I’ve done this kind of topic a few times over the past year or so, and it’s quickly become one of my favourite kinds of posts to make, but also my most embarrassing. There are so many books that I’ve had on my list for almost four years now! I don’t feel too bad about the classics that I still have there since I feel like those are going to be long-term goals, but I have a ton of books that I found when I first started using Goodreads that seemed really interesting, but I never bothered to pick up. Logically, I probably should start removing some of them when I haven’t read them in so long, but every time I go through my list and re-read the synopses, they catch my attention all over again. I’ve also realized that a big reason I haven’t read some of these books is because they are difficult for me to get a copy of! It’s been a bit better since I started using BookOutlet, but there are still many books that I’d really love to read but just can’t find!
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
1) Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan
I’ve had this book on my TBR since September 2015 after discovering it while browsing lists of YA contemporary recommendations. I actually have a couple of books by this author on my TBR and haven’t read anything by her yet. Apple and Rain is about a girl named Apple whose mother has returned after being away for 11 years. The Goodreads synopsis for this one is incredibly vague, and I had to do a bit of digging to find anything more specific. Now that her mother is back, Apple’s mother is trying to do whatever she can to make up for her absence for so many years, but the question of why she left in the first place still stands, and Apple quickly realizes that her mother is keeping a secret from her. This book has very few ratings and reviews overall on Goodreads, but it has an average rating just over 4 stars. Only one of the reviewers I follow have read it (and gave it a 4-star review), so it seems like it could be a great one. I’ve never been very motivated to pick it up because I honestly didn’t know much about what it was about, but it sounds like it could be an interesting story.
2) Evidence of Things Not Seen by Lindsey Lane
I added this book to my list at the same time as Apple and Rain, probably from the same list of recommendations. It is about a high school student named Tommy Smythe who has gone missing. Since he was adopted, there is some speculation that he left to try and find his birth family, but he was also an unusual person who may have just wandered off on his own. What first caught my attention about this book is that it is told in a series of first-person chapters from various characters who knew Tommy, as well as third-person chapters about people who find things that he left behind. I tend to find books interesting when they have various characters trying to piece together what really happened in someone’s life, although I’m a bit nervous about trying it because the reviews have been pretty low. The one reviewer I follow who has read it called it disjointed and confusing, which is not a great motivator to pick it up.
3) Cooper Bartholomew Is Dead by Rebecca James
This is another book that I added at the same time, and seems to be along the same lines so I can only assume it came from the same list. It is about a boy named Cooper whose body is found at the bottom of a cliff in a presumed suicide, but his girlfriend Libby doubts that he would have taken his own life. Libby decides to figure out what really happened to Cooper, and starts to uncover a web of secrets surrounding his life and death. I honestly haven’t heard anything about this book anywhere, although it has higher average ratings than Evidence of Things Not Seen. I haven’t picked this one up yet because I keep forgetting about it in favour of the many other books that I’m more interested in reading right away, even though it does seem like the kind of story I generally enjoy. I was also glad to see a comment in a review that this book is more New Adult than Young Adult, since the characters are in university, which could be a welcome change from the many books I read that are set in high schools. Every time I see this one on my TBR, I think I should pick it up soon but I never end up following through.
4) The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
I was first drawn to this book because the title reminded me of Jane Eyre, and every time I see it, I assume it is connected in some way even though it isn’t (as far as I know). It is about an elementary school teacher named Nora who meets a child named Reza Shahid, who is bullied by the other children who call him a “terrorist” due to his father’s Lebanese heritage. As Nora starts to become more attached to the family, it reignites her dream to become a successful artist. Many of the reviews I’ve seen for this book have commented that Nora is a very unlikable character who is hard to read, and I think that is one of the major reasons that this book has received such mixed reviews. I’ve never really had a problem reading books with unlikable characters since I often find them very intriguing, so I’m willing to give this one a fair chance. It’s another book that I keep forgetting is on my TBR until I see it again.
5) Unteachable by Elliot Wake
Of all the backlist books on my TBR, I think this is the one that I’m most strongly invested in reading soon. It is about an 18-year-old girl named Maise who meets a guy named Evan at the carnival just before her senior year, and starts to fall for him. Unfortunately for her, Evan turns out to be the new film teacher at her school, and the two of them decide to keep their relationship a secret and hope that they don’t get caught. I’m not necessarily a fan of the student-teacher relationship trope since I think the power imbalance makes the relationship difficult to accept, but I often find that I enjoy books I’ve read about this topic. I’ve consistently heard great things about this book over the years, although I’ve never picked it up because there were always other books that interested me more at the time. I recently discovered that it is still easily accessible through my library, so I’m looking forward to finally giving it a try next year.
I’m lumping both of these together since I added them both to my list at the same time. I also had Gone Girl on my TBR for a ridiculously long time before finally deciding to give it a chance, and I ended up loving it! I was surprised to find that I somehow managed to avoid most spoilers about it too. I’m very interested in reading both of her other books since they both sound amazing. I’m also interested in seeing the Sharp Objects series with Amy Adams, but I wanted to read the book first so I don’t ruin it for myself. Both of these books sound really interesting, and now that I know I like Gillian Flynn’s writing style, I’m even more tempted to pick up one (or maybe even both, if I can fit them both in).
7) Enduring Love by Ian McEwan
It’s actually kind of a silly reason that I haven’t read this one yet. I added several of Ian McEwan’s books to my TBR after reading and loving Atonement (and I also loved the movie), and I wanted to see what else he had written. In general, I find his books have such interesting and unusual concepts, and I think of all of them, this is the one that intrigues me most. This book is about a man named Joe who is celebrating his lover’s return after 6 weeks apart, when they are involved in a freak ballooning accident. When Joe makes eye contact with Jed, another man who helped rescue people during the accident, Jed becomes obsessed with him and begins to stalk Joe and his partner, Clarissa. I’ve always thought the premise of this one was fascinating, and I’m very interested to see how Ian McEwan handles it. The only reason I haven’t read this one yet is because I had it earmarked for a specific “rejects challenge” prompt for a previous year’s reading challenges, but have always been on the fence about whether to take on the rejects challenge or not. I’m sometimes very interested in taking on the challenge and have read a few books toward it, but most of the time it becomes overwhelming. It’s just led to several books being set aside that I haven’t wanted to touch because they perfectly fit specific prompts, and it was hard to get past that idea of keeping them “reserved.”
8) Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin
This is one of those books that I really want to read every time I see it on my TBR, but keep forgetting about in favour of other more recent releases. I finally bought myself a copy of this from BookOutlet, so hopefully that will give me the extra push I need to finally pick it up. It is about a woman named Tessa who, at age 16, was found barely alive in a field among bones, with only partial memory of how she got there and became known as the only surviving “Black-Eyed Susan” victim whose testimony put a man on death row. Almost 20 years later, Tessa is surprised to find black-eyed susan flowers planted outside her window, and comes to believe she sent the wrong man to jail, leaving her to try to figure out what really happened. This book sounds amazing and I honestly have no excuse for why I haven’t picked it up yet! It is definitely high on my priority list for next year.
9) Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse
This is another thriller that I’ve had on my list for way too long, which just goes to prove my point that I need to read more thrillers. It is one of my favourite genres, but I end up with tons of them on my TBR without ever reading them. This book is about a woman named Hannah who has always avoided commitment until she falls in love with a man named Mark, and moves in with him in a townhouse in London. When Mark fails to return from a business trip to the US, Hannah starts to feel less certain about him, especially when she learns that his colleagues all believe he was in Paris and there is another woman who has been repeatedly calling him in the past few weeks. As Hannah starts to dig into her husband’s life, she begins to doubt everything about their relationship and needs to figure out whether Mark is trying to protect himself or protect her. I was first drawn to this book because of the interesting cover art, and reminded of it earlier this year when I saw it mentioned on BooksAndLala’s Youtube channel. Like many of the thrillers on my list, the reviews for this one have been pretty mixed, but I’m intrigued and very interested in seeing what I think for myself.
10) Just Like Other Daughters by Colleen Faulkner
This is another book that I bought from BookOutlet after meaning to read it for several years. it is about a woman named Alicia whose daughter, Chloe, is born with Down Syndrome. Chloe, now 25 years old, arrives home from her program one day excited to tell her mother that she has fallen in love with Thomas, another man with cognitive challenge, whom she would like to one day marry. As someone who works in a day program for young adults with disabilities, this kind of book definitely strikes a chord with me. It specifically reminds me of one young woman I work with who desperately wants to be married because that is what other people her age do, although it’s not always clear how well she would be able to navigate these kinds of relationships. There are so many sides to this story that can be explored, and I’m very curious to see how Colleen Faulkner addresses the topic. This is another book that is at the top of my list for next year, and I’m excited to finally have a copy!