The Broke and the Bookish is, as you might have guessed, a book-themed blog and each week they post a prompt to use for a top ten list. This time it’s, “What are ten of the most unique books you’ve ever read?” I thought I’d take part since I haven’t in a while, and I’m counting series as well as standalone novels. Enjoy!
1. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. This book is a riot. A dozen or so teenage beauty queen contestants are stranded on an island and wonder of wonders, they don’t kill each other as in Lord of the Flies. (I thought they would.) Bray has a wonderfully quirky sense of humor and I enjoyed the many sarcastic footnotes. It was one surreal read.
2. A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. I read and love a lot of high fantasy, but this one really sticks in my mind. It has more characters than I ever thought were possible for one author to keep track of. It’s much more graphic than the other stuff I read – for example, Tolkien usually just said, “Yo, someone died” (I may be paraphrasing slightly) while Martin kills characters left and right and describes the sound of someone’s skull getting smashed in. (I still haven’t forgiven him for that death.) And although it was written for adults, the story is partially narrated by children, lending some unusual perspectives.
3. A Step From Heaven by An Na. This is a story about a Korean girl who immigrates to the United States with her family when she is very little. The cultural aspects of the novel are very interesting, but my favorite part is how the writing changes as the main character learns more about the English language. I don’t know of any other books like that.
4. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Although by no means the first dystopian books, this series is still creative, combining Roman culture (gladiators fighting to the death) with a post-apocalyptic world. The horror of the story really stood out to me, too – children killing children.
5. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. Cyborgs plus aliens from the moon plus a deadly plague plus fairy tales? Oh yeah. I have no idea how Meyer even thought of this, but I congratulate her nevertheless.
6. The Kiki Strike series by Kirsten Miller. Delinquent Girl Scouts turned teen spies fight crime in New York City. Beneath the city, actually – through tunnels that make up an entire hidden city. I have no idea whether to classify it as fantasy or science fiction.
7. Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson. I’ve said this before: later on, the series really went downhill. But this one didn’t overdo the weirdness, despite being about a group of genetically-engineered kids who are part human, part bird.
8. Misery by Stephen King. This is by far the most terrifying book I have ever read! Don’t make the same mistake I did, and read this at night, because it’s about a man held prisoner by a crazy lady who psychologically and physically tortures him. Eugh. This was another super-graphic book.
9. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. How many other books are there that feature mythological horses that enjoy eating humans? Yeah, I don’t know either. This book was also unique in that the main events – the Scorpio Races themselves – took place right at the end. No, I mean right at the end. Like, with less than a handful of pages to spare. It made for a lot of tension, earlier.
10. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I don’t know how one can write a children’s book set in a freaking graveyard, but Gaiman does so successfully. It was eerie and whimsical at the same time.
What are the most unique books that you’ve read?