Sunday, November 17, 2013

Tip Top 25 Favorite Books/Series

This is probably one of the hardest things I've ever tried to do. Narrowing down the hundreds of books I've read in my life to a slim list of the top twenty-five books/series. I tried to be selective, at first only putting down the books that I would save if I only had thirty seconds to pick books, but then I couldn't leave out any of my other favorites, sitting there, staring at me with their sad book faces...
I went a little crazy, I think.
In the end, I came up with fifteen series and ten stand-alones, all of which I feel adequately represent my reading choices, at least for the past few years. If you haven't read one or many of these books, I definitely recommend every single one of them! It doesn't matter your taste in books, I truly believe that all of these books have something for everyone.

The books are organized series first, in order of preference, and then stand-alones, the same way. In a series, I will name my favorite book of the series. For all 25, I name favorite character and favorite moment.


1) Harry Potter- J.K. Rowling
(yes, I used the new covers because yes, I think they're gorgeous as hell.) If you haven't read/heard of Harry Potter, where even have you been in the past ten or so years? Seven books, eight blockbuster movies, hundreds of thousands of fans around the world? It should ring a bell. These books truly are the icons of a generation. As Rowling herself said; "Whether you come back by screen or by page, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home." I'm just going to assume you know the premise of these books. My favorites in the series are #3 The Prisoner of Azkaban, #5 The Order of the Phoenix, and #7 (obviously) The Deathly Hallows, with TDH coming in at first. My favorite characters are Hermoine Granger (I wanted to be her all of my childhood), Remus Lupin and Albus Dumbledore. My favorite scene from all seven books is all of the Dumbledore's Army scenes in the Room of Requirement in the fifth book. Also, Pottermore sorted me into Gryffindor so HOUSE PRIDE. 

2) The Mortal Instruments- Cassandra Clare
This series has been a favorite for almost three years, ever since my friend and I co-bought City of Bones in Williamsburg when we both didn't have enough money for a whole book. Good times. This series has garnered much fame in the last year, seeing as how it was made into a major motion picture, starring Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower. But let me be the first to tell you, this series kicks some major booty. If you're unfamiliar, the plot follows a girl, Clary, who finds out that she belongs to an elite race of demon fighters called Shadowhunters. That's the simplest synopsis I can give, because trying to explain everything would be tedious. Just know, this is one of the most intricate worlds I've ever read. It has the Shadowhunters, or nephilim, half-angel, half-human; warlocks, immortal, powerful; faeries, vampires, werewolves, and demons. Its about love and violence and family and friendship and sacrifice and identity. Honestly, its about everything. The characters are so well-developed and the plots move quickly and excitingly. 
There are five books so far, with one more being released next May. My favorite book from the series so far is book 3; City of Glass. My favorite characters are Jace Herondale/Lightwood/Wayland, Alec Lightwood, and Magnus Bane. My favorite moment is either the Seelie Court scene or *SPOILERS LOOK AWAY IF YOU HAVENT READ CITY OF LOST SOULS* the scene when Jace breaks out of his Sebastian induced coma and he and Clary have a bonding time. *OK COME BACK* These books are seriously amazing.

3) The Infernal Devices- Cassandra Clare
This is sort-of a companion series to The Mortal Instruments, but only in the fact that it takes place in the same world. You can read this series completely separately from TMI and not be lost at all. I often have a hard time choosing a favorite between the two Shadowhunter series. The Infernal Devices are set in Victorian England, with the plot revolving around a girl, Tessa, of unknown species. She isn't quite human, but she isn't a warlock or a shadowhunter or anything of the sort. She can shift into any human being, as long as she has an article that belonged to them, and she seeks refuge from an evil force trying to harness her power at the London Shadowhunter Institute, where two very handsome young Shadowhunters reside, Jem Carstairs and Will Herondale. 
The Infernal Devices, for me, has better characters than the Mortal Instruments. There is definitely more to the plot of TMI, but I am absolutely in love with this set of characters. My favorite book in the series is definitely book 3, Clockwork Princess. I alternated crying and laughing the entire book. My favorite character is Will Herondale *swoons* and the best moment is the epilogue of Clockwork Princess even though it is perhaps the saddest chapter I've ever read in any book ever. Two things I do love about this series; 1) that even though there is a love triangle, it is a love triangle done differently, and I love the way it is handled. 2) there are tons of characters and a ton of side-romances, but they all fit together so perfectly. This series will constantly give you chills. 

4) Percy Jackson and the Olympians- Rick Riordan
As a self-professed Greek Mythology buff, the best thing about these books is how seamlessly Greek myths are integrated into a modern setting. These are extremely popular middle grade books, but I would say anyone can read them, they definitely do not have the feeling of a children's series. These books revolve around the adventures of a young Percy Jackson, who is 12 in the time of the first book (he ages about a year with each book, very Potter-esque), and finds out the hard way (meaning he was attacked by the minotaur) that his father is none other than Poseidon, Greek god of the sea. He has many wild quests, and the cast of supporting characters is superb. 
Uncle Rick is a genius composer of stories, and all the mythology makes perfect sense in the modern settings; e.g. Mount Olympus is situated on the 500th floor of the Empire State Building, the underworld is in Los Angeles, etc. My favorite book of the series is book five: The Last Olympian. My favorite character is Annabeth Chase, and the best moment is the underwater kiss, hello. 

5) Heroes of Olympus- Rick Riordan
This is a companion series to Percy Jackson, although you do not necessarily have to have read the Percy Jackson series to read these (it does, however, help to have read them.) These books take place about a year after the close of the Percy Jackson series, and boast a new cast of lovable characters. There are seven main characters by the time we reach book three, with the first two books both focusing on three different people. (then there's Annabeth who isn't featured but is definitely around) Percy and Annabeth and Nico are all back, as well as many other familiar faces, but the demigods are older and their problems are bigger than ever before. 
I feel as if these books are more YA than middle grade, although they are still categorized that way. I get so engrossed in the demigod's world that I find it hard to resurface when I finish them. The fifth and  final book in this series, The Blood of Olympus is due out next October. My favorite book in this series is book four: The House of Hades. My favorite characters are Percy, Hazel and Nico. The best moment is the cupid scene in book four (ALL THE FEELINGS). I adore these books, their plots are so intricate and the characters are fantastically developed.  

6) Graceling Realm- Kristin Cashore
When I read the first book in this series, I quickly became hooked on this fantastical world of stories. The Graceling realm is a place where some people possess special powers, and these people have two different color eyes to show that they are "Graced." You could be graced with great cooking or a beautiful singing voice, but the first book is about a girl named Katsa, who is graced with killing. The second and third books are more like companion novels to the first, but they all go together, so I'm calling them a series. Fire is sort of a prequel to Graceling, as it takes place about 60-70 years prior, but in a neighboring land, where there exist creatures called monsters, which are just animals with brightly colored fur or feathers, and are alluring but also deadly. Fire, the main character, is the last living human monster. And the third book, Bitterblue, takes place back in Graceling world, but a few years after Graceling, and revolves around Bitterblue, who was a little girl when she was saved by Katsa in Graceling, but is now a queen. 
So its a bit complicated, but I love the world and the premise of each book. Its complex and none of the characters are all good or all bad (except maybe Leck). My favorite book is Graceling, my favorite character is Po. The best moment is when Katsa figures out what her grace really is. These books are my favorite fantasy series, and I would recommend all three to everyone. 

7) Covenant Series- Jennifer L. Armentrout
This was recommended to me this summer by Violet, and I finally caved and gave it a try. I was immediately hooked, and sped through all four books plus novellas (Daimon and Elixir being the Novellas) in less than a week. This series is a completely different take on Greek mythology than the Percy Jackson series, and these are definitely more mature. Basically, in this world, there are pure bloods and there are half bloods. Pure bloods are descended from demigods, and so are both of their parents. Half bloods have one pure blooded parent and one mortal parent, and are either enslaved or drafted into a demon-hunting army. Alex chooses the latter, but not before breaking all the rules and falling for a pure blood, which is the number one prohibited act in this world. 
These books had me so emotionally invested that at the end of book three I was laying on the floor in the fetal position, sobbing. I'm not even saying that to be cute or funny: it actually happened. It was also 3 am so the emotions might've been amplified by sleep deprivation, but the tears were there all the same. Book four: Apollyon is my favorite, although I also love the Novella, Elixir. My favorite character is Aiden: he is one of my top five male protagonists. The best moments are basically every Alex/Aiden scene. That is the ship of dreams. The last book, Sentinel, came out just recently, and I bought it on my Nook but haven't gotten around to it, although I'm excited. 

8) Mara Dyer Trilogy- Michelle Hodkin
This trilogy is completely unlike anything I've read so far. I'd classify it as a psychological thriller, following a girl, Mara Dyer, who wakes up in a hospital after being in a coma to learn that she was in an accident that killed her best friend, boyfriend, and his sister. She, however, has no recollection of the accident, which causes her a lot of emotional trauma. I really loved this book because its one of the first books I've read where the narrator is arguably insane. You can never be sure that what you're reading is what's actually happening, and you can read a whole chapter and then find out it was a hallucination, but that's what makes these books so interesting to read. 
I loved the twisting and turning of the plots, and I definitely think the second one built so much on the foundation the first one laid down. (3rd installment is out next year.) So I liked the second one, The Evolution of Mara Dyer, a bit more, but they're both pretty equal in most ways. (meaning they're both creepy and twisted but so good) My favorite character is- of course- Noah. I love the way his character was developed in relation to Mara and then just on his own. The best bit is the shock and awe ending of the second one I remember finishing it for the first time and dying inside. These books with amaze, scare, and entice you. 

9) The Lunar Chronicles- Marissa Myer
I'm a girl who loves a fairy tale. One of my favorite shows is Once Upon a Time, I'm usually always singing Disney music, and finding an amazing fairy tale retelling is, to me, like finding a pot of gold. Marissa Meyer has created amazing retellings of Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood in the first two of four books of her Lunar Chronicles Series. Book one takes place in a futuristic New Beijing, where an unstoppable plague is sweeping the city and human/robot hybrids called cyborgs are the social lepers of the day. Also, there are scary, mind controlling beings who live on the moon, so there's that. Cinder is a Cyborg mechanic who, one day, is asked to fix one of the prince's androids. And, well, the rest is history. Or is it? There are some crazy twists and turns, but I love Cinder as a character and the story isn't a typical Cinderella retelling. Scarlet takes place in the same time period, however this book starts out in France. Scarlet lives with her grandmother, who suddenly goes missing. She turns to a street fighter named wolf to help her find her grandmother. Which is another twisty turny story that isn't quite like the original story, but amazing in its changes.
Both books have very distinct and separate plots, but they intertwine in really interesting ways, especially coming together at the end of Scarlet. My favorite book out of the two is Cinder, though, just because I love Prince Kai and that storyline. My favorite character is Iko, she's so adorable, and the best part is when Cinder discovers her true identity. Chills. I would definitely say if you're looking for a different take on fairy tales, these books will do nicely. 

10) Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series- Laini Taylor
(The 3rd one isn't out yet, but the cover is so pretty I had to put it in) This is one of the most involved series I've ever read. The world is literally the most intricate I've seen, the characters are all so tangibly real, and the plots are mind-blowingly amazing. I picked up the first book simply because it takes place in Prague, and there aren't many stories that do. But when I began to read it, I was immediately sucked in. There's a lot of mystery involved, and things don't get fully unraveled until the end of the second book, but that's the fun of it. That's why you keep reading the story of Karou, an art student living in Prague who just happens to know of a door that houses some humanoid hybrid animals. (snake/woman being one) These animals raised her, and she runs errands for them, collecting teeth from around the world to make wishes. This plot summation doesn't even do the books justice, but I can't even truly describe what's happening in them because they're so unlike anything else I've ever read. Trust me though, they're worth the read. 
I liked the second book better, simply because so much more happened in it. My favorite characters are Zuzanna, Mik and Ziri, and the best part is the ol switcheroo Ziri and Karou pull at the end of the second book. These books will suck you in and you won't want to leave them.

11) Legend Trilogy- Marie Lu
This series, which just wrapped up the other week, takes place in a futuristic, dystopian America where the country is split in two; the Colonies and the Republic. The Republic is a militant and rigid society where much emphasis is placed on physical adeptness and ability to preform in battle. June Iparis is a prodigy, going to college at an early age and eager to be on the battlefront. Day Wing is a fugitive, the Republic's most wanted. When June's brother Metias is killed, June goes undercover to find the party responsible, and along the way unwittingly meets Day. 
I first read this book when it was released, about two years ago. I loved the premise and the fast pace of the first book, and then when the second one came out and it started gaining popularity, I was glad that this amazing trilogy was getting the recognition it deserves. These books read like an action-thriller, with lots of fast-paced scenes and shoot em up battles, but also the characters are so nicely brought along, and the romance is present but not overpowering. I haven't read the third one yet, because I'm nervous for it to end, but I'm looking forward to the conclusion of this trilogy. I liked book two more than book one, and my favorite character is Day, I gotta admit. The best part was when Day and June get sealed into the tunnels in Prodigy. All three of these books are pretty short and so this would be a quick and exciting series marathon. 

12) The Darkest Minds Trilogy- Alexandra Bracken
The Darkest Minds is an unnerving concept. America, going about its normal life until- bam!- 75% of the children are wiped out by a disease no one knows anything about. And the ones that survive are left with unthinkable powers. Ruby is one of the ones who survives, but is sent to a rehabilitation (read: concentration without the gas rooms) camp for kids. When she manages to break out years later, she's got questions, and meets up with three other kids, Zu, Chubs and Liam, to answer them. This is a heart-wrenching story, and so many parts made me so unbelievably sad. Its also a pretty dark novel, the whole concept is a little unsettling. But there are so many bright spots as well, which is basically the best example for no matter how bad it gets you can still find happiness and yadda yadda. I haven't read the second one yet, since there have been so many on my TBR list, but I'm hoping to get around to it soon. 
My favorite characters are Zu and Liam and the best part of the first one is *Spoilers* the part where Liam and Ruby tell each other they like each other in Black Betty in the middle of the night. *OK come back* I love how these books keep you guessing and the first one at least has the ENDING OF ALL ENDINGS *sobs*

13) Divergent Trilogy- Veronica Roth
Beatrice Prior lives in a dystopian Chicago where everyone must live within one of five factions. Dauntless- the brave, Abnegation- the selfless, Erudite- the intelligent, Amity- the peaceful, and Candor- the honest. On a certain day in their sixteenth year, each person must be tested for faction aptitude and choose where they will spend the rest of their lives. Beatrice faces a difficult decision, and when she chooses, she will never be the same. 
This series is one of those rare ones where I liked the first book the best, then the second, then the third. It gets a lot darker as it goes along, and while it was the natural plot of the story, I really fell in love with the world in book one. My favorite characters are Christina and Tris, and I think the best bit is when Tris and Four go through Four's fear landscape. Its such a powerful moment, and I really appreciate the bravery that took. I feel like this series is really powerful, with many twists and shocks, and the conclusion of it is the biggest one of all. 

14) The Selection Trilogy- Kiera Cass
I was, at first, a little hesitant to read The Selection. When it first came out, I picked it up in the bookstore and thought it looked a little too "The Bachelor" for my taste. Eventually though, after a few recommendations, I decided to give it a whirl, and I was not disappointed. America Singer is the main character, and she gets chosen for The Selection, which is a contest between many girls from around the country to win the Prince's hand in marriage. For America, being chosen is a good thing, because her poor family will be handsomely compensated for her participation, but it means that she will have to turn her back on Aspen, who is her first love. The most interesting thing about this series is the usage of a caste system, which I thought was a very different angle to read from. The prince is of the highest caste, while America is almost at the bottom of the totem pole, and Aspen is an even lower caste than her. 
I liked book one better than book two, and my favorite character is Maxon :) I read them a while ago and exact details are fuzzy to me, so I'm going to skip saying a favorite scene for this one. But I do think this trilogy is something different from all the other YA novels and series out there. 

15) The Grisha Trilogy- Leigh Bardugo 
First of all, can we appreciate the beauty of these covers? They're some of my favorites. Ok ah hem, starting the synopsis now. These books are set in a world called Ravka, a fantasy world that is ripped in half by a terrifying place of darkness called the Shadowfold. In this world there exists beings of magic power, called Grisha. Orphaned Alina discovers within herself a power unlike any other, and finds herself in the middle of the King's court and many other Grisha, including the leader of all Grisha, the Darkling (with whom we have a sketchy trust with). 
These books are so amazingly written, and they're ultimately very different from other series. I think of them a little like fantasy X-Men, with all the mutant people living in the king's palace and honing their abilities. But there's also controversy with the Darkling and Alina's childhood friend Mal, as well as in between the different types of Grisha themselves. My favorite book in the series is the second one, and my favorite character is from the second book as well- Sturmhond. I think the most exciting scenes from these books are the fighting scenes. These books freak me out and make me laugh, the characters feel like they could be my friends, and the plots are roller coaster thrill rides that aren't easy to put down. 


16) Fangirl- Rainbow Rowell 
OH MY STARS. I think this might be my favorite book of all time, if I was forced at gunpoint to choose. Seriously, I feel like this book was written about me. This book is the story of Cath, just your average fanfiction-writing, party-avoiding fangirl, and her adventures throughout her first year of university. It doesn't exactly start off with a bang, as her twin sister and best friend Wren tells her she doesn't want to room together, altogether abandoning Cath to the wilds of college and her new, surly roommate. Then there's the fact that Cath has her insanely popular Simon Snow (read: sort-of Harry Potter) fic to finish, without her sister's help, on top of her schoolwork, which includes Advanced-fiction writing with a teacher who frowns upon fanfiction. And then there's the two cute guys who've popped up in Cath's life, all of which keeps her nice and confused. 
This book was giving me warm fuzzies from page one, and I laughed and cried my way through the whole thing. I don't even know how to truly convey how much I loved this book, but just know: it is PERFECT. In every way. The cast of characters, flawed but lovable, the elements of the Simon Snow fandom, all the relationships, ITS ALL PERFECT. My favorite character is Levi (seems like all my favorite characters in all these books are cute boys. Funny how that works out.) and the best bit is when Cath and Levi finish the Outsiders together LORD have MERCY my heart. 
((((ALSO Rainbow Rowell is my favorite author ever and she's responded to me twice on twitter so yeah.))) 
Read this book. Now. 

17) The Fault in Our Stars- John Green 
I have a question for you. If you haven't read The Fault in Our Stars- where the hell have you been for the past year or so? This has only been the biggest must-read on everyone's list. Its also about to be a movie, with Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort (both of which are also in Divergent) and so if you haven't submitted yourself to the beauty and heartbreak that is TFIoS, do so, immediately. This book is about a girl named Hazel, who, despite a miracle medicine that temporarily continued her life, is a terminally ill cancer patient. In her cancer-kid support group one day, she meets in-remission Augustus Waters, and her life careens onto a whole new course. 
Though you might be wary to read this because of the whole cancer/dying thing, I encourage you. This book isn't so much about death as it is about living. I don't think I've ever read a book where I literally wanted to underline every single sentence, but The Fault in Our Stars is that book. Every line is either funny or profound (or profoundly funny) and I honestly wish it was about 700 pages longer. Disclaimer: it is amazingly sad (I cry for about 80 pages every time I read it) but the book as a whole is worth the sadness. My favorite character is Augustus, my favorite scenes are the funeral scene (if you've read it- you know the one) and Amsterdam, and if you haven't read this book yet, drop everything and do it. 

18) Anna and the French Kiss- Stephanie Perkins
If you haven't already picked up on this, I love fantasy, action, science fiction, dystopian series, but when it comes to stand-alones, I'm all about contemporary. Anna and the French Kiss is no exception. I've read this book seven times. Literally seven times. I can't get enough of it, I want to live inside it, I want to be a character in it, this book is everything. Anna is going into her senior year of high school when her romance novel author father whisks in and forces her to attend School of America in Paris. Needless to say, she's less than thrilled about spending her senior year in a country where she knows all of two words of their language, away from her best friend and almost-boyfriend, but her father insists. When she gets to Paris, she meets athletic, cheerful Meredith, surly Rashmi, artistic Josh and gorgeous, well-traveled (BRITISH) Etienne St. Clair. Who's also taken. 
Yeah when I say I want to live inside this book I AM NOT JOKING. This is my ideal life. I want to go to boarding school in Paris! I want to meet a cute boy with a British accent! I want cool friends! This book made me squeal like a little girl several times, embarrassingly enough, but that's the literal emotion I felt while reading it: SQUEALY HAPPINESS. Even if you're not a fan of romance or contemporary, I honestly think you will enjoy this book. It really does have something for everyone, and the plot and characters are so real, I feel like they're my friends. GAH.
My favorite character is St. Clair and my favorite scenes are Thanksgiving, Christmas/New Year's, and the soccer game. Now I really want to go read this book for an eighth time. 

19) The Book Thief- Markus Zusak 
I think, sometimes when I read books, that I try to pick the ones that will rip out my heart and eat it. That's exactly what The Book Thief did to me. I was sobbing uncontrollably at the end of this book, but I think that's a sign of a truly good book. One that makes you feel stronger emotions than you feel even in real life. The Book Thief follows Liesel Meminger, a young girl living in Nazi Germany. She comes to a small town outside of Munich to live with a foster family when she is quite young. The book then takes place over the next couple of years, living with her foster family. She learns to read and write, learns to love what she reads and writes, and learns to steal things to read and write. Liesel shares her words with her loving foster father, her neighbors during bomb raids, and the Jewish man named Max, hiding in the basement. 
I love Liesel in this book, and I love the uniqueness of the fact that the book is narrated by Death. My favorite scene is when Max gives Liesel the book he created especially for her. This movie is about to be a movie as well, so I would suggest you read or reread it in preparation for the movie. 

20) The Goose Girl- Shannon Hale
Ok before you think or say anything, I know that, strictly speaking, this book is part of a series, but I only ever finished this one. I tried to read Enna Burning (which is book two) a few years ago but could never finish it. So I think of it as a stand alone. 
I think I read this book for the first time when I was in the fourth or fifth grade, and ever since then it has been one of my favorites. It is the only book that I have consistently gone back and read since I was young, and its one of the first fantasy/fairytale books that I ever read. I credit my current taste in books to The Goose Girl. This is an amazingly woven tale that will keep you hooked until the bitter end. Princess Anidori of Kildenree has the amazing talent of being able to communicate with animals, especially swans. However, hers is a magic that is feared by her realm, and so it is kept hidden from the time she is a child. When it comes time for her to marry, she is sent to a neighboring kingdom to wed its prince. However, on the journey there, her lady-in-waiting stages a mutiny and takes her place, meaning for Ani to be killed. Ani, however, escapes, but is unable to convince anyone of her true identity, so takes a position as a goose girl for the king. She has to find her own way, using her special abilities and relying on the friends she makes. 
This book is so beautifully rendered, every time I read it, it seems like a new detail jumps out to me. I love the world that it is set in, everything is so wonderfully described, and the character development blows my mind every single time. My favorite character is Falada, Ani's loyal horse, and my favorite part is the whole ending, the way everything wraps up is incredible. Everything about this book can be summed up in one word: beautiful. 

21) The Host- Stephenie Meyer
Don't be turned off by the fact that this is by Stephenie Meyer and you think its "uncool" to read her books, (don't lie everyone went through a Twilight phase) and don't be turned off because the movie was just "eh" (even though I actually rather liked the movie), read this book because its an amazing story that deserves to be shown love. 
Basically, the book is about earth, in the future, and humanity has been overrun by a race of peaceful aliens called souls. The souls have no currency, no locks on their doors, no secrets and no need for any of the above, because they live in perfect harmony with one another. However, there are still small pockets of human resistance, and Melanie Stryder was a part of one. But then she is captured by the souls and into her brain is inserted Wanderer, a soul who has lived on many different planets. When a soul is inserted into a human, usually the human dies and the soul takes complete control. But in the case of Melanie, a stubborn and headstrong character, both girl and soul are very much alive inside one brain. Melanie has promised her brother, Jamie, and the love of her life, Jared that she will return to him, and by revealing to Wanderer her memories of them, persuades her into the southwest American desert to find a hideout of the human resistance. Though they are pursued by souls and Wanderer is met with hatred and suspicion on the part of the humans, the girls struggle to survive together, and find a way to make a way for themselves, a way that allows both humans and souls to coexist. 
I love this book. The way it is set up can drag a little bit (the first time I read it I quit after page 100), but once the plot really picks up, I couldn't put it down. I love Ian and Jamie and Uncle Jeb, I love the bantery scenes between Melanie and Wanda, and I love all the different relationships in the story. Also, there is a pervading theme of survival, in many different forms, which is interesting. This book has an amazing plot, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves sci-fi/aliens and romance.  

22) Eleanor and Park- Rainbow Rowell
Ah, here we have again my favorite author, Rainbow Rowell. This probably would've been higher on the list if Fangirl hadn't come out and stolen Eleanor and Park's thunder. I adored this book, even though it isn't an easy read. It gives me the opposite feeling of Fangirl's warm fuzzies: this book presents so many difficult situations, it is uncomfortable to read at times. But I think that's what makes it so great. These characters can have pretty sucktastic lives, but the way they deal with everything endears you to them and makes you want to know how their stories end. The plot takes place in the 1980's and follows a boy, Park, and a girl, Eleanor, who are both misfits for different reasons. This is a story of first love and first heartbreak, set alongside the stark reality of physical and emotional home abuse and bullying. Eleanor and Park lean on each other throughout the course of a school year, and only with each other's help can they get along. 
I love this story; how earnest the characters are, how the situations they are put in are so real, and how I can see sparks of myself in them. My favorite character is Park's mom, and I think the best part is when Eleanor first starts reading Park's comics over his shoulder, and what blossoms from that on the bus. Eleanor and Park made me feel all the emotions- my only complaint is that it isn't longer. 

23) Lola and the Boy Next Door- Stephanie Perkins
And here we have, following the emotional beating that Eleanor and Park will give you, the healing balm. Lola and the Boy Next Door is an extremely adorable companion novel to Anna and the French kiss. It takes place in San Francisco, where Lola is a high school student living with her dads. She is a fashion superstar (her prom dress is a scarily accurate homemade Marie Antoinette gown) with personality to spare, but there is one thing she fears. Her once-next-door-neighboor: Cricket Bell. Once, they were close, even almost more than close, but then he broke her heart and moved away, and she moved on (mostly). Now Lola is dating an older guy named Max and has her life together, until the day the Bell's move back in next door. 
Can I just interject here and say that Stephanie Perkins' characters are some of my favorites in the entire world. I'd be best friends with Lola and with her dads, I'd love to be in love with Cricket, and I'd hate Calliope (ok not hate but yeah hate). They just seem so real! And the story is so cute and engrossing. I love Cricket- he's my favorite, and I love the part where Lola makes Calliope an ice-skating costume. So cute. This is a quick, feel-good read that you will want to go back to again and again. 

24) After Hello- Lisa Magnum
I read this book over a year ago, when it first came out, and I don't remember many specific plot details, but it is on my favorites bookshelf in my room and I do remember loving it when I read it, so I've included it here. It is the story of Sara, who is always looking, through the lens of her camera, for something, and then there's Sam, who's always finding things, like a rare book or that scarf you thought you'd never see again. Sara's on her first trip to New York, and when she sees Sam, she can't help but be intrigued by him. What happens after they meet is a whirlwind day, for that's all they have: one day. Its an interesting concept, how much you can learn about a person in one day, and I loved the way their relationship was executed. It didn't feel like instalove, nothing about it was gushy or annoying, their stories are simple, and their feelings for each other come from a real place. 
The only thing I have written down about this book is that I loved Sam and that I loved a ton of the quotations in this novel. I underlined a lot of things, and they're very reminiscent of John Green one-liners. So the language in this book is beautiful, and the story is quick and nicely brought along. This is a short book, so it will fly by, and you will walk away with a satisfaction that you've just finished an amazing book. 

25) Entwined- Heather Dixon
As far as fairytale retellings go, this is one of my favorites. I love the twelve dancing princesses, but without any spice, the tale can tend toward boring. But I love Entwined and the way the fairytale was tweaked, but not beyond recognition, and made to be more exciting. So, obviously, there are twelve sisters, princess, who are all named after flowers (in alphabetical order by age praise the lord- helps with remembering them). They lose their mother in the beginning of the book, and are sent into mourning for a year after her death. The worst thing about being in mourning? The girls aren't allowed to dance. And they love to dance. So they end up taking a secret passageway through their fireplace and meeting a man named Keeper who lets them dance every night. (he's a super creep though) There's also their father, the king, who become more and more distant and negligent following their mother's death. And, of course, there's romance. Ah, the romance. I'd describe this as a spiced up version of the original fairytale, and I loved every minute of it. My favorite character is Bramble, for all her flaws, she's so much fun to read about. This plot is captivating, and the ending will have you flipping pages at warp-speed. I adored the characters in this book, and the twists and turns of the plot. Pick this book up if you like fantasy and fairy tales, you won't be disappointed. 

GOD. This took me so much longer than I thought it would. Now I just want to go back and reread all of these books, especially the ones I haven't read in awhile. :) All of these books are worth reading, so you're welcome for 25 free recommendations. Happy reading! 



  1. agree agree agree. plus a few ones on my tbr pile. yay! have you seen the cover for the one? its so pretty kiera cass's last book is gonna be great. hopefully america can figure everything out

    1. THE WEDDING DRESS OH MY GOD!!! Im so excited, V.


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