For me, this list is more about genres and styles instead of topics. I used to be pretty predictable in the books I would read; a lot of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, Elizabeth Scott, a lot of books about coming into your own as a teen. I didn't read fantasy, non-fiction, adult fiction, etc. Going back over my GoodReads lists for this post was a lot of fun, because I could remember being wary about some of these books when I picked them up to read.
Top Ten Books I Read That Were Outside of My Comfort Zone:
This was my first dystopia (not counting The Giver in 6th grade) and I had no idea what to expect from it. It wasn't my "type" of book, I didn't like sci-fi or fantasy, but man, this book got me hooked on terrible futures.
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga
This book was recommended to me by a Children's Lit professor, so I picked it up and read the summary. It just didn't sound like something I would like. I know little of comic books and was wary of protagonists that were so into something I had no idea about. I did end up liking the book, but not the sequel.
Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Foreign Horror. I used to be a big chicken, sleep with a night light during high school type of person. Scary movies actually scared me. So horror fiction, especially foreign vampire fiction, sounded a bit too creepy for me. But it was really good!
Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
Like I said, I didn't used to read non-fiction. This was one of the first in a string of biographies & memoirs I read a few years ago. I read a whole bunch right in a row, but haven't gotten back into the genre for a while.
In the Woods by Tana French
This is the first real Mystery I read. My mom always reads mysteries, and I'd never been interested in them. I saw this book at the train station, loved the cover, and it sounded interesting. I still don't read a lot of mysteries, but I always read Tana French's books now!
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Volume 1: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson
I'm not a historical fiction person. I was never a history lover in school. I've always really liked books that could happen now. But I heard so many good things about this book and this author, and I am so glad that I looked past my usual issues and picked it up.
Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams
A book in verse. I had to try so hard at points in this book to push myself to keep going. Not because it was bad, it was actually a really wonderful story, but because my brain just wasn't used to reading a story told in verse. I am still not a big fan of the style, but I won't completely shut them out.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
I read some fantasy books as a young child, like Patricia C Wrede's Dragon books. But throughout middle school, high school, and college, I just did not read fantasy. I didn't like books that I couldn't believe actually happened, or that I couldn't imagine happening to me. I think I had an imagination problem for a while. This book was also recommended to me by the same Children's Lit professor, who said she also had trouble getting into fantasy books. I figured if someone with my same views on fantasy liked it, then I should give it a try. It was an instant favorite, and now I love reading fantasy YA.
Stitches by David Small
My first graphic novel. It was difficult at first to navigate the story without words and on many pages, without dialog. Once I found my rhythm, I really enjoyed this book and have read a few more graphic novels since.
Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
This is sort of a silly reason for being hesitant of a book, but I really never read books with male protagonists. I just felt I couldn't relate to them. I love Laurie Halse Anderson though, so I gave it a try, and realized how silly I was to ignore a whole bunch of books just because they had boys in them.