Top Ten Recent Five-Star Reads

Top-Ten-Tuesday-Recent-Five-Star-Reads

I’ve only realised just how stingy I am with giving a five-star rating to just about any book (see my very recent discussion on this topic). In 2015, I only rated five books five out of five, and one of them (Gone Girl) is a reread from 2014! 2016 is not much better, though it’s looking up and we still have most of the year to go.

This list consists of my latest five-star books, but about half of them are not recent by any definition of that word (keep in mind that I was in a three-year reading slump, though). I’ve also taken the liberty of not including some of five-star books I mention all the time, because hey, who wants to be predictable? 😛

1) Wolf by Wolf – Ryan Graudin

Wolf by WolfThe year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move.

YEAR READ: 2016

READ IT FOR: An interesting, potentially historically inaccurate story about what might have happened had Hitler won. A main character with an ability to shape-shift, a la Jennifer Lawrence in X-Men. (Yes, yes, I mentioned this recently but I had to mention it again.)

2) Seven Ways We Lie – Riley Redgate

 Seven Ways We LiePaloma High School is ordinary by anyone’s standards. It’s got the same cliques, the same prejudices, the same suspect cafeteria food. And like every high school, every student has something to hide—whether it’s Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues onstage; or Valentine, the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal.

When that scandal bubbles over, and rumors of a teacher-student affair surface, everyone starts hunting for someone to blame. For the unlikely allies at the heart of it all, the collision of their seven ordinary-seeming lives results in extraordinary change.

YEAR READ: 2015

READ IT FOR: Multiple perspective (seven!) done amazingly well. Realistic, flawed, complex character.

3) How to Repair A Mechanical Heart – J. C. Lillis

How to Repair A Mechanical HeartEighteen-year-old Castaway Planet fans Brandon and Abel hate bad fan fiction—especially when it pairs their number-one TV crushes of all time, dashing space captain Cadmus and dapper android Sim. As co-runners of the Internet’s third most popular Castaway Planet vlog, they love to spar with the “Cadsim” fangirls who think Cadmus will melt Sim’s mechanical heart by the Season 5 finale.

Brandon’s sick of his struggle to make “gay and Catholic” compute, so it’s safer to love a TV android. Plus Abel’s got a hot new boyfriend with a phoenix tattoo, and how can Brandon compete with that? But when mysterious messages about them start popping up in the fan community, they make a shocking discovery that slowly forces their real feelings to the surface.

YEAR READ: 2015

READ IT FOR: A struggle between succumbing to Catholic guilt and following your heart and who you really are. Finding self-acceptance while battling homophobia. Fandom-speak.

4) First and Then – Emma Mills

First and ThenDevon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school.

But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon’s cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them: first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

YEAR READ: 2015

READ IT FOR: Good parents who don’t neglect their children, for once and for all. Cute flirtation between the two leads. Brotherly love.

5) All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

All The Bright PlacesTheodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

YEAR READ: 2015

READ IT FOR: Two lost teenagers finding peace and solace in one another. A super-quirky male lead.

6) Graceling – Kristin Cashore

GracelingKatsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight – she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace – or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away…

YEAR READ: 2012

READ IT FOR: Magic! A strong main character who doesn’t give up. A relationship where the parties involved aren’t co-dependent and can still function without one another.

7) North of Beautiful – Justina Chen

North of BeautifulIt’s hard not to notice Terra Cooper. She’s tall, blond, and has an enviable body. But with one turn of her cheek, all people notice is her unmistakably “flawed” face. Terra secretly plans to leave her stifling small town in the Northwest and escape to an East Coast college, but gets pushed off-course by her controlling father.

When an unexpected collision puts Terra directly in Jacob’s path, the handsome but quirky Goth boy immediately challenges her assumptions about herself and her life, and she is forced in yet another direction. With her carefully laid plans disrupted, will Terra be able to find her true path?

YEAR READ: 2011

READ IT FOR: The first glimpses of diversity in YA fiction, I believe. Physically imperfect protagonists. Adoption-related themes.

8) The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

The Hunger GamesIn a dark vision of the near future, twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live TV show called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.

When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister’s place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

YEAR READ: 2011

READ IT FOR: A few kids fighting to the death. Some gore. Some politics. The start of the dystopia craze, I think? 😛

9) If I Stay – Gayle Forman

If I StayChoices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

YEAR READ: 2011

READ IT FOR: A super sad story where none of your choices lead to happiness.

10) What Happened to Goodbye – Sarah Dessen

What Happened to GoodbyeSince her parents’ bitter divorce, McLean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move-four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother’s new family, McLean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva.

But now, for the first time, McLean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself, whoever that is. Perhaps Dave, the guy next door, can help her find out.

YEAR READ: 2011

READ IT FOR: A Sarah Dessen classic. A coming-of-age story that deals with finding yourself and reconciling who you were with who you are.

What’s on your TTT this week? Leave me a link or let me know in the comments! 

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77 thoughts on “Top Ten Recent Five-Star Reads

  1. I love North of Beautiful! Granted, I haven’t read it in years but I remember loving it so much. And I really need to get my hands on Wolf By Wolf. A main character with shapeshifter powers?? Yes, please! Lol.

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  2. I am super glad you enjoyed Seven Ways We Lie and I NEED to finally get to Wolf by Wolf. I am usually not into those kind of stories, but I keep hearing such good things about it over and over.

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  3. I haven’t read any of these, but I’ve been wanting to get to “All the Bright Places.” NOW I really want to read Seven Ways We Lie, that sounds so interesting with the different perspectives. great list!

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  4. Oh, I still have an ARC of Wolf by Wolf sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. I don’t know why I haven’t just picked up after hearing so many good things about it!

    And also, I will always love Graceling! I should really reread it soon.

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  5. Aww I almost forgot about North of Beautiful, but I remember loving that book when I read it in high school! It was really sweet. 🙂 As you know, I’m also a huge fan of Wolf by Wolf. And I also love Graceling. 😀 I will have to look up the other books on your list!

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  6. I really enjoyed reading If I Stay and Where She Went. Surprisingly, I also enjoyed watching the movie adaptation and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll make one for Where She Went too.

    Graceling is one of my all time favorite novels! As much as I love it, I think I might love Fire just a LITTLE BIT more. 😀

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    • I actually haven’t seen the movie yet for If I Stay — I haven’t been in a crying mood lately and the books were just sad for me. Did you like the book better or the movie? 😛

      That’s surprising! I actually don’t remember if I’ve read Fire, which means that if I have I didn’t think much of it. Plenty of people seem to think that Graceling’s the best book out of the three, though – have you read Bitterblue yet? 😛

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  7. I love seeing What Happened to Goodbye on here! It’s one of my favorite Sarah Dessen novels. 🙂 And I really want to read Seven Ways We Lie, so it’s nice to know it was a 5 star for you!

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    • Sarah Dessen is pretty much my YA contemporary queen, tbh. I always do a little dance inside whenever someone mentions her or her books, haha. And super excited to hear your thoughts about Seven Ways We Lie – I hope you get to it soon! 🙂

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  8. I definitely agree that Seven Ways We Lie portrayed so many POVs very well. Each character was different, had their own voice and none of them fell flat. They were represented on equal grounds, which is incredibly hard to pull off.

    All the Bright Places is so often compared to TFiOS but I liked it so much more. Violet and Finch’s voices were much more believable. Finch especially comes off as rather confused & confusing at first. I had my suspicions why and had them confirmed towards the end. Proved to me that Niven knows how to do justice to her characters.

    North of Beautiful! I really enjoyed it too! And I don’t see it around enough in the blogosphere, so it made me super happy to see it recommended here! 🙂 It’ll always hold a special place in my heart because it got me back to reading regularly again half-way through uni.

    I’ve had The Hunger Games, If I Stay and What Happened to Goodbye on my shelves for the longest time. Your TTT list gives me newfound motivation to pick them up sometime soon. (This year, hopefully. Hah.)

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    • Yup, 100% agreed on Seven Ways We Lie, and you put it so eloquently. Also I actually liked All The Bright Places so much more than TFIOS myself, though admittedly I’m not a fan of John Green’s writing.

      And you’re right! North of Beautiful is definitely underrated around here — but I feel like things like this are seasonal and that was published a while ago, so people don’t talk about it as much because there are newer books to talk about now. Definitely a high turnover rate with favourite books, haha. 😛

      Hope you enjoy The Hunger Games, If I Stay and What Happened to Goodbye! I loved The Hunger Games best out of the three books in the trilogy. Have you seen the movies yet? 🙂

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