Have you ever picked up a book on a whim, that soon became one of your favourite novels? Well I have (quite a few times), and I thought it would be fun to fill you in on some of the best book related surprises that I’ve had.
So here are my top five!
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I was in desperate need of a novel to complete a ‘3 for 2’ deal, and so I scanned a sea of titles, but nothing seemed to catch my eye. And then I spotted One of Us is Lying. Though I’m an avid viewer of an ITV thriller/drama aimed at retired grandparents, I read very little thriller, so I did put it back a number of times. But the premise intrigued me – I ADORE The Breakfast Club, and it seemed as though that had been stirred in with Pretty Little Liars.
IT WAS INCREDIBLE – a favourite by far of all of my MANY reads last summer. From first scene to last, I was addicted. I’m still baffled by how well Karen is able to offer many differing perspectives, but never leave the reader rattled or confused. You are continually compelled to shift the focus of blame, and are constantly hungry for more information. I DARE you to try and put it down without fighting with yourself!
FUN FACT: it’s the only YA I’ve ever given to my mum, and she adored it; it’s very much an all ages kind of novel. We are both VERY excited for Karen’s next release, Two Can Keep a Secret, which you can preorder here (SOMEONE PLEASE SEND ME AN ARC I’M DYING OVER HERE), and the follow up to One of Us is Lying.
I was ludicrously early for a train one afternoon, and wandered WH Smith to pass a little time. When I noticed I Was Born for This, I was SMITTEN with the cover (I KNOW, don’t judge a book by its cover, but this one is SO PRETTY), and so I picked it up. The premise did sound a little cheesy, but I thought I would look past that, and I AM SO GLAD THAT I DID. Now, I’m a very passionate girl; I tend not to like things, but instead ADORE everything, and devote all of my heart to whatever I’m passionate about. This novel wholeheartedly embraces warm, passionate people, that devote their lives to what they love. The characters are wonderful, the LGBTQ+ rep is brilliant, and story is so sweet that my heart doubled in size. I couldn’t have picked a better spontaneous train read.
Perhaps boyband novels are my new favourite novels because these books fill my heart with pure, undiluted joy. I adored the first instalment, Songs About a Girl (bought on another WH Smith whim), and then I moved onto other reads. When I returned to Songs About Us on Monday, I could not have anticipated how wonderful it would feel. It was as though I was coming home to a group of friends, all with their arms wide open, ready for me to fall right in. I cannot tell you how wonderful Chris Russell’s characters are! They have nestled into my heart and rearranged the furniture to their liking, and I could not be more in love.
The plot is also utterly fantastic; I thought it would be a little predictable and cheesy (stop judging boyband books, Emily), but it is incredibly gripping, and a constant page turner. Songs About Us ends on a CRAZY cliffhanger.
I’ve yet to read the final (CRIES) instalment, Songs About a Boy, but I’m certain I’m going to adore it. I can’t imagine disliking a book that lets me spend another 400 pages with Fire&Lights, Melissa, and Charlie Bloom.
Another pick to complete a ‘3 for 2’, that became the catalyst in my adoration of Patrick Ness. I was VERY intrigued by the premise of this novel: though there are supernatural events throughout, it isn’t the focal point. The focal point is, instead, the characters that live outside of these events; the ‘rest of us’. The reader is given small scraps of information relative to a supernatural happening at the beginning of every chapter. But Ness then diverts your attention to the lives of others in this town – their angst, familial struggles, and the mundanity of normality.
It is as odd and interesting a style as it sounds, but it’s wonderful. And the characters are incredibly endearing. I’d definitely recommend if you’d like a YA contemporary with a little bit of a twist. This novel is proof that Ness can do anything.
This was a beautiful surprise! I adored The Start of Me and You (a Zoella book club pick), and soon discovered that Lord’s novels all come in similar cover formats. I wanted a little collection, as I thought that they would look cute together – I wasn’t wrong. Initially, I was intent on When We Collided as it’s a more traditional romance, and The Names They Gave Us didn’t seem to fit my style. As an atheist, I wasn’t particularly interested in a YA that centred largely around faith. (That is VERY ignorant of me, I’m aware of this now, because this novel is spectacular). But I couldn’t find WWC in Waterstones, and so I bought TNTGU instead and WOW.
In my review of Holly Bourne’s Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?, I discuss my adoration of camp-based novels. This is the reason for that adoration. I fell madly in love with the premise and characters – the parentless setting brought honesty and interactions that will warm your heart. It is a beautiful tale of love, grief, and faith, and the beauty of teens in crisis. I’m still an atheist, but have reevaluated my opinion of faith since reading this novel. It really is the most beautiful thing.
I’m getting goosebumps TALKING about this book; imagine what it’s like to read it. I balled like a baby for the last third. I would encourage anyone and everyone in search of a wonderful YA, to pick up this book.
AND THAT’S A WRAP
I didn’t quite mean to ramble for so long, but there are my TOP FIVE BOOK SURPRISES!
Here are some lessons to take from this: sometimes it’s acceptable to judge a book by its cover; boybands are GREAT subject matter; summer camps are wonderful; refrain from ignorance when you’re contemplating a plot, as you might find it will open your mind to a host of new ideas.
I hope you enjoyed this post! I’m LOVING lists at the moment, so it was super fun to write. Let me know if you’d like to see another like this (maybe university related). Also, don’t forget to comment some of your favourite book surprises!
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Thank you for reading!