As a YA author, I'm often asked about my influences and which books I grew up reading -- or, in my case, devouring! Growing up, I was just about the biggest bookworm you could imagine. In elementary school, my idea of a playdate was scoping out my friends' bookshelves and then finding some way to convince them that, "No, no, sitting here and reading will be way more fun than playing outside!" In high school, I'd race through school assignments and tests just so I could tear through a few more pages of my for-fun book. You get the idea. So while I must have read thousands of books in my adolescence, here's my Top 5 master list: a mix of the frothy and formidable!
1. The Baby-Sitter's Club
Yep, you read that right. This is the book series that turned me into a Legitimate Book Addict at age seven in the good old '90s. Even though the 13-year-old characters seemed so much older than me, the stories were simple and engaging enough that I could easily follow along in my younger years. The characters felt like my own friends and I grew with the series, reading every new volume until I was the same age as the Baby-Sitters themselves. I've since discovered that BSC has legions of fans from my generation, and Scholastic just released new eBook editions of the earliest titles, which should make for quite the nostalgic read!
2. The Diary of Anne Frank
I'll never forget the first time I read this and the impression it made on me. Anne Frank's writing is a revelation, showcasing the beautiful humanity found even in the darkest of times.
3. Betsy-Tacy (books #4-7) by Maud Hart Lovelace
I love the entire Betsy-Tacy series, which spans protagonist Betsy Ray's life at the turn of the 20th century, from early childhood all the way to her wedding day. But the four books set during Betsy's high school years have an extra-special magic. With a plucky aspiring-writer heroine, the best friends you could imagine, and a heart-tugging romance, these books swept me up into a post-Victorian world that I never wanted to leave.
4. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Genius. Nuff said.
5. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
I genuinely think that if this book were required reading in schools, the world would be a kinder place. 13 Reasons Why exposes the power that our seemingly small actions have on others, and asks the question: Will your actions push someone over the edge, or pull them up to safety?
So those are my top 5! What are yours? Please share your thoughts in the comments below! And if you're looking to add to your Teen Reads library, don't miss Timeless and Timekeeper, by yours truly!
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