Top Ten of the Most Unique Books I’ve Read

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, she posts an idea relating to books and encourages other book bloggers to respond with their own top ten lists.

This week’s topic is “top ten of the most unique books you’ve read.” Whether it’s in terms of plot, characterization, or narration, there were a lot of books that stood out when I was compiling this list. Here are just a few of them:

1. The Book Thief
Death is not exactly the most traditional choice of a narrator, however Markus Zusak pulls it off with aplomb. It’s such a beautiful yet heartbreaking read, and I often find myself wondering if it would have been as powerful if told from Liesel’s perspective.

2. Shadow and Bone
Ravka is such an intriguing world, steeped in Russian folklore, magic, and fantastic characters (like the Darkling). I haven’t read anything quite like this series, which helps place it even further up on my favourites list.

3. Shatter Me
Although I wasn’t a huge fan of this book, there’s  no denying that it’s very uniquely written. Littered with so many beautiful (and strange) similes, metaphors, and crossouts, Juliette’s thoughts are portrayed in a very interesting style.

4. Cinder
Cinder doesn’t fit the typical Cinderella story to a T and involves a lot of creative liberties, such as the inclusion of aliens and cyborgs, making for a very engaging fairytale retelling.

5. The Night Circus
This is such a beautiful, breathtaking, and magical read. The circus, the tents, the characters, and the plot are all so mesmerizing and different, making it one of my absolute favourite books.

6. Every Day
Every Day has both a unique premise and an unusual choice of narrator: every day, A wakes up in a different body – male, female, old, young, all are possibilities. A’s gender is never established, and it was strange talking about this book and not being able to refer to A as “him” or “her.”

7. Two Boys Kissing
Like Every Day, Two Boys Kissing has an unexpected narrator – this time, in the form of a Greek Chorus of gay men who have lost their lives to AIDS. The use of the inclusive “we” made the story that much more poignant, touching, and memorable.

8. The Knife of Never Letting Go
I didn’t expect to like this book (or series) as much as I did. The spelling and grammar varies between characters, giving them their own distinct voices – and, to further add to that, different fonts, sizes, and italics are used to distinguish between the Noise of the men from each town. The noise itself was such a neat inclusion, making for an unforgettable read.

9. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
The inclusion of found black and white photographs adds to the creepy atmosphere of this read. I’m also still not quite sure what to classify this as: supernatural horror, perhaps?

10. Angelfall
This book restored my faith in YA books that involve angels. A post-apocalyptic setting, cannibalism, angels that certainly aren’t cherubic, and a wonderful female lead make Angelfall a far cry from the “fallen angel falls in love with a human” story that I’ve read far too often.

+ Honourable Mentions
Because I’m awful and can’t choose just ten, here are a few of the others I would include: Harry Potter, The Archived, anything by Neil Gaiman, Good Omens, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

What are some of the most unique books you’ve read? Leave me a list or a link to your list in the comments below.

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Book Review: Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

New York Times  bestselling author David Levithan tells the based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS.

While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites—all while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other.

My Rating: 5 cupcakes

“You can’t know what it is like for us now — you will always be one step behind. Be thankful for that.

You can’t know what it was like for us then — you will always be one step ahead. Be thankful for that, too.”

Two Boys Kissing is narrated in a completely unique fashion: instead of shifting perspectives, as I expected, our narrator is a Greek Chorus of gay men who have lost their lives to AIDS. At first it was slightly disconcerting to have an omnipresent group of narrators, however it certainly wouldn’t have been as poignant and touching of a read without their inclusive “we.” As the Greek Chorus watches over the eight teen characters, two things are made very apparent: the universality of being in love, and just how far society has progressed in terms of accepting homosexuality. Sure, this progress isn’t complete, but considering the marvel that these men have about the fact that two boys kissing in front of the high school is largely received in a positive manner, it isn’t hard to imagine complete acceptance in the near future.

I wasn’t quite as connected to the eight teenage boys that the Chorus was watching over, however I still found myself rooting for them. Two boys are in the early stages of a potential relationship, with one partway through the transition from female to male. There’s a healthy relationship between two of the boys, complete with acceptance from both sets of parents. One boy is only out to strangers he has met on chat sites, and fears that he is alone and unloved. Another was assaulted because of his sexual orientation. And, finally, we have the two boys who are trying to break the world record for the longest kiss. Despite this wide range of circumstances, these boys all had several commonalities: they were struggling with acceptance, love, approval, and coming out – both to their families and themselves. Their stories felt authentic and real, so it was no surprise to find out that they are: both in the people that Levithan drew inspiration from, and many others that struggle with these issues – whether they’re gay or straight, a teenager or an adult.

Overall, Two Boys Kissing is beautifully written, captivating, and thought provoking – all of which I’ve come to expect from David Levithan’s works. More than that, though, it is important, and deserves to be read by absolutely everyone.

WWW Wednesday (February 19)

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Should Be Reading. To participate, answer the following three questions:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Here are my answers:

Currently Reading:
I just picked up These Broken Stars from the library, and I’m so excited to start reading it! I’ve seen so many glowing reviews, so hopefully my reading experience is just as positive.

 

 

Recently Finished:

I recently finished reading No One Else Can Have You, Two Boys Kissing, and A Mad, Wicked Folly. They were all very different, but I really enjoyed all of them! Reviews are up on my Goodreads, and will be up on the blog sometime next month.

To Read:

I’m not quite sure what I plan to read next, but I have Earthbound and Counting by 7s as possible options. Of course, I’m always welcome to suggestions, so if there’s anything you think I should read please let me know! : )

Which books are you currently reading? Leave me a list or a link to your WWW Wednesday post below. 3