Top Ten Tuesday (14):

November 2, 2015 Layla, Top Ten Tuesday 25

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week, the theme is “Top Ten Debut Authors Who Have Me Looking Forward To Their Sophomore Novel / Top Ten Sophomore Novels That I Loved Just As Much If Not More As The Author’s Debut” and we’re happy to be participating!

Let me note here that I’m going to do five of each because I make the rules! Muahaha. Except for when I don’t.


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Top Five Debut Authors Whose Sophomore Novels I’m Looking Forward To

  1. Becky Albertalli – I loved Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda (Oreos! gay teens in love! falling in love through letters! Harry Potter slash!) and can’t wait to read whatever Albertalli writes next. I know Wendy loved this one, too.
  2. Stacey H. Lee – Lee’s book Under A Painted Sky came out this year, and I really enjoyed it. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, pick it up! It’s about a pair of friends who cross-dress as boys to navigate the Oregon Trail and have a series of adventures along the way. I hope Lee writes more historical fiction – it’s my jam, anyway! – and also loved the diversity of characters in the novel (the two female leads are Chinese-American and African-American, respectively). It was a great debut, I thought, and I’m excited to see what Lee comes up with in the future
  3. Stephanie Oakes – On Wendy’s recommendation, I read Oakes’s The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly and, like Wendy, I loved it. It’s a harrowing, though beautifully written, book.
  4. Sabaa Tahir – I think An Ember in the The Ashes was the first book I actually lost sleep over this year. I started reading like thirty pages and then two hours later was furiously texting about it. It wasn’t a perfect read (the love quadrangle, ehhh), but I thought it was totally gripping and was engaged as hell. So glad there will be a second book, because I don’t know if my heart could take it as a stand-alone novel.
  5. Adam Silvera – The writing in More Happy Than Not is solid – I loved the voice of Silvera’s protagonist, and thought the novel did funny-but-also-unbearably-sad really, really well. Additionally, LGBTQ+ novels for the win, and so much affection for nerds, too.

Top Five Authors Whose Sophomore Novels Were Also Great

  1. Pierce Brown – I loved Red Rising, Kim loved Red Rising, and Golden Son was just as good – and just as heartwrenching – as Red Rising was. I’m dreading the body count in the next book, and don’t know if my heart can take it.
  2. Jennifer Mathieu – If you haven’t read Devoted yet, I’m going to be a broken record and remind you to go. read. Devoted. It’s beautifully written, and though it has a religious setting, is really about many issues that are central to YA anyway – figuring out your relationship to your family, figuring out what you believe, trying to establish an identity even if it’s at odds with what you’ve been taught all your life. I loved that book and it made me cry. The end.
  3. Rosamund Hodge – I loved Cruel Beauty, though I had some issues with the pacing and the mythology, but felt like those problems were resolved with Hodge’s second novel, Crimson Bound, which came out this past year. I loved reading it – I’d never read a book based on that particular fairy-tale! – and loved reading all of Hodge’s thoughtful tour posts for it.
  4. Megan Shepherd – I liked The Madman’s Daughter a lot, but felt like the series really hit its stride in the second novel, Her Dark Curiosity. I don’t know if it’s just because I preferred Jekyll and Hyde to Doctor Moreau as source material, or because the love triangle kiiind of takes a back seat to our heroine’s scientific curiosity, but so it was.
  5. Aaron Hartzler – I haven’t read his first book, which is a memoir, but I thought What We Saw was an incisive critique of rape culture. I’m still thinking about it months later.

So, what sophomore novels are you looking forward to? What’d I miss?

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25 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday (14):”

  1. J. Oh

    I love both these lists! A lot of these books are among my favorites this year, and others are in my to-read pile, which I will promptly tackle. Hooray!

  2. Carina Olsen

    Gooorgeous list Layla :D Thank you for sharing about all the books that you are waiting for. <3 I'm not waiting on any books by these authors yet.. but must read Simon soonish :D It do look cute. Though I have read Carry On. And I don't think ANYTHING will be better than that one, lol :D Anyway. I hope you'll love all the sequels when you get to read them. <3
    Carina Olsen recently posted…Book Recommendation: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

  3. Charnell @ Reviews from a Bookworm

    Great list. You have a few books on here that I have read and enjoyed myself. I think I am also going to have to add a few of these to my Christmas wishlist, it looks like I have missed out on some great debuts recently. I am especially excited to read An Ember in the Ashes, I have heard so many good things about that one. Here’s my TTT.

    • Layla

      Haha, I know, that is the best / worst part about TTTs. I’m reminded of all the books I haven’t read! And there’s quite a long list.

      Ember is a really engrossing read, IMO. I couldn’t put it down. I know other folks had problems with it – and they’re there, I think! – but the plot was engaging and maybe I’m just a sucker for books where there are like, trials and challenges and stuff.
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    • Layla

      OOOH. Thanks for the heads-up. I already want to read it, and I have no idea what it’s about. But yes, that was such a strong debut novel.

      Cruel Beauty is good. I liked the first half way more than the second? I ended up feeling confused by some of the plot at the end of the book, but man, the first half is greeeeat.

      Go read Devoted. Everyone, read Devoted. That one is making my end of the year top 10 for sure. We’re close enough to December that I feel confident saying that now. :)
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    • Layla

      I loved the first half of Cruel Beauty kind of a lot, but was confused by a lot of the mythology (and how it drove the plot) at the novel’s end. That said, I loved the first half and was really surprised by it. And I think Rosamund Hodge writes beautifully and is also very interesting, so I’m gonna keep reading for sure.

      The Madman’s Daughter was so great. I haven’t read The Cage yet – should I do? I’m assuming the answer to this is a resounding yes. :)
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    • Layla

      I knoooooooow. Same here, seriously. That book was just incredibly cute and sweet.

      Re: More Happy Than Not, it’s great, but it gave me serious feels so make sure you’re ready to have your heart broken over and over again. It’s worth being excited for, though.
      Layla recently posted…Our Month on Instagram: October

    • Layla

      I do not know but you should read it! I liked it a lot – it’s not quite The Oregon Trail novel of my heart but it’s good historical fiction nonetheless. I’m all for telling stories that usually aren’t a part of the dominant or popular narratives for American history.

  4. Jasprit

    I’ve actually read two books by the authors whose sophomore novels you mentioned and unfortunately they didn’t work out for me (Cruel Beauty and The Madman’s Daughter, I know I seem to be the black sheep when it comes to these books). But I haven’t read a single book by the debut authors you’ve mentioned and that makes me really happy, as I know I have some amazing books to look forward to, I’m especially looking forward to picking up Under a Painted Sky and More Happy than Not!
    Jasprit recently posted…Review: The Lies About Truth by Courtney C. Stevens

    • Layla

      Eh, it’s okay. I liked both of those but I’ve been the black sheep on many a well-loved book, so, you know, I get it. :) And you should read both of those! I liked them both for different reasons – I loved the friendship that was central to Under a Painted Sky (and historical fiction, wooooo) and the writing in More Happy Than Not really hit close to the bone for me. Hope you enjoy both of those if/when you get a chance to read them!
      Layla recently posted…Our Month on Instagram: October