This week’s topic is:
Top Ten Books I Recommend The Most
I love few things more than recommending books to my friends. Or to random strangers I encounter in bookstores or in class or on the street. Some of the best conversations I’ve had started off with a book recommendation (from me or for me), and I always love sharing when I’ve read an amazing book, just so I can talk about it with someone (even if that ‘discussion’ will just end up being an incoherent flail session). The books I recommend, however, vary. When I’m at a function I’d rather not attend, I always carry a book with me, sometimes one I just want to revisit because I adored it the first time I read it. Almost always, someone will notice “that girl in the corner with the book”, and ask me what I’m reading. I love recommending books in bookstores, especially when I see someone reading an author I love. I’ll always feel compelled to ask, “Oh! I love [him or her]. Have you read [other novel by the same author] because it is the best?” Some of these books have been in my ‘recommendation reservoir’ for years. Some I only just read and still cannot stop talking about. Either way, I adore them to pieces, mostly because they make me feel all the feelings I can’t help but want to share with the world.
10. The Book of Blood and Shadow, Robin Wasserman
|It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark. But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora’s best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also — according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone — a murderer.
Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.
I read this book over the summer and fell in love. It’s suspenseful, there’s an actual mystery, it has European cities (PRAGUE!), ancient Latin, some murder, a little bit of romance — basically, everything you could want in a standalone novel. And it’s written brilliantly. I’ve never read a Robin Wasserman book before, but I will definitely be keeping an eye out for her new works in the future.
9. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.
Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.
Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
Aside from the fact that I made the mistake of recommending this to a friend who spent most of the last two years in and out of hospitals for an un-treatable disorder (in my defense, she would love it… when the subject matter stops hitting too close to home), this is one of the books I recommended most last year. But the book is beautiful, I fall in love with Augustus Waters again with every reread, and it’s definitely my favorite of John Green’s novels. (Though I still really love Paper Towns, the John Green book I called my favorite before TFIOS.)
8. Cinder, Marissa Meyer
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl…
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
I actually loved this novel so much, I not only recommended it to my friends, but also bought it for them. The Lunar Chronicles has such a rich cast and world that it’s difficult not to become completely engrossed in the storytelling. It’s actually the series I’m following most right now, so I can’t help but talk about Cinder (and Scarlet incessantly). (And it was inspired partially by Sailor Moon, so how can I not fangirl over it?) (Read my Cinder review here.)
7. Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.
Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.
This book is one of the most poignant and thought-provoking novels I’ve ever read. I actually made my sister read it, and now it’s the first book she makes every person she knows read. (I am so proud. (‘: )
6. The Gemma Doyle Trilogy (A Great and Terrible Beauty), Libba Bray
|Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother’s death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls’ academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions “for a bit of fun” and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the “others” and rebuild the Order.|
Libba Bray is one of those authors whose novels I will forever follow, but the Gemma Doyle trilogy are the books that started the obsession, and I’ve been recommending them since that first novel (AGATB) was published. Though some of my friends may have reacted badly once they finished The Sweet Far Thing (because of a certain scene no one needs to ever bring up), for the most part, they were glad to read these books.
5. The Heist Society or Gallagher Girls books, Ally Carter
For as long as she can remember, Katarina has been a part of the family business — thieving. When Kat tries to leave “the life” for a normal life, her old friend Hale conspires to bring her back into the fold.
A mobster’s art collection has been stolen, and Kat’s father is the only suspect. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.
The only solution is to find the paintings and steal them back. Kat’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s history — and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.
Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it’s really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real “pavement artist”-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?
Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she’s on her most dangerous mission-falling in love.
I love how fun and different Ally Carter’s books are. Her spies and thieves novels quench my thirst for all the action, excitement, humor, and romance, and all of the characters, despite being in scenarios far from my reality, are super-relatable.
4. The Delirium Trilogy, Lauren Oliver
|They say that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever.
And I’ve always believed them.
Now everything has changed.
Now, I’d rather beinfected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.
Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life, until ninety-five days before her eighteenth birthday and her treatment, when she falls in love
Now that the trilogy is complete, I’ll probably be recommending this series more. No dystopian trilogy has engaged me more or made me feel more, and I treasure Lena and Alex with some of my most favorite ships. Their tears, hardships, and hard-won love is what makes these books special to me, and Lauren Oliver’s beautiful prose makes reading them all the more worthwhile. (Read my Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem reviews here.)
3. The Truth About Forever or This Lullaby, Sarah Dessen
|A long, hot summer…
That’s what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy’s father.
But sometimes unexpected things can happen — things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister’s project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories.
Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl’s world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to wonder, Is it really better to be safe than sorry?
When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn’t mess around. After all, she’s learned all there is to know from her mother, who’s currently working on husband number five.
But there’s something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy’s rules. He certainly doesn’t seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can’t seem to shake him.
Could it be that Remy’s starting to understand what those love songs are all about?
These are two of my oldest and most favorite contemporary novels to recommend, especially for anyone looking for adorable books to read over the summer. They’re my favorites of all of Sarah Dessen’s novels, and I just love the feeling of discovering love with Remy and Macy. Both these books also have beautiful moments (every Truth scene with Macy and Wes) and those moments of utter insanity (Dexter and his bandmates always cracked me up), and some of the best main and secondary characters I’ve ever met.
2. Anna and the French Kiss, Stephanie Perkins
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris — until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible.
The only problem is that he’s taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home. As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna — and readers — have long-awaited?
A romantic contemporary novel (my favorite of all the YA contemporaries I can remember) set in arguably the most romantic city in the world, with a boy with a British accent (my absolute favorite)? Yes, please!
1. The Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That’s because he’s being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he’s really a wizard, just as his parents were.
But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright.
From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.
I know only a handful of people who haven't read and fallen in love with the Harry Potter series, but I’ve encountered several people over the years who stayed far away from the series because of the hype. The question I receive when I encounter these people is always, “Well, why do you personally love the series? Why should I follow the pop culture trend?” Which usually ends up turning into a conversation that they either regret (because you can’t just ask me what I love about Harry Potter and not expect an unending soliloquy) or one they find compelling enough to pick up the book and actually attempt reading it. I was actually one of the HP skeptics when the books were first published in the United States and were just becoming famous. My brother and one of my best friends were obsessed, and they would not stop talking about Harry and his adventures at Hogwarts. If it weren’t for their unrelenting recommendation, I don’t know what I’d be doing right now. Harry’s story means the world to me, and I love spreading his journey, those feelings, to others who will hold them dear as well.
The Jessica Darling Series, Megan McCafferty
It’s a pleasure watching Jessica grow from adolescence to adulthood, and while some of her decisions drove me insane, I am glad I got to know her and follow her story. Also, I recommend the Marcus Flutie. Always.
Books by Gayle Forman
Funny story: I actually attempted to throw If I Stay and Where She Went onto one of my friends, who tries her hardest to avoid anything that will make her sob without making her smile before the end. She asked me what these books were about, and I stupidly started with, “Well, Mia’s in a coma. Her entire family is dead and she was the sole maybe-survivor.” My friend’s response? “Are you joking?” …Yeah, I’m still trying to get her to read it. Once I find a better way to tell the story without spoiling a thing.
Books by Meg Cabot
Meg Cabot is basically one of my staple authors I’ve followed for a really long time and will continue to do so. Her Mediator series and her book, Avalon High are two of her works I mention all the time.
Which books do you recommend the most?