10 Books That Took Me By Surprise


Good morning! I’ve gotten away from doing the Top Ten Tuesday prompts the way that I used to, but when I saw this week’s topic, books that surprised me, a ton of things came to mind. I’m focusing on books that surprised me in a good way here, because I’ve read a few recently that I am still blown away by in the best way. Here they are!

The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani

the perfect nanny by leila slimaniI’m always hesitant to pick up thrillers that are getting a ton of buzz, because I very rarely like them (thinking about Into the Water and A Stranger in the House here). But, The Perfect Nanny was extremely short, and I had heard good things from readers I trust, not just general good reviews.

This book was chilling. It didn’t subsist on huge turns and reveals, just a general sense of deep unease throughout the book, which really worked in this case.

A surprise in the best way! Read my review.

Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee

everything here is beautiful by mira t leeLooking at the blurbs for this one, I knew I would probably like it. A literary fiction novel about two sisters, immigration, and family, there are a ton of things I was bound to like. But, I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. I still think about this book all the time, and I know I’ll be recommending it for a long time. Read my review.



by Christina Lauren

roomies by christina laurenThe more I sit with this one after finishing it, the more I realize I loved it. I loved Holland, the NYC setting, the Broadway vibes, and of course the romance. I don’t read a ton of contemporary romance, and I hadn’t read anything by Christina Lauren prior to picking this up, so my expectations weren’t high by any means, and Roomies completely surprised me.




Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

ealenor oliphant is completely fine by gail honeymanThis is another one I expected to like but not necessarily love as much as I did. Eleanor is one of the best characters I’ve read from in a long time, and she has stuck in my head ever since I finished the book. This is another one that had been getting tons of praise, so I was a little nervous going in, but it completely lived up to all the positive reviews. If you want a feel-good book to round out the last of the cold weather, definitely pick this one up! Read my review.


Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

eliza and her monsters by francesca zappiaI don’t read a TON of YA anymore, and when it deals with fandom I never really know how I’ll feel about it. I got this in a subscription box and picked it up on a whim one day when I didn’t know what I was in the mood for. I absolutely flew through it and loved every minute of it.

I ended up picking up Zappia’s first book, and can’t wait to read that too!



Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartbet

rabbit cake by annie hartnettI hadn’t heard much about this one when I picked it up, so I didn’t really know what to expect, but Rabbit Cake completely surprised me in the best way. I’ve never had a book make me laugh just as hard as it made me cry, and I just loved the characters in this one so much. Still an underrated book in my opinion — you should pick it up! Read my review.




Beartown by Frederik Backman

beartown by frederik backmanI wasn’t a fan of Backman’s other books, and I’m not usually into books about sports, so I’m not even sure why I ended up picking this one up, but I’m so happy I did! I absolutely fell in love with this town and all the characters, and even the hockey parts were great. There’s a sequel coming out this summer and I am basically counting down the days until it’s in my hands because I loved Beartown so much.



Wonder by R.J. Palacio

wonder by rj palacioThis was one of the first middle grade books I ever read as an adult, and it completely took my by surprise. I had seen Wonder around for years before ever reading it, and only really picked it up because the trailer for the movie made me cry (lol).

There is so much to love about Auggie’s story and his family, that I highly recommend this one even if you’re an adult who doesn’t read middle grade like I am! It’s a quick read but it will stick with you.


Class Mom by Laurie Gelman

class mom by laurie gelmanI picked this up as part of my Unread Shelf Project last month after having it on my shelf for a few months. I didn’t have the highest expectations, because I’m not a mom, I know nothing about classrooms aside from what I experienced when I was in school myself, but this book had be cracking up.

I love the voice and narration, the drama, even when it was silly, and the relationships throughout this book. I think this would be a great one to read over the summer or at the beach, but it’s good anytime!


Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

illuminae by aime kaufman and jay kristoffThis book was so popular for a while that I almost couldn’t help but pick it up, despite it being  YA sci-fi, and not at all something I thought I would like. But, I wanted to see what all the hype was about, and I’m still so glad i gave this one a chance. It’s not too science fiction heavy that it would keep non sci-fi readers like me away, and it’s told in such a unique format that you can fly through this 500+ page monster in no time at all.

The last book in this series is coming out this month and I cannot wait for it!


What books took you by surprise?

Leave a Reply


  1. I love your list and so many you picked also surprised me: Rabbit Cake, Eleanor, Beartown, and Everything Here Is Beautiful. It looks like I need to checkout a few more books on your list.

  2. I’m going to pick up Everything Here Is Beautiful after my current read. Ragdoll by Daniel Cole is a crime fiction that took me by surprise! Another would be Small Island by Andrea Levy, only because I was hesitant to pick up the book at first.

  3. I want to read so many of the books on this list! Eleanor Oliphant has been on my TBR for quite a while… glad to see you enjoyed it! 🙂

  4. Interesting–I wasn’t a fan of Beartown, yet grew fond of A Man called Ove (after the first 100 pages). My surprise is The One in a Million Boy. Instead of a grumpy man there is a sassy 104 year old woman. Smartly written with its hints of a missing protagonist through interviews.