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Top 10 Novels With Surprising Plot Twists

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
Script written by Savannah Sher These are the Top 10 novels with surprising plot twists! We’ve included novels like Never Let me Go by Kazoo Ishiguro, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and more!

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Top 10 Novels With Surprising Plot Twists

Do you love a good surprise? Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Novels With Surprising Plot Twists.

For this list, we’re looking at books that took a turn no one was expecting. And the best part is- this video will be totally spoiler free!

#10: “The Thirteenth Tale” by Diane Setterfield (2006)

If you love a good gothic novel, this one is for you. Published in 2006 by Atria Books and written by author Diane Setterfield, “The Thirteenth Tale” is set in modern day England but the mood it evokes makes you feel like you’ve jumped back a few centuries. The plot focuses on reclusive author Vida Winter, and the woman she hires to write her biography when she falls ill. There are many twists and turns throughout the story, but there’s one big reveal that is ultra-satisfying and makes everything that came before make so much sense.

#9: “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini (2003)

In 2003, there was perhaps no book with more buzz than this one. “The Kite Runner” was read in book clubs worldwide and topped best seller lists, receiving many accolades along the way. You probably know the basics of the story: a tale of Amir, a young man from the upper classes dealing with life in Afghanistan. His whole life is colored by his betrayal of his close friend Hassan at a young age. He is never able to forgive himself for what he did, and as the novel unfolds, both Amir and the reader discover more secrets from his past.

#8: “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel (2001)

Just like “The Kite Runner,” in the year that “Life of Pi” was published, there was little else people could talk about in the publishing world. Yann Martel’s fantastical story has been adapted into a major motion picture, a feat that seemed impossible for anyone who had read the book. In fact, the movie presents the information given at the end of the story more like a traditional twist than the book does. For readers, the decision was left up to them to decide what to believe about Piscine’s tale.

#7: “Harry Potter” Series by J.K. Rowling (1997-2007)

There are many twists and turns in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, with major reveals taking place at the end of both the first and second book. When she published “Prisoner of Azkaban” however, fans were shocked by just how well she could weave a tale and completely throw them off the trail of what was really going on. We’re guessing most of you already know the reveal we’re talking about, but if your memory needs jogging we’re talking about the scene that takes place in the Shrieking Shack where we find that there’s more to Sirius Black (and Ron’s rat Scabbers) than meets the eye.

#6: “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins (2015)

We may be reaching an age of peak female-led psychological thrillers in the book world, and author Paula Hawkins surely had something to do with it. The author’s breakout work involves an unreliable narrator, and a dark story of alcoholism, abuse, and deception. There’s a reason this book stayed at the top of the New York Times Bestseller List for 13 weeks straight. People couldn’t get enough of the satisfying reveals, and no matter how closely you’re paying attention, the ending will still knock you off your feet.

#5: “Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk (1996)

Since this book was made into a blockbuster movie, the story has become one of the most well-known plot twists in cinema. Of course, the plot originated on the page, and when readers found out exactly who Tyler Durden was, you can only imagine just how shocked they were. Chuck Palahniuk is a prolific writer who has penned many well-loved works, but none can hold a candle to “Fight Club” when it comes to taking readers on a ride they definitely won’t soon forget.

#4: “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro (2005)

This quietly beautiful novel by writer Kazuo Ishiguro (best known for his earlier work, “The Remains of the Day”) packs a serious punch when you finally realize what’s actually going on. The story follows a group of students from Hailsham boarding school as they go through the typical trials and tribulations of youth. The reveal of the sinister things that are actually going on at Hailsham comes relatively early in the novel, but it’s shocking nonetheless. As the story moves on, there are more surprises along the way, making this a wholly enjoyable, albeit depressing, read.

#3: “Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty (2014)

Since “Big Little Lies” was adapted into an HBO miniseries, it has received tons of attention and accolades. The source material it was based on, a novel by Australian author Liane Moriarty, contains just as many surprises and reveals as the show, if not even more. Readers know from the very beginning that someone has been killed in this affluent and idyllic town, but it’ll take until the end of the novel for them to find out who, and most importantly why. No matter how much sleuthing you tried to do while reading, it was nearly impossible to predict just how this was going to go down.

#2: “My Sister's Keeper” by Jodi Picoult (2004)

Jodi Picoult is a masterful storyteller whose novels always manage to keep readers on their toes. Like many of her other works, “My Sister’s Keeper” has a legal case at its heart, telling the story of a young girl with leukemia and the sister who was born purely to keep her alive. There are plenty of ways that readers expected this story to go, but as it reached the climactic scene, they were no doubt banging their heads against something in frustration. Some twists are satisfying, but this one just feels cruel.

Before we unveil our top picks, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon (2015)

“Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes (2012)

“Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” by John Berendt (1994)

#1: “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn (2012)

When “Gone Girl” was published, it took the writing world by storm, quickly climbing the New York Times Bestseller List, and stayed at the top for weeks. The story is about a woman who has gone missing, and the husband she left behind trying to put together the pieces of what happened to her. The first half of the book is interspersed with Amy’s diary entries, leaving readers unaware what happened to her, and unsure whether they can trust her husband, who has become a suspect in the case. The mid-book twist on this one may now be well known, but it was absolutely shocking upon first reading.

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