Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books From The Past Ten Years That I Hope Will Continue To Be Read In The Next Ten (or longer). Whew! That’s a mouthful.
And I’m warning you now, I’m totally going to cheat. There’s a series or two where the initial book came out more than ten years ago–while the final book and most of the series came out in more recent years–and I’m SO going to count them. Yes, I’m bending the rules because I’m referring to the series, which is complete in the correct time frame. But I’m only doing this because their sheer awesome needs to be around for future generations. I can’t deny it.
1. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling– WHAAATT?? I told you I was going to do that, right? And there it is. While the first book came out back in 1997, the series wasn’t complete until 2007. And truly, I think anyone who’s read these books will agree with me, they will stand the test of time. They should be required reading.
2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins– This is such a powerful story and it’s a great gateway book; a way to introduce someone to the incredibly awesome young adult books out there. I think this will become a YA classic that others will be measured by. In fact, I think it’s already happening.
3. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson– As you all know, I adore this book. It explores grief and loss and first love and lust and friendship and everything in between with such honestly and sweetness. I want everyone to read this book and love it. It’s practically impossible not to become completely engrossed in Nelson’s beautiful writing.
4. The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot– Holla! I did it again. The first book in this series came out in 2000, but the last once wasn’t released until 2009. Let’s go with that date, shall we? These are funny, sweet books, but more than that, Mia is a wonderful heroine. She is awkward and she struggles with the same things that normal teenage girls do (only it’s amplified because, being a princess, she’s often thrust in the spotlight). Royalty or not, there are still mean girls who torment her, best friends who get angry with her, boobs that haven’t seemed to arrive yet and boys she hopelessly crushes on–just like any other high school girl. It is so fun to watch her grow up throughout the series, to laugh at her mistakes and cringe and some of the things she does, and then to smile and be proud of who she becomes in the end. Also…I think you know where I’m going with this…Michael Moscovitz. All future generations should be exposed to that particular brand of awesome.
5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak– This is such a powerful story set in Germany during WWII, made all the more intriguing because it is narrated by Death. There is a great deal of sadness in it and at the same time, there is a sense of hope. The characters in this story are faced with terrible circumstances that no one should have to be exposed to, and yet they find big and small ways to fight back, to rebel and to stand firm against the inevitable. Everyone needs to read this book.
6. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta– This is such a complex, wonderful book. It introduced me to a cast of characters I fell in love with, a place in the world with which I was completely unfamiliar and, more important, it opened my eyes to Marchetta and her beautiful stories. This is again, another fantastic gateway book to YA. It shows that YA isn’t all vampires and angels (or whatever the rage will be in ten years. Ogres? Who knows.). The writing is flawless and characters like Taylor Markham and Jonah (effing) Griggs are impossible to forget.
7. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger– This isn’t YA, but it is my favorite book. I think it’s just such a beautiful picture of love and marriage. And all that awesome sci-fi time travel stuff totally sucked me in.
8. Night by Elie Wiesel– This is a book that’s powerful because of how painful it is. Wiesel is brutally simplistic and honest in telling the true story of the time he and his father spent in German concentration camps during WWII. Do yourself a favor and read it. You’ll never forget it. And no one ever should.
9. If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Forman– I love these books. I feared they’d be depressing, and although there are many parts that made me cry (Teddy and Harry Potter. I could barely take it!), the overall story, the memories Mia had of her family and her friends, were so uplifting. Then, in WSW, to watch that love she and Adam share, to watch the brokeness and the healing they both needed to experience, it sort of took my breath away. These books so accurately describe familial bonds, friendship and real, true, romantic love. It is out there and I think Forman completely nails it here.
10. How To Save a Life by Sara Zarr– I love all of Sara Zarr’s books. Seriously, if you haven’t read one, do it. They are all completely different and they all have a strong message without being overly preachy or self-righteous. There is pain in all of them and there’s always a bit of hope mixed in with the realism. I particularly loved How to Save a Life because of the themes involved: dealing with grief, the pain of saying goodbye to a relationship, the hope of a new life and the dynamics of what truly makes a family a family. There are so many ways Zarr could have ended this story, there are so many tragedies that could have occurred–all totally believable–and yet she chose such a sweet, heartfelt ending that I wanted to hug my book.
I said I was going to cheat, so let’s make it Top Eleven Tuesday too, OK?
11. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness– You guys, oh, you guys, this book is so excellent. And I know you may read the premise and think, “Um, no thank you” but do yourself a favor and read it. The whole series is amazing and it is the type of story that needs to be around forever because it’s just THAT GOOD.