Top 10 Tuesdays: Books I Loved with Fewer Than 2000 Ratings on Goodreads

It’s funny because I was very excited for this week’s prompt, until I realized just how limiting 2000 ratings really was. I was surprised to find just how few of my books in general had 2000 ratings or less, and how even fewer of them were books that I can honestly say that I really loved. My TBR list is well over 2000 books, but the list of books I have marked as read is barely over 1000, and many of those are children’s books. I was surprised to see that so many of the books that I had rated 5 stars were children’s books. To be fair, I also have quite a few books on my list that I never rated because I had read them so long ago that I didn’t remember them clearly enough to justify giving a rating. When I started looking for books that I would truly say that I’d loved, I found that they were few and far between once all the children’s books were filtered out. Since many of them are also books that I’ve discussed in detail repeatedly in the past, I’m not going to go into too much depth here, but they are all definitely worth reading.  I decided to extend my list to 12 books since I had so few that had received 5 stars, with honourable mentions for non-novels that also would have fit.

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.

In order from lowest number of ratings to highest:

1) Meg & Linus by Hanna Nowinski (376 ratings) – A YA contemporary about two best friends, Meg and Linus, who both identify as queer. When Meg’s long-term girlfriend breaks up with her, she decides to distract herself by trying to set Linus up with a boy he is tutoring, even though neither of them know if this guy is interested in boys. I have seen several complaints about this one being problematic, which I imagine is why it has not received more attention, but while I acknowledge the problems that have been pointed out, I personally did not find that they impacted by enjoyment of the story.

2) The Takedown by Corrie Wang (839 ratings) – Quite the jump in the number of ratings here, but that’s because the pages in between were filled with either children’s books or 4-star reads. This one is about a teenage girl who is faced with the near-impossible task of trying to remove something from the internet, after a viral video spreads of someone who looks like her sleeping with her teacher. This was easily one of my favourite books last year, and I’m so glad I finally picked it up after nearly a year of procrastinating on it.

3) The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember (1021 ratings) – I’m surprised this has so few ratings since it seemed to be really hyped for a while before it came out. This is an LGBT retelling of The Little Mermaid/origin story for Ursula. The main character, Ersel, is a bisexual mermaid who falls in love with a viking woman and has to make a deal with Loki, who is gender-queer and uses “they” pronouns, to help her. This is another book that has received some criticism as problematic, so it is one where readers may need to proceed with caution.

4) Keepsake by Kristina Riggle (1134 ratings) – To be honest, I didn’t love this one as much as I loved The Whole Golden World by the same author, but I still ultimately rated this one 5 stars as well. This book is about a woman named Trish who is at risk of losing her son to Child Protective Services due to her compulsive hoarding, and is forced to turn to her sister Mary for help, despite their difficult relationship. I thought it was an interesting topic, and one that I have not seen very often in books.

5) Wrecked by Maria Padian (1235 ratings) – A YA book set on a college campus where a sexual assault has taken place, told from the perspectives of the victim’s roommate and the male best friend of the boy who is accused of the assault. I was surprised that this one has not garnered more attention especially in light of #MeToo and I thought this one was especially interesting because of the unique perspectives it took in telling the story, instead of focusing directly on the victim and the accused.

6) Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia (1239 ratings) – Honestly, the synopsis for this one really does not do it justice. At the surface, it is about a very driven high school student named Reshma Kapoor who wants to write her own YA novel to make her application to Stanford stand out, and decides she needs to have some more “normal teen experiences” to make her character relatable. Although that is part of what happens, the book at it’s heart is more about academic pressure and perfectionism. I should also warn readers that Reshma is not a particularly likable character, although she is very interesting to read.

7) Devoted by Jennifer Matthieu (1348 ratings) – A YA contemporary book about a girl named Rachel Walker who grew up in an extremely religious household as part of the Cavalry Christian Church. When she finds a blog written by a girl who left the church, she starts to question her life and her faith and whether the religion she has been brought up to believe in is really for her. I rarely read books with religious themes. It doesn’t even matter what religion it is, I just tend to find that kind of content puts me off. I was very impressed by how much this book captured my attention and addressed the topic in a balanced and non-judgmental way.

8) What Lies Between Us by Nayomi Munaweera (1522 ratings) – An adult contemporary book which begins with a woman accused of an unnamed crime, who details her childhood growing up in Sri Lanka and her eventual move to America with her mother after a traumatic incident, the aftermath of which affects the rest of her life. I thought this book was beautifully written, although I did not have much difficulty predicting what a couple of the key events might be. I found the book very compelling and I’m glad I gave it a chance.

9) Keep You Safe by Melissa Hill (1566 ratings) – An adult contemporary about two families who have not vaccinated their daughters, one due to medical reasons and the other because of the parents’ choice. When both children become infected with measles, one experiences severe complications leading her mother to initiate a lawsuit against the other family, arguing that their choice not to vaccinate caused her child’s illness. I thought it was such an interesting and timely topic, and I especially loved the way both characters were written.

10) Little Girls by Ronald Malfi (1676 ratings) – This is a book that is far outside of my usual comfort zone, but I ended up loving it. I read it as part of my first ever reading challenge in 2015 and it still sticks with me. It is about a woman named Laurie who returns with her family to her childhood home after her father dies, and is surprised to realize that the child next door who has befriended her own daughter bears a strong resemblance to a child she used to know, who died when they were younger. It is a very creepy, haunting story and easily one of the scariest books I’ve ever read (although that may not be saying much, since I generally avoid horror!).

11) Bang by Barry Lyga (1844 ratings) –  This is the book that motivated me to extend my list past 10, since I really wanted to mention it without messing up my plan to list them in order. This is by far one of the most powerful YA books that I’ve read recently, and I’m very surprised it isn’t more well-known. It is about a teenage boy named Sebastian who accidentally shot and killed his infant sister when he was only 4, and has since lived with the guilt and the aftermath of his whole community knowing about the incident. I thought this was an extremely powerful and unique character-driven story, and I would highly recommend it.

12) Those Other Women by Nicola Moriarty (2003 ratings) – I’m cheating a bit by including this one since it has just over 2000 ratings, but I’m counting it anyway because it was still well under 2000 when I read it last year. It is about a woman named Poppy who starts a Facebook group with a friend for women who are not parents and don’t want children. The group quickly spirals out of control as the women start to complain about mothers seeming to have all kinds of “advantages.” I thought the book was a lot of fun to read and tackled  a very interesting topic, showing so many sides of the issue through the characters.

Honourable Mentions:

These were the few remaining books that I had given 5 stars that had fewer than 2000 ratings, but I decided to give a slight preference to novels instead:




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