Experts > Amber Dermont

Amber Dermont's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Amber Dermont recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Amber Dermont's favorite book recommendations of all time.


Funny Boy

In the world of his large family, affluent Tamils living in Colombo, Arjie is an oddity, a 'funny boy' who prefers dressing as a girl to playing cricket with his brother.

In FUNNY BOY we follow the life of the family through Arjie's eyes, as he comes to terms both with his own homosexuality and with the racism of the society in which he lives. In the north of Sri Lanka there is a war going on between the army and the Tamil Tigers, and gradually it begins to encroach on the family's comfortable life. Sporadic acts of violence flare into full scale riots and lead, ultimately, to...
Recommended by Amber Dermont, and 1 others.

Amber DermontYes, the consideration of sexuality is so important to part of the character’s life but there’s also so much more going on politically. The book won a Lamda prize which is wonderful. It opens with this really sweet and funny description of this young boy, Arjie, who is seven years old and his favourite game is called ‘bride-bride’ that he plays with his 16-year old cousin. He loves being the... (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...

A riveting, atmospheric debut novel about the bad deeds good people can be driven to.

Every fall, the men of Loyalty Island sail from the Olympic Peninsula up to the Bering Sea, to spend the winter catching king crab. Their dangerous occupation keeps food on the table but constantly threatens to leave empty seats around it.
To Cal, Alaska remains as mythical and mysterious as Treasure Island, and the stories his father returns with are as mesmerizing as those he once invented about Captain Flint before he turned pirate. But while Cal is too young to accompany his father, he is...
Recommended by Amber Dermont, and 1 others.

Amber DermontThis is written by a friend of mine, Nick Dybek. He writes with unbelievable power and detail about the sea. Our books came out in the same year and we both have a character named Cal. Both our novels are set in 1987, and are about the sea and the power of the sea. Nick’s book is a retrospective narrative, the actual events take place when Cal was about 14, and he has an obsession with Treasure... (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...


This Beautiful Life

When fifteen-year-old Jake Bergamot receives—and then forwards to a friend—a sexually explicit video that an eighth-grade admirer sent to him, the video goes viral within hours. The scandal that ensues threatens to shatter his family’s sense of security and identity—and, ultimately, their happiness. This Beautiful Life is a devastating, clear-eyed portrait of modern life that will have readers debating their assumptions about family, morality, and the choices we make in the name of love. less
Recommended by Amber Dermont, and 1 others.

Amber DermontThe teenagers in this book are not just the actual teenagers but also the parents who in some way behave like teenagers – the mother gets stoned walking through the park on the way to pick up her daughter from nursery school. What I love about this book is that it really is one of the great novels about the now, about what it is like to live with all of this technology that mediates so many of... (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...


Miles from Nowhere

A major voice in fiction debuts with the story of a teenage runaway on the streets of 1980s New York.

Teenage Joon is a Korean immigrant living in the Bronx of the 1980s. Her parents have crumbled under the weight of her father's infidelity; he has left the family, and mental illness has rendered her mother nearly catatonic. So Joon, at the age of thirteen, decides she would be better off on her own, a choice that commences a harrowing and often tragic journey that exposes the painful difficulties of a life lived on the margins. Joon's adolescent years take her from a...
Recommended by Amber Dermont, and 1 others.

Amber DermontI love the form of the picaresque novel – a low-born character trying to search out their identity through a variety of different misadventures. Both this book and Funny Boy are playing with the idea of the picaresque, they’re really novels in short-story form. Joon, the runaway in Miles from Nowhere is smart and wise beyond her years. She witnesses the disintegration of her parents’ marriage and... (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...



In Caucasia—Danzy Senna's extraordinary debut novel and national bestseller—Birdie and Cole are the daughters of a black father and a white mother, intellectuals and activists in the Civil Rights Movement in 1970s Boston. The sisters are so close that they have created a private language, yet to the outside world they can't be sisters: Birdie appears to be white, while Cole is dark enough to fit in with the other kids at the Afrocentric school they attend. For Birdie, Cole is the mirror in which she can see her own blackness. Then their parents' marriage falls apart. Their father's new... more
Recommended by Amber Dermont, and 1 others.

Amber DermontThe author, Danzy Senna is just a brilliant, remarkable woman, who is a hero of mine. This novel is about two sisters, Birdie and Cole, their father is black and their mother is white. Birdie looks like her mother and Cole looks like her father and it creates this really conflicted dynamic within the family. The mother is Boston blue bood, but she’s rejecting all that in favour of becoming a... (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...

Don't have time to read Amber Dermont's favorite books? Read Shortform summaries.

Shortform summaries help you learn 10x faster by:

  • Being comprehensive: you learn the most important points in the book
  • Cutting out the fluff: you focus your time on what's important to know
  • Interactive exercises: apply the book's ideas to your own life with our educators' guidance.