Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is a Valentine’s Day freebie! I’m sure there will be LOTS of great romance-themed lists out there, and as tempted as I was to yell about books I’ve loved recently like Heidi Heilig’s The Girl From Everywhere (Nixie and Kash are FABULOUS!) and Laura Nowlin’s This Song Is (Not) For You – oh wow, a completely unique read which gets ALL THE PRAISE from me for an asexual character who’s wonderfully well-portrayed, I decided that I’d do something different and go for my favourite non-romantic relationships!
Caddy, Rosie and Suzanne in Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard (Macmillan Children’s) – Out on Thursday, I am super excited partly because I’m going to the launch but mainly because I’m so thrilled that people will finally get to read this wonderful set of characters. Long-term best friends Rosie and Caddy have their relationship changed by Suzanne joining Rosie’s school. First Rosie and then Caddy fall under her spell, but while the friendship is rewarding in some ways it also brings problems.
Sora’s friendship with Kaito and Mai in The Last Leaves Falling by Fox (written as Sarah) Benwell (Definitions) – Japanese teen Sora, confined to a wheelchair by ALS and thinking about when he’ll die, is an outstanding main character but I especially liked his friendship with Kaito and Mai, who he meets on the internet and then becomes close to offline as well. I know just how strong and supportive friends who you get to know over the net can be, and it’s great to see this reflected – especially as the author takes care to show the precautions teens should take when arranging to meet people in real life.
Tippi and Grace in One by Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury Children’s) – Conjoined twins Tippi and Grace are two of my favourite characters of last year. This story, told in blank verse through Grace’s eyes as they attend school for the first time after being home schooled, is a real tearjerker and the bond between the pair of them is fantastic.
Ash, Mark and their fathers in Bone Jack by Sara Crowe (Andersen Press) – Sara Crowe’s haunting debut Bone Jack was my book of the year in 2014 and this powerful story, a contemporary tale woven through with an old legend, has stayed with me ever since I first read it. Narrator Ash, chosen to follow in his father’s footsteps by running as the stag boy in the Stag Chase, is a superb lead. It’s his relationships with his father, just back from the war and suffering from PTSD, and his ex-best friend Mark, mourning his own father’s suicide and possibly being driven to extremes by a sinister force, that make it a true stand-out though.
Emily and her parents in Emily Sparkes and the Friendship Fiasco (and sequels) by Ruth Fitzgerald (Little Brown, Kids) – Richly deserving its recent Lollies nomination, the first in the Emily Sparkes series is one of my favourite MG contemporaries. Emily has a really strong voice and it’s at its best when she’s feeling frustrated with her parents, who are hilarious. However I also really love how much the three of them care about each other, even if Emily sometimes finds it hard to show this!
Faith and her friends in Have A Little Faith (and sequels) by Candy Harper (Simon & Schuster) – There is romance in the Faith series as well, but the main relationships here are the ones between Faith and her friends, especially Megs, Angharad and Lily. I adore the way they care about and stand up for each other, but also the way they can fall out and talk through their problems.
Faith and her mother in The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge (Macmillan Children’s) – Hitting the news hard last month after becoming just the second children’s book to win the Costa Book of the Year award (definitely well-deserved!), it’s brilliant to see The Lie Tree getting so much attention. Frances Hardinge’s latest book is an incredibly intriguing read and one of my favourite things about it is just how feminist it is, with a host of wonderfully written female characters showing different kinds of strength. I love the way Faith’s relationship with her mother changes throughout the novel as she starts to understand her better.
Jamie and Valentin in Department 19 series by Will Hill (Harper Collins Children’s) – Valentin, a former general of Dracula’s who turns his back on his brothers and old leader to help Department 19 in their fight, is a fascinating character. He can be heroic without being remotely nice, although he’s also capable of compassion at times. Jamie, the series’s lead character, is a realistically flawed hero. I love the different aspects of heroism the pair of them show, and the respect they gain for each other.
Verity and Maddie in Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Electric Monkey) – I can’t talk about Code Name Verity without freezing up for fear of spoilers, and without risking bursting into tears, so this is a short entry. But READ THIS BOOK, it’s completely incredible, and the friendship between the central duo is at the heart of it!
Leo and David in The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson (David Fickling Books) – I completely adore this YA contemporary novel about David, who knows they are transgender but is only out to a couple of their friends. The support that narrators David and Leo give each other through the book is fabulous to read.