Today I’m going to highlight novels that aren’t part of a series but nevertheless tell an awesome story. Here are my top ten stand-alone novels, in no particular order:
1. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
This is one of the most hard-hitting books on teen suicide out there, not for descriptions of hugely traumatic events, but for the little daily unkindnesses that we so often deal out to others. Thought-provoking.
2. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Told from the point of view of a dog named Enzo, this book is touching and showcases the love a dog has for his chosen human. Enzo also longs to be human and believes he’ll be reborn as one someday.
3. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The love letter to the Eighties! Filled with references to video games, movies, and pop culture, if you grew up in the Big Hair Decade, you’ll absolutely adore this book. Even if you didn’t, it’s a great story.
4. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
A young girl on the edge of self-destruction finds an old diary and plunges into the past. It paints a heartbreaking portrait of someone on the edge. The last line of the book is especially memorable.
5. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
The funniest book about the apocalypse that you’ll ever read. It has Pratchett’s dry humor and Gaiman’s otherworldly sense of place. I so wish these two had collaborated on other books!
6. Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger
An epistolary novel about an unlikely friendship between a baseball player and a young boy in the 1940s. It exemplifies Dolly Parton’s line in Steel Magnolias: “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”
7. Nation by Terry Pratchett
This one still has Pratchett’s humor, but it deals with some deep ideas about what it means to form a nation of people. There’s much more to this novel than meets the eye.
8. Redshirts by John Scalzi
An absolutely delicious send-up of the sci-fi television genre in general and of Star Trek in particular. My husband and I still talk about people “caught in the grip of the Narrative” after reading this one.
9. Liar by Justine Larbalestier
The best book featuring an unreliable narrator that I’ve ever read. Get to the end of this one and tell me what happened, I dare you.
10. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Finally, someone who really gets what it’s like to be a geek! I go so involved in Cath’s story that I actually hurt for her at times as I read this book.