their families. Ira knows that Ruth can’t possibly be in the car with him, but he clings to her words and his memories, reliving the sorrows and everyday joys that defined their marriage.
A few miles away, at a local bull-riding event, a Wake Forest College senior’s life is about to change. Recovering from a recent break-up, Sophia Danko meets a young cowboy named Luke, who bears little resemblance to the privileged frat boys she has encountered at school. Through Luke, Sophia is introduced to a world in which the stakes of survival and success, ruin and reward — even life and death – loom large in everyday life. As she and Luke fall in love, Sophia finds herself imagining a future far removed from her plans — a future that Luke has the power to rewrite . . . if the secret he’s keeping doesn’t destroy it first.
Ira and Ruth. Sophia and Luke. Two couples who have little in common, and who are separated by years and experience. Yet their lives will converge with unexpected poignancy, reminding us all that even the most difficult decisions can yield extraordinary journeys: beyond despair, beyond death, to the farthest reaches of the human heart.”
Two By Two
Soooo Two By Two book is a combination of father-daughter bonding and a whole lot of loss, I’ll just leave it at that. Seriously, any better description would spoil things, and even though this is Sparks’s most recent book release (as of now) and a lot of people have already read it, I’m not about the spoiler life. Because sometimes it just takes a while for people to get around to certain books or movies, and it no fun when you accidentally run across a review or something that spoils the ending to something you’ve been anticipating since middle school and . . . Sorry. This is a spoiler-free zone because I love my readers and I want to protect your sweet little souls so they’ll be properly destroyed by the plots of these books rather than my summaries of them. Wait, what?
Here’s a synopsis:
“At 32, Russell Green has it all: a stunning wife, a lovable six year-old daughter, a successful career as an advertising executive and an expansive home in Charlotte. He is living the dream, and his marriage to the bewitching Vivian is the center of that. But underneath the shiny surface of this perfect existence, fault lines are beginning to appear…and no one is more surprised than Russ when he finds every aspect of the life he took for granted turned upside down. In a matter of months, Russ finds himself without a job or wife, caring for his young daughter while struggling to adapt to a new and baffling reality. Throwing himself into the wilderness of single parenting, Russ embarks on a journey at once terrifying and rewarding-one that will test his abilities and his emotional resources beyond anything he ever imagined.”
Look, it’s bonus time!
I recently discovered that Nicholas Sparks has a new book releasing October 16, 2018! It’s called Every Breath, and yes I definitely pre-ordered it, even though it’ll be hardcover. Hardcovers are nice. Not preferred, but undoubtedly nice. So I thought I’d let my followers know about this release, because even though I’m in the book community on multiple channels I didn’t find out about this release on any of those channels. Nope, it seems to me as if no one is really talking about this yet? Or maybe they’re all busy reading their ARCc and preparing to do a review. Lucky. I actually stumbled upon this baby while I was seeking more books to throw my money at. Which I will no longer be doing, at least for a little while, because books aren’t cheap man. Someone set up an intervention, I have an addiction.
Here’s the synopsis for this much-anticipated release, coming this October!
“Hope Anderson is at a crossroads. At thirty-six, she’s been dating her boyfriend, an orthopedic surgeon, for six years. With no wedding plans in sight, and her father recently diagnosed with ALS, she decides to use a week at her family’s cottage in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, to ready the house for sale and mull over some difficult decisions about her future.
Tru Walls has never visited North Carolina but is summoned to Sunset Beach by a letter from a man claiming to be his father. A safari guide, born and raised in Zimbabwe, Tru hopes to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding his mother’s early life and recapture memories lost with her death. When the two strangers cross paths, their connection is as electric as it is unfathomable . . . but in the immersive days that follow, their feelings for each other will give way to choices that pit family duty against personal happiness in devastating ways.
Illuminating life’s heartbreaking regrets and enduring hope, EVERY BREATH explores the many facets of love that lay claim to our deepest loyalties — and asks the question, How long can a dream survive?”
No, The Notebook is not on this list. I weirdly prefer watching the movie (which I won’t link because it’s literally always on TV and you can find it anywhere) to reading the book. Nothing against the book, I just love the movie so much. I think they did such a nice job with it. But, also weirdly, I do have two copies of the book.