Monday, 7 March 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books To Read If You're In The Mood For A Moving Contemporary

(I know it's Monday; I'm nearly a week behind as I've been busy!!)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

The Last Leaves Falling by Fox Benwell (written as Sarah Benwell) (Definitions) – Fox Benwell’s debut, about a Japanese boy suffering from ALS who turns to the wisdom of the samurai and to new friends made over the internet for comfort, is one of the most moving books I’ve read in years. Beautifully written and with a stunningly emotional ending, this blew me away.

Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne (Headline) – One of the best narrators for a long, long time, Tanya Byrne created a magnificent character in Emily Koll, awaiting trial for a crime which is unknown to the reader for most of the novel. The reveal left me gasping here, but the best thing about the book is the way the author writes a lead who is sympathetic despite her misdeeds.

One by Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury) – Sarah Crossan’s most recent novel, a story in verse about conjoined twins, is a breathtaking and heartbreaking read which beautifully portrays the central relationship between Grace and Tippi.

Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt (Egmont) – Jarratt’s debut, a dual narrative about a girl permanently scarred in a car crash which left her best friend dead and a traveller boy shunned by many of the community, is a magnificent novel. Gorgeously written, hugely moving, and the central relationship is superb.

Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah by Erin Jade Lange (Faber & Faber) – This starts off as a much lighter read than Lange’s previous two books (both also excellent), as four mismatched teens go on the run from corrupt cops, in a stolen police car, after a party goes wrong. I think it’s fun all the way through, but there are also reveals about the teenagers’ backgrounds later on in the book which give it much more depth than I’d thought it had at first. 

Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom (Harper Collins) – Parker Grant is another fantastic lead character here, a blind girl struggling with her father’s death and having to deal with the reappearance of the boy who broke her heart. This has some great humour as well as being very moving – mainly thanks to Parker’s superbly funny voice.

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (Walker) – The ultimate tearjerker and possibly the best YA novel I’ve read, Jandy Nelson’s debut is a heartbreaking story of a girl struggling to cope with the death of her beloved sister. I’m stopping there before I cry again thinking about it…

Radio Silence
by Alice Oseman (Harper Collins)
– I CANNOT yell enough about Alice Oseman’s superb second book. In addition to a really diverse set of characters and a brilliant insight into fandom culture and the joys and perils of being a creator on the internet, there are fantastic friendships done really well here and the different kinds of love shown – between friends, and between Frances and her wonderful mother – are beautifully portrayed.

Black Heart Blue by Louisa Reid (Penguin) – Darker than I normally read but too impossibly compelling to put down, this tearjerker from Louisa Reid is a stunning story. Twins Hephzibah – beautiful – and Rebecca – disfigured – narrate in alternating chapters, Hephzi telling the story of events leading up to her death and Rebecca telling what happened afterwards.

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner (Andersen) – I found the central trio here - Dill, son of a disgraced and jailed preacher, fashion blogger Lydia, and fantasy-obsessed Travis – to be superbly well-written with a great, realistic friendship between them. There is one particular scene here which left me in complete shock, while the Southern Gothic setting is excellently portrayed.

1 comment:

  1. Great list Jim. I just finished One last night and couldn't agree more with you. It's just gorgeous! I also LOVED Heart-Shaped Bruise, just brilliant. I'm going to keep an eye out for the rest of your recommendations.
    Michelle @ The Unfinished Bookshelf