Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Stand-Alone Novels

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Hi everyone! Once again it’s Tuesday, and you know what that means: another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the theme was Top Ten All Time Favorite Books, but I decided to switch it up a bit and do Top Ten Favorite Stand-Alone Novels instead. Don’t get me wrong, I love series- Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Mortal Instruments, and on and on- but there’s nothing quite like a great stand-alone novel to brighten your day. Here are some of my recent favorites, with a few oldies thrown in for good measure!

Jellicoe-Road-by-Melina-Marchetta_thumb1. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

This book is one of my favorite books of all time. I’ve read it numerous times and I love it more and more with each reread. The story is captivating, the writing is beautiful, and you can’t help but feel for the characters and root for them the entire way through. Besides, Jonah Griggs is amazing! ❤

all the light we cannot see cover2. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

I finished reading this book on Christmas Eve, and I’ve thought of it frequently ever since. His writing is flawless and drew me in from the very first sentence. The time changes and alternating perspectives between Marie-Laure and Werner adds immense depth to the story, and the events are so striking that they linger in your mind for months to come. I’ve been recommending this book to everyone I know- it’s that good!

great expectations cover3. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

This classic novel definitely took me by surprise. I was assigned to read it in my AP English class, and I immediately fell in love with Dickens’ writing and the charming narration by Pip. Twists and turns are abundant in this story, and there’s such a variety in the characters as well as in the themes that the work discusses. Don’t let its length deter you from reading it- once I started, I couldn’t put it down!

the handmaid's tale cover4. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

I picked this book up on a mere whim, and I was enthralled by what I found. This book is a blend of commentary on religion, gender equality, government control, and countless other interesting aspects of society. The story itself is intriguing, enthralling, and incredibly powerful. It was the first novel by Margaret Atwood that I’ve read, but it certainly won’t be my last!

looking for alaska5. Looking for Alaska by John Green

This is my absolute favorite book by John Green, and I can’t help but fall in love with it again each time I reread it. It’s short and terribly bittersweet, but it holds a special place in my heart nonetheless. So many of the feelings I’ve had about being a teenager and growing up are expressed perfectly by John Green in this novel, and I always end up highlighting and sticky-noting my copy of it like crazy whenever I read it.

the rook cover6. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

I randomly bought this book at my local bookstore one day because I thought the blurb on the back sounded interesting, so I was surprised when I read it and loved it so much. Myfanwy Thomas (rhymes with “Tiffany”) is brilliant and witty, even though she doesn’t even know her own real identity. The fantasy/supernatural elements of the story are really entertaining, as is the mystery that inevitably unfolds. I never expected it to end the way it did, and I cannot wait to read the sequel, Stiletto, that was recently published!

outcasts of 19 schuyler place cover7. The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E.L. Konigsburg

This one is a childhood favorite of mine. I bought it at a school book fair (I miss those things so much!) in third grade and I’ve read it five or six times since then. It’s the best summer camp story that I’ve come across, and I love the way the story can be enjoyed by children, teenagers, and adults alike. Something about it makes me keep coming back to it every summer, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon!

fangirl cover8. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I gobbled up this book so quickly that by the time I finished reading it all I wanted to do was go right back to the beginning and read it again. I feel like there’s a part of all of us that can connect with Cath’s insecurities to some extent, and that connection is what really made this book memorable for me. Besides, the story is heart-warming and the romance is excellently written. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed Eleanor & Park, my favorite Rainbow Rowell novel is definitely Fangirl. 

the ocean at the end of the lane9. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

For me, this was one of those books that the more I think about it the more I like it. I really enjoyed it when I read it, but I’ve found that the more time that passes the more I want to go back and read it again and again. (Does this happen to anyone else? Or is it just me?) There’s something wonderful and irresistible about the blend of magic and reality that Neil Gaiman achieves in his writing, and I can’t help but want to read it all!

the great gatsby cover10. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The characters are terrible people, the events are tragic, and the romance is hopelessly flawed. So why is this classic novel among my favorite stand-alones? The writing. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writing was lyrical and beautiful in a way that contrasts sharply with the nature of this story. I also really like the amount of meaning readers are able to take away from this story. Anyone who has studied this in a high school English class has most likely been exposed to the huge amount of symbolism in the story (whether it was intended by the author or not), and I find that type of stuff so interesting. They don’t call Gatsby “great” for nothing! (oh, so punny!)

What are your favorite stand-alone novels? What do you think about the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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18 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Stand-Alone Novels

    1. Quite a few people in my class didn’t enjoy it that much, so it’s definitely understandable if you don’t end up liking it! I do hope you enjoy, though, if you re-read it! Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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    1. That’s one of the only two Neil Gaiman books I’ve read, and I absolutely love it! It’s the best thing ever when you re-read a book and then fall in love with it even more. It reminds me why it’s so important to give some books another chance. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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  1. The Handmaid’s Tale made my list too! All the Light We Cannot See came very close, and Gatsby would have made it if I hadn’t first read it more than three years ago. Great list!

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    1. Those are all awesome picks! I seriously haven’t been able to stop thinking about The Handmaid’s Tale since I read it months ago- it’s such a powerful, striking story! Not many people I know have read it and enjoyed it, so it’s nice to know that others feel the same way! 🙂

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    1. Thanks so much! 🙂 I definitely recommend All the Light We Cannot See- it’s quite a chunky book, but honestly it’s so amazing that you don’t even realize how much you’re reading. The pages just fly by!

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  2. Jellicoe Road was one of those that took me a little time to get into it…then, it grabbed me, and I couldn’t get enough of it. Good choice!

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  3. I read Great Expectations as a high school freshman in English. I was surprised how much I liked it. There are so many great characters in there. There is Pip and Estella and Miss Havisham. Though I have to say that Miss Havisham kind of creeped me out a few times.
    Thanks for sharing your list!

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    1. haha I agree, Miss Havisham is quite creepy at times! I mean, really: she avoids going outside for years? AND THAT CAKE. *shivers* So terrible! Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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