By Seija Rankin
December 15, 2020 at 02:00 PM EST
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Credit: Illustration by EW

With the generation’s blisteringly open tales of sex, drugs, and devastating credit-card debt, the struggle has, quite literally, never been more real — or readable. Below, the three novels that inhabited the millennial ethos the most this year.

Luster by Raven Leilani

The must-’gram galley of the spring became the must-read title of the summer among millennials, thanks to an eye-catching cover, a compulsively readable plot—about a struggling book-publishing assistant — and the narrator’s darkly funny social commentary. Luster’s effect is not dissimilar to a meme, if a meme won literary awards. Fam, this book is all of us.

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan

The Sally Rooney-ification of literature landed right on schedule with Dolan’s novel about an Irish twenty-something living in Hong Kong, freeloading off a banker friend (with benefits) while attempting to quote-unquote discover herself. It relies on the style, coined by the Normal People author, of briskly straightforward sentences, which would seem rote if it weren’t so spot-on.

Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener

The memoirist serves tech-start-up millennial here — a very specific subset that reeks of performance fleece, fair-trade pour-over coffee, and those fold-up bicycles. But this is no sycophantic story of Silicon Valley and its ideals — Wiener fillets the industry (and the men who run it) in this tell-all about her desultory stint in customer service at a Big Data company.

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