Top Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Here are the top ten books I picked up on a whim, some good…others not so good:

10. A Year Without Mom by Dasha Tolstikova

year without mom

This was a recent on-a-whim book. I took a personal day off from work, so of course my go-to activity was a trip to the city’s public library. Unfortunately, I already had a pile of books from the school library mixed with several pre-ordered Amazon books. I really didn’t need to go to the library or check out any more books. Then I found this book. I negotiated with myself and came to the conclusion I could check it out because it’s a beautifully done partially illustrated novel. I was pleased to learn that Dasha’s mom doesn’t die (I’m not one for sad books); she just leaves for a year to go to America.

9. Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson


I walked by this book a handful of times at a book sale. The cover was absolutely unattractive, but the author’s name sounded so familiar. I ended up buying it for a few cents after realizing Woodson also wrote Brown Girl Dreaming. I almost didn’t pick it up because I didn’t love Brown Girl, but this free-verse novel is complete redemption.

8. Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova


Walking through Barnes and Noble last year, I saw this book. It looked quirky and perfect for my new classroom library…and it was. A few weeks after the purchase, I started seeing this book on all the best review sites. Finally. I relished in the sole moment that I was ahead of the curve.

7. Sway by Kat Spears



This cover says girl book, but this is a boy book to its core – luckily for me. My good friend Maggie claims that I’m the reader who is attracted to girly book covers but who craves a boy-driven plotline. The main character is a middleman for all sorts of shady business in his high school – a great surprise that didn’t match the cover.

6. Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix


Free books at NCTE are always hit-or-miss for me. This one was a big miss. I didn’t realize it wasn’t ya-lit or middle grades- it was actually an adult horror novel. Honestly? It scared the crap out of me. The plot consists of the main characters getting trapped in a sadistic, haunted furniture store…completely ridiculous, I know. But I had to read it through to the end to see what would happen. Needless to say, I’ll never walk into an IKEA store the same way again.

5. Brutal by Michael Harmon


A sassy teenage rebel without a cause made this book a slam dunk.

4. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

out of the easy

That cover, though! I liked this one, but found it unrealistic that the daughter of a prostitute would behave so…mildly.

3. The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher

killing woods

This was an ARC from NCTE gone right. A riveting plot with an edge – the perfect young adult novel.

2. Pretty Little Devils by Nancy Holder


When I was in middle school I grabbed this book exclusively due to the hot pink cover. This one is Mean Girls meets horror story. The best part is that I always forget who the killer is until I read it through.

1. Carter Finally Gets it by Brent Crawford


This is my all-time favorite on-a-whim book. I picked it up at the library because I needed a new audio book. My expectations were low. Yet, I found myself laughing so hard throughout the entire book that I knew my classroom library needed this title. Some of my favorite moments teaching this year have been watching students laugh to themselves as they read this book and the great conferences I’ve had with them to follow. Plus, Crawford wrote two follow-up novels that the kids devour.