Top 5 standalone books
Hello bookworms!! Welcome to Top 5 Tuesday!! This week’s topic is top 5 standalone books. Yes, last week was all about the series, but this week it’s about how much magic authors can fit into a single volume.
Also, I am SO SORRY this is late. I’ve been having technical difficulties on the blog all week, and I ended up contacting my server people and getting them to go in and fix it for me. So, this is three days late, but I swear it isn’t my fault!! I am totally cheating and backdating it though… #sorrynotsorry
If you missed the July-September topics post, please click here, AND I’ve also posted the topics for October-December if you would like to see those as well. Top 5 Tuesday was created by Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm, and is now being hosted here @ Meeghan reads.
top 5 standalone books
The Scorpio Races — Maggie Stiefvater
I am sorry to absolutely no one about this book making my list. And not even making it, but topping it. If you didn’t know this was coming, then … you must be new here.
Yes, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater is not only my favourite standalone book, it’s my favourite book of all time. I LOVE how this book tells its story in all the quiet moments, outside of the action. I love how Maggie takes element of mythology and changes them to tell her own stories. And I love how these characters are all things: soft, abrasive, and everything in between. While I would never say no to a sequel, I do think there’s something more perfect in the way that it ends.
It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.
At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.
Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.
Emergency Contact — Mary H. K. Choi
I’m not even sure I could unequivocally tell you what it is about this story, but both characters feel like they have been ripped from my soul. Because whatever our souls are made of, Penny, Sam and I are all one.
Their anxiety is my anxiety and I’m not sure I’ve ever felt as represented, emotionally, in a book as I have with these two. I just get them. Again, I don’t think this is a story that needs a sequel, and it’s just a lovely story.
For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.
Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.
When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch — via text — and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.
Enchantment — Orson Scott Card
So, I know I talked about this one in my retellings post, but it does have to go on this list too. Even though I actually haven’t reread it for like 10 years. And this book makes my list for two main reasons:
Firstly, it is the BEST Sleeping Beauty retelling that I have ever read. To be fair, it’s also one of the only ones. Possibly a bit hard to write a book about a MC who is asleep for 60% of the story.
Secondly, this is the book that introduced me (properly) to Slavic folklore. Yes, this book manages to weave together the ‘modern’ world*, a sleeping beauty tale (believed to have originated from France), and two Slavic tales of Baba Yaga, and Ivan and the Bear. And it’s amazing.
* ‘Modern’ world, as in the 1990s when it was written.
The moment Ivan stumbled upon a clearing in the dense Carpathian forest, his life was forever changed. Atop a pedestal encircled by fallen leaves, the beautiful princess Katerina lay still as death. But beneath the foliage a malevolent presence stirred and sent the ten-year-old Ivan scrambling for the safety of Cousin Marek’s farm.
Now, years later, Ivan is an American graduate student, engaged to be married. Yet he cannot forget that long-ago day in the forest — or convince himself it was merely a frightened boy’s fantasy. Compelled to return to his native land, Ivan finds the clearing just as he left it.
This time he does not run. This time he awakens the beauty with a kiss… and steps into a world that vanished a thousand years ago.
It Sounded Better in my Head — Nina Kenwood
I have been immensely slack about writing my review for this book. Or rather, not writing it. See, every time I go to write about how amazing this story is, I just start gushing about how much I loved it. And then it all just kind of falls sideways in the torrent of my screaming. And now it’s been over 18 months since I’ve read it, and I feel like I need to reread this to provide any sort of justice to the review.
But, this is one of the best coming-of-age contemporary stories I have read. If you have hit your final year of school and then thought “well, what now?” then I can’t recommend this book enough for you. And if you haven’t, then where do I get your wisdom from??
When her parents announce their impending divorce, Natalie can’t understand why no one is fighting, or at least mildly upset. Then Zach and Lucy, her two best friends, hook up, leaving her feeling slightly miffed and decidedly awkward. She’d always imagined she would end up with Zach one day ― in the version of her life that played out like a TV show, with just the right amount of banter, pining, and meaningful looks.
Now everything has changed, and nothing is quite making sense. Until an unexpected romance comes along and shakes things up even further.
Solitaire — Alice Oseman
I actually really struggled for a fifth book this week. Most of the standalone books that I read are romance or contemporary books. And while I love them, I also acknowledge that some of them aren’t actually great books. And there are others that are, but they are being made into series, even if the books aren’t out yet. (i.e. The Boy Who Steals Houses) TECHNICALLY, this book also falls into the category as it’s the prequel to the Heartstopper series, which has small novellas intertwined. But this is the only book to be from Tori’s perspective, so I think it counts.
I read Solitaire in 2014, when it first came out. The reason that I picked it up was because it didn’t sound anything like the other YA books that were coming out. Other books published in 2014 were To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Lola and the Boy Next Door, and Since You’ve Been Gone. Alice Oseman’s debut novel about a girl who was a loner who is kind of a nerd, and a weird mystery about a prank-playing group at high school, really stood out to me. And it’s the book that I fell in love with Oseman’s writing.
In case you’re wondering, this is not a love story.
My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year — before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people — I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now.
Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden.
I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael Holden.
I really don’t.
Please don’t forget to link to one of my posts (not my homepage or a category, as I won’t get the pingback), or comment your link below, and I will link back to all of your posts as soon as I can!!
Reading At Teatime
The Punk Theory
A Fictional Bookworm
Zezee with Books
Little Corner Reads
Hail and Well Read
DB’s Guide to the Galaxy
Reading Ladies Book Club
Biblio Nerd Reflections
What are your top 5 standalone books?
I KNEW you would have The Scorpio Races on this list! I know a lot of people love Emergency Contact so maybe I’ll put that in the ‘maybe soon’s list ?
I’m impressed i got 2 contemporary books on my list! A couple I’ve read this year were bad and I seem to gravitate more towards fantasies ?
Hahahaha, I am nothing if not predictable when it comes to Maggie Stiefvater books. I totally understand the gravitation towards fantasy. A lot of contemporary are just “good”, but I really struggled to remember stand-alone fantasy books this week. I almost had Neverwhere by Gaiman, but then I remembered that he’s writing a sequel.
Haha, I was the opposite! Way more fantasy and I’m like… What’s a contemporary? 😅
Sorry about your tech problems! So frustrating! This is my first time participating in your Top 5 Tuesday meme. Is there a link up or a hashtag? Here’s my post (tweaked it to 5 Top Stand Alone Books of Summer):
(sorry if this is a duplicate comment….I tried once using my ipad but I don’t think it went through)
Hi Carol, I have rescued you from the spam folder. All my issues are temporarily fixed now, but I seem to have a plugin that is messing with my account. I’ll need to figure it out.
But welcome to Top 5 Tuesday!! I will add you to my list to check each week 😘
Oh thanks for rescuing me! I wondered what was happening! I followed you so that I’d see you in my feed and hopefully be able to comment through the reader! I’ll be able to participate sporadically……many of my Tuesdays are scheduled because of pub day review commitments for arcs! I’ll join in as it works out in my schedule. I love your blog!
Happy to have you any time that you want to join us 💕
I’ve commented on this post twice but I don’t see that they’ve gone through? I’m trying now through WP reader. Here’s my post…. https://readingladies.com/2021/09/21/top-5-tuesday-top-5-stand-alone-books-of-summer-2021-book-reviews/
I’m sorry you were having technical probs.
I have Scorpio Races on my TBR because I’d like to try more of Stiefvater’s writing.
I hope you enjoy it!! I think some people don’t like Maggie’s writing because it’s not action-packed, even though the blurbs always sound like the stories are plot-based. But her stories are always character-based, and the really important parts happen in the quiet moments. It’s what makes her storytelling to intriguing to me. ❤️