Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Make Me Smile :)

TTT was created by The Broke and Bookish and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl (click here for upcoming TTT topics!).

Today’s topic: books that made me smile!

Earlier today I saw Virginia @ The Sassy Library Fox‘s TTT, and she asked about different types of smiles. Now I’ve felt inspired to think about what specific kind of smile each of the books below elicit!

‘The Graveyard Book’ by Neil Gaiman – a wistful smile

This book follows the life of Nobody ‘Bod’ Owens, who as a baby is taken into the care of the graveyard’s paranormal inhabitants, after his entire family is brutally slaughtered by the sinister Man Jack. Bod grows up and must confront this Jack, while figuring out his place in the world as a living boy raised by the dead.

I absolutely love this book. It’s probably my favourite standalone novel of all time! There’s everything I’d ever want: plot, character, meaning, beautiful prose – and leaves me with this bittersweet, hopeful yet satisfied feeling. Hence the wistful smile!

‘Heartstopper’ by Alice Oseman – a BEAM of a smile

This graphic novel/webcomic follows Charlie Spring (left on the cover) and Nick Nelson (right) as they meet at an all-boys grammar school, become friends…and slowly but surely fall in love.

‘Heartstopper’ is hands-down my favourite comic EVER. It portrays so many different people on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, tackles important topics like mental health while spotlighting hope and recovery, AND is adorable and hilarious to boot. Oseman deserves every success she has!

‘The Extraordinaries’ by T.J. Klune – a laughing smile

This #ownvoices superhero comedy follows sixteen-year-old Nick, who’s gay, has ADHD and is a huge fanboy of the superpowered Extraordinaries. After meeting his crush, the superhero Shadow Star, Nick’s determined to become Extraordinary himself, with or without his best friend Seth’s help. Oh, and Seth might be the love of Nick’s life. So, just regular teen things!

I laughed so hard at this book that I literally cried. When was the last time that happened?! I’m posting about it on my Instagram tomorrow (link in my social menu above or scroll down to the bottom!) and my review will be up on here soon.

‘Carry On’ by Rainbow Rowell – a laughing smile

Set in a Harry Potter-esque world of magic, ‘Carry On’ follows Simon Snow (left) and Baz Pitch (right), reluctant roommates (OH MY GOD THEY WERE ROOMMATES) turned grudging allies turned friends turned *wtf we kissed?!?* lovers! Oh wait, that’s not the whole plot – they’re also trying to find out who murdered Baz’s mum, and fight off a menacing, magic-sucking monster too.

This book is forever associated with the summer of 2019, when I inhaled this book in one day. It is laugh-out-loud hilarious, touching, romantic and inventive, and awoke in me a love of bracketed parenthetical sentences. (Like so.)

‘What If It’s Us’ by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera – a wistful smile

This YA rom-com takes place over the summer and follows Arthur and Ben after a meet-cute at the post office. Given the struggle to find each other again, the amount of failed dating attempts and a mismatched approach to romance, maybe love just isn’t in their cards right now. But what if it is?

This was an adorable ray of sunshine that was unexpectedly moving and realistic – and it’s hopeful. Being patient and knowing that you have this person in your life, for better or worse, whether it’s romantic or platonic. Such quiet yearning and the ever-rolling expanse of possibility – ‘what if it’s us’?

‘Red, White & Royal Blue’ by Casey McQuiston – a laughing through tears of joy smile

Starring Alex, First Son of the United States, and Henry, an English prince, this book features an enemies-to-lovers arc, a presidential race, loads of historical love letters, some shady politics, hordes of paparazzi and lots of intercontinental banter.

This book was a wonderful escape into a nicer alternate universe where love can win in a gloriously dramatic fashion. The correspondence between Henry and Alex was both hilarious and beautifully heart-wrenching. The YEARNING.

‘The School for Good and Evil’ by Soman Chainani – a surprised and laughing smile

Welcome to The School for Good and Evil, where students learn how to be the heroes and villains in the fairytales that they’ll live after they graduate. Golden Sophie is sure she’ll be in the School for Good, while her awkward friend Agatha seems perfect for the School for Evil. But not all princesses and witches look like they do in the storybooks…

This is one of the best cover buy surprises ever! I was hoping it would be good, given the blurb and awesome cover, but I was absolutely bowled over by the subversiveness, the imagination, the humour, the characterisation and the plot twists.

‘Warriors: Into the Wild’ by Erin Hunter – a smile of nostalgia

When Rusty, a housecat, runs away from home and joins a warrior Clan of wild cats living in the forest, he has no idea what he’s in for. Hunting for survival, defending the borders against the other three Clans, a conspiracy to usurp the Clan leader, all while being scorned by most Clan cats for having been born wild.

I don’t think I realised as a kid just how epically awesome the ‘Warriors’ books are. They have literally everything I could ask for in a book. They even have an intricate cosmology! And maps! The original series just really sets the bar for all other anthropomorphic books I read now.

‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ by Sophie Kinsella – a laughing and nostalgic smile

Becky Bloomwood is a financial journalist…who should really follow the advice she gives to her readers. She’s completely addicted to retail therapy, slowly sinking in credit card debt. She tries trick after trick to stop herself – but can she?

This is definitely one of my comfort reads! Becky’s such a unique character and makes me laugh in every installment of this series that I’ve read so far. She’s like that friend who’s got a lot of exasperating issues, but you love her so you stick it out until she eventually gets herself back on her feet.

Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods – a laughing and nostalgic smile

This anthology of Ancient Greek myths is lavishly illustrated and narrated by none other than Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon and star of Riordan’s ‘Percy Jackson & the Olympians’ series.

I couldn’t make this list without including something Riordan-related! That would be blasphemy! I loved Percy’s witty narration and how socially relevant these renditions of the myths are, especially with its emphasis on feminism and how wrong it is to victim-blame sexual assault survivors.

Thanks for reading! Bit of a late one from me today. Do we share any of the same books? Link me your TTT/let me know any thoughts you have below!

22 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Make Me Smile :)

  1. I love how you separated the different kinds of smiles each book gives you! Oh my gosh, what cover is that for The Extraordinaries?! I WANT IT. xD I absolutely LOVED that book, and I couldn’t stop laughing, either. Have you read Klune’s The House in the Cerulean Sea yet?

    I still need to read Carry On, but I’m so glad it made your list! Might be something I’ll have to pick up soon, because it sounds like a good kind of read for right now.

    Here’s my TTT post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so glad you liked that! Hmm I think the Extraordinaries cover is the UK edition. I think the US edition have those reversible dust covers with Nick’s fanfic but that might be a special one I’m not sure 😂 I haven’t yet read Cerulean Sea but I really want to!! It’s got so many glowing reviews I hope I can read it soon.

      I hope you’ll enjoy Carry On if you read it, it’s such a fun and entertaining read.

      Thanks for linking your post!!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I loved how you described all the smiles! 😀
    And I feel honored I was able to inspire you! ❤ Also so many great books I hold dear to my heart too. I really want to read "The Extraordinaries". It sounds like such a cool book!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I love this post and that you separated the different kinds of smiles! I agree with many of these and especially Heartstopper. That book makes my heart so so happy 🥰🥰

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh my gosh I love this post Sabrina! Such an ingenious way of thinking about the types of happy books give us. I’m trying to think of what books I would classify as wistful smiles myself…that one seems appealing to me. I’m even more excited to read What if it’s us now which you’ve termed wistful 😊😊😊🧡❤️💖

    Liked by 2 people

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