Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books I Almost Put Down But Didn’t

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is: Top Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn’t.

I have a bad habit of being impatient with books; if they don’t catch my interest right away, I have no qualms about putting them back on the shelf. Occasionally, though, I persevere through an initially-less-than-satisfying novel and end up being amazed by how spectacular it ends up being. Here are the ten best books that I almost missed out on, in no particular order:

Book cover for The Thief by Megan Whalen TurnerBook cover for Before I Fall by Lauren OliverBook cover for The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander

1. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner – I spent 90% of this book mystified; I’d heard so many great things about The Thief but just couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. When I hit the last 10% of the book, though, I realized that all of the praise was justified. Turner is a thousand times cleverer than I, and I love her for it.

2. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver – A few chapters into Before I Fall, I was so disgusted by the protagonist’s bitchiness that I didn’t think I’d be able to stomach an entire book with her. My sister convinced me to stick with it, though, and I’m so glad she did. By the end of the book the protagonist had undergone a remarkable transformation, and the story wouldn’t have been nearly as moving if she hadn’t started off in such a bad place.

3. The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander – If it weren’t for the fact that a teacher had lent me The Book of Three and was eagerly awaiting my reaction to it, I never would have persevered through the first several chapters. They absolutely dragged. I pushed through, though, and eventually made it to the heart of the story. Much to my surprise, I found myself caught up in Alexander’s tale and not only finished the book, but went on to devour the rest of the series as well.

Book cover for The Host by Stephenie MeyerBook cover for The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinleyBook cover for The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis

4. The Host by Stephenie Meyer – The beginning of The Host felt so clinical and alien – pun intended – that I had a hard time getting into it. Still, I’d loved Twilight and figured I should hang in there and give Stephenie Meyer a chance to wow me the way I knew she could. It’s a good thing I did – she knocked me off my feet as usual, and I’ve now reread The Host at least a half dozen times.

5. The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley  This is the first novel I ever read by Robin McKinley and the book that made me fall in love with her writing. It didn’t start off that way, though. It literally took me weeks to get through the first 50 pages, which I found very dry.

6. The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis – The beginning of The Storyteller wasn’t bad, per se, but it didn’t really wow me. I was considering taking it back to the library…and then I hit chapter 12. And was stunned. And couldn’t stop reading until I reached the end of book, thereby destroying my happiness and my sanity. In a good way.

Book cover for Fangirl by Rainbow RowellBook cover for Clockwork Angel by Cassandra ClareBook cover for Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

7. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – Like Before I Fall, I struggled with the protagonist in Fangirl. She started off so antisocial and neurotic and sad that I didn’t think I’d be able to put up with her, but with time Rowell worked her magic on me. The more I read, the more I realized how special and touching the story was. Plus, it ended up having one of the sweetest, most dreamy-sigh-inducing romances you can imagine.

8. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare – I’m generally wary of books set in Victorian England, and Clockwork Angel was no exception; I like a little spice in my novels and don’t have much patience for Victorian propriety. After only one or two, “How improper – I believe I may faint!” moments from Miss Tessa Gray, however, Clockwork Angel got a lot more exciting. By this, I mean Clare introduced me to the roguish Will Herondale.

9. Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan – From the very first page, titular character Dash struck me as annoying and pretentious. I didn’t think I’d last long with him as one of the protagonists, but I eventually found myself  charmed and amused by his sarcasm and “sneeriness.”

Book cover for Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

10. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler – The opening of Twenty Boy Summer is so tragic and heart-wrenching that I was tempted to run right back to the library and return it. The characters’ grief and loss were portrayed so realistically and affected me so deeply that I seriously questioned whether I’d be able to continue reading. Fortunately, once I got past the emotional pain, I was very impressed with Ockler’s novel.

What about you – what are the best books you almost put down but didn’t? Let me know in the comments section below!

6 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books I Almost Put Down But Didn’t

    • Yes, definitely keep that in mind and don’t let beginning-of-the-book Dash scare you off. He mellows out as the book goes on, becoming less annoying and more entertaining. 🙂

  1. Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares took me a little while to get into too, but I found it charming in the end too. On the other hand, i was in love with Fangirl from the first chapter.

    • Caitie, have you read Cohn and Levithan’s other collaboration, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist? I wasn’t a big fan of the movie, but I liked Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares enough that I’m thinking of giving Nick & Norah a try…

  2. I have to admit to not liking Fangirl. I didn’t like Cath at all and felt she was a birch to Levi a lot of the time. I didn’t get what Levi saw in her so I couldn’t really root for their romance. I know I am like the only person who didn’t like that one but I can’t help it.

    Before I Fall was one I really liked as well, the MC was a real bitch at the start and that put me off but I loved her character growth, was happy she had such a big transformation. The Host was one I struggled to get through but ended up really enjoying.

    Nice picks 🙂 Here’s my TTT.

    • I really didn’t expect to fall for Fangirl, but once I read the scene where Cath and Levi read The Outsiders together, I just couldn’t help myself!

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