Top Ten Books of 2014

2:37 PM

I know you are probably thinking, where the hell have you been?! I swear, I have an excuse, I have been on work placement for the past week in a disabled school which means I get up, go to the school, come home, have tea, shower, read and write notes and go bed. I have to write a 3,000 word report on this placement so I need to proritise making sure I get all the information I need! But, I wanted to share with you a post that a lot of people are going to be doing! This was recently a Top Ten Tuesday but as I was busy I didn't get the chance to do it, so I'm doing it now anyway! Now these books may not have come out this year and they are from a range of genres but all in all, I enjoyed them so much that they had to be on here. I'm going to set this one out a little differently, one book at a time, starting with my least favourite at number 10 to my favourite book of this year. Let's begin.

10. I am not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells

John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it.

He’s spent his life doing his best not to live up to his potential.

He’s obsessed with serial killers, but really doesn’t want to become one. So for his own sake, and the safety of those around him, he lives by rigid rules he’s written for himself, practicing normal life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation.

Dead bodies are normal to John. He likes them, actually. They don’t demand or expect the empathy he’s unable to offer. Perhaps that’s what gives him the objectivity to recognize that there’s something different about the body the police have just found behind the Wash-n-Dry Laundromat---and to appreciate what that difference means.

Now, for the first time, John has to confront a danger outside himself, a threat he can’t control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.

I have not heard anybody else talk about this, but I picked this up on a whim from my local library and ended up really loving it; if you like psychology, serial killers and a little bit of paranormal then you will definitely enjoy this one. I have to say I'm not usually a fan of paranormal but this didn't do it in a really cliche way so  quite enjoyed it, this is actually part of a series but this could easily be read as a stand alone, which is the kind of series that I love! This follows a boy named John Wayne Cleaver who has all the psychological traits that a serial killer would have, but he sets himself rules to make sure that he does not let out "the monster", a similar idea to Dexter except he doesn't kill bad people, his family own a mortuary which he uses to satisfy his needs but when a serial killer is on the lose in his home town, John has to start breaking his rules. A really interesting story that features a bit of psychology and a bit of a twist, definitely give this one a go!

9. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try
I'm incredibly late on the bandwagon with this one, this was the second book that I read by Rainbow Rowell and definitely my favourite. I was a bit apprehensive to read it at first because I can handle a bit of romance, as most novels do feature it, but it seemed like this was the big feature of this book, as well as it being set in the 1980's which I don't relate to that much as I was a 90's kid! But this is so much heavier than just a romance and the setting of the novel is what makes everything much harder. Eleanor is an outcast, she has a troubled life at home and at school and when her and park meet, it becomes difficult for them to be together, for reasons that you wish no child would ever have to endure. The ending was very saddening and makes people wish there was more, I have to admit I hadn't even realised it had ended, it literally makes you go "That's it?!" but in a good way! I guess sometimes its more interesting to leave the reader wondering what happens next and writing their own ending.

8. Room by Emma Donoghue

Jack is five. He lives with his Ma. They live in a single, locked room. They don't have the key.

Jack and Ma are prisoners
This is a book unlike any other that I have ever read, mainly because it is written from the perspective of a five year old boy named jack. He lives in a room with his mother and knows nothing of the outside world, he thinks that everything he sees on the TV isn't real. As you have probably guessed, his mum was kidnapped and Jack was born in captivity, his mum does everything she can to protect and shield Jack, but something happens which changes everything. This book is so incredibly powerful and insightful, you really do feel like you are reading things from a child's perspective which makes it even more interesting in the way that Jack explains things that he doesn't necessarily understand. I would highly recommend this book.

7.The Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Charlie is a freshman.

And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

But Charlie can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.
 Another book that I am a bit late to the party with, I actually had no desire to read this book for an incredibly long time, it didn't sound like something that I would enjoy, let me tell you, the synopsis does not do this book justice. When the film came out I decided to watch it and the whole thing was just exceptional with a huge twist at the end. What the synopsis fails to mention is that Charlie has also lost his favourite person, his auntie, and this is something that has made him so introverted (this isn't a spoiler by the way, it is mentioned through the whole book). But the writing of this book s just so beautiful and poetic, if you have been hesitant to pick this up for whatever reason, please do!

6.We were Liars by E.Lockhart

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
This book, aw man it is just unbelieveable. I used to read E.Lockhart back when I was about 13/14 as the boyfriend list was one of the first things I picked up to try to venture away from Jacqueline Wilson. When I heard about this I was intrigued, the synopsis just draws you in and I had heard that there is a big twist at the end, you probably all know I'm a sucker for twists. This book is about a girl who goes to her families island every summer and one summer something bad happens which gives her Amnesia and she tries to figure out what has happened, it's such a good book and a really unexpected ending.

5.Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.

Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl.

Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect?
I still need to write a review on this book because there are so many amazing things about this book. I love that it switches around constantly from the present day to months ago and back again, makes it a much more interesting read! It is set from a really unique perspective which you guess about half way through the book and I don't think I have ever heard of or read a book written from that perspective before, it's so unique but it works so well! This book is essentially about suicide, it is about why Liz Emerson, the popular girl, decided she didn't want to live anymore and how she was going to make it look like an accident. So beautifully written and though provoking, a must read.

4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery.

So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.
This book is without a doubt, the most beautifully written book that I have ever read. It is set in Germany during World War Two which instantly had me interested as I really enjoy reading about this time period ever since my granddad told me about his dads time serving in World War Two. This is centered a lot around the persecutions of Jews as well as the bombings of Germany, so if you are interested in that I would definitely go and pick this up.

3. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Lia and Cassie were best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies.

But now Cassie is dead.

Lia's mother is busy saving other people's lives. Her father is away on business. Her stepmother is clueless. And the voice inside Lia's head keeps telling her to remain in control, stay strong, lose more, weigh less.

If she keeps on going in this way - thin, thinner; thinnest - maybe she'll disappear altogether.
The first and only book I have read by Laurie Halse Anderson but my god was it amazing. I instantly fell in love with her writing and could not put this book down, Laurie does an amazing job of getting into the mind of someone with an eating disorder and she makes it so raw and real, never sugar coating anything. I should warn you, this book contains self harm so if this is a trigger for you I would give it a miss but wow this book is so fantastic.

2. The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.
This is going to be a short one because I feel like this book is better when you don't know much about it but I will say that this book surrounds a mental illness which is not often explored and it is an illness which I am incredibly interested in as I know someone who suffers from it and I want people to realise that it is not stereotypical that someone with this illness is going to hurt you and this book shows that as well as being so incredibly well written.

1. Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed.

He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future.

And now they have fallen in love.

But . . .

They are brother and sister.
I'm sure if you have been up to date with my blog that it is no surprise that this book is my favourite book this year, it explores an incredibly taboo topic and really makes you think. It is very dark and depressing so maybe don't read this if you are in a bad mood. But this book has you rooting for the characters which I never thought would happen and it didn't make me feel uncomfortable at all which to me shows really great writing.

What books did you enjoy this year? Have you read any of these books?

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  1. Awesome list Becks, it's actually the first unique one I've seen so far with most of us tending to have the same books on ours. E & P is the only Rainbow Rowell book I've actually enjoyed, so simplistic but I love that they were both flawed and not the typical perfect specimens that seem to dominate young adult. I still haven't read The Book Thief. My goodness I'm slack.

    I've missed you Becks, nice to see you back after placement <3

    1. Thank you! I shall take that as a compliment :D I think I have weird and unique taste in books to be honest, I'd much rather read a good crime than a fantasy! Yes! I completely agree on the Rainbow Rowell books, my editions of E&P and Fangirl are signed because I met her :D hehe and you need to get on it!

      I missed writing and reading blogs to be honest! Glad to be back :D