Top Ten Tuesday is currently hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is Books I Enjoyed but Rarely Talk About.
Without further ado:
I thought this middle-grade series did a great job of being written for the age group without dumbing down the dystopian concepts at all. I read this series as an adult and found it just as captivating and hard-hitting as I might have as a kid.
It was admittedly difficult to read through the religious hate (not that it’s presented in any positive light). Harper grapples to find her own voice and opinions amidst her neglectful upbringing, her lack of friends from moving so much, the struggle of growing up and hitting puberty with parents who offer no guidance whatsoever (and often add to her confusion). Harper’s journey is told in a perfect example of masterful literary crafting. I related to her love of books so much on a personal level, the way they can comfort and make readers think for themselves. The way she and Gray talk about books with each other is so familiar and heart-warming. This book is an ode and homage to the transformative power of literacy. The specific literary examples persisted as themes throughout the book, culminating in an epilogue of satisfaction and perfection. I spent at least the last third of the book with tears in my eyes.
I don’t talk about this book/series much because only the first one is good. The second one is only half as good, and starting with book 3 the series does a shockingly fast dive off a cliff. Which is so frustrating because book 1 is SO GOOD.
I don’t know why I don’t talk about Cullinan much, because her romances are so full of heart-warming emotion and meaning. They’re truly excellent feel-good stories, and these two are my absolute favorites of hers. They also include a great deal of smoking-hot sex (made all the better, no doubt, because of the emotional connection between the characters).
Admittedly I haven’t read much straight-up erotica, but this short story is the best one by far.
If you liked The Hunger Games, you will LOVE this book. It’s the same basic concept, pre-dates The Hunger Games, and is somehow even more raw and dark.
It’s been years since I read this book so my opinion might change upon a re-read, which I intend to do at some point, but this book shares the #1 spot of my favorites of all time. Be warned, it is NOT a happy book.
The way the plot built up to the eclipse was done expertly. I was invested in the characters and story pretty much immediately. I adored the different approaches to the inevitability of the eclipse: not just astronomy, but psychology, archaeology, and media. My favorite part was the way the writing weaved those approaches together into a delicious, slowly growing tension to that moment of the eclipse itself. The tension broke after the eclipse, obviously, but it built again slightly in the aftermath to an engaging conclusion. At times, especially during and after the eclipse, the book had significant horror elements. The effects on a species of discovering that the universe is far more vast than they ever could have imagined was believable, terrifying, and thoroughly explored.
I read the comic on the author’s website for free and then immediately bought the print edition because I needed such superb characters, art, and storytelling in my hands.
A dark fantasy YA series from the early 2000s that not only holds up extraordinarily well, but it always blows my mind that the author was 19 when she wrote it (and 15 when she wrote her first series, which I also loved).
And those are my top books I enjoyed but rarely talk about! Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts?