This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Broke and the Bookish, is all about the X-Factor. What is it we love most about reading? Is it the characters, the page-turning plot-twist… or the mysterious woodland creature that protects a character from afar? If you’ve visited my blog before, you probably know The Trees by Ali Shaw was my favorite read in 2016, a fairy tale twist on a forest’s revenge on modern-day men, complete with unicorns and ancient woodland creatures made of twigs. Their mysterious appearance guides the main characters to safety, steering them away from a pack of wolves or towards a stream of water, but even more so, they signify hope.
** A little belated, but I hope you enjoy. Yesterday was too crazy, I could use a little more cuteness myself! **
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro: A despairing quest for a long lost son across a land swallowed whole by a magical, memory-eating cloud. They most definitely could have used the steadying presence of a stag in this one, or at least a blue bird to lessen the strain of their journey.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel: Same goes for Station Eleven. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE this novel – it’s one of my favorites! But just imagine Kirsten strolling along, desperate to find her lost troupe, to cross paths with a unicorn, or just a glance – quick enough to plant a seed of hope.
The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee:Too many times did Lilliete Berne fall to the trickery of others. If only a mysterious black stallion could come to the rescue, permitting a perfectly executed escape from the tenuous Tenor and into the arms of her Composer.
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys:In the midst of World War II, four teenagers cross the wintery expanse of East Prussia to join thousands of refugees at the coast, hoping to board one of the last of the evacuating ships. While the framing of the novel is, in itself, foreboding, the novel’s setting is the perfect set-up for a tailing raven or owl.
Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke: Besides being overly dramatic, Wink Poppy Midnight is essentially a novel of teenage freedom, with pretty much every character running to the woods for some reason or other. The perfect set-up for a white rabbit situation if you ask me.
Never Ever by Sara Saedi: What’s Peter Pan without a creepy crocodile?
Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson: With her loyal mare Peony at her side, Lee can’t go wrong, but for much of the story the two are heartbreakingly kept apart. The novel is highly dramatic, constantly moving from one blow to the next – I definitely could have used an interlude of wild horses or scampering bunnies to break up the villainy.
Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand: A beautifully written novel discussing the woes of childhood depression, Some Kind of Happiness follows a young girl who finds refuge in the woods behind her grandparents’ house. Her story deserves all the cuteness of all the woodland creatures combined!
And Two That Have It All:
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows: If you’re in need of adorably tiny woodland creatures, My Lady Jane is the book for you!
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill: Winner of the 2017 Newbery Medal, The Girl Who Drank the Moon is chalk-full of hope (and cuteness). Following a young girl raised by a witch, a tiny dragon, and a grouchy bog monster, it’s no wonder why so many hold it so dear.
What’s your x-factor?