Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
Boarding schools - I grew up reading Jennings, the Chalet School, and the Trebizon series. I'm not sure I'd ever have wanted to go to a boarding school myself, but they're fascinating to read about.
A favourite: So many to choose from, but Lucy Truman's gorgeous illustrations for the recent Egmont editions of Anne Digby's Trebizon books work perfectly with the delightful stories.
Books told in letters, emails, etc – I’m a huge fan of books that aren’t told just as straight narratives, and love letters, e-mails, notes, transcripts, and so on being added in.
A favourite: I really love Jaclyn Moriarty’s quartet of contemporary novels about penpals in two Australian schools, particularly Finding Cassie Crazy and Dreaming of Amelia.
Childhood sweethearts/crushes reuniting – I am not hugely romantic, to be honest, but I have a soft spot for stories about people who were in love as children finally getting together.
A favourite: Molli Moran’s One Song Away is a gorgeous story of a girl moving back home and persuading her old best friend to pose as her fake boyfriend. The pair fall for each other, of course…
Small town settings – Coming from a fairly small village where I knew most of my immediate neighbours really well, it’s kind of strange being in London and barely knowing anyone who lives near me. I love reading about small towns where everyone knows each other’s business and looks after each other.
A favourite: Sweet Pizza by GR Gemin – Gemin’s first two novels, Cowgirl and Sweet Pizza, are both gorgeously evocative MG stories set in the same small Welsh town. I think this one captures the feel of the place perfectly, as main character Joe tries to spice up his family’s run-down café with a little Italian flavour in tribute to his heritage.
Big families – I find family dynamics really interesting to read about, especially when there’s either a large number of siblings or several generations living in close proximity.
A favourite: When We Collided by Emery Lord – Jonah and Vivi are a stunning couple in this contemporary novel, but I really adored Jonah’s relationship with his siblings and mother, and the way Vivi got to know them all.
Wales – I’m from Wales, and rarely get to read books set there, so on the occasions I do it REALLY sticks in my mind.
A favourite: Jenny Nimmo’s The Snow Spider trilogy (especially the first book) was a childhood favourite which is still a fabulous read (and works both as a fantasy for children, and a study of grief.)
Asexual representation – Okay, compared to books set in Wales, books with ace characters are FAR rarer. However they’re becoming more common, at least, and I’m super-excited by this.
A favourite: This Song Is (Not) For You, by Laura Nowlin, is a stunning love triangle between a straight girl, straight guy and an ace guy. Super-romantic and awesome!
‘End of an era’ feeling – I love reading about or watching something coming to an end, whether that’s a time period, a relationship, or something else. (A couple of favourite films of mine include The Last Days of Disco, where the characters catch the end of the disco craze, and Cat Ballou, set in the dying days of the Old West.)
A favourite: Paper Towns by John Green captures the strange, slightly surreal feeling of a year group’s final weeks in school better than any other book I’ve read.
Personal recommendations – I don’t really bother looking at average ratings, or reviews from people I don’t know, but there are a few bloggers and friends who can always interest me in a book – especially my best friend Debbie, who blogs at Snuggling on the Sofa.
A favourite: A recent rec from Debbie was I Have No Secrets by Penny Joelson, a really exciting read about Jemma, a girl with severe cerebral palsy who can’t communicate with anyone. Her carer’s boyfriend taunts her by telling her he’s responsible for a murder that has recently taken place. When the possibility of a way to communicate becomes available, her life faces change.
Mismatched teams – I love the relationships possible when a team has to work together to solve a problem, especially when they wouldn’t normally get on.
A favourite: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, and sequel Crooked Kingdom, are fabulous fantasy heist novels about a sextet of daring adventurers trying to pull off a huge job.