Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish that other bloggers are welcome to join in, to create Top Ten lists on varying topics. This week it’s our top ten books for readers who like character driven novels.
1 Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
I don’t know why but this was the first book that actually came to mind. I read it over two years ago and haven’t exactly thought about it much since then. But as soon as I double checked the definition of ‘character driven’ there it was in the front of my mind. It’s been compared to Groundhog’s Day and I can see why. Both have the same basic outline in that a throughly selfish person repeats the same day over and over, forced to pay attention to the world and people around them. Samantha, however, only repeats 7 times and is given the chance to fix some things around her before she leaves. I found it beautiful and sad. The way the character comes to understand the world around her is over shadowed by the fact that she will still be dying, but please don’t let that put you off!
For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.
However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.
2 Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Another sad one, but this one I love. I read the book but I’ve heard that the audio book is particularly good as it’s narrated in two voices, just like the book is written. It’s a poignant story about how so many people around a floundering girl are determined to give her a good hard shove down and makes you wonder just how much we touch the lives of the people around us and even the strangers we pass on the street. It covers such a taboo subject; suicide and I am somewhat horrified that we live within a society where suicide needs to be an option. But it’s not the answer. Please, if you’re considering it, talk to someone, wait one more day, do one more thing. The world kinda sucks and I’m sorry, but we need you.
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.
3 Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn, David Levithan
This one enchanted me, I thought it was amazing, how they meet through the book and fall for each other before they ever meet. It was such an exciting start, they’ll need to find some way to keep it exciting. There was even a cameo from Nick and Nora’s infinite playlist, another sweet book but it doesn’t make my list.
“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”
So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors ofNick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?
4 Forget You by Jennifer Echols
I found this book adorable. Nothing earth shattering happens, except Zoey’s life completely changes over night and it’s a night she can’t remember. But she refuses to let anyone know just how much she doesn’t remember and she ends up in some rather awkward conversations.
Why can’t you choose what you forget … and what you remember?
There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four-year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. Feeling like her life is about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon. But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all–the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug–of all people– suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two ofthem? Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life–a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug.
5 Easy by Tammara Webber
I loved this book. It just shows you that sometimes people can’t tell you everything but it’s not always a bad thing. It also kinda shows you that following your boyfriend to college might not be a bad thing either, but in that case she was lucky, really it’s not that much of a good idea…
When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup two months into sophomore year. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she’s single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.
Leaving a party alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by her ex’s frat brother. Rescued by a stranger who seems to be in the right place at the right time, she wants nothing more than to forget the attack and that night – but her savior, Lucas, sits on the back row of her econ class, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. Her friends nominate him to be the perfect rebound.
When her attacker turns stalker, Jacqueline has a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Lucas remains protective, but he’s hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.
6 The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
This I think I got in a kindle sale some years ago and I liked it a whole lot more than I thought I would. I like when people are more than they appear and I like it in books when people have to re-assess how they see each other. One mans insult can be another mans endearment…
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.
But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.
7 Remember Me by Christopher Pike
I read this one first, many years ago and it took me some years to actually find out it was one of three. Where as two and three focus on a completely different topic, simply involving the same characters, this one focuses on the life, death and afterlife of Shari. I have to admit I do like it more now I know the wider story, but it’s still a good read and can work as a stand alone.
Shari Cooper hadn’t planned on dying, but four floors is a long way to fall. Her friends say she fell but Shari knew she had been murdered. Making a vow to herself to find her killer, Shari spies on her friends, and even enters their dreams. She also comes face-to-face with a nightmare from beyond the grave. The Shadow – a thing more horrible than death itself – is the key to Shari’s death, and the only thing that can stop her murderer from murdering again.
8 Unmaking Hunter Kennedy by Anne Eliot
This was one of those cute little ones I couldn’t say no to. Sometimes you just want a little bit of cute and not much else. I feel Vere’s make over was unnecessary and perhaps Hunter began to think so too…
After a car accident–an event he considers a prank gone bad–pop star, Hunter Kennedy is forced to hide out with his aunt in small-town Colorado. He’s supposed to rest, heal his scars and attend high school in disguise until the press dies down. But he only wants to get back to work.
Worse, the girl who’s been assigned to make him over into a geek is a major geek herself. Vere Roth is a chattering pixie, a blushing tornado and a complete social disaster. He’s never met a girl who’s never-been-kissed, believes in romance and thinks Hunter’s a ‘nice’ guy.
Funny thing is…Hunter is nice around Vere because she’s his first real friend. He also can’t seem to stop sharing his secrets or keep her out of his heart. Knowing he’d never deserve a girl as sweet as Vere, he resigns himself to the friend zone, and helps his new bestie with her own makeover.
She tortures him daily for ridiculous guy advice on how to snag her life-long crush. A guy Hunter thinks is totally wrong for Vere, and sadly, one who has taken note of Vere’s transformation.
When Vere asks her best friend for some kissing advice, Hunter can’t resist…
And that’s when things get out of control…
9 Almost by Anne Eliot
This was quite an interesting one. Because it was ‘almost’ people discounted it, but it’s still an invasion and it was nice someone understood that for her. I didn’t agree with how her parents handled the whole affair at all and I’m so glad she has Gray.
At a freshman party she doesn’t remember, Jess Jordan was almost raped.
…Almost. Very nearly. Not quite. Three years later, Jess has managed to make everyone believe she’s better. Over it. Because she is.
…Almost. Very nearly. Not quite.
Unfortunately, until Jess proves she’s back to normal activities, her parents won’t discuss college. So, she lands a summer internship and strikes a deal with hockey jock, Gray Porter: He gets $8,000. She gets a fake boyfriend and a social life.
Jess has no idea Gray signed on for reasons other than money. She also never expects to fall in love. But Gray’s amazingly hot, holds her hand all the time, and makes her forget that he’s simply doing his job. It’s like having a real boyfriend.
…Almost. Very nearly. Not quite.
Gray Porter is hiding secrets of his own. About Jess Jordan. About why he’s driven to protect her, why he won’t cash her checks, or deny her anything she asks.
10 One Small Thing by Pipper Vaughn, M.J. O’Shea
There were parts of this book that were a little annoying but I loved the development of Erik so much I over look them every time I read it. Rue undergoes a major change too, but it’s over shadowed, at least in my view, which is a shame, but on the whole I find Erik far more likeable.
”Daddy” is not a title Rue Murray wanted, but he never thought he’d have sex with a woman either. Now he’s the unwitting father of a newborn named Alice. Between bartending and cosmetology school, Rue doesn’t have time for babies, but he can’t give her up. What Rue needs is a babysitter, and he’s running out of options. He’s on the verge of quitting school to watch Alice himself when he remembers his reclusive new neighbor, Erik. Erik Van Nuys is a sci-fi novelist with anxiety issues to spare. He doesn’t like people in general, and he likes babies even less. Still, with his royalties dwindling, he could use the extra cash. Reluctantly, he takes on the role of manny-and even more reluctantly, he finds himself falling for Alice and her flamboyant father. Rue and Erik are as different as two people can be, and Alice is the unlikeliest of babies, but Rue has never been happier than when Alice and Erik are by his side. At least, not until he receives an offer that puts all his dreams within reach and he’s forced to choose: the future he’s always wanted, or the family he thought he never did.