Top Ten Tuesday: Short Novels That Packed a Punch


top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because The Broke and Bookish are particularly fond of lists (as are we!). Each week a new Top Ten list topic is given and bloggers can participate.

 Today’s Topic: Ten Short Novels That Packed a Punch


I prepped my list before I saw Kellee’s list and A Long Walk to Water and Stuck in Neutral were on my list! DANG!

1. Once by Morris Gleitzman

Felix’s parents left him in an orphanage in Poland. Three years and eight months later, it is 1942, and he still waits for them to come back. He is Jewish, but he knows he is supposed to keep this a secret–although he is not sure why. When he sees Nazis burning books in the orphanage yard, he worries about his parents, who are booksellers. Felix’s naive voice is heartbreaking, as he doesn’t understand what is going on in the world around him. This is a powerful book that I would recommend to middle school or upper-elementary school teachers. All in 149 pages.

2. The Stranger by Albert Camus

This book is one part bizarre and two parts incredible. It tells the story of a senseless murder and the unemotional man who tells the story of how it happened. I loved teaching this book because we had awesome conversations about absurdity and the meaning of life. All in 123 pages.

3. Night by Elie Wiesel

I suspect that most of the people reading this have experienced the power of this book. This Holocaust story will stick with me for the rest of my life. I’ve reading it at least fifty times, and I still get incredibly emotional when I read it. All in 120 pages.

4. The Giver by Lois Lowry

In Jonas’ community, every person’s spouse is chosen for them. They are assigned one boy and one girl as children, and they don’t feel any strong emotions, like love. At age 12, they are each assigned a job. When anyone deviates from the norm, they are sent “elsewhere.” This is a fantastic book that can be appreciated by people of all ages. Dystopian-lovers will enjoy it immensely. As I listened to it, I couldn’t help but ponder all of the themes that emerged. All in 180 pages.

5. Readicide by Kelly Gallagher

Gallagher does a phenomenal job balancing statistics to support his theory for why American schools are killing reading.The statistics and explanations are quite powerful. I read this book several years ago, and I still talk about it often. All in 160 pages.


1. A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

Linda Sue Park took a true story of a lost boy’s survival after being chased from his village because of war and transformed it into a novel that will leave the reader with a feeling of awe. Awe of the bravery and pure fearlessness of Salva and the other Lost boys of Sudan and awe of the world of riches and blindness we live in while a horrendous war wages on the other side of the world. All in 128 pages.

2. Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman

This book is terrifying and eye-opening. It helps the reader look past what they already know and realize they have to learn about people before making assumptions. It is terrifying because you don’t know what is going to happen and death awaits around every corner. Oh and it is a Printz Finalist. All in 114 pages.

3. Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

In this perfect book about fostering, life, and family. Within these pages, you will fall in love with Joseph and Jack and hope for their success in life. But then tears. Lots of tears. All in 160 pages.

4. Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet

E.B. White is fascinating! Who would have know?! But Melissa Sweet tells us his life story, mixed with primary sources like White’s letters and photos, that will definitely make you want to pick up Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little as well as pick up a pencil to write your own story. All in 176 pages.

5. Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
(And the rest of the Hogwarts Library books)

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter texts are quite intense and long, but her books that make up the Hogwards Library set are quite small and add such depth to the mythology of Harry Potter’s world. My favorite is Tales of Beedle the Bard because it gives us more insight into the history of their world as well as Dumbledore. All in 109 pages.

Which small novels do you enjoy the most?

RickiSig and Signature

3 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Short Novels That Packed a Punch”

  1. Great list!

    Can you believe I have never read Night? I need to – I know both of my sons read it in school. I read The Stranger – once in school and once a few years ago. And totally agree on The Giver.

    I haven’t read any of Kellee’s choices yet, but anything by Gary D. Schmidt has got to be amazing! Love his novels.

    Last summer I read The Metamorphosis by Kafka. Just 60-some pages but really, really good.

    I love this topic because I am always looking for short books to fit in the cracks between the bigger ones!


    Book By Book


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