[Top Ten Tuesday] Top Ten Books When You Need Something Light & Fun

top ten tuesday “Top Ten Tuesday” is a meme started by The Broke and the Bookish. Each Tuesday a new list is posted, highlighting a variety of topics.

This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Eleven Books When You Need
Something Light & Fun

(in no particular order)

I love reading books that make me think, especially books that deal with tough subjects and make me feel all the feels. But sometimes you just need to settle down with a light, fun book and take your mind off of things. For me, these books usually end up being romance novels or fluffy, contemporary Young Adult fiction.

1. Scribbler of Dreams, Mary E. Pearson

scribbler of dreams - may e. pearson

Kaitlin Malone knows what it’s like to date the enemy. She was raised to hate the Crutchfields, and absolutely does — until she meets Bram Crutchfield. It turns out he’s a great guy — one she could talk to, share things with… even love. But when Kaitlin gives her heart to Bram, her world spins out of control. Soon the Crutchfields are her friends and she’s a traitor to her own family.

To make things worse, Bram was raised to hate the Malones, especially Kaitlin’s father, who murdered Bram’s dad. Bram doesn’t know Kaitlin is a Malone. If he did he would hate her, too.

What’s a star-crossed lover to do?

Though it isn’t the best Mary E. Pearson novel, Scribbler of Dreams will always have a special place in my heart because it made me fall in love with Young Adult fiction again at a time when I was the pickiest reader imaginable (I used to attend book fairs and buy absolutely nothing because nothing would interest me at all). I’m not the biggest fan of “forbidden romances” anymore, since that plot has been done to death in young adult literature, but there’s something about Bram and Kaitlin’s story that I absolutely adore. I love the way they connected, I loved all of Kaitlin’s gorgeous, lyrical journal entries and Bram’s beautiful artwork (well, the descriptions of that artwork, since there are no images in this book), and the general theme of getting to know a person beyond their reputation or rumors or even their background. The book is also quite short, so it makes the perfect “light read”.

2. This Lullaby, Sarah Dessen

this lullaby - sarah dessen

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?

All of Sarah Dessen’s books would probably fall into this category, though some of them pull at my emotions more than others. The one book of hers that I always grab when I need something fun and cute is This Lullaby. When you have adorkable goofy boys singing songs about potatoes (of all things), and some very cute antics and all the flirtation, it isn’t difficult coming up with a book that will make you laugh and swoon all at once. (Confession: I sometimes randomly start ‘singing’ (even though I have no idea what the melody would sound like) some variation of The Potato Opus — yeah, I still know all the words.)

3. The Mediator Series, Meg Cabot

shadowland - meg cabot

Suze is a mediator — a liaison between the living and the dead. In other words, she sees dead people. And they won’t leave her alone until she helps them resolve their unfinished business with the living. But Jesse, the hot ghost haunting her bedroom, doesn’t seem to need her help. Which is a relief, because Suze has just moved to sunny California and plans to start fresh, with trips to the mall instead of the cemetery, and surfing instead of spectral visitations.

But the very first day at her new school, Suze realizes it’s not that easy. There’s a ghost with revenge on her mind… and Suze happens to be in the way.

Every book by Meg Cabot tends to fall into this category for me because they’re usually cute, hilarious, and very quick reads. My personal favorite to revisit is the entire Mediator series. Jesse De Silva’s gentlemanly ways, Suze’s kickass-ness, and the light humor always come to mind when I think “light” and “fun”.

4. Audrey, Wait!, Robin Benway

audrey, wait! - robin benway

California high school student Audrey Cuttler dumps self-involved Evan, the lead singer of a little band called The Do-Gooders. Evan writes, “Audrey, Wait!” a break-up song that’s so good it rockets up the billboard charts. And Audrey is suddenly famous!
Now rabid fans are invading her school. People is running articles about her arm-warmers. The lead singer of the Lolitas wants her as his muse. (And the Internet is documenting her every move!) Audrey can’t hang out with her best friend or get with her new crush without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi.

Take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, has outrageous amounts of fun, confronts her ex on MTV, and gets the chance to show the world who she really is.

The antics of the main characters, the dialogue, and the fictional song the novel is titled after made me laugh hard.

5. The Bridgerton Series, Julia Quinn

omancing mister bridgerton - julia quinn

Penelope Featherington has secretly adored her best friend’s brother for… well, it feels like forever. After half a lifetime of watching Colin Bridgerton from afar, she thinks she knows everything about him, until she stumbles across his deepest secret… and fears she doesn’t know him at all.
Colin Bridgerton is tired of being thought nothing but an empty-headed charmer, tired of everyone’s preoccupation with the notorious gossip columnist Lady Whistledown, who can’t seem to publish an edition without mentioning him in the first paragraph. But when Colin returns to London from a trip aboard he discovers nothing in his life is quite the same — especially Penelope Featherington! The girl haunting his dreams. But when he discovers that Penelope has secrets of her own, this elusive bachelor must decide… is she his biggest threat—or his promise of a happy ending?

Regency romance novels are my ultimate go-to books whenever I just want to read something that will distract me from real life, or take my mind off of things. Julia Quinn was my introduction to this genre, and I can’t resist the lovely world of the Bridgertons. (The Viscount Who Loved Me, and Romancing Mister Bridgerton are my favorites, mostly because I loved Anthony and Kate’s battle of the wits and their… unconventional courtship, and I fall for the unrequited-love-that-eventually-becomes-requited every time. My favorite Bridgerton will always be Colin. I think it’s because he’s so amiable and handsome and funny, and fits into my “James Potter Syndrome” quite nicely. (Yes, I am aware I have a problem. Shhh.)

6. Past Perfect, Leila Sales

past perfect, leila sales

All Chelsea wants to do this summer is hang out with her best friend, hone her talents as an ice cream connoisseur, and finally get over Ezra, the boy who broke her heart. But when Chelsea shows up for her summer job at Essex Historical Colonial Village (yes, really), it turns out Ezra’s working there too. Which makes moving on and forgetting Ezra a lot more complicated… even when Chelsea starts falling for someone new.

Maybe Chelsea should have known better than to think that a historical reenactment village could help her escape her past. But with Ezra all too present, and her new crush seeming all too off-limits, all Chelsea knows is that she’s got a lot to figure out about love. Because those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it…

Past Perfect was adorable prank wars, trampoline jumping, period costumes, and ice cream — is it any wonder that I’d look to it when I need a fun read?

7. U.S. Attorney/FBI Series, Julie James

about that night - julie james

Though Rylann Pierce tried to fight the sparks she felt for billionaire heir Kyle Rhodes the night they met, their sizzling chemistry was undeniable. But after being stood up on their first date, Rylann never expected to see him again. So when she finds herself face-to-face with Kyle in a courthouse nine years later, she’s stunned. More troubling to the beautiful assistant U.S. attorney is that she’s still wildly attracted to him.
Just released from prison, Kyle Rhodes isn’t thrilled to be the star witness in a high-profile criminal case — but when Rylann comes knocking at his door, he finds she may be the one lawyer he can’t say no to. Still as gorgeous and sharp-tongued as ever, she lays down the law: she doesn’t mix business with pleasure. But Kyle won’t give up on something he wants — and what he wants is the one woman he’s never forgotten.

This entire series helped me out when I was going insane from stress. I love court dramas and FBI thrillers, so throwing them in a romance novel with all the sexual tension was enough for me to finish this entire series as quickly as possible. About That Night is my favorite because Kyle Rhodes, like Colin Bridgerton, is a hilarious, adorable, ridiculously pretty (he has “shampoo commercial hair”, according to Rylann) dork. I couldn’t resist. (“James Potter Syndrome” — it’s a real thing, I swear!)

8. Heist Society, Ally Carter

heist society - 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. Why? 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.

I actually reread Ally Carter’s books all the time (which is probably why they seem to find their way to all of my Top Ten Tuesday posts), but when I need a light book, I specifically grab the Heist Society series. (The Gallagher Girls books make me think too much, and freak out, and wonder what will happen next.) Kat and Hale’s hijinks, plotting, and romantic interludes never cease to carry me away and make me wonder what it would be like to do any of the things they do (not that I’d ever try).

9. Books by Stephanie Perkins

lola and the boy next door - stephanie perkins

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion… she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit — more sparkly, more fun, more wild — the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket — a gifted inventor — steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Although both of Stephanie Perkins’ novels have some romantic tension and angst, the overall cuteness of the stories, the gorgeous settings, and the fact that I’d automatically get transported into Lola and Anna’s lives, make me have to reread them all the time. I have no doubt Isla and the Happily Ever After will end up on my “fun, light, always reread” list as well.

10. Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine

ella enchanted - gail carson levine

At birth, Ella is inadvertently cursed by an imprudent fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the “gift” of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey. Another girl might have been cowed by this affliction, but not feisty Ella: “Instead of making me docile, Lucinda’s curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally.”
When her beloved mother dies, leaving her in the care of a mostly absent and avaricious father, and later, a loathsome stepmother and two treacherous stepsisters, Ella’s life and well-being seem in grave peril. But her intelligence and saucy nature keep her in good stead as she sets out on a quest for freedom and self-discovery, trying to track down Lucinda to undo the curse, fending off ogres, befriending elves, and falling in love with a prince along the way.

Ella Enchanted was one of the first fairy tale retellings I had ever read, and is my favorite novel written by Gail Carson Levine. I’ve never really liked Cinderella, but I ended up adoring Ella and Char and the way their paths reunited countless times throughout the novel. Its fantasy elements and the romance are what make it the perfect book for this list.

11. Hana Kimi, Hisaya Nakajo

hana kimi (for you in full blossom) - hisaya nakajo

Mizuki Ashiya is no slouch when it comes to a challenge. She’s a star of track and field at her high school, after all. So when she falls for fellow athlete Izumi Sano, she figures out an ingenious plan to get close to him.

Now she’s moved to Japan, enrolled in the all-male high school Sano goes to, and become his roommate! How? She’s disguised herself as a boy! Whatever happens next, things are about to get seriously complicated!

I wanted to put Sailor Moon and Skip Beat! on this list because I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve reread those manga (Sailor Moon especially), but I would never call either of them ‘light’ reads (fun, definitely, but they also drag you into the pits of emotional hell, so I don’t think they can be listed regardless). Hana Kimi, however, is the one manga that has made me laugh all the way through, even when one of the characters was questioning his sexuality because he was attracted to a girl-masquerading-as-a-guy. It’s just a lot of hilarity, insanity, and awkward randomness, and it’s one of the best completed manga I have ever read.

Which books do you turn to when you need something light and fun?


[Top Ten Tuesday] Top Ten Words/Topics That Instantly Make Me Pick Up A Book

top ten tuesday “Top Ten Tuesday” is a meme started by The Broke and the Bookish. Each Tuesday a new list is posted, highlighting a variety of topics.

This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Words/Topics That Instantly Make Me Buy/Pick Up A Book
(in no particular order)

Though I try my best to give books a chance beyond the surface of their cover art or their titles, there are some key or “trigger” words in summaries and titles (or overheard through the grapevine) that make me instantly need to read a book. Sometimes it’s an entire genre, sometimes it’s a setting, sometimes it’s a particular type of character or relationship. Either way, the second I see these things, the more I want to find out about the book. Of course, the mention of such subjects is not enough for me to like a book, but pursuing some of these interests has led me to discovering some of my favorite young adult novels today. I don’t think I could stop reacting to these words or topics even if I tried…

1. England, France, Japan, Australia — Any Place I’ve Ever Wanted to Travel

the statistical probability of love at first sight - jennifer e. smith I have a bucket list of places in the world I’d like to visit someday, when the finances and time are on my side. These locations are all over the world, from Europe to Australia to Japan, so whenever I see a book based in any country that intrigues me, I have to give it a chance… as if I can absorb the culture, language, and all the sights through the pages until I can experience them myself. (Bonus points if the book has characters (read: cute boys) with foreign accents, especially if they’re British.) This is how I ended up reading Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith.

2. Strong Female Characters

the disreputable history of frankie landau banks - e. lockhart Nothing makes me want to read a book more than strong female characters. I love seeing women kick ass, and if they’re in a leading role, doing all the things ridiculous people think they’re too weak to handle, I love them even more. (Actually, if a book has weak female characters, I most likely will have trouble getting through it.) The Gallagher Girls novels, the Heist Society novels, the Gemma Doyle trilogy, Cinder, The Hunger Games, and a HUGE list of novels that would take me ages to name all interested me for their fantastic female characters. One of my favorite books in this category is E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks.

3. Fairy Tale Retellings

cinder - marissa meyer I love everything about fairy tales, the actual ones and their Disney counterparts, so fairy tale retellings, especially if they’re in a different setting or modernized, automatically grab my attention. I have a thing for castles, kingdoms, princes and princesses, and who can resist a romantic tale of Good VS. Evil? Considering Marissa Meyer’s Cinder has all of these things and an epic quest and an amazing cast of characters, is it any wonder I had to pick it up?

4. Regency, Victorian, All Period Stuff

the viscount who loved me - julia quinn I love period books – everything Regency and Victorian and elegant and lovely. There is something about that era that fascinates me (and the gorgeous gowns, the corsets, and the gentlemen dancing in ballrooms don’t hurt). Regency romance novels (I automatically think of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series) particularly enchant me, but the book I automatically bought from this keyword, no further questions asked, was A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. With such a gorgeous cover, completely indicative of its period, what else was there to know? (It’s actually one of my favorite fantasy-ish trilogies of all time, though that isn’t why I picked it up initially.)

5. Strong Platonic Friendships, Strong Female Friendships

bishoujo senshi sailor moon - naoko takeuchi I fall for romantic relationships all the time (hell, I have more fictional ships than I know what to do with), but what really pulls me to a novel are strong platonic friendships that survive over time, especially when these platonic friendships are between women. More often than not, female relationships in fiction are petty and superficial, even when they start off strong. For some reason, these books seem to think that something ridiculous, like a boy, can easily pull apart the strongest of friendships because women can’t react to other women, even those whom they hold dear, without some kind of jealousy or rivalry. This is why I adore Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series so much. Cammie, Bex, Macey, and Liz are a team, and they truly care about each other. In a life crisis, whether it’s life threatening or just something of a more personal nature, they have each other’s back. (This is also why Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi is one of my favorite manga. The senshi’s strong friendship is beautiful.)

6. Mythology, Lore, or Legend-Based (including Retellings)

avalon high - meg cabot I majored in Classics in university, so I’m a huge fan of anything mythological, whether it’s mythology-based, mythology-inspired, or an actual retelling. The novel doesn’t even have to be centered on mythology to pique my interest, as long as the elements are present. One of the biggest series I’ve fallen in love with for this reason is the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, though of course, when I started reading the books at the age of eleven/twelve, I had no idea how rooted in mythology the novels actually were. I also love the Arthurian legends (I’m actually making my way through BBC’s Merlin, Series 5 right now), which is why I was intrigued by Meg Cabot’s Avalon High when I first heard about it.

7. Diverse Ensemble Cast of Characters

heist society - ally carter If I’m not a fan of the characters in a novel, the chances are that I won’t enjoy it much. At all. So when I hear that a book has an extraordinary range of characters, diverse culturally and personality-wise, that will make me fall in love with each of them, I have to check it out. This was the case with all of the Ally Carter novels (Gallagher Girls and Heist Society) I currently adore.

8. Road Trips

two way street - lauren barnholdt I like road trips. Mostly because I would like to one day go on a road trip (or backpack across Europe, whichever seems more feasible at the time). The locations, the cooperation and relationship needed to be able to travel with another person for an extended period of time, and the issues these characters usually need to resolve along the way are what make these books for me. The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour and Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt are two of my favorites.

9. Ancient Latin

two way street - lauren barnholdt As a huge Classics nerd, any use of the Latin language (correctly) makes me automatically want to read a book. The Harry Potter series, of course, uses Latin everywhere, from its spells to some of its names, but the book that I had to read the second I discovered how significant a role this beautiful semi-dead language played in the story was Robin Wasserman’s The Book of Blood and Shadow. A Latin mystery in which the protagonist must translate documents for hints? Instant buy. (This book also featured Prague, which is one of the most beautiful places in the world and a city I’ve actually visited and fallen in love with, so this book really was a must-buy for me.)

10. Magic

once a witch - carolyn maccullough The fantasy genre is a hit or miss for me. It was once easy for me to find so many YA books in this genre that interested me, but now it’s become so… “diluted” that it’s difficult for me to find any that don’t disappoint me. Supernatural/paranormal things tend to make me wary, especially after how popular the genre has become in recent years, and I rarely find dystopian series that are well done beginning to end. But the word ‘magic’ — maybe it’s because I’m a Harry Potter fan — rarely fails me and continues to grab my attention. I couldn’t tell you what it is about “witches and wizards and magical beasts”* that I love, or why books rooted in magic make me want to read them so much. They just… enchant me. Maybe it’s the way magic comes with a new series of problems, that they’re an aspect of the characters but these characters continue to face adversity as we do in the real world. I love adventurous novels, I love novels of mystery, and novels with magical elements tend to include both. They also usually have romance, but unlike the supernatural genre, most of the novels I’ve encountered (or maybe I’ve just been lucky) dealing with magic don’t let the romance overpower the task at hand… (Basically, the actual plot.) Harry Potter and the Gemma Doyle trilogy both fit this category, but this keyword is actually the reason why I read Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough.

*“Witches, wizards, and magical beasts” is taken from A Very Potter Musical‘s “Get Back to Hogwarts”.

Which words or topics make you instantly pick up a book?


[Top Ten Tuesday] Top Ten Endings That Left Me With My Mouth Hanging Open

top ten tuesday “Top Ten Tuesday” is a meme started by The Broke and the Bookish. Each Tuesday a new list is posted, highlighting a variety of topics.

This week’s topic is a Top Ten Tuesday Rewind, so I thought I’d discuss:

Top Ten Endings That Left Me With My Mouth Hanging Open

I want to attempt this without many spoilers, but I don’t know how well I’ll succeed…

10. Cinder, Marissa Meyer

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.

Though something happened at the end of Scarlet that makes me worry for my favorite young Emperor, the end of Cinder REALLY took me by surprise. I guess I expected, knowing The Lunar Chronicles comprised of fairy tale retellings, that after the ball, things would work out. Instead, I received utter chaos, some heartbreak, confirmation of something I suspected, and… suddenly, the book just ended. It doesn’t feel incomplete by any means, however, I was expecting a conclusive lead-in to book two, and given the HORRIBLE circumstances of the place where everything stops and there are no more pages, I was unprepared. I’m more prepared now for Marissa Meyer’s endings (even if certain parts of them have me freaking out — STAY ALIVE, KAI!), but Cinder drove me insane for the year I had to wait for Scarlet (I needed to know what happened next!).

9. Only the Good Spy Young, Ally Carter

only the good spy young - ally carter

When Cammie Morgan enrolled at the Gallagher Academy, she knew she was preparing for the dangerous life of a spy. What she didn’t know was that the serious, real-life danger would start during her junior year of high school. But that’s exactly what happened two months ago when Cammie faced off against an ancient terrorist organization dead set on kidnapping her.
Now the danger follows her everywhere, and even Cammie “The Chameleon” can’t hide. When a terrifying encounter in London reveals that one of her most-trusted allies is actually a rogue double-agent, Cammie no longer knows if she can trust her classmates, her teachers — or even her own heart.

In this fourth installment of the New York Times best-selling series, the Gallagher Girls must hack, spy, steal, and lie their way to the truth.as they go searching for answers, recognizing that the key to Cammie’s future may lie deep in the past.

Only the Good Spy Young was nothing like any of the Gallagher Girls books before it. It actually felt very much like a Harry Potter novel to me (particularly Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince) because of the overarching mystery/quest, and the fact that someone’s loyalties were in question. Everything went to hell in the last few chapters, and the ending was exactly like HBP, with Cammie planning to go off on her own and settle things by herself, but just the overwhelming amount of action on top of this completely new direction left me wondering what in the world had I just read once I finished (but in a good way — I needed the next book).

8. Fragile Eternity (Wicked Lovely #3), Melissa Marr

fragile eternity - melissa marr

Seth wants to be with Aislinn forever. Forever takes on new meaning, though, when your girlfriend is an immortal faery queen.
Keenan stole Aislinn’s mortality to make her a monarch. Now she faces challenges and enticements beyond any she’d ever imagined.

In Melissa Marr’s third mesmerizing tale of Faerie, Seth and Aislinn struggle to stay true to themselves and to each other in a milieu of shadowy rules and shifting allegiances, where old friends become new enemies and one wrong move could plunge the Earth into chaos.

Everything that happened in the second half of this novel I did not expect, some of which was frustrating (because my ship was separated, and I wasn’t sure how to feel about Seth OR Aislinn’s choices, and Keenan was driving me insane). In many ways, it was a gamechanger for the overall story, and the ending completely took me by surprise.

7. Living Dead Girl, Elizabeth Scott

living dead girl - elizabeth scott

Once upon a time, I was a little girl who disappeared.
Once upon a time, my name was not Alice.
Once upon a time, I didn’t know how lucky I was.

When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends — her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over.
Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her.
This is Alice’s story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget.

The ending Living Dead Girl was exactly what I had hoped, but the energy it took to read this novel was exhausting and emotionally-draining. When I finished, I was overwhelmed from the haunting beauty of the prose to the sickness I felt from this peek into the protagonist’s trauma.

6. Forbidden, Tabitha Suzuma

forbidden - tabitha suzuma

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives — and the way they understand each other so completely — has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be.

So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love.

They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

Given the nature of this book, the atmosphere, the fact that once I hit the climax there was no way this could have ended well (and there’s even a warning in the synopsis!), I probably could have forseen that this ending would make me both stunned and sad. But at this point, I was so invested in the lives of these characters (which also was unexpected, considering the subject matter) that I still held out hope. *sigh*

5. Fourth Comings (Jessica Darling #4), Megan McCafferty

fourth comings - megan mccafferty

Is the real world ready for Jessica Darling?

At first it seems she’s living the New York City dream. She’s subletting an apartment with her best friend, working for a magazine that actually cares about her psychology degree, and still deeply in love with the charismatic Marcus Flutie.

But reality is more complicated than dreamy clichés.

When Marcus proposes — giving her only one week to answer — Jessica must decide if she’s ready to give up a world of late-night literary soirees, art openings, and downtown drunken karaoke to move back to New Jersey and be with the one man who’s gripped her heart for years. Jessica ponders this and other life choices with her signature snark and hyper-intense insight, making it the most tumultuous and memorable week of her twenty-something life.

Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie are two of my favorite characters in YA literature. I relate to both of them in various ways, and I absolutely adore their relationship, especially because it is far from perfect, completely realistic, and it fills me with more feelings than I can name. Knowing this, I probably should have expected that somewhere along the way, they’d need time apart to really grow into their own selves. Yet, part of me feels that even some forewarning could not make the last few paragraphs of this book hurt less. (Even when I reread this book, part of me is surprised every time by the way things actually end. </3 )

4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (Harry Potter #4, #5, and #6), J.K. Rowling

harry potter and the order of the phoenix - jk rowling

Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on.

However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected…

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was the first time a novel in this series ended with so much darkness and sadness, so it makes sense for it to be on this list. It started a trend in Harry Potter books for endings that both completely surprise you, and seriously make you cry. I think the series was revolutionary in this way for children’s books because J.K. Rowling was not afraid to go there. She meticulously plotted these books to grow with their audience, carefully making the Wizarding War realistic to the point where she debated with herself which lives to take, which to spare, and which fan’s heart to break. I can justify everything in the Harry Potter series, even if some of these things traumatized me when I first read them. Or made me throw the book into a wall and cry for days. However, part of me will always read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (which is the book in the series I have reread the most), expecting an ending where Sirius Black lives (and doesn’t take a part of Harry’s — or my — heart with him). (For the record, I always knew that Sirius needed to be with James, especially reading his every scene in OotP. But I didn’t want it to happen, and Harry’s despair gets to me every time. He was also one of my favorite characters, and OotP is ALL about him, so it hurts more when you get to know a character so well, only to have the author off him at the bitter end. *sigh* And I mentioned Half Blood Prince because even though I suspected for years that Dumbledore would die, I did not expect all the chaos with Draco and Snape. I also had no idea Harry would leave Hogwarts, or anything about horcruxes, and even though I strongly suspected things could not be all that they seemed with Snape, that entire battle sequence left my mouth hanging. Slow clap, J.K. Rowling, for consistently breaking my brain.)

3. Catching Fire and Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #2 and #3), Suzanne Collins

mockingjay - suzanne collins

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12.

Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.

I have no idea which of the sequel books to The Hunger Games surprised me more. Catching Fire‘s treatment of Peeta Mellark, one of my favorite characters, filled me with so much anxiety and worry that I had no idea what to expect in Mockingjay. But then again, I can’t even wrap my head around Mockingjay‘s ending because of how much it hurts, and the things it did to certain characters that I don’t think I can ever forgive.

2. Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem (Delirium Trilogy), Lauren Oliver

delirium - lauren oliver

They say that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever.

And I’ve always believed them.

Until now.

Now everything has changed.

Now, I’d rather be infected 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.

Pandemonium made me question how evil Lauren Oliver could possibly be. Requiem made me wonder where the missing chapters were (because I expected more). But the ending that made me scream, “WHYYYYYY?” and “NOOOOOOOO!” and “HOW DARE YOU?” for days was the ending of the first book in the trilogy, Delirium. This was the conclusion that made me most sad, the conclusion that made me so anxious that I could think of nothing for months until I finally had the sequel in my hands. The characters mattered more to me than any in a long time, and I felt personally invested in their lives. I needed them to survive; I needed them to make it. Requiem and Pandemonium might both have left me shocked at the way things played out, but Delirium was the novel that wrenched my heart straight from my chest and made an utter mess of my emotions. I don’t think I’ll ever truly recover.

1. The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle #3), Libba Bray

the sweet far thing - libba bray

It has been a year of change since Gemma Doyle arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy. Her mother murdered, her father a laudanum addict, Gemma has relied on an unsuspected strength and has discovered an ability to travel to an enchanted world called the realms, where dark magic runs wild. Despite certain peril, Gemma has bound the magic to herself and forged unlikely new alliances. Now, as Gemma approaches her London debut, the time has come to test these bonds.

The Order — the mysterious group her mother was once part of — is grappling for control of the realms, as is the Rakshana. Spence’s burned East Wing is being rebuilt, but why now? Gemma and her friends see Pippa, but she is not the same. And their friendship faces its gravest trial as Gemma must decide once and for all what role she is meant for.

If you’ve read The Sweet Far Thing, I don’t even think I need to mention why this book makes this list. Beautiful, brilliant conclusion to one of my favorite trilogies, however, it took some time before I could forgive Libba Bray for… that thing that happened on page 779. I will never stop thinking about it (or crying for Kartik).

Which Book Endings Left Your Mouth Hanging Open?


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