Welcome to our Ten Book Challenge where our favorite authors share their “Book-It List”—a book bucket list with 10 of their most beloved and memorable reads—from the books with their favorite covers and best opening lines, to the reads they gift and the bookstores they frequent. This is a peek into your favorite authors’ perfect bowl of literary comfort food. We hope you discover something delicious!
Author Rektok Ross’ fall YA thriller, Ski Weekend, is named a best book of Fall by Cosmopolitan, Yahoo!Life, She Knows, BookTrib, Women.com, and more. Imagine The Breakfast Club meets Alive, a gritty, gripping survival thriller about six teens stranded in the mountains who are forced to make impossible choices about who will live and who will die.
In Ski Weekend, Sam is dreading senior ski weekend and having to watch after her brother and his best friend, Gavin, to make sure they don’t do anything stupid. Again. Gavin may be gorgeous, but he and Sam have never gotten along. Now they’re crammed into an SUV with three other classmates and Gavin’s dog, heading on a road trip that can’t go by fast enough. Then their SUV crashes into a snowbank, and Sam and her friends find themselves stranded in the mountains with cell phone coverage long gone and temperatures dropping. When the group gets sick of waiting for rescue, they venture outside to find help–only to have a wilderness accident leave Sam’s brother with a smashed leg and, soon, a raging fever. While the hours turn to days, Sam’s brother gets sicker and sicker, and their food and supplies dwindle until there isn’t enough for everyone. As the winter elements begin to claim members of the group one by one, Sam vows to keep her brother alive.
No matter what.
Filled with twists, secrets, and life-changing moments, Ski Weekend is a snow-packed survival thriller featuring a diverse cast of teens that will appeal to fans of One of Us is Lying and I Am Still Alive.
The Book I ….
I last bought/am currently reading: The last two books I bought right around the same time are Kendare Blake’s All These Bodies and Erin A. Craig’s Small Favors. I just adore young adult thrillers, and I have a panel coming up with Kendare and Erin so am planning to dive into their latest books this weekend. They are both just brilliant writers so I’m excited!
I recommend to everyone: I’ve always loved Dean Koontz’s Watchers. It’s one of my favorite thrillers and he’s such a wonderful writer—I think he is easy for anyone to read and enjoy. I also find myself often telling people to give 90’s YA horror a shot. I think it has held up remarkably and still reads well; especially Christopher Pike and L.J. Smith. For nonfiction, I was very touched by Born A Crime by Trevor Noah and think it should be required reading. Also Night by Eli Weisel.
That was my favorite to read last year, and why: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I am a sucker for Hollywood glamour books and this definitely had that but also a sweet, unexpected romance too.
Whose author I would love to have lunch with: Wow, this is a hard one. There are so many writers I admire and would love to meet. I’d say, first, Christopher Pike because he’s my childhood hero but he’s a notorious recluse (that isn’t even his real name, he has a pen name like me). I’m not sure how he would be at a lunch, but I’ve always wanted to ask him questions about his book Whisper of Death. I feel like if Pike wouldn’t do it, then Stephen King would be pretty entertaining to sit down with. I’m a big fan of his work and definitely would love to chat all things The Stand.
That made me realize language had power: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. Man, I read that book in school and just remember all these waves of emotion. It just makes you feel something really deep in your bones–a book like that can really change hearts and minds. It’s incredible.
I’d like to see adapted to the screen: I don’t want to say because one of my dreams is to option it and make it into a movie. But . . . it has teen witches in it.
That made me laugh out loud—or cry—while reading it: I don’t usually cry unless animals die (I really hate that and try not to read those books), but three books that made me bawl and didn’t have any animals in them: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (that was embarrassing because I was on a plane), and A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.
That has the most gorgeous cover: I’m an avid book collector so there are A LOT of contenders here. I will say that Juniper Books does the most amazing custom book covers. They actually did a set for me for my debut YA thriller Ski Weekend. (You can see it all over my Instagram at @RektokRoss if you’re curious.) I also love the Mr. Bodington x Anthropology classics special editions—they’re pretty rare and I’m still trying to collect them all. As far as non-collector items, I really dig Glennon Doyle’s Untamed because pink and sparkles are kind of my thing. It looks like an abstract painting I would buy and hang in my home library.
With the best opening line: It’s not an opening line but it is the first line in one of Dean Koontz’s books because it’s before the first chapter. “In the real world as in dreams nothing is quite what it seems.” I just love that line so much. I think I might have even used it as my senior quote in high school, ha!
Bookstore that I frequent/is my favorite: I feel like I can’t answer this one without hurting some bookstores’ feelings, and I honestly go to so many I don’t really have a “favorite.” I love love love visiting bookstores and scoping out their selections and always try to visit a new one each time I’m in a different town. I enjoy taking videos and photos and sharing them on my social media so others can enjoy bookstores from all over. I will say proximity-wise, my closest bookstores are Rakestraw Books, Orinda Books, and the Dublin Barnes and Noble and they are all absolutely lovely and run by the nicest people!