It’s not often that books surprise me. Usually I can tell based on the cover and synopsis if it’s a book I will like or not. But every once in a while, I pick up a book that does surprise me. When that happens, the book usually becomes one of my absolute favorites. Here are ten.
(This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is Books That Surprised Me.)
The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murhpy: Hands down, this book is the one that probably surprised me the most. I won a copy of it in an Instagram giveaway, so when it arrived, I decided to give it a chance. This book completely enchanted me. Despite being about magic and curses, the characters in this book felt real and their lives felt like a reflection of my own.
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch: This book surprised me because the first time I tried to read it I gave up after about 100 pages. I just couldn’t get into it. But then I tried again (at the nagging of several friends) and I am so glad I read it. After I melded into the world, the story came to life. Between the witty dialogue, the intricate world politics, and the masterful thievery, this book blew my freaking mind.
The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord: I’m not much of a YA contemporary person, but The Names They Gave Us spoke to me in a way a lot of other faith-based stories never did. I love the genuine honesty and realistic depiction of growing up religious that is in this book. The story definitely surprised me by being so much more than a synopsis and title.
Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills: Again, this YA contemporary surprised me because I actually enjoyed it. I expected an annoying, angst-filled romance, but what I got was a funny, down-to-earth story about a wide range of relationships–anything from first love to friendship to the bond of siblings. It has a good mix of ridiculous shenanigans and heart-touching moments.
Geekerella by Ashley Poston: I’m not a fan of the Cinderella fairy tale. I think it’s kind of boring and overdone. (Why is she the most prevalent Disney princess? She has no personality!) But Ashley Poston’s Geekerella is a fantastic adaptation of the tale with a fandom spin. I love that this book allows fangirls and fanboys to unabashedly love the things they enjoy, no judgment. It made me understand that I am not alone.
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo: I didn’t expect to like a 1200+ page classic about the French revolution. Classics can be hard to read, and when you had a thousand extra pages, many of those pages thick with blocks of text and endless (and sometimes unnecessary) descriptions, it can be worse. But I was astounded to find myself enjoying the story Victor Hugo penned. Les Misérables is filled with rich truths and lessons about life, and I will carry those truths the rest of my life.
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng: I usually don’t like to read literary fiction. I don’t always find it as exciting as a fantasy or science-fiction story, but I will make an exception for books by Celeste Ng. The way she weaves character and story leaves me breathless, and Everything I Never Told You was my first glimpse at Celeste Ng’s gift of writing.
The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes: I started this book with hesitation because the first couple chapters didn’t seem like the story I was promised. But I dug my heels in and continued through the strangeness of the formatting and I’m glad I did. This story tied together in such a wonderful way that it left me internally screaming well beyond the last page.
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell: I received this book in a subscription box and was so-so about reading it. I hadn’t heard of it before, and I didn’t know if it would live up to my expectations. But this book swept me away to a magic-filled 1920s New York City and kept me up late at night in order to finish it. (It was totally worth it, by the way.) Now I’m eagerly looking forward to the sequel!
Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery: I read Anne of Green Gables when I was younger, but I never finished the rest of the series. I was told by several people that the other books just aren’t as exciting because Anne grows up. Still, I wanted to at least try to read them. While not all of them are my favorite, I was surprised to learn how much I loved each book, despite that Anne is older and growing up and having her own children. The stories are still memorable and meaningful. Anne learns a lot as she matures, and I felt that I too matured while reading them.