Top 5 Wednesday: Genre Benders


Hosted by the Top 5 Wednesday Goodreads Group

Well guys, it’s November. 2017 is almost over. And it’s been one hell tornado of a year. Who knows what else will happen before the year’s out? Well, we know one thing for sure: there are eight Wednesdays left, which means there’s eight Top 5 Wednesday topics left. Today’s topic is your top five genre-bending books. These are books that don’t quite fit into any one genre, often blending tropes and concepts into a brand new entity all together. I’ve got a few I think are really something special, so let’s get on with the list!


  1. Second Glance by Jodi Picoult: Like all of Jodi’s books, this novel is a contemporary. Or is it? Paranormal events start occurring in the town, possibly due to the sale of an Abenaki Indian burial ground. Ross Wakeman, whose wife passed prior to the start of the novel, is a paranormal investigator hired to prove it is not. Meanwhile, a mysterious woman named Lia Beaumont is exploring the boundary between life and death (spoiler alert: she’s a ghost). It’s all so realistic, but the paranormal aspect throws the whole story for a loop. I’m not going to say ghosts aren’t real or that there’s no such thing as mystics; I’m just saying I need to see it to truly believe it. And so, until I get my proof, Second Glance stays on just the other side of reality.
  2. Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore: Although I’m still reading this novel and have yet to unlock all of its mysteries, I’ve garnered enough about it to know it crosses several genres. Everything about this world is a contemporary staple. Everything, that is, except Tu Reviens. Tu Reviens is the Thrash family mansion that Jane is invited to, but strange things start occurring as soon as she gets there. The house is almost alive and, at the end of part one, offers her a choice. The rest of the book sees Jane through the consequences of each decision, as she unravels the strange mysteries of the house and her late aunt’s past. One might be tempted to call this book magical realism, but even that doesn’t quite cover the unsettling weirdness Jane, Unlimited gives you. I can’t wait to finish this book and see where it all winds up.
  3. The Lightning-Struck Heart by TJ Klune: This book, the first in a series, is all at once fantasy and satire. It’s a unique world with its own rules and original story, but it also takes some well-meaning swings at common fantasy tropes. It’s also weird as all fucking hell. It follows young wizard Sam Haversford (aka Sam of Wilds) as he embarks on an adventure to save the kidnapped prince with the Knight of His Dreams™ (who just so happens to be the prince’s fiancé), a sassy gay unicorn named Gary, and a half-giant. And some weird ass shit goes down. The language is very modern (intentionally so), as are many of the ideals. It’s a strange clusterfuck of magic and hilarity and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
  4. Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin: A trilogy that has recently spawned a spin-off, this dark series is somehow both fantastical and scientific. In many ways, it’s also a psychological thriller. It isn’t until late into the second book that you are able to determine whether or not what’s happening is real or just in Mara’s head. Characters have powers, but they’re explained scientifically. It’s not always clear who’s good or bad, often blurring the lines in a way YA fantasy usually doesn’t. After surviving an accident, Mara Dyer begins to discover she can kill people with her mind. Or is it all in her head? And what about the sexy Noah Shaw? How is he involved in this? The series almost raises more questions than it answers, placing it firmly in no genre whatsoever.
  5. Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller: Although at first it seems like a straightforward pirate story, fantasy elements soon creep into the story and throw you for a loop. Given this, it’s hard to call it one thing or the other. Alosa Kalligan, pirate captain extraordinaire, intentionally gets herself captured by a rival pirate crew in order to steal their portion of a map to a huge treasure. But she may have a few more tricks up her sleeve than just her sword and her wits. I can’t even explain much more than that for fear of spoilers. All I can tell you is this story is more than it seems.


What are some of your favorite genre benders? Tell me about them in the comments!

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