Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
August 23: Top Ten Books You Loved But Never Wrote A Review For (either books you loved and couldn’t bring yourself to write a review for or books that you read long before blogging…time to give them a shoutout!)
1. The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman – I read this long before I had a blog to review it on, but I always wanted to review some of my favorite graphic novels and this would be at the very top. Not only is the writing gorgeous, but the storyline is quite complicated right from the beginning. I can’t pick a favorite storyline, but I love A Midsummer Nights Dream retelling and the storyline with John Constantine. OH! And every time Cain and Abel and the House of Mystery shows up. Love!
2. Blankets by Craig Thompson – Whenever someone says to me that they’ve never read graphic novels and they just don’t think they’d be interested in them and aren’t they kind of for kids? I pull out Blankets, which is sort of the everyman’s graphic novel. It’s a beautifully drawn, emotionally complex, harrowing story that is universally the doorway by which non-graphic novel readers can fall in love with this medium of storytelling. The art is easy on the eyes and not too complicated, which helps those not used to visual storytelling, and the themes and plot are quickly accessible, heartbreaking, heartwarming, and believable. Once a person has read Blankets, the whole world of graphic novels is opened up and storytelling is never the same.
3. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood – Not as famous as Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, I’d be so bold as to say it is better at dealing with the same themes. Oryx and Crake is disturbing and devastating and really hard to read but in that way that you can’t put down. I’ve tried before to write a review about it, but every time I try I end up giving too much away or when I give away too little I just sound like a crazy person because it’s that sort of book – so crazy and also believable and that makes the whole thing terrifying to read.
5. The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor – This poor series has like, the biggest identity crisis. I’ve seen it shelved in Middle Grade, in YA, and in Fantasy at various stores. Frank Beddor came and spoke at a junior high near my house a couple of years ago. I love this series a lot – it’s a reimagining of Alice in Wonderland and a really spectacular one at that. It pays homage to the original while creating a whole new story and setting unique to itself. The 3 books are supported by a graphic novel series called Hatter M that’s ridiculous in how cool it is and covers a span of time in the first book when the Mad Hatter is part of our world looking for Alice.
6. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson – One of the first (maybe THE first) YA sci-fi I stumbled across a couple of years ago. The idea is uncomfortable and while I think the world building was a little light, I didn’t really get some of it, but Jenna? Her issues? God, it was so good. I would love to do an in depth analysis about what this book means to things happening in our world right now.
7. Ash by Melinda Lo – A book that flew seriously under the radar, Ash is a retelling of Cinderella and it is striking in familiarity but also unlike anything I’ve ever read. The prose is mesmerizing, and grief stricken and in search of a fairy tale of her own to save her from the cruelty of her step mother, Ash has the opportunity to be saved by her Prince, or learn to save herself from a huntress named Kaisa. I love the friendship and romance that develops between Ash and Kaisa, a dramatic turn from the whole knight in shining whatever we’ve all grown up with in these fairy stories. I love the bond and I love the power given to Ash. I think every little girl should have to read Ash and know that her dreams can look like anything under the sun.
8. The DUFF by Kody Keplinger – The issues involved in this book, body image, body size, self worth, self esteem, and the use of promiscuity as a way to gauge acceptance and worth – these are all topics that hit a little too close to home but are very important to me. I think that is why it has been so hard for me to write about this book.
9. The Unidentified by Rae Mariz – Much like The Adoration of Jenna Fox, The Unidentified puts issues we’re dealing with right now in a somewhat unbelievable situation, but it allows us perspective and insight we couldn’t have seen otherwise. And it is a scary insight.
10. The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta – A companion novel to Saving Francesca, it is one of the few books that transcend YA standards in order to deal with topics that cannot otherwise be tackled. While Saving Francesca was written through Francesca’s point of view during high school, The Piper’s Son is written from one of the boys Francesca befriends in the first book. The kids are all older and in college, but they are still dealing with the growing pains of transitioning from young adult to adult, and so despite their ages, it still fits firmly in YA. It is also one of the few books written for boys that is honest and brave and doesn’t condescend to stereotypes in order to sell to reluctant readers. I would say The Piper’s Son is a contemporary little brother to books like The Chocolate War.