Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
This week’s TTT got me thinking a lot: what does it take to write a good review for a really great book? And I couldn’t find necessarily a similar thread between them all until I came to one idea – the book somehow uniquely surprised me in a way that no other had before.
I’m not sure if that’s something you all can relate when you struggle to passionately write about a book that blew your mind away even though it should be easier with so much to say! I think my words are never coherent enough to really portray how I feel about the book accurately.
So here are the books I know for certain I could never (or haven’t been able to) write the best review I would want to for these gems.
1. The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
There’s no mistaking how much I couldn’t put this into words. There’s romance and great chemistry, but above all, there’s science. Accurate science! I felt so seen in a fictional book and I couldn’t emphasize well enough how that took my breath away. If you want to see my attempt, my review is here.
2. The Host by Stephenie Meyer
This is my all time favourite book even after all these years. Nothing has surpassed the way it world builds but also excellently crafts these realistic characters that are so unique from one another. I’ve cried and laughed and loved with this book, and have done so on many re-reads. Yet I have never written a review for it (or attempted to) because I know it wouldn’t be able to hold all that I feel for it. Not unless it’s a 10 page essay.
3. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
I’m a huge mystery lover. I feel I’ve seen most of it with all the common tropes in books and TV shows. But this format was so uniquely told and the protagonist was such an interesting mind for an amateur (high school) detective that I couldn’t help but fall in love with this story. It’s taken the world by storm, mystery lover or not, and yet I don’t know what to fully say, although I tried here.
4. The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
Historical fictions is a genre I’ve been getting into, but WWII stories that are expertly crafted like this has literally took my breath away flipping through the pages. There’s so much knowledge in here based on real life history, but the fiction so seamlessly meshes in that we’re practically drawn into the world they live in and can imagine these people living these lives for real. You can find our buddy review here.
5. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
This is an oldie but still such a tried and true fantasy. It was one of my first as a young preteen and the magical world plus the romance between a poison tester and the assassin drew me in from the start. I have yet to try writing a real review of it after all these years because nostalgia is so mixed into my feelings about it that may not make sense to a lot of people new to the book.
6. You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao
I find books covering hard topics also really difficult to properly write a good review. How does one explain the depths of what the story makes us feel without writing an essay to set the scene and tone? Grief in particular is hard for me to review. Everyone comes at it their own way, but I tried to formulate my personal thoughts here for this book that I felt tackled grief in an interesting and heartfelt way.
7. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
The most unique format and way of storytelling I have ever seen in my life (and I think for most people, really), I don’t think it’s easy to explain how this story – and series – just works so well because of how it’s told. Does the audiobook even work for such a masterpiece? I loved this book SO much, but I’m pretty sure I failed to capture just how amazing the experience of reading was here. It’s not just the story that’s great, it’s really the way it’s told to us.
8. Free to Fall by Lauren Miller
When the world that has been built in the story is just so intriguing and the message of the book makes me reflect really hard on my own life, it takes me so long just to process what I’m feeling after closing the last pages. How am I supposed to succinctly write into smooth flowing thoughts? I mean, I tried here, but this book was the first one that stuck with me long after I started new books.
9. Game Changer by Neal Shusterman
Likewise, Neal Shusterman is so amazing at crafting books with stories that just make me think really hard, by asking these pondering questions within his dystopian/magical worlds. With a book like this featuring parallel worlds with minute changes that unleash large consequences on one protagonist’s life, it honestly blew my mind just thinking about it all. Of course, I presented my thoughts here as best as I could, but in all honesty, it could’ve been more.
10. Slay by Brittney Morris
I didn’t read many books growing up about other cultures, but thankfully this book was the first to introduce me to Black culture and grow to appreciate it so much. I loved the setting of a video game incorporating so many elements of this beautiful group of people which allowed me to learn at the same time. I never wrote a review for it since I was so busy at the bookstore then, but I’m not sure I can write one sufficient enough to portray everything this book is to me. I read it in one sitting and knew we needed to sell as many copies as possible.
So those are my books. They all uniquely represent something that gave me the wow factor among the many books I’ve read in my life. To this day I’m still unsure I wrote a good enough review for some of these, and definitely not sure I can attempt to write one for the ones I haven’t.
Have you read any of these books? Maybe your reviews more coherently explain your thoughts than I could. I’d love to read them if you have!
Let’s chat below👇