All About the Donuts – Similar Books to Donuts in an Empty Field

Books Like Donuts in an Empty Field

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Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Contemporary YA/Realistic Fiction/Romance/High School/Family/Humor

Pitch: With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

What I loved about this book: The main character was a fat girl and she liked herself. She acknowledged when she didn’t have confidence and worked to get it back. The audiobook featured an amazing narrator and the Southern accent was mesmerizing. I loved how Willowdean talked. The conflicts were realistic and I feel like this book really showcased what it’s like to be a fat girl in a small Southern Texas town.

My favorite quote(s):
· “I think maybe it’s the things we don’t want to talk about that are the things people most want to hear.”
· “Good friendships are durable. They’re meant to survive the gaps and the growing pains.”
· “I think you gotta be who you want to be until you feel like you are whoever it is you’re trying to become. Sometimes half of doing something is pretending that you can.”
· “And I guess that’s when I decided being good at something didn’t mean you had to do it. Just ‘cause something’s easy doesn’t make it right.”
· “Lucy always said that the greatest friends have nothing and everything in common all at once. Y’all girls are different versions of the same story, she would say.”

How Dumplin’ is similar to Donuts in an Empty Field:
· The realistic breakdown of a friendship
· Main character figuring out what she wants and who she wants to be
· Small Southern town
· Main characters that have been their own worst enemy and held themselves back when others are ready to let them fly
· Sometimes the main character is confident and sometimes she puts up an enormous roadblock in her teenage life
· High school drama
· Body image


Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Realistic Fiction/YA/Middle Grade/Coming of Age

Pitch: In this story about the perils of popularity, the courage of nonconformity, and the thrill of first love, an eccentric student named Stargirl changes Mica High School forever.

What I loved about this book: The complexity in the simplicity of the story. Stargirl is that artistic girl we always wanted to be, that didn’t care about what others thought and was artistic to a fault. Stargirl isn’t perfect, though, or above being influenced by those around her.

My favorite quote(s):
· “I’m disappearing, Leo. Like Dootsie’s trick, except this is real. Who are you if you lose your favorite person? Can you lose your favorite person without losing yourself? I reach for Stargirl and she’s gone. I’m not me anymore.”

How Stargirl is similar to Donuts in an Empty Field:
· A main character that wants to be normal
· A main character that wants to be accepted as different
· Small town
· Capturing the school’s attention
· School drama and peer pressure


Kissing in America by Margo Rabb
Contemporary YA/Teen/Romance/Road Trip

Pitch: Acclaimed writer Margo Rabb’s Kissing in America is ‘a wonderful novel about friendship, love, travel, life, hope, poetry, intelligence, and the inner lives of girls.

What I loved about this book: The main character was dealing with grief and the unexpected death of her father just like Vanessa in Donuts. Grief caused almost every issue in the main character’s life and between her and her best friend.

My favorite quote(s):
· “Grief isn’t like a map you can follow. It’s not a simple route with a destination. Sometimes you loop back and find yourself in the exact same place you left.”

How Kissing in America is similar to Donuts in an Empty Field:
· Tragedy in the main character’s life
· Death of main character’s father and his absence in her life
· Dealing with grief
· Main character has a lot of internal musings just like Vanessa
· Main character has panic attacks and doesn’t always want to talk about it with others
· Facing fears
· Mother-daughter relationship
· The strain of grief on how characters relate and interact with one another
· The ultimate friendship break
· High school friend drama


Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
Contemporary YA/Romance/Realistic Fiction/Chick Lit/Abuse/Teen/High School

Pitch: After her sister left, Caitlin felt lost. Then she met Rogerson. When she’s with him, nothing seems real. But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?

What I loved about this book: This book showcases the floundering most teenagers go through as they try to figure out who they are and what they want. This book had a realistic ending. The tone of the book matched what was happening – a dreamlike state.

My favorite quote(s):
· “If you didn’t love him, this never would have happened. But you did. And accepting that love and everything that followed it is part of letting it go.”
· “And she was good to me: strong, fun, and fiercely loyal. And if I didn’t have many other friends because of her-most girls were intimidated by her looks, or thought she was too pushy, or just flat-out feared for their boyfriends-it never bothered me. I never missed having a wide, thick circle of girlfriends: Rina was more than enough. We were comfortable with each other’s flaws and weaknesses, so we stuck together and kept to ourselves.”

How Dreamland is similar to Donuts in an Empty Field:
· Main character figuring out what she wants and who she wants to be
· Living life without consciousness – letting life happen to her and not happening to life
· Being with one person makes her forget about her problems
· Main character coming to terms with who she is


The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver (Ruby Oliver #1)by E. Lockhart
Contemporary YA/Chick Lit/Realistic Fiction/Humor

Pitch: Ruby Oliver is fifteen and is going through a tough time. Within a few days she goes from a reasonably popular and happy girl to a social pariah whose boyfriend has dumped her for her best friend, whose friends have turned away from her, and the whole school thinks she is a “slut”. And she is getting all the blame. So now she has panic attacks and a poncho-wearing shrink. And she just wants things to go back to normal.

What I loved about this book: This book is set in Seattle! I loved the unusual approach the author took for showing Ruby’s problems and what she was going to do about them. I also really like lists.

My favorite quote(s):
· “Sometimes it’s a good idea to think about what you want from a situation, and try to get it, rather than just blurt out the first thing that comes into your head.”
· “Other people apologize and don’t mean it “Sorry, but you shouldn’t have…” or “Sorry, but I just didn’t…” They apologize while telling you that they were right all along, which is the opposite of an actual apology.”
· “It really bothers me how in books it seems like the only two choices are perfection or self-hatred.”

How The Boyfriend List is similar to Donuts in an Empty Field:
· Main character with panic attacks
· Main character losing her friends
· Tension between main character and her parents
· Scenes at a shrink’s office


Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Contemporary YA/Coming of Age/Chick Lit/Teen/Family/Romance

Pitch: This is about Sydney, who’s always felt invisible, especially next to her older brother. He’s always the center of attention, even when he got in trouble. And then he did something really bad, and suddenly Sydney’s getting more attention. She changes schools, distances herself from her friends, and stumbles upon some new ones.

What I loved about this book: The quirky characters and the fascinating environment the main character was set in. I love how this book fully explored change and whether people can really change.

My favorite quote(s):
· “You only really fall apart in front of the people you know can piece you back together.”
· “That’s the thing, though. You always think you want to be noticed. Until you are.”
· “For most of us, once something was busted, it was game over. I would have loved to know how it felt, just once, to have something fall apart and see options instead of endings.”
· “In every friendship, at some point comes a test. Never before in my experience, however, had it involved food.”
· “There’s no shame in trying to make stuff work, is how I see it. It’s better than just accepting the broken.”
· “I would have loved to know how it felt, just once, to have something fall apart and see options instead of endings.”
· “Relationships evolve, just like people do. Just because you know someone doesn’t mean you know everything about them.”

How Saint Anything is similar to Donuts in an Empty Field:
· Main character living in the shadow of someone else
· Main character figuring out what she wants and who she wants to be
· A best friend who really knows the main character and makes her feel really seen
· Themes of self-discovery, family, and change
· Broken relationships


Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Contemporary YA/Realistic Fiction/Teen/High School/School/Coming of Age/Abuse/Drama

Pitch: A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda’s freshman year in high school.

What I loved about this book: This is one of my favorites books of all time and one of the best YA books I’ve ever read. The author says so much with very few words and those few words were so very powerful. The teen voice in this book was so realistic and interesting.

My favorite quote(s):
· “When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time.”
· “I have survived. I am here. Confused, screwed up, but here. So, how can I find my way? Is there a chain saw of the soul, an ax I can take to my memories or fears?”

How Speak is similar to Donuts in an Empty Field:
· High school drama
· Traumatic event that shapes the way the main character does and views everything
· Sometimes withdrawn main character
· Powerful theme that doesn’t take away from the amazing story being told


The True Meaning of Cleavage by Mariah Fredericks.
Contemporary YA/Realistic Fiction/Teen/High School/School/Coming of Age/Abuse/Drama

Pitch: When Jess and Sari, best friends since seventh grade, begin their freshman year of high school and Sari becomes obsessed with a senior boy, Jess wonders if their friendship will survive.

What I loved about this book: The main character and her best friend were so unique and different, yet they were such good friends. This book showed high school through two very different perspectives, which I really appreciated.

My favorite quote(s):
· “But sometimes I wonder: Does everything in my life have to be about what Sari wants?

How The True Meaning of Cleavage is similar to Donuts in an Empty Field:
· High school drama
· Friends who are opposites but get along well
· Friends that drift apart and are rekindled
· Trying new things
· The importance of appearance
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Local young adult writer, Rachel Barnard, will release the first novel in her young adult For the Love of Donuts series titled Donuts in an Empty Field with Life’s a Book Publishing, June 3rd, 2016 (AKA National Donut Day). Order your copy HERE.

Letting go of anger is life’s greatest challenge.

Vanessa hasn’t been the same since her father’s death. A hero until the end, he died saving a restaurant owner’s son from a burning building. Nessa blames the boy, but her best friend Nichole thinks it’s time to let go of the past. In a last ditch effort to break Nessa’s obsession, Nichole hopes signing up for the local food challenge will bust her out of her shell. A single choice defines the road ahead for Nessa. Doing the right thing isn’t easy, but living with the consequences of doing nothing might be worse.

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