I recently saw one of my favorite authors, Leila Sales, tweet about how a friend challenged her to name ten of her most influential/beloved/meaningful/favorite books, and after reading her list, it really made me think about what books I would put on my list. It was really hard to narrow this list down, because I love reading so much, but these are my top ten most cherished/influential/etc. books.
10. SLOPPY FIRSTS by MEGAN MCCAFFERTY
I read this book when I was in my awkward teen years, and even though I'm now in my awkward adult years, it's still very relevant. This book is just a laugh out loud novel with one of the most lovable and hilarious protagonists ever! When I was in middle school, I wanted to adopt many of her of personality traits. I could relate so much to Jessica, and Sloppy Firsts was one of my favorite books growing up. I still love it!
This was the first novel I read by Jodi Picoult, and it was actually assigned reading for English 3 AP. After reading this first book by her, I was hooked! My Sister's Keeper is such a powerful, heartbreaking book with an unexpected ending. This book made me want to read other novels by her, and this one still remains as one of my favorites.
I have my friend, Mandy, to thank for turning me on to this series. This is one of the first books that made me fall in love with the concept of dystopian societies. Suzanne Collins really makes you think about what would happen to the world if we all just started rebelling. One thing I loved about this book was the strong female lead. Katniss was really someone to look up to - a big sister willing to sacrifice herself for her sister, a clever person who knows how to outsmart competitors and survive in the wild, someone with a big heart who is willing to put others (even people who were strangers prior) before her own self. I think this generation could use an independent heroine like Katniss.
I love Marissa Meyer for so many reasons. She is such an inspiration to me as a wannabe author. Her blog is full of amazing advice, and she always acknowledges my tweets. I feel like that says a lot about her character - she loves her fans, and she takes the time to show that on so many different avenues. Even though tons of people have retold the story of fairy tales, Marissa Meyer took it to a whole new level for me. Her imagination is so vast, and these books make my own imagination run wild! I'm excited to see her career continue to grow. I know I'll always be a fan!
Sarah Dessen is my hero as far as authors are concerned. Her characters are so real to me because they're so relatable. Anytime I sit down to read (or reread) a Sarah Dessen novel, I get so involved. This book is amazing for many reasons. A girl holding a secret so close to her that she's willing to lose all of her popularity because of it. Creating an unlikely friendship with a person who everyone else is afraid to talk to. Coming out of the darkness with more strength than she could have ever imagined. And all the while, music is intertwined. This is such a beautiful novel.
Every part of this book made me think about my life. While I've never had anyone close to me suffer from cancer, I feel like the book was about so much more than that horrible disease. It's about finding love in the strangest of circumstances, creating unforgettable friendships, living every moment like it's your last (because you never know; it could be), dealing with life's disappointments, making your dreams (and the dreams of those you love) come true, and making each day magical. There's so much to love about this book!
Even though I jumped on reading this book a little late, I still hold this book so near and dear to my heart. The heartbreaking journey that was Charlie's everyday life just made me want to jump into the book and be his friend. I wanted to be like Sam and Patrick who let this little guy into their group when even his sister wouldn't pay him any attention. I used to be really shy and super awkward (still am sometimes), and while it was never to the extreme of Charlie, I still feel like I can relate to certain parts of his story.
3. SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS by ANN BRASHARES
I was totally against reading this book when it first came out. I was turned off by the fact that it was about a pair of pants, but of course, I didn't know the real meaning behind the pants. After much prodding from friends, I finally gave in, and I quickly fell in love with each of the characters in the book. I saw a little piece of myself in each of the girls. This book has sparked many traveling things throughout my life, namely a notebook still passed around by people I was close with in college.
When I was younger, I liked to go to the library and pick books to read based on their covers, usually with no prior knowledge of what the book was about. This book was one I picked up from the school library, and I remember someone taking the book from me and asking if it was good. I pretty much word vomited about how much I loved it, and I wasn't even halfway through. This was during my freshman year of high school. This was the book that made me fall in love with Sarah Dessen, and ten years later (well into my adult years), this is still one of my favorite books by her (definitely top 3, but all of her books are amazing).
Obviously. If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know how much I love this series. I even recently got a deathly hallows tattoo. There aren't enough words for the impact that JK Rowling has made on my life by introducing me (and the rest of the world) to this series. This book taught me the power of friendship and love. It taught me to believe in myself even when the rest of the world is against me. It taught me that I can do great things even if I have family, friends, or strangers that don't believe in me and would love nothing more than to kill my spirit and see me fail. It taught me that there isn't a limit to what I can accomplish. There are so many lessons written within the pages of this book series, and the impact its had on my life is insurmountable.