Most of the time, the books available for purchase online are priced the same as those sold in bookstores: around $20 for a standard edition and a few dollars more for the deluxe or collector’s editions. But once in a while, you’ll come across an exception to the rule.
Take a look at the following books:
Based on the hit Netflix show, Divergent is the story of Beatrice Prior, a teen who must choose whether to obey the social expectations of her society or to stand out as herself and be different. In the book, the story opens in a unique style that makes the reader curious. Instead of a traditional “How to…” or “what to wear” chapter, the author starts with a dialogue between Beatrice and her mom. This provides the reader with a taste of the thoughts and feelings that are commonplace in this story but rarely found in other young adult novels.
It’s the kind of opening that makes you want to know more about this interesting character and her mom. That’s what makes this debut so exceptional. While there are parts of the story that could be considered heavy-handed, overall Divergent is a well-executed and well-paced coming-of-age story with a solid message about individuality and social awareness.
The Fault in Our Stars
The Fault in Our Stars is the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters, two teens who fall in love even though Augustus is a wheelchair user and Hazel is a sufferer of cancer. While both of them are determined to overcome their struggles and be together, their journeys are very different. Where Beatrice Prior had to choose between conforming to the expectations of others or standing out as herself, Hazel and Augustus’ stories start from a place of difference. Instead of opening with a traditional “How to…” or “what to wear” chapter, the author gives the reader a preview of Hazel and Augustus’ relationship and their interactions with people around them. This serves two key functions: first, it sets the tone for the rest of the book: this isn’t your typical love story about two teenagers who want to be together. Second, it gives the reader an insight into the trials and tribulations that these two teenagers have to go through to be together.
Like Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars is also an exceptional story in that it provides readers with an inside look at the trials and tribulations of two teens just trying to be happy. While the message about individualism and positivity shines through, this book doesn’t pull punches in depicting the darkness that is often associated with cancer. If you or someone you know is going through cancer treatment, this would be a good choice for them to read.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first of the four books in the Global Thriller series, introduced us to journalist Mikael Blomkvist and his partner, journalist Stieg Larsson. The book opens with an introduction of the two main characters, who are immediately likable and sympathetic. Once we’re introduced to these two journalists, it’s clear that they’re not your typical, cookie-cutter, good-guy/good-gal protagonists. The story immediately plunges us into the world of corporate intrigue, illegal activity, and government corruption that Blomkvist and Larsson cover for a living. It’s a story that many readers couldn’t put down.
While the above stories are all notable, it’s difficult to single out just one reason why they’re exceptional. It’s the combination of many things, including the characters, the setting, and the storyline, that draw the reader in and make them want to continue reading.