Top Ten Tuesday #13

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!

This week’s TTT concerns top 10 books I’ve read in 2013. I’ve read under my usual number of books this year, and I might normally have a difficult time choose just 10 books. 2013, however, has not been my best year for reading–it started off well enough, and then I ran smack into one- and two-star books back-to-back-to-back. It frustrated me and stole a bit of my love for reading. I have read more books that aren’t brilliant but I do like, yet those aren’t enough to make my top ten. It’s only recently that I’m regaining enjoyment through some wonderful books, and I have some enticing reads planned out for the next few weeks. For now, though, here are my favorites of 2013:

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I am the Messenger

1. I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
After reading the heart-wrenching tear-jerker, The Book Thief, I wasn’t too sure that Zusak could impress me as much as he did with his 2006 bestseller. Whether he did or didn’t is hardly the point, as I don’t believe the two novels can compare against each other. The two books are profoundly different, and the one similarity they share is the person who wrote them: the wonderfully talented Markus Zusak. I am the Messenger punched my emotions all around, and at the same time, the story of Ed’s journey and personal growth is both touching and inspiring. If you haven’t read The Book Thief, or if you  have and didn’t enjoy it, I highly recommend giving this a try.

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Teeth

2. Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz
For nearly a month, I did a little dance around the bookstore with Teeth only to sit it back on the shelf. I wanted to buy it–not just read it, but physically own it–yet I had little knowledge of the plot. All for the best, I’d say. I did succumb to the strong urge to buy Hannah Moskowitz’s book, and once I had it I read it and didn’t stop until I hit the last page. It’s gritty, it’s beautiful, and it’s bleak. Some might call the end bittersweet… I think it’s just sad, and it still gets my emotions wound up months after finishing the book. Good on you, Moskowitz — I look forward to reading the rest of her novels!

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Siege and Storm

3. Siege & Storm (The Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo
Us Grisha fans waited a year to see this book’s publication, but how I wanted it to come out sooner–and desperately. Shadow & Bone remains one of my top favorite reads from 2012, just as Siege & Storm will remains one of my favorites from this year. Leigh Bardugo surprised me senseless and silly with how much growth both the characters and storyline undergo, and my one regret in reading Siege & Storm is reading it too soon and too quickly. Why? Because now all I care for is third (and–sob–last) Grisha book, Ruin & Rising, which does not come out until 2014.

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Saving Francesca

4. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
I’m disappointed that it took me this long to read a Melina Marchetta book. I did attempt Finnikin of the Rock–and I admit that just might not be the book for me–but it is Saving Francesca that became my first Marchetta read. It’s  heart-warming and heart-wrenching all at once, and it was well worth the moments my eyes teared up–and it is certainly worth reading for all the moments it made me laugh.

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The Knife of Never Letting Go

5. The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) by Patrick Ness
If anyone is searching for a gripping novel, this is for you. It’s an addicting page-turner where there is no place to pause.  The Knife of Never Letting Go is one of the best, if not the best, young adult dystopian novel I have read. Danger and risks await at every page and lurk in the margins, but more than that, I love the writing and I love the characters. Anyone who’s read this will understand my restless upset over Manchee, but I also enjoy the path that Viola’s and Todd’s friendship take. The villains are nothing but insane (and insanely evil), and more than anything, they are indestructible. (What is up with that?) Yikes.

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Warm Bodies

6. Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) by Isaac Marion
No, I still have not seen the movie–but at least I read the book! I’m not sure where Marion will take this in the sequel, whether it will contain the same characters or introduce an entirely set that live in the same universe. Either way, Warm Bodies surprised me with its lucid eloquence and its equally intelligent characters. For a zombie, R shows keen perception of his environment and complex thought, and I enjoyed reading his journey of self-exploration and finding love.

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Dr. Bird's Advice

7. Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos
I took an instant liking toward Rosko’s protagonist, James Whitman. He’s endearing without trying, and he’s likable on an adorable level where I’d hug him if he were real. Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets tells the story of sixteen year old James and his struggle against depression, anxiety, and life itself. (Oh, and his therapist is an imaginary pigeon.) Books of this nature are typically “gritty” and mood-dampeners, but Rosko’s novel takes after the humor found in Ned Vizinni’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story. The story is not without flaws, but I enjoyed reading it nonetheless–and I intend to give it another go this summer.

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Alanna

8. Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness #1) by Tamora Pierce
I finally did it: I read a Tamora Pierce novel! Alanna: The First Adventure makes the one and only Pierce novel I have read, but not for long. I have the rest of the series on hand, and–if I’m lucky–I can move onto Pierce’s next series within the next few weeks. Alanna is a strong and determined character who makes an excellent role model for young readers. I wasn’t blown away by the writing or world-building, but it did entertain me — I’m eager to see where Alanna’s journey leads (and I’m excited to read through more of Tamora Pierce’s series)!

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Alex Woods

9. The Universe versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence
The Universe Versus Alex Woods is the most recent book I have finished, and my review is scheduled to post soon — it’s a wonderful coming-of-age story about the very peculiar Alex Woods and his friendship with war veteran Mr. Peterson. The writing sits on the slow but steady side of pacing, yet I find the novel smart like its narrator (even if he is young and naïve).

 

Which of your 2013 reads make the top of your list?

Top Ten Tuesday #12

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!

This week’s TTT is: 10 books at the top of my Summer TBR list, and frankly, it’s a bit impossible for me to give anyone a straight answer. I have more books I want to read than books that are coming out this summer, and I often choose what I read on whim — I’m more of a mood-reader than anything else. This list is mostly comprised of older books with just a few ones set to release in these upcoming months. I look forward to all, however! Several weeks ago I wanted nothing but light chick-lit before moving on to “gritty” contemporaries, and now all I care about are fantasy and steampunk titles. I guarantee that this list will change–just give me another week or two and I’ll find a different genre to obsess over.

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Wildwood Dancing

1. Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
Marillier’s Wildwood Dancing was recently recommended to me, and I’ve wanted to read it ever since. Caught in a web of ARCs and other books to review, though, I am grudgingly holding off. In the mean time, I steal as many glances as I can at its beautiful cover and enticing summmary.

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Airman

2. Airman by Eoin Colfer
This is one book I recently stumbled across on my own, and its steampunk aspect is only half of the appeal. When Conor, the main character, attempts to intervene in a conspiracy against the king, he is branded a traitor and locked away. The only hope to escape imprisonment and off the island lies in flight, and Conor must put his designs in luck’s hands as he tests his designs. The Artemis Fowl series never grabbed my interest, but Airman certainly has my intrigue.

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Crown Duel

3. Crown Duel (Omnibus) by Sherwood Smith
I first discovered Crown Duel on one of my many book-hunts on Goodreads, and I fell for the summary. Not only that, but as a devout fan of Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina (watch out, because I will push and push this book on you, and then I will push some more even after you’ve read it), this book has come recommended to me by other readers of Seraphina. I attempted Crown Duel once before, but I was sidetracked into sitting it down. Hopefully that will no be the case the second time around.

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Image courtesy of Scholastic Canada

Image courtesy of Scholastic Canada

4. ANYTHING and EVERYTHING by Tamora Pierce
No one will gasp in horror and shock anymore. I will read Tamora Pierce. I will. I’m due to pick up her Song of the Lioness series at the library, even–and yes, that is the entire series I’m picking up.

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The Ghost Bride

5. The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
I am particularly excited to read Yangsze Choo’s book, and for reasons that I can’t pin-point. Plots that handle the afterlife and incorporate folklore or fairy tales, and introduce creatures that spook you in the night–spirits, demons, and even dragons–are irresistible to me. Choo’s novel is not a purely unique story, as you can find several like it, but I’m curious to see Choo’s own twist on this tale.

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Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

6. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
The less I know about this series the more I will enjoy it–that’s what I gather from Jemisin’s trilogy. Sometimes, when I let the criticism and insight of other readers sink in, I feel like my curiosity and interest becomes clouded. From what I do know, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms sounds wonderfully different and fresh, and I look forward to getting lost in its pages.

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The Bone Season

7. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
For someone who’s been dubbed “the next J.K. Rowling,” I think Shannon’s The Bone Season has pressure bearing down on it. Although why Samantha Shannon and her work have been compared to Rowling, I can’t say, because the only similarity between these two writers seems to be a seven-part series. Some hype is rumbling, however, and I’m catching it. You can say I’m eager to read The Bone Season for myself, but the excitement bubbling in parts of the book blogging community hasn’t prevented my skepticism. I’m excited all right, but wary, although I do hope to enjoy Shannon’s book when it’s released.

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A Darkness Strange & Lovely

8. A Darkness Strange & Lovely by Susan Dennard
Us SS&D readers are still waiting on this! And I want it this instant. A Darkness Strange & Lovely is the sequel to Susan Dennard’s Something Strange & Deadly, and while it took several months for the first book to grow on me after completing it, I am eager to see where Eleanor Fitt’s journey to Paris takes her. (I will not deny that I am also hoping for a spectacular steampunk gadget-hand! Those who read the first book know what I’m talking about. Cue for all-knowing wink: wink.)

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Image courtesy of Brain Foggles

Image courtesy of Brain Foggles

9. Harry Potter Books # 2 – 4 by J.K. Rowling (re-reads)
I finally went through on my promise to at least re-start Harry Potter when I read and reviewed the first book. Back when Harry Potter & the Deathly Hollows was first released, I made it through about half of the book. A friend spoiled me silly, school started, and horror of horrors: I couldn’t recall what a horcrux was. I didn’t think it was possible for to forget something so vital, but it is. In an effort to reach and finish the last book, I’m venturing through all the HP books again. Because I want to read hoards of books, I hope to read up to the fourth book this summer.

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The Orphanage of Miracles

10. The Orphanage of Miracles by Amy Neftzger
I won a free copy of Neftzger’s book through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers’ May giveaway batch, and I was delighted to open my mailbox this week to find it. I was hoping The Orphanage of Miracles would arrive while I’m still on a fantasy-high, and it did — I can’t wait to start reading this!

>>Notable Mentions:

Which books do you want to read this summer?

Top Ten Tuesday #11

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!

This Top Ten Tuesday prompt is a fun one, I think: favorite covers of books I’ve read*, also known as covergasms. It’s preferable if a story proves as wondrous as its cover art, but even if I loathe a book, you can find me drooling over its eye-candy front. Here are a mere ten books (with extra notable mentions) whose fancy covers caught my eye:

Can a person ever go wrong when it comes to a Barnes & Noble cover? I love their paperbacks, even. My Grimms’ Fairy Tales copy is part of B&N’s leatherbound collection, gifted by an old friend, and I’ve never stopped adoring the cover. My one complaint is that the page edges are frosted in a sparkling gold, which–as I learned the sad way–easily brushes off.

The cover to Connolly’s The Book of Lost Things, although without golden pages, reminds me of a few B&N hardbacks: it’s simple but elegant-looking. Seraphina is all-around love, however, as I equally adore Hartman’s writing as I do the cover. The sepia provides a medieval appearance with a flavor of fantastic (dragons!). It does have a few rusty smudges, which is part of the artwork — though I have a terrible urge to wipe them off!

Mr. Fox

4. Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi

I read the edition on the left-hand side, although I fancy both covers. The cover on the right is very Old Hollywood-esque, by my favorite, however, is from the copy I read. I remember spotting it in the library and deciding to grab it on whim after reading the jacket blurb. Although Oyeyemi presents a rather confusing storyline, I enjoyed each tale, which I think the cover represents well.

books 5 - 6 TTT

5. Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos
6. How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford

These two books are triple-threats: simple cover designs that scream awesome, quirky titles, and great writing. While I’m attracted to the covers to both of these books, it’s the titles that I gravitated toward. The titles are entirely their own, possessing a unique quality shared by the stories that are bound between the covers. I don’t have the words for the cover of How to Say Goodbye in Robot other than “covergasmic love” and “I’m sure more boys would read this if the cover wasn’t pink!” Rosko’s cover, on the other hand, feels fresh. Considering that I find the story quite different from others like it, I think the cover suits the story.

The Rabbits

7. The Rabbits by John Marsden & Shaun Tan

I am a huge fan of Shaun Tan’s art in general, but The Rabbits–among a couple of other Shaun Tan books–is what I consider one of his best works. As art and text combine to communicate a powerful message, The Rabbits tells an allegoric tale about colonization. The cover does a wonderful job in revealing the story’s tense atmosphere, and–of course–it’s another showcase of Shaun Tan’s genius.

Jelly Roll

8. Jelly Roll: A Blues by Kevin Young

Jelly Roll: A Blues has remained near the top of my “books with awesome covers” list since I first discovered it in 2011. The faded wash and phonograph offer a subtle quiet, but there is also a jaunty, fun-hearted feeling that jumps at the reader. It’s a modernized old soul, very “blues-y,” equipped with inventive language that knows how to lament and praise. With a complementary color scheme to boot, I don’t think you can ask for a better cover.

books 9 - 10 TTT

9. The End of the Alphabet by C.S. Richardson
10. The Merchant & the Alchemist’s Gate by Ted Chiang

The End of the Alphabet and The Merchant & the Alchemist’s Gate both have a Saharan or Middle Eastern feel to their covers, which initially attracted me. Covers that flaunt their fancy designs without superfluous detail will always win my adoration, but I appreciate artwork that feels more simple yet has a mighty voice. The End of the Alphabet is eye-pleasing, although the story didn’t take me where I had hoped it would based on the cover. Chiang’s novella, however, brought me everywhere I’d hoped and then some — something that I feel the cover does well in preparing prospective readers for.

>>Notable Mentions:

TTT nb 1

TTT nb 2

*My list would be endless if I could include books sitting on my TBR list!

What are some of your favorite book covers? Comment below or link me to your TTT post — I’d love to know!

Top Ten Tuesday #10

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!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt concerns books I’m sure I would go crazy without, and those are all the light and fun novels out there. Life becomes hectic, and sometimes the best relief I find comes in the form of quick, fun books. Here are some of my favorites to recommend:

1. Something Strange & Deadly by Susan Dennard

Okay, I unwrapped the mystery on this one. Dennard couldn’t fool me, but she did satisfy my never-ending reading obsession. The plot fell weak in my opinion, but the story overall holds a light tone with a hint of adventure prickling the air. As the sequel won’t be released until July, I look forward to the short story of A Dawn Most Wicked, which comes out next month.

SSanD

2. Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Siege and StormShadow and BoneShadow & Bone makes me want to chuck it at people and make them read it. Bardugo’s writing is pinched in the right amount of detail with swift pacing, and my only regret is that I read through her book too quickly. I tried, I really did try, to slow down, but I realized Shadow & Bone is one of those books I couldn’t walk away from. That’s not to say the story is perfect — near the halfway mark it becomes easy to spot the antagonist and uncoil his plot. Regardless, it didn’t detract from my reading experience, which was rather fun. Now I’m left counting down the days for its sequel — out this June!

Anna and the French Kiss3. Anna & French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I don’t usually recommend chick-lit, yet alone read it very often. Anna & the French Kiss, however, is equally light and fun riddled in some proper drama. I remember reading this smack in the height of stress during a biology course, and this book was the perfect remedy. Perkins kept me sane. I think Anna is a relatable character, if not frustrating at times, and although the book is predictable, it accomplishes what it should for its genre.

4. The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges

The Gathering Storm reminds me of a cross between Bardugo’s Shadow & Bone and Dennard’s Something Strange & Deadly. The story follows Duchess Katerina Alexandrovna through the glitz and glam of Imperial Russia’s high society as she comes to terms with a disturbing power: necromancy. Filled with creatures from faeries to vampires, Bridges also includes romance and conspiracy. It sounds like a lot to bundle, yet it’s surprisingly light and fast-paced. I still have the sequel to read, and the third and final installment comes out this August!

TGS

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I suppose this isn’t exactly “light” in context, eh? I’m cheating a bit here. Despite its violence, which –and correct me if I’m wrong, because it’s been a while — felt tamed, The Hunger Games is suspenseful and action-packed. It’s not the same type of  “light and fun” as other titles I mentioned so far, but I promise it is highly addicting. With the second film coming out this year, I highly encourage those who haven’t read the books to read them now. If you like the movies,  you’ll enjoy the series. (I warn you, though, Mockingjay is a depressing one.)

The Hunger Games

The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate6. The Merchant & the Alchemist’s Gate by Ted Chiang

At 60 pages, Chiang’s novella might be short but it’s bound to make readers think. I always intended to review this story, and maybe someday I will, but for now it remains on my shelf of beloved books. Within this story lie several other stories with a prominent theme. Overall, this is a very easy-flowing and enjoyable book to sit down with, have a cup a of tea, and relax. To provide a sense of what The Merchant & the Alchemist’s Gate is about, I think its Goodreads summary best describes it:

It’s a story that includes not just buried treasure and a band of thieves, but also men haunted by their past and others trapped by their future; it includes not just a beloved wife and a veiled seductress, but also long journeys taken by caravan and even longer ones taken with a single step. Above all, it’s a story about recognizing the will of Allah and accepting it, no matter what form it takes.

Angus Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging7. Angus, Thongs, & Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

If you are in need of a good laugh, I recommend the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson. I’ve only read the first book in the series, but it gave me plenty of genuine laugh-out-loud moments. Anyone who’s lived through an awkward adolescence will appreciate the humor, and Georgia just might provoke your own pre-teen flashbacks with a laugh.

The Importance of Being Earnest8. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

I still have a collection of Oscar Wilde plays sitting on my desk (yes, my desk, because I’m so certain I’ll read it “soon” that I refuse to place it back on the shelf), but The Importance of Being Earnest remains the only one I have read. It’s smart, witty, and precise — a brilliant little play that mocks high society with light satire and humor that’ll have you coming back for seconds, possibly more. Wilde’s play is a classic I never tire of and simply adore.

Don Juan9. Don Juan by Molière

Yet another little play that I had fun reading for the light atmosphere and charming humor. Don Juan, or Dom Juan (also called The Feast with the Statue), is the third play in Molière’s hypocrisy trilogy. I can’t say I’ve read the first two plays, although I do have my eye on them. Until then, I’m left with the fond memories of reading Don Juan, which remains a work of literature I continually recommend.

Lips Touch10. Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

This is a compilation of three short stories, each one different from the other yet connected by thematic elements. I must admit that I never did finish the third story, and maybe someday I will return to it. However, I did enjoy the second story quite a bit (it remains my favorite of the three), and the book overall is a light, pleasurable way to pass time.

››Notable Mentions:

The Melancholy Death of Oyster BoyThe Last MusketeerDr. Bird's Advice for Sad PoetsAn Idiot Girl's Christmas

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?