Nicholas Sparks published his debut novel "The Notebook" in October of 1996. 21 years later, Sparks is still writing and his fans still adore his work (he is my favorite author). Out of his twenty novels so far, eleven of them have been made into films. While the movies and the books they are based on are all excellent, his nine other novels are amazing as well. There are five in particular that are my personal favorites and I would love to see them be made into movies. If you have not read these five Sparks books, add them to your reading list immediately because they are just as good (if not better) than his more popular work.
5. "Two By Two"
Sparks' most recent novel is an instant classic. This is a story that will remind you that no one's life is perfect and how everything an change in an instant. The main character, Russ, used to have a seemingly perfect life. However, after things take an unexpected turn, Russ finds himself virtually starting over with his young daughter. This novel is different from Sparks' other work because it really highlights the unique bond and unconditional love between parent and child that persists even under difficult circumstances.
4. "See Me"
"See Me" is a bit different than Sparks' other novels. The two main characters, Colin and Maria, seem to be opposites who have very different backgrounds. Colin is trying to follow the right track and improve his life but he has a past that makes Maria weary of him. Maria seems to have her life together with her career as a lawyer and her close relationship with her family. However, while Maria worries if Colin has really changed from the person he used to be, it is her past demons that end up threatening everything. This is a story that becomes extremely suspenseful and slightly reminiscent of a "Dateline" episode that you will not be able to put down. Sparks perfectly combines a love story with elements of a crime drama. Full of mystery, emotion, and love, "See Me" is a true modern-day novel that will leave you on the edge of your seat. This is not a predictable book and I highly recommend it.
3. "The Rescue"
"The rescue" is an outstanding book. It easily could have been ranked as number one or two on this list because it is that good. The relationship between the main characters Denise, her son Kyle, and Taylor is unlike any other. The three characters are introduced after Kyle, who has severe learning disabilities, goes missing and volunteer fireman Taylor has to try and find him. Denise has sacrificed everything to take care of her son as a single mom. The book details what having a child with learning disabilities is like. Nothing is sugar coated: the frustration, joy, difficulties, struggle for hope, and the constant worry of raising a child with learning disabilities are all accurately depicted in this novel. Taylor seems like the perfect guy but he has always had commitment issues in relationships. As he grows closer to Denise, the heartbreaking reasons for his commitment issues finally come out and if he does not finally deal with them, then he will find himself alone once again. This is one of my favorite Sparks novels and I was so surprised at how good this book was.
2. "A Bend In The Road"
"A Bend In The Road" is truly extraordinary. I loved this book so much. The main characters are Miles and Sarah. Miles lost his wife, the love of his life, in a hit and run accident two years ago. He is a deputy in his town's police department and is still trying to find the person responsible for his wife's death. He meets Sarah through his son, Jonah, since she is his teacher. Sarah is also scarred from her difficult divorce which is why she just moved to New Bern, North Carolina in order to get a fresh start. The two are drawn to each other but Sarah has a surprising connection to Miles' wife which will threaten their relationship and the chance for both of them to finally be happy again. This book is a true page-turner and comes with a shocking surprise. Sometimes, you have to forgive in order to love again and to finally move on. This is a masterpiece from Nicholas Sparks that I highly recommend (I struggled putting this one as number two instead of number one on this list).
1. "The Guardian"
"The Guardian" is my absolute favorite. As great as the other books on this list are, this one just takes the cake. If you are an animal/dog lover, you will adore this novel. Julie is the main character and her incredible dog was a gift that her deceased husband had delivered to her after his death. Their relationship is amazing and her dog really helps Julie cope with the loss of her husband. He is also her greatest protector. Soon, Julie considers dating a man named Richard or her husband's old friend, Mike. Julie wisely follows her instincts about the two men but that leaves someone angry and looking for revenge. This book is not at all predictable and you will never see the plot twist that comes around. It gets more intense than I ever expected it to but that made it into a book that I could not put down. This book deals with love, loss, jealousy, protection, happiness, fear, and the unbreakable bond between a dog and his owner. You just have to read this book. It surprised me so much and I never expected to love it as much as I do (it would also make a fantastic film)! This is Nicholas Sparks at his finest and is one of his absolute best novels.