1- Bridge to Terabithia ~Katherine Paterson
2- Tiger Eyes ~Judy Blume
3- The Hobbit ~J. R. R. Tolkien
4- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest ~Ken Kesey
5- The Fault in Our Stars ~John Green
6- The Book Thief ~Markus Zusak
7- Ender's Game ~Orson Scott Card
The general theme with these books, that I find, is for the most part, they're very character driven and often psychological. Bridge to Terabithia, I believe I have already explained my thoughts on this wonderful piece of literature (read previous post).
Tiger Eyes is the second book that I ever considered a favourite. I received it as a Christmas present from my favourite uncle (I won't tell you which one that is, he knows). He gave me three different Judy Blume books, one of which I never read, one I really enjoyed and then Tiger Eyes, which I have read six times (You will/have come to the realisation that I am the kind of person who rereads books). The main character is a girl named Davey who moves to New Mexico after the sudden death of her father. The book is about how she learns to cope with the encompassing sadness and how she begins to make friends, particularly with "Wolf" a young, secretive guy she meets canyoning. I think the reason I love this book so much is because of my personal relationship with my father. I could never imagine losing him and the book puts this into perspective for me.
The Hobbit is kind of a stand apart from the other books on this list. It's the only fantasy book I really like. I've never been a huge fan of the fantasy genre, but this is a classic. It's so different and well-written. How could you not love the sarcastic narration from Bilbo who at least once every chapter mentions how much he wishes he were at home where he could make a proper meal. It's definitely a book I read to my children.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest has some controversy surrounding it and its depiction of mental institutions in the early 60's. This is the definition of a psychological novel. We read this last year in my English class and I cried. I have never hated a character more than I hated Nurse Ratched. When/if you read it, you will understand. She is probably the worst person to ever fictionally exist. She may not be serial killer, but she's still a murderer on so many levels. Just because she uses her psychological power rather than guns or knives, makes her even worse. Like, just no.
The Fault in Our Stars. I am aware this one has become a bit of a young adult cliche. It's fantastically written and heartbreaking, but it feels like every Jane Doe has read it and loved it. But as an uber hipster, I would like to make the claim that I read it before it was cool. My brother, who was a huge fan of the Vlogbrothers preordered the book and recommended it to me. I was skeptical at first. I didn't know anything about it except that it was going to be sad based on the blurb. I stayed up until 2am finishing it and bawling my eyes out (I am an empath, not a drama queen). There were points where I could not see the page through my tears, or I would need to blow my nose, but I didn't want to put down the book, so I just sniffled. I read it again a few months later. I love the way John Green write teenage girls better than he writes teenage boys. I also like how these specific adolescents were attracted to eachother, not because of physical attributes (well maybe a little) but because of their intellects and aspirations and maybe their sickness a bit. I recommended it to like 10 people.
The Book Thief. I don't even know how to respond emotionally to a book like this. It is the most spectacular, beautiful, breathtaking, heartbreaking, life-questioning piece of art in the form of literature. The number one thing that stands out to me about this novel are the metaphors. How strongly they resonate and bring the story together. I love how it's about the power of words and how they can save a person. I love how it wasn't romantic or overdramatic. It was real. I love how I would be really enjoying the narrative and I'd even be smiling about Rudy and his perpetually yellow, lemon hair and then BAM! I'd get choked up by a single sentence. I loved the crude, hand-drawn illustrations. I love how it's narrated by Death and how it offers you a whole different kind of perspective on life, especially life in a war-torn nation. After reminiscing about my feelings on this book, I came to the realisation that in one of his metaphors Zusak describes Max as a paper man. And if Max is the paper, then Liesel is the pen.
Ender's Game. I'm not going to lie. I originally read this book because I heard Asa Butterfield was going to be in the movie adaption. And a true book-lover, I had to read the book first and then criticise the movie for all of it's unforgivable flaws. Also, to clarify, I had never read any science fiction. I like sci-fi movies and tv shows, but I'd never given it a go as a book genre. I am so glad I did. It's not sci-fi in the same sense you'd think about Star Wars. It's set in the future, there are aliens and they are in space for quite some time, but that's not what propels the story. What does is the mental journey of a young boy Andrew (Ender) Wiggin, who wants to save humanity from the aliens, but doesn't want to be a murderer like his brother. At the end of the story when I realised what had just happened I was so upset. I didn't cry. I was too shocked. I kept having to close the book to keep from hyperventilate. I repeatedly slammed my fist onto the table and demanded to know "WHAT THE HELL!?!?!" I forced my friend, my sister and my dad to read it (my dad pretty much only reads science fiction). So I would officially like to thank Asa for introducing me to this unbelievable book.
I apologise that it's not as short/brief as I intended it to be. Once I get going, I can't stop. But there you have it. Some of my favourites, for many different reasons, but collectively the thing that sets them apart for me is how they made me feel something one way or another. These are books where I rooted for the characters and fell in love with their flaws. That's how books should be.