I am a massive standalone fan! Sometimes I can’t be bothered to start an incredibly long series and I just want to read something that stands on its own.
I have read a number of standalones and I thought I would recommend 5 standalones that I loved and that I feel needs to be read more!
The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp
Plot: Jack Sparks died while writing this book. It was no secret that journalist Jack Sparks had been researching the occult for his new book. No stranger to controversy, he’d already triggered a furious Twitter storm by mocking an exorcism he witnessed. Then there was that video: forty seconds of chilling footage that Jack repeatedly claimed was not of his making, yet was posted from his own YouTube account. Nobody knew what happened to Jack in the days that followed – until now.
This was a horror set in the modern world of technology and I was gripped every step of the way. It wasn’t a book I would normally pick up but the idea of trying to find out what happened and piece together the last moments before someone died was super intriguing.
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Plot: Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart–he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone–but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.
This was a beautiful story which was very subtle in it’s retelling of The Snow Maiden. It was very much a character driven story over a plot driven story which is not normally my cup of tea but the writing was so beautiful and the characters were so lovely. It was a perfectly serene book that I would read in December or on the slopes!
Lost Boy by Christina Henry
Plot: There is one version of my story that everyone knows. And then there is the truth. This is how it happened. How I went from being Peter Pan’s first—and favourite—lost boy to his greatest enemy. Peter brought me to his island because there were no rules and no grownups to make us mind. He brought boys from the Other Place to join in the fun, but Peter’s idea of fun is sharper than a pirate’s sword. Because it’s never been all fun and games on the island. Our neighbours are pirates and monsters. Our toys are knife and stick and rock—the kinds of playthings that bite. Peter promised we would all be young and happy forever.
This by far one of my favourite standalones. I really loved seeing a different take on an iconic villain and seeing a well known hero through the lense of a villain. This was also a horror so we got to see Neverland in new and twisted way. I thoroughly enjoyed the intensity of the plot and the atmosphere that had me holding my breath!
Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
Plot: A class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill one another until only one survivor is left standing.
This was what I wanted the Hunger Games book to be. I loved how we managed to explore each character in a detailed enough way so when they slowly died one by one you felt like you had connected with them in a small way. While we got some insight to the Government as a whole it was a self-contained story just focusing on the students trying to navigate a very scary situation.
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Plot: Tonight, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed… again. It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed. But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot. The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…
This to me was such a fun book! I loved the cyclical nature of the plot where we watched the day repeat itself again and again! It also had everything I loved from a classic murder mystery set in the 1920’s. This book had my brain working over time and I loved every minute.