It takes a lot for me to rate a book 5 stars. The story needs to engage me, the characters need to be realistic and the events that unfold need to be genuine and believable. I also need the writing style to be absorbing, and for the grammatical structuring to be neat and tidy - I can't abide writers that overlook grammar in favour of telling the story, because if the story isn't coherent it's not going to be enjoyable.
These ten novels impressed me, and I fell in love with them utterly and completely. I'm not including graphic novels, because those normally get 5 stars from me (I can't help myself when there's cute art and lovable characters!) or non-fiction, because my tastes are much less discerning.
If you'd like to read my reviews of the books I mention, click on their titles!
10) 'The Art of Being Normal' by Lisa Williamson
I LOVE this book, and I was absolutely over the moon when it won at the Waterstones Children's Book Prize just last week. Dealing with the struggles of David, who is trying to come out as transgender, and Leo, you can't help but love these characters.
9) 'The Body Farm' by Patricia Cornwell
Last year, I attempted to read a Patricia Cornwell book every week to enable me to catch up with the series in time for the release of 'Depraved Heart'. Unfortunately I failed in that quest, but that's mostly because 'The Body Farm' was so good that I just needed some time to deal with it before I continued onwards.
I'm going to be completely honest, I can't remember rating 'Landline' 5 stars. I actually found it quite cliched and got bored frequently throughout it, so looking back I definitely should have given this one 3 or 4 stars at the most. I don't know what I was thinking!
7) 'This Is Where It Ends' by Marieke Nijkamp
This book is an absolute triumph. Since it was released it's gained so much attention, even hitting the New York Times' bestseller list, and there's a reason for that - it's flawless. It's set over the course of a few hours, during a school shooting. Heartbreaking and captivating in equal measures.
There aren't many books that I read in one sitting, but 'All of the Above' was one of them. It deals with loads of different teenage issues - depression, eating disorders, sexuality - but it tackles all of them beautifully. This is the epitome of a 5 star book.
5) 'Golden Son' by Pierce Brown
Hands up who's surprised? Oh wait, the answer to that is no one. Which means you also won't be surprised by the next book that received 5 stars...
4) 'Morning Star' by Pierce Brown
Nope, no surprises here. 'Morning Star' was closer to a 4 star book for me... But I had to. I couldn't help myself.
If I'm completely honest, 'Red Rising' should have been on this list too - just before 'This Is Where It Ends' - but that was a reread, so I chose to omit it. Sue me.
3) 'Kindred Spirits' by Rainbow Rowell
This Rowell book was definitely more of a 5 star read than 'Landline' (seriously, what was I thinking?!). It was a short story written for World Book Day 2016, and it takes a lot for short stories to impress me, but this one succeeded where many others have failed. The characters were well-rounded, the story was wrapped up, and it left me wanting more.
2) 'You Were Here' by Cori McCarthy
I could not recommend this one more highly: it's such an authentic representation of grief, and it really does destroy you emotionally.
1) 'Far From You' by Tess Sharpe
I actually read this one straight after 'You Were Here', and no one was more surprised than me when I read two 5 star books in a row. I don't think it's ever happened before, and I was over the moon! I'll be honest when I say 'Far From You' is probably one of my favourite books of all time - I already can't wait to see what Tess Sharpe does next.
I hope you enjoyed this Top Ten Tuesday! What 5 star books have you read recently?