13 Books With Crazy Awesome Plot Twists

Every book addict loves a good plot twist.

My favorites are the ones that make me yell aloud. I’m big on shout-reading (I also squeal-read when people kiss).

I’ve rounded up thirteen books with my favorite twists, turns, and crazy awesome secrets. Some have been made into movies, so hopefully you’ve been able to avoid spoilers! Some new, some old, all amazing.

In no particular order:

Young Adult

One Of Us Is Lying is a YA mystery about five kids who enter detention, but only four come out after one has been murdered.

It’s a quick, easy read and it’s already on the NY Times bestseller list! This is so trippy! I thought about a million possibilities, but never that one.

The Maze Runner is a YA Dystopian about kids who wake up in a glade, and the only way out is through a huge maze that no one has come out of alive.

I enjoyed it SO thoroughly. Hopefully you haven’t seen the movie without reading the book, because it’s definitely worth the read! The ending alone is just amazing.

Looking For Alaska is a YA Contemporary about a kid who goes to boarding school and meets the girl of his dreams.

It’s told in two sections: before and after. I did not expect The Incident AT ALL. So crazy, so devastating.

The Lost Causes is a YA mystery/thriller about an ensemble of kids who are “gifted” with superpowers.

There’s one big twist and a lot of little ones, and one hell of a cliffhanger! I can’t wait for the next book!

The Fault in Our Stars is a YA Contemporary about two teenagers, one with terminal cancer, and another in remission.

Here’s another one that hopefully hasn’t been ruined for you by the movie. It’s hard to imagine that this could have a twist, since it’s about… you know… cancer, you just kind of assume you know what’s going to happen. I was SURE I had it all figured out, and I was ever so wrong. It’s a beautiful, heartbreaking read!

Consider novel by Kristy Acevedo

Consider is a YA Sci-fi, wherein holograms and portals show up all over the world, telling people that Earth will soon be destroyed, and that people can take the portals to a new planet.

I DEFINITELY shouted out loud with this one. SO good, SO unexpected. I love this book, and the sequel.

Adult

The Girl on the Train is a mystery/thriller about a girl who takes the same train ride every day, and one day witnesses a crime.

This one’s a little rough, the main character is really unlikeable so if that’s not your thing, keep it in mind. But the twist! Oh man! There’s a reason this book is so popular, y’all.

Haunted is a weird one, guys. I mean, it’s Chuck P, so of course it’s weird. But even for him. It’s about a group of writers who think they’re going on some kind of writer’s retreat, but the reality is much worse.

It alternates between the main story line about the people, and each of their individual short stories. All kinds of craziness takes place!

Fight Club is about two men who have never been in a fight starting a fight club.

Here’s another one you’ve probably had ruined for you by the movie, but if you’ve managed to miss it, definitely read this book! Such phenomenal writing, such bizarre amazingness, and the ending is crazy as hell.

I know, yet another Palahniuk. Diary is about a woman whose husband is in a coma, and she writes a diary to him while he’s out.

That probably sounds nice, but it’s terrible. Look how worn my copy is! I have read the hell out of this book. Definitely give it a read!

Gone Girl is a mystery/thriller about a man whose wife has gone missing, and the police are trying to figure out what has happened to her and whether he’s responsible.

Yet another movie! And a damn good movie, at that. If you’ve missed it, absolutely check out Gone Girl! I shouted many a times at this book.

Archetype is a sci-fi about a woman who wakes up in the hospital and can’t remember her life.

I’m a sucker for amnesia! And the twist in this one, holy shit. It’s such good stuff. I stayed up all night reading this one!

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Odd Thomas is a paranormal thriller about a guy named Odd who sees/helps dead people.

Now, there’s a movie about this one too, but in my opinion it does the book ZERO justice. Please read the book. The big event the whole book leads up to is a surprise, and there are two or three other little moments that make you yell.

 

What about you?

What’s your favorite plot twist in a novel?



13 novels to read in one sitting

13 Novels to Read in One Sitting

You know the feeling: it’s late, you should be sleeping. Instead, your bedside lamp is on and you are cozy af, with a good book in your arms long after you ought to have gone to bed.

I love that feeling. I live for that feeling.

To that end, I have gathered thirteen novels (in several genres) to keep you up at night. Novels you will read compulsively. Novels you won’t want to put down.

Without further ado, in no particular order:

Science Fiction

Archetype by M.D. Waters

Archetype Novel by M.D. Waters

I was lucky enough to have bought this as an impulse purchase at the Dollar Tree! They seriously have amazing books for just $1 just because they’re a few years old.

So Archetype is about a woman who wakes up and can’t remember her past, and almost anything else about the plot is a spoiler, unfortunately. But it’s science-y and written beautifully and so worth your time. I stayed up until one in the morning, after having read Archetype in one sitting.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Why everyone needs to read Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter explores a fun idea in physics that’s been floating around for a while now, but in a way I hadn’t yet seen! It’s also about love and regret and is just totally, beautifully heartbreaking. I read it in one sitting for my 27th birthday.

Consider by Kristy Acevedo

Consider novel by Kristy Acevedo

Consider is newest to my list! About holograms/portals that show up all over the world, telling the people of earth that they are there to save them from impending doom. SO good. So original. Written gorgeously.

Also, lots of nerdy sci-fi references to Dr. Who and Star Trek. Fun stuff.

 

Romance

Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein

Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein

I don’t know that I’ve ever read another romance that kept me up reading at night, but Shuffle, Repeat definitely did! About two kids forced to ride to school together, who bond over their hatred of each other’s music.

The characters are so hilarious and you’re rooting for them so hard and there is a compulsive need to turn page after page.

 

Fantasy

The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron

The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron

Fantasy is a little difficult for this because it tends to run so long, which is what makes The Spirit Thief perfect! About wizards that can speak to the spirits inside of objects, not to reduce it too much.

It’s a short, quick, uber entertaining read. I laughed out loud on the very first page, got to love that!

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

I saw this a few years ago and had to buy it. What a funny idea! Dorothy has become a tyrant in Oz, Glenda the good witch is creepy af, and the munchkins curse and have tattoos.

I love re-tellings, and I loved the idea that our beloved childhood characters could be so broken. Dorothy Must Die is delightfully morbid.

 

Mystery

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One Of Us Is Lying novel by Karen M. McManus

I had mixed feelings about One Of Us Is Lying, but ultimately, I did read it in one sitting (as did many others, from the reviews I read). About five kids who go to detention, but only four make it out, as the fifth has died in the room.

It is an exciting journey with these four kids, and my mind was genuinely blown by the twist.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon

The beauty of this book is in its simplicity, and in its singularity. A kid finds his neighbor’s dog dead, and tries to solve the mystery of who killed him.

The narrator is a teenage boy with autism (the author had worked with children with autism, so it’s very, very realistic). I have a soft spot for any and all things autism, as my dad has Asperger’s. Reading a mystery from such a POV is so completely fun.

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

This one genuinely surprised me! About a guy named Odd Thomas who sees dead people and tries to help them move on. He has a premonition that something bad with massive casualties is going to come to town, and tries to stop it.

I had never been a fan of Dean Koontz, and I’m still really not, yet Odd Thomas remains one of my favorite books of all time. Because it moves through a period of one day, it’s so easy to keep reading and reading until the devastating, gorgeous end.

 

Children’s

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

The Westing Game by Ellen Raikin

I had to throw some children’s books in, because they’re my favorites. This is about a millionaire who dies, and in his will is a mysterious game that sixteen strangers have to play to see who wins his fortune.

I read The Westing Game in school, in sixth grade. I re-read it as an adult to see if I was romanticizing it, sure it couldn’t be as brilliant as I remembered. But oh my god. It is a hilarious, mind-bending game, and whether you have kids or not, you should read it.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver by Lois Lowry

I still haven’t watched the movie, because I’m nervous about how well this could have been adapted. The Giver is a gorgeous masterpiece, and it should be required reading for every single person.

 

Thriller

Heartsick by Chelsea Cain

Heart Sick by Chelsea Cain

I don’t read a lot of thrillers, it’s probably the one area I avoid most. They have to be really particular for me to enjoy them. I read Heartsick because Chuck Palahniuk, who is one of my favorite authors, said the female serial killer in this was amazing. A recommendation from Chuck P plus a female serial killer? I was in, and Heartsick doesn’t disappoint. The series did get a little meh after this one, but the first book is so worth it.

 

Horror

Diary by Chuck Palahniuk

Diary by Chuck Palahniuk

I hesitate to even call Diary horror, but it’s probably the closest genre we’re going to get. It’s written in the form of, get this, a diary. A woman writes to her husband who is in a coma, and whom she occasionally stabs with pins because she hates him. It is weird and disgusting and so, utterly fantastic.

***

What about you?

What books have you read in one sitting?

 

 



chuck palahniuk

Five Reasons You Should be Reading Chuck Palahniuk

Five reasons you should be reading Chuck Palahniuk:

His Books Have Wonderfully Weird Formats

Some examples:

Rant, which is told in the form of an oral biography, meaning the (already dead) title character is the only person who doesn’t get a voice.

Haunted, which alternates between short stories and the main tale.

Diary, which is written, well, like a diary.

Palahniuk certainly has a way of finding new methods to tell a story. It’s more than a little impressive.

 

His Books All Have Wonderfully Weird Subject Matter

Some examples:

Survivor, the story of a surviving member of a death cult who is suddenly raised to celebrity status.

Choke, the tale of a sex addict who purposefully chokes on food in restaurants.

Rant, wherein a small-town boy moves to the big city, hangs out with people who crash cars for fun, and continues to spread rabies like wildfire.

You pretty much have to go in with an open mind, no matter which of his books you choose. You’re going to go on a wild ride.

 

His Non-Fiction is as Good as His Fiction

Palahniuk tells good stories. It’s his gift. What amazes me is his ability to turn a completely true story into a work as beautiful, strange, and literary as his fiction.

In Stranger than Fiction, he writes about everything from meeting Marilyn Manson and a real-life testicle festival to his experiences with death and working as a hospice volunteer. The book has three parts; “People Together”, where people find interesting ways to be together; “Portraits”, interviews with famous people; and “Personal”, which are stories from his own life.

Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a travelogue about Portland, Oregon. Which, bt dubs, I lived there for years and it’s possibly the best place in America. Palahniuk manages to capture the weirdness that is Portland so perfectly. The book has personal, autobiographical stories, and mentions of his favorite places in Portland. We go to sex clubs and underground tours, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

 

He’s Not Afraid to Write From Any Point of View

Writing in first person, a lot of people stick to what they know. Palahniuk writes from seemingly any perspective with ease. In Invisible Monsters, it’s a model who has had half of her face eaten by birds. In Diary, a woman who tortures her husband (who happens to be in a coma). Damned, a young girl who has died and gone to hell. Rant, twenty-or-so narrators, each less reliable than the last, that range from a kinda-sorta prostitute to a run-of-the-mill car salesman.

 

He’s Got Guts

When Palahniuk wrote Haunted, he wanted to tell a different kind of horror story. One about everyday events and people. It really, honestly made me see the world as a much scarier place for a little while. Maybe that’s not what you need, but maybe reading (or any art) shouldn’t be about giving us what we need. Palahniuk read one short story, the first from Haunted, aloud in many a crowd. “Guts”. If you read it, you will never forget it. At the last count I’m aware of, 67 people had fainted while listening to him read “Guts”.

Here’s what Chuck had to say about it:

“My goal was to write a new form of horror story, something based on the ordinary world, without supernatural monsters or magic. Guts, and the book that contained it, would be a trapdoor down into some place dark. A place only you could go, alone. Only books have that power.

A film has to maintain a certain decorum in order to be broadcast to a vast audience. No one really gives a damn about books. No one has bothered to ban a book in decades. With that disregard comes the freedom that only books have. And Guts is by no means the darkest or funniest or most upsetting story in the novel Haunted. Some, I don’t dare read in public.”

 

 

Go out and grab a Palahniuk! I promise, you’ll never forget your first.



Strange Sweet Song book Adi Rule

Strange Sweet Song Is Maybe Not So Sweet

Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule

Published by St. Martin’s Griffin in 2014

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal

Pages: 336

This book was featured in my earlier post, Dollar Dollar Tree, Y’all! Yes, that’s right, I bought this book at the Dollar Tree. For a dollar. That makes me so. Effing. Happy.
I want to start by saying I have spent a fair amount of time around theater kids, and I felt the book adequately portrayed how jaded and jealous and bitter kids can become really quickly in this environment. Especially if their parents are, you know, those parents. 
Before someone gets bitchy, I know. This is not about theater kids. This is about music school kids. If there’s a fucking difference in how the kids act/treat each other, please let me know.

To Give You a Quick Description:

Outside Dunhammond Conservatory, there lies a dark forest. And in the forest, they say, lives a great beast called the Felix. But Sing da Navelli never put much faith in the rumors and myths surrounding the school; music flows in her blood, and she is there to sing for real. This prestigious academy will finally give her the chance to prove her worth—not as the daughter of world-renowned musicians—but as an artist and leading lady in her own right.

Yet despite her best efforts, there seems to be something missing from her voice. Her doubts about her own talent are underscored by the fact that she is cast as the understudy in the school’s production of her favorite opera, Angelique. Angelique was written at Dunhammond, and the legend says that the composer was inspired by forest surrounding the school, a place steeped in history, magic, and danger. But was it all a figment of his imagination, or are the fantastic figures in the opera more than imaginary?

Sing must work with the mysterious Apprentice Nathan Daysmoor as her vocal coach, who is both her harshest critic and staunchest advocate. But Nathan has secrets of his own, secrets that are entwined with the myths and legends surrounding Dunhammond, and the great creature they say lives there.

The Characters are Pretty Great in That They’re Terrible

Sing, the MC, is mostly unlikable. She is jealous of/rude to her “friends,” (I’m using the term loosely), and for someone who criticizes divas at least 100 separate times, she’s willing—in two alternate timelines, nonetheless—to use her father’s fame to steal a part from another, more deserving singer because why? Because Sing’s crush likes her. For me, this was awesome. I love when an author manages to make me like a book, even when I can’t stand the MC. Plus, as I’ve said above, I only think her behavior made her more realistic. That is exactly how an opera kid with famous parents would act.

The Mythology is Different and Interesting

It’s nice to read an Urban Fantasy from the last few years with no vampires, werewolves, angels, or demons. We get wish granting and animal/human transformations in ways I had not previously seen them. Most importantly, the “monster” (another loose term) in this is like a giant space cat, and I fucking dig it.

The Writing Was, for the Most Part, Gorgeous

Almost musical, which is apt. Which is why it hurts me to say, and this is probably not fair, but the third person, present tense narration really bothered me. I assumed I’d adjust to it at some point, but I never did. It was like reading a stalker’s journal about this girl. “Sing reads. Sing adjusts her necklace. Sing wears knee-socks.”

I’d Recommend

the book to anyone who has experienced the opera/theater/music school lifestyle.

Adi Rule's book, Strange Sweet Song

 

*Note: My reviews are full of opinions. I may love a book. I may want to marry it like the kid in the commercial for Peanut Butter Crunch (1999 was a great year for cereal and commercials, look it up). I may say a book is the best thing to happen to me since I started shaving my big toe. None of these things mean it is objectively good. I recognize that. Many times throughout my life, I have given a book I swore to be a life-changer to a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/cat. Shaking, quietly weeping, I’d hand it (and my heart) over. Only to find out several weeks later that for them the book was good, maybe even great, but not the life-giving, soul-renewing magic I’d purported. You may not like a book I recommend. Sue me.

**Please don’t sue me, I just write here.



Dark Matter novel by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter Is So Much More Than Light Reading

This post contains an affiliate link. Please read my disclosure for more info.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Published by Crown in 2016

Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller

Pages: 343

 

Picture it: December 31st, 2016. I’ve just returned from a birthday trip to the Denver Art Museum, one of my favorite places in a state I’m otherwise not thrilled with. I am not partying, because I’m me. I am exactly one book shy of my yearly reading goal, and I know I won’t make it through a novel on an evening already filled with excitement. Still, I want to finish the night with a book. I grab Dark Matter by Blake Crouch purely by chance, though I’d bought it at Goodwill a month before and walked past it every day since.

I read this book in one sitting, meeting my 2016 reading goals!

To give you a quick description:

“Are you happy with your life?” 

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.
Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.
Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”
In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.
Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

The Writing in Dark Matter is Spot On

The first person, present tense narration feels spot on for the fast-paced story. Short, choppy paragraphs control your very breathing without being agitating. Flying through the pages of this book is effortless.

The Characters are Well-Developed

You cannot help but feel for Jason. His flaws are shown right up front: the regret, the jealousy, the obvious feelings of inadequacy about fatherhood. Utterly fucking real and relatable. Your heart breaks with his when he loses the life he was slightly less than enamored with.

The Science is Interesting Without Being Overwhelming

This is sci-fi that will appeal to both those in love with the genre, and those not so much. The science in it is explained without being too science-y. Dark Matter won’t alienate non science-y individuals. The concept is fascinating; such a fresh take on a scientific theory ever-growing among physicists (I won’t say which because spoilers).

I’d Recommend Dark Matter to Anybody and Everybody

but I think it could be especially touching for anyone 25+ years of age. If you are old enough to wonder how your life could have been, are a parent, and/or have been in a relationship/life situation you have taken for granted, the story will only hit you harder.

I laughed and cried and lent this book to absolutely everyone in my life who was willing to read it.

Here’s a link in case you’d like to buy Dark Matter on Amazon!

*I only link up books I’d give 5 stars to, and believe in 100%*

Why everyone needs to read Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

 

What About You?

Have you read it? What are your thoughts on science fiction that’s not too science-y?

 

 

*Note: My reviews are full of opinions. I may love a book. May want to marry it like the kid in the commercial for Peanut Butter Crunch (1999 was a great year for cereal and commercials, look it up). I may say a book is the best thing to happen to me since I started shaving my big toe. None of these things mean it is objectively good. I recognize that. Many times throughout my life, I have given a book I swore to be a life-changer to a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/llama. Shaking, quietly weeping, I’d hand it (and my heart) over. Only to find out several weeks later that for them the book was good, maybe even great, but not the life-giving, soul-renewing magic I’d purported. You may not like a book I recommend. Sue me.

**Please don’t sue me, I just write here.