Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish, and this week’s prompt was “Freebie Week” in which we are allowed to create our own topic/choose a topic we’ve missed in the past. I chose “Top Ten Books To Read In A Day.”
Once upon a time, I was a fast reader and could finish a book in a day/day and a half. Those were glorious times. Glorious. And with summer here, it’s the perfect time to crack open that bottle of wine, stretch your legs out in the sun and binge-read books until your eyeballs are ready to fall out of your head.
1. The Dublin Murder Squad Series by Tana French.
As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children. He is gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.
Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox (his partner and closest friend) find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.
Although these books are 400-something pages each, I’ve read each one within a day, and was left with a racing heart and an adrenaline rush that wouldn’t abate. They’re murder mysteries and incredibly thrilling, with characters to die for and insane plots that are more tangled than a spider’s web.
(The summary is from the first book in the series, In the Woods.)
2. The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.
So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.
She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.
Who doesn’t love a quick, fluffy chick-lit on a hot summer’s day? As someone who doesn’t quite love contemporary, Kasie West always manages to capture me within a page. And the love interest? *swoooooon*
3. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.
His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
What I love about summer is that there is something wistfully magical about the season. Maybe that’s just me, but it always gives me the sense that anything could happen, and Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle series is the perfect demonstration. In the magical summer season, five teens embark on a journey to look for a legendary sleeping Welsh king, and everything happens. Everything.
4. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Can Anna find love in the City of Light?
Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she’s less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year.
But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he’s taken —and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she’s waiting for?
Sweet and soulful, Stephanie Perkins writes quirky, cute novels that you can binge-read in a day. Anna and the French Kiss is about an American girl embarking on a journey to Paris in order to attend a prestigious school and learn the ways of the French. There, she meets cute, charming Etienne St Clair who just happens to have a girlfriend, and hilarity ensues. I’ve loved each and every one of Perkins’ books, and would recommend them to anyone looking for a funny, sweet, quick read.
5. The Deal by Elle Kennedy
She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy…
Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice…even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.
…and it’s going to be oh so good
All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.
Speaking of quick, funny, sweet reads, Elle Kennedy has it in the bag. The Off-Campus series is a personal favourite of mine (and Inge’s, thanks to my endless persuading) and The Deal talks about Garrett, campus hockey player, failing a mid-term that could land him out of the team; and Hannah, who aced her exams, and fancies the pants off a football player called Justin. The two come to an unlikely agreement: Hannah will tutor Garrett in exchange for ‘fake dates’ to make Justin notice her. And of course, the two fall madly, irrevocably in love.
SO CUTE. YOU GUYS. THIS SERIES IS SO CUTE. Elle Kennedy is Queen of NA, and every book in the series is just perfection.
6. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
Another super adorable read, Simon follows the story of, you got it, Simon as he comes to terms with his sexuality and the fact that he may have accidentally fallen in love with his gay, anonymous pen pal. I absolutely adored the socks off this book, and have reread my favourite scenes so many times, I’m surprised the pages haven’t fallen out. Becky knows how to write quirky in a way that is funny but also endearing, and Simon is definitely a character we can all relate to.
7. Lucas by Kevin Brooks
Lucas, the dramatic story of a young woman’s encounter with the ugly side of humanity and her struggle to defeat it. British novelist Kevin Brooks’s masterpiece is set on the island community of Hale over one summer, as 15-year-old Caitlin McCann realizes her small world is changing. Her brother is acting strangely, hanging out with the neighborhood reprobates and getting drunk, and her best friend follows his lead. To make matters worse, the son of an influential local has begun making lewd advances. And Caitlin feels she has no one in whom to confide: Her mother died in a car accident years ago, and her father, though loving and supportive, is a writer who spends much of his time holed up in his study.
It’s in this confusing context that Caitlin encounters Lucas, a lean, blond, blue-eyed stranger who mysteriously appears on the island. Caitlin feels drawn to him, but the other local kids are not: they call him a gypsy, and even throw rocks at him. Before long, Lucas is accused of a crime he did not commit, and Caitlin finds herself in a moral quandary.
Lucas is filled with the kind of pain, love, and anguish that teenage readers adore. And Caitlin’s quest to find her place in the world and to determine what’s right is a struggle to which every teenager will relate.
Kevin Brooks is a British author whom I once discovered at a signing in Waterstones, Exeter, and found out he lived literally 20 minutes away from me. I bought Lucas that day and although it’s a dark book, I binge-read it in a day… and then every other day for a month. Lucas follows the story of 15 year old Caitlin McCann over one British summer on the island of Hale. Things are changing in Cait’s life: her brother is acting out, her father is drinking more, and a stranger has arrived on the island… and people don’t like him.
This book broke me in so many ways, I don’t think I’ve ever recovered from it, but it’s definitely right up in my Top Five Favourite Books of Ever.
8. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Sixteen-year-old Macy Queen is looking forward to a long, boring summer. Her boyfriend is going away. She’s stuck with a dull-as-dishwater job at the library. And she’ll spend all of her free time studying for the SATs or grieving silently with her mother over her father’s recent unexpected death. But everything changes when Macy is corralled into helping out at one of her mother’s open house events, and she meets the chaotic Wish Catering crew. Before long, Macy joins the Wish team. She loves everything about, the work and the people. But the best thing about Wish is Wes—artistic, insightful, and understanding Wes—who gets Macy to look at life in a whole new way, and really start living it.
Macy’s summer is looking pretty boring: a job at the local library, evenings spent practicing her SATs and complete loneliness whilst her boyfriend is at Brain Camp. But then Macy accidentally takes up a job with Wish, a catering company with a chaotic, mad crew of fun-loving people, and Macy’s summer is suddenly looking a whole lot better.
In my opinion, anything by Sarah Dessen is quick, sweet and fun and I don’t think it’s ever taken me more than a day to read one of her books. Not only are the characters and experiences relatable, but Sarah Dessen also manages to make dark topics slightly less heavier so as not to weigh down the story too much. I always come away from reading one of Dessen’s books with a happier outlook on life and a dreamy sigh on my lips.
9. The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
It’s the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.
The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara’s life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara’s family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items – but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.
But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?
Bless you people who thought I was going on a contemporary binge. I had you fooled! *evil cackle* The Accident Season is a fantasy lover’s wet bookish dream. Set in the Irish countryside (*dreamy sigh*) it talks about curses (YASSSS), murder (YASSSSSSS) and forbidden love (HELL TO THE YASSSSS). What’s not to love? I sped through this bad boy in less than a day, and it’s incredibly creepy and delicious.
10. The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos
All Imogene Scott knows of her mother is the bedtime story her father told her as a child. It’s the story of how her parents met: he, a forensic pathologist, she, a mysterious woman who came to identify a body. A woman who left Imogene and her father when Imogene was a baby, a woman who was always possessed by a powerful loneliness, a woman who many referred to as “troubled waters.”
Now Imogene is seventeen, and her father, a famous author of medical mysteries, has struck out in the middle of the night and hasn’t come back. Neither Imogene’s stepmother nor the police know where he could’ve gone, but Imogene is convinced he’s looking for her mother. And she decides it’s up to her to put to use the skills she’s gleaned from a lifetime of reading her father’s books to track down a woman she’s only known in stories in order to find him and, perhaps, the answer to the question she’s carried with her for her entire life.
There’s not much I can say about this book without breaking out in a serious case of Fangirly Feels, and so I’ll leave at this: I don’t know how we have lived so long without Podos lyrical writing and mind-bending plots. The Mystery of Hollow Places is right up in my Top Ten Favourites of 2016 and I have been shoving it down so many throats… I’m pretty sure people hate me now. However, this book is everything I ever wanted in a teen mystery: subtle romance, kickass friendships, and a convoluted plot that will give you whiplash. SO GOOD, GUYS. SO FREAKIN’ GOOD.
What are some of your top books to read in a day? Is there an old favourite you like to reread? Or do you like binge-reading something new?