Top Ten Tuesday: Books that surprised me

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that surprised me

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, but was recently relocated to That Artsy Reader Girl

I read a lot of books which surprise me in a bad way, so this week I challenged myself to think of ten books which surprised me in a good way. These are books which lived up to the hype, completely demolished the expectations I had of them or made me fall head over heels in love when I thought I was going to feel ambivalent towards them.

10) The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black cover

I’ve read a lot of Black’s books in the past, but they’ve all been forgettable and haven’t had much of an impact on me. However, The Cruel Prince blew me away. I’d seen a lot of people raving about it and didn’t think it would live up to the hype, but it surpassed it. I’ve got a feeling it’s going to remain one of the best books I read in 2018.

9) Saga by Brian K. Vaughan

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan

I like graphic novels, but I’ve never been emotionally invested in a series before. In fact, I read most of the volumes of Saga consecutively, unable to put them down and desperate to know what was going on with the characters. Unfortunately my local library doesn’t have the newest volume in stock and I can’t afford to purchase it, so I’m going to have to wait for a while to see what happens next!

8) Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

I’ve mentioned this a lot in the past, but I’ve never been the biggest sci-fi fan so I was more shocked than anyone when I fell in love with the world of Red Rising. The first novel feels closer to a YA dystopian, so it was the perfect gateway drug to a series which rapidly grew into epic proportions.

7) The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

The main reason I picked up The Smell of Other People’s Houses was because one of the characters shared my unusual spelling of Alyce. It was the first time I’d encountered that in a YA novel, and it overexcited me! I didn’t have any expectations of the book at all, because I had no idea what it was about, but it’s probably one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. There are multiple perspectives which tell individual stories but are all seamlessly woven together: it’s like a collection of short stories and a novel all at once!

6) Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Carve The Mark by Veronica Roth

There was some controversy surrounding Carve the Mark when it was released, and I only borrowed it from the library because I wanted to make my own mind up about it. I ended up really enjoying it, and I’m looking forward to carrying on with the series. It’s far better than the Divergent trilogy, and you can tell that Veronica Roth has focused on developing her writing since her success.

5) Girl Online: Going Solo by Zoella

Girl Online Going Solo by Zoe Sugg

I didn’t particularly enjoy either of the first two Girl Online books, but because I managed to read them so quickly and they were quite fun I thought I’d give the third volume a go and finish the trilogy off. However, I ended up enjoying it more than most YA contemporary novels I’ve read, which I definitely didn’t expect!

4) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The first time I read Frankenstein I was a lot younger and it bored me to tears. How could a book so short feel so endless?! However, I had to reread Frankenstein at the end of 2017 for my university course, and I enjoyed it so much more the second (and third) times around. That was a lovely surprise – I thought I was going to hate studying it, but it ended up being a lot of fun!

3) The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui by Bertolt Brecht

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui by Bertolt Brecht

Another one of the titles that I had to study for my university course and ended up really enjoying. I’ve never been a huge fan of reading and studying plays, but Bertolt Brecht’s tongue-in-cheek portrayal of Hitler was hilarious!

2) Crongton Knights by Alex Wheatle

Crongton Knights by Alex Wheatle

Crongton Knights was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize last year, and I wrongly assumed that I was going to hate it. It sounded like a real laddish book, and I’m not normally a fan of titles like that… But it actually modernises the traditional quest plot, and it’s so much fun.

1) Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume

Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume

I was drawn to this one because there was a dog on the cover. I know, I know, not the best reason to pick a book up… But Sara Baume’s writing is utterly captivating, and it even caused me to shed a few tears. There haven’t been many literary novels which have tugged on my heartstrings, but Spill Simmer Falter Wither is flawless.


If you’re interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon Affiliate link (found in the book’s title). If you’d like to read more about each book, please click on its cover: you’ll be redirected to their Goodreads page.


I hope you enjoyed this Top Ten Tuesday! What’s the most surprising book you’ve ever read?