Top Ten Tuesday #9

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Click here to read more and join!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Click here to read more and join!

Guess what this week’s Top Ten Tuesday’s prompt is all about? My favorite thing: book recommendations! And here are ten I suggest the most:

Between Shades of Gray How to Say Goodbye in Robot SeraphinaIt's Kind of a  Funny Story Looking for Alaska The Arrival The Book Thief 2 The Perks of Being a Wallflower










1. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Sadly, I’m always too wrapped up in other books to read Ruta Sepetys’ debut novel a second time. At some point, which I hope is this year, I would love to re-read and even review it. Ruta is one talented writer who, despite the stark atmosphere of this novel, manages to sprout hope between the pages. With writing so swift and striking, it’s no wonder that I recommend this book so often. It’s not that Between Shades of Gray is only well-written and tactful–and with a great protagonist to top it off–but the novel sheds light on a piece of history that’s been hidden in the shadows. Whether you have or have not read this book, I also highly recommend that anyone watch the ‘promotional trailer’ of sorts here.

2. How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
Another book I recommend often is Natalie Standiford’s How To Say Goodbye in Robot. As far as young adult contemporary/realistic fiction goes, I have yet to encounter any similar book and I don’t think I ever will. Standiford’s novel stands alone, which–regardless of its flaws–is great. I discuss a little of the book in this post, but I of course prefer that you check out the book instead — and read it!

3. Seraphina (Seraphina #1) by Rachel Hartman
I was crazy about Seraphina before it was published, and now I’m all sorts of crazy amplified by ten just waiting on the sequel. Although I’ve been successful in persuading others to read Hartman’s glamorousandkick-ass novel, I don’t think any amount of converts will please me because I just need to talk about this book ALL THE TIME. Hands down, I adore Seraphina as a character — she is an intensely smart, observant individual who is not simply relatable, but beautiful inside and out. My review can be read here, but I also mention Seraphina in this post as well.

4. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
First, I desperately plead, do not judge this book by its movie. The two are quite different in my opinion, and in all places where the movie flounders the book prevails. Out of many young adult novels I’ve read that deal with mental health, I feel that Vizzini nails it. Craig embodies the emotions of those who live with and have experienced depression, and what I admire most of all is how Vizzini works in humor. Yes: this is a novel about depression that is not depressing. Who’d have thought? Instead, the book is an uplifting story as it follows a boy’s one-week stay in a mental hospital after choosing not to kill himself.

5. Looking for Alaska by John Green
I may never love another John Green novel as much as I love Looking for Alaska, because I’m still waiting for its equal. This book, alongside one other, is what hooked me into exploring young adult literature. Miles “Pudge” Halter is a rather sentimental guy, quite thoughtful, and he undergoes a memorable coming-of-age experience. Off at boarding school, he finds his place among life-long friends and in a sad turn of events, loses one. This novel is sincere but balanced well by John Green’s trademark wit, and I have the feeling that Looking for Alaska will have a special place on my shelf for years to come.

6. The Arrival by Shaun Tan
Shaun Tan’s work in The Arrival stunned me speechless. However wordless (that goes for the book and myself), Tan shows the wonder in his artistic ability through cinematic-like images. The story follows a man as he journeys away from his homeland only to arrive in a foreign world, filled with odd devices and customs, and even odder creatures. It’s an old tale to tell: the story of an immigrant, and what sets The Arrival apart is how Shaun Tan breathes life into it with impressive images. A lot of work–you might not think–went into creating this book, which you can read about (and view pages from the book!) by clicking here.

7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Maybe some day I will get the knots out of my tongue to properly review this page-turner. Until then, I will slap it across the head of anyone willing to listen. You might think a smack from a 550-page book would hurt, but that is nothing in comparison to what its words and characters do to your heart. Death, as a narrator, does a spectacular job — even when he spoils the ending way ahead of time — because he’s much more human than he likes to think, and I swear there’s a heart and soul trapped in the pages.

8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
This is one of those book that, if I catch you insulting it, I will smack you silly across the face. …In my head. I won’t really abuse your face til it’s red and raw, but I’m rather attached –unfortunately?–and I will judge. There are people who easily dismiss Chbosky’s book because of its lasting popularity, and I’m happy to say that I picked this up on whim. I had no previous knowledge of this book, but a friend listed it as one of her favorite reads. Trusting her taste, I gave it a go as well and fell in love.

There Are No Children Here A Monster Calls

9. There Are No Children Here by Alex Kotlowitz
There Are No Children Here was required reading for my sociology class, and reading it had me deeply interested in the lives of these two boys. Far from simply informative, it’s heart-wrenching and mind-opening — even more so because it isn’t fiction. This is the true story, as told by Alex Kotlowitz, of Lafeyette and Pharoah growing up in “the other America.”

10. A Monster Calls written by Patrick Ness, inspired by Siobhan Dowd, and illustrated by Jim Kay
I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s honest and keenly written with certain awareness. From the moment I started reading I could see no happy ending, which–to be honest–was not what I’d expected. Unaware of the story, I believed a spooky tale lie ready for reading, and how completely wrong I was. It is unusual for me to like a book, and more to love a book, when initial expectations are struck down, and it’s not often that literature brings real tears dripping down my face.

Which books do you recommend most often?

25 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday #9

      • Seraphina is great! I’m sure all of my regular readers are sick to death of hearing me talk about it so often.

        Do you mean the button for an e-mail subscription? I’ll see if it’s fixable and hopefully not a nasty glitch. You can also subscribe to my feed through either the RSS link on the side of my page (I hope that’s working!) or through your bookmarking. (:

  1. The Book Thief is such a wonderful book, very readable but with a lot to say. I haven’t met anyone who’s read it and disliked it.

    • I agree, although I’ve met a few people who just couldn’t connect to it. I adore the book in it’s entirety — wonderfully written with a full set of characters I can’t help but love.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  2. Yay for Looking For Alaska and A Monster Calls! I don’t know why it didn’t even occur to me to recommend The Book Thief. I guess I assumed that most people had read it and know about the upcoming movie. Ahaha I’m surprised you didn’t include Shadow & Bone ;). You usually included it when you include Seraphina in any kind of list lol.I probably should get a move on on reading Between Shades of Gray.

    • I bump into a lot of people in real life and in the bookish community who either haven’t read The Book Thief or they don’t like it/like it as much. I’m always so shocked!

      Ha, I know. Shadow & Bone crossed my mind, but then I thought of other books that mean more to me, and I couldn’t pass them up. But I’m very excited for the sequel — I got my preorder and everything. Just waiting for June to roll around.

      Yes, do! I think you’ll really enjoy Between Shades of Gray.

      • I’m shocked when people don’t like The Book Thief either, but then people are shocked when I say I didn’t like TFioS. It makes me feel bad lol.

        The cover for Seige and Storm (that’s the second book in the Grisha trilogy right?) looks sooo awesome :). I really like the cover designs for that series. I’ll let you know when I do read Between Shades of Gray :).

      • Oh, I know — same here! I feel bad when people rave about TFiOS, and it’s like I’m the only one around who didn’t enjoy the book.

        Yup, Siege & Storm is the second book. The covers are pretty, aren’t they? I’m already excited to see what the third Grisha book will look like, but that won’t be out until 2014.

      • I wasn’t sure how to respond to your other comment- I couldn’t figure out which reply button I was supposed to click, but anyways lol yes about TFioS. I’m always hesitant to tell people I didn’t like it because people seem to be so offended when I say it was an ‘okay’ book. In a way it almost makes me regret reading John Green’s work. I mean when people say Harry Potter is ‘okay’ I’m just like.. I’m sorry what? But I leave it at that. But sometimes people go so far as to convince those who didn’t like the book that they MUST see it this way because it is how it is supposed to be. I’ve seen some people who gave it TFioS two stars being told not so nice things about their opinion and you’re just think just chill out people. I’m sure John Green wouldn’t be very happy if people who read the book were attacked….He should be grateful that people actually read the book.

        The covers are SO pretty for The Grisha Trilogy! Okay note to self do not buy the books, not until you finish your already large tbr pile.

      • It really bothers me when people act that way over books — or anything, really. I mean: yes, I feel protective over my favorite reads, but I don’t expect everyone to share the same opinion.

        That reminds me: have you heard of that girl on YouTube who’s fanatical about anything Twilight-related? I think was late in discovering her videos, but she has a mad reaction over the Breaking Dawn trailer! It’s amusing, actually.

        Ha ha, I shouldn’t be buying more books either, and I’ve already got a “short” to-buy list! Like always.

      • I know! Some of the things people say, you’re just thinking “I really hope you’re not like this in real life, because you make me want to throw my chai tea latte at you.” People are so passive-aggressive online. You notice it on discussion boards for courses as well. Some people just outright attack you. I mean you don’t want people to have the same opinion all the time. You want to know why people see things the way they do. I mean if John Green said jump in the well, I’d like to assume many people would not follow his comment and just be like ‘yeah right’ instead of “OMG John Green said this.”

        And nooo I haven’t seen this Twilight girl, do you mind sending me the link so I can be amused lol?

      • Ha! And it’s true. There are quite a few people who will let loose some rather rude comments like there are no consequences. As if the entire planet’s population should hold the same opinion as them! It’s very damaging for that person’s reputation and extremely irritating if you happen to bump into someone like that. Honestly, unless I know the blogger or person, I avoid TFiOS discussions with TFiOS/John Green fans. I’d rather not have my head bitten off!
        It’s funny you mention discussion boards, because I was thinking back to my lifespan psych class. It was both face-to-face and online. One guy had the habit of making his responses too personal and insulting people he knew (but weren’t in the class). It was inappropriate. I’m used to seeing more respect since it’s still an academic setting.

        Here’s the video: (: She has a ton of reaction videos up. There was one about Twilight haters — it reminded me about what we’re talking of, but I can’t find seem to it.

      • I know what you mean, Whenever people talk about TFioS I’m thinking “Savindi please do not open your mouth unless you think it’s absolutely necessary.These are John Green fans and they might take your opinion offensively.” But then I think okay seriously my opinion counts. It’s a valid one. If they enjoyed the book, good for them, but they can’t say that my opinion isn’t valid. After all I did love LFA. So I’m not saying John Green is a bad writer, it’s just that his newest book wasn’t upto par as his debut. This review for TFioS made me laugh I think it summed up my emotions perfectly. Also did you think A Monster Calls was a better book than TFioS?
        I took this world religions course in the summer after my second year I think and there was this girl who was quite religious and she flew off the handle when this one girl talked about how she appreciated Buddhist teachings and stuff. And this girl took it as an insult to Catholicism or something like that. All the time I kept thinking where as my TA? Why isn’t she doing anything when my head is bitten off? But I guess it’s hard to moderate classes online. Hence one reason I never liked classes with discussions online, especially philosophy and religion ones lol.

        Ahahah thanks for the link. I’ll check it out for sure :).

      • That review summarizes everything that I feel and think toward TFiOS and then some. I really do feel that it’s an over-hyped book, largely because it’s *John Green*, but also because it’s *John Green* with a cancer (!) book. I sometimes resent that I read it. The book, overall, didn’t feel sincere to me. Too much wit, humor, and this-is-my-metaphorical-killing-cigarette-said-Augustus for me to enjoy it. It’s like the issue at hand and any proper grief was masked, and the story became emotionally handicapped. I could go on!

        Yes, definitely! A Monster Calls is wonderfully crafted and has superiority if you make a comparison to TFiOS. It’s honest and introspective, I think, and that is what allowed me to make a strong emotional connection. It’s okay that other readers adore TFiOS and want to think it’s a beautiful story, but it wasn’t memorable for me. A Monster Calls is memorable (for me, anyway), as well as touching, and that’s important to me when finding a great book. (:

        Wow — one might ask her what she’s doing in a world religions class if she’s not willing to be open toward respecting other religions! Ahh, I’ve met a few people like that. I always try to my hardest to avoid them, ha ha.

    • I hope you and Standiford’s book are a good match! (: It’s not perfect by any means, but quite different from other YA novels I’ve read. I couldn’t help but like it.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  3. This is perhaps a blasphemous question, but if you had to pick just ONE book to recommend to someone who has limited time to read (yes, that would be me), which one would it be? Maybe I should have already guessed the answer to this question but I’m asking it anyway. ;)

    • Just ONE book? Oh my gosh, it’s difficult to name only one because I have five armfuls ready to dump on you. It depends on your mood and which kind of book you’re looking to read, but I’d suggest I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. I recently read it, and I think it’s very easy to get into. It’s a light read with a great theme and a non-intimidating page count. If you’re short on reading time that is what I’d go for. (:

  4. Great list! I have only read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which I need to reread before I finally watch the movie, loved that one. I heard great things about The Book Thief before, I should finally get to read it… And while Between Shades of Gray seems like something I would not pick up judging from the description, it gets awesome reviews by friends and others on Goodreads, I think I’m going to read that one soon! How to Say Goodbye in Robot and It’s Kind of a Funny Story sound interesting as well.

    • I’m holding off on the Perks film as well so that I can re-read the book! It’s been a few years, and it’s a chance to experience the book all over again. The Book Thief is touching, or at least I think so (as is Between Shades of Gray!), and I’m excited to gobble up any news about the movie they’re producing (:

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