Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Surprised Me

Top Ten Tuesday

I’m back to longer reflections about books. It’s not Tuesday, and this was not the topic from a few days ago, but I started this post, so I’m going to finish it! I’ve read plenty since the last time I did a TTT. The original poster broke hers up into five and five, so I will, too.

Top Five Books I Liked Less Than I Thought I Would (a.k.a. Bad Surprises)

Scribbler of Dreams, by Mary E. Pearson: A modern take on Romeo and Juliet sounded like a good idea. It was pretty lame. I could barely finish reading it. I might still technically own it among the books that live with my parents, but I’m reasonably certain I’ll never pick it up again.

Both Sides of Time, by Caroline B. Cooney: In general, when I like one book by an author of many, I will like that author’s other books. The Face on the Milk Carton saga was the closest thing to a thriller I’d encountered at age 14, and I liked Twenty Pageants Later, so I gave this time-traveling historical romance a try. It was a mistake. I disliked this book so much that I didn’t finish it. I was not sad at all to abandon it, and it was the only book that messed up my ink-and-paper list of books I read. I’m still a little miffed about that.

Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli: Don’t stone me! I heard good things about it from a fellow reading friend. I was skeptical, and I was right to feel that way. It just didn’t surprise me the way I hoped it would.

Angus, Thongs, and Full-Fr*ntal Snogging, by Louise Rennison: I heard such good things about this series. I think one of my best friends from middle school had read and enjoyed all the books. I found it too strange to be good, though. British humor is always touch-and-go. With this one, I touched on it, but I had to let it go.

That Summer, by Sarah Dessen: I saw How to Deal because I love Mandy Moore’s acting, so when I had the opportunity to read the two books that inspired the movie, I jumped on it. Unfortunately, like many readers, I found Someone Like You much more interesting than That Summer. Someone Like You is one of the few romances I have read and enjoyed. This one, not so much.

Top Five Four Books I Liked More Than I Thought I Would (a.k.a. Good Surprises)

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, by Lish McBride: I was hesitant at first because, you know, it’s about raising the dead. I was really pleased, though. It was funny (as the title indicates), and I found it especially original for YA fantasy. I’m looking forward to the sequel.

The Chosen, by Chaim Potok: You would think that, as a religious person, I wouldn’t be so surprised to enjoy a book about religious people, but I was. I learned so much about Hasidic Judaism, and I found the relationships between the two boys and their fathers so fascinating. I tend to read a lot of books with female protagonists, so I enjoyed reading about men for a change. I initially read this because I inherited it as my students’ summer reading, but I’m so glad I did.

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins: A friend from college blogged about how much she loved them. Borders (back when it was still in business) sent me emails about the midnight release of Mockingjay, but I ignored them the way I ignored Twilight midnight releases. I’m so ashamed that it took me so long to read even the first one! The second two I’m less ashamed about; at least I was properly anxious to read them. I usually hate politics (a stance that working in religion only solidified), but I loved them here.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling: Are you surprised? I had read books about witches at boarding school before, and I really liked them. Nothing could have prepared me for Harry Potter. I got on board shortly before Goblet of Fire was released, and I am still a little astonished at how completely I fell into the fandom. I have a framed poster of the cover of the last book! I wear a Marauder’s Map lanyard at work every day! What book does that?

So, it seems that fantasy and dystopias delight me, but romances tend to be disappointing. Also the story of my life.

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