Well, why not?
When I first got into reading, I really got into it. Depending on the length, and how much homework I had, I could read a novel in between one and three days. In a whole summer, read almost the entire teen section in my local library. Minus the manga area, because you know, I just couldn’t get into it.
I don’t read books nearly as much as I used to in middle and high school, but I do find myself rereading some of those that I enjoyed the most. I have mentioned before my love for Sarah Dessen, so let’s start with the book that started it all.
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
This wasn’t the first book that I ever read, but it was definitely the first book that got me hooked on reading. The first book that I’ve ever read in its entirety was actually called Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead—a Christmas gift from Mom—but I was confused from start to finish. I didn’t find out it was a third installment to a series until after I read Just Listen.
One of the main characters, Owen, took anger management classes, and in that class, he learned a couple of ways to cope with his anger. And he was super into music, which also helped him. He made a playlist for the protagonist, Annabel, and told her what he had learned: don’t think, don’t judge, just listen. And I loved that. It’s stuck with me ever since.
The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
Here’s a fun fact for you: Nicholas Sparks not only was involved with the creation of the movie adaptation of his novel, but he specifically wrote the novel as the basis for the film. Like, who does that?
Nicholas Sparks, that’s who.
This story was so good. A seventeen-year-old girl named Veronica (called “Ronnie” most of the time) and her 10-year-old brother, Jonah, spend a summer with their father in his home on a North Carolina beach, instead of being with their mother back in New York. The father’s got a secret as to why his kids are there, and you don’t find out why until you’re 3/4 through the book. It sounds so cliché, but following Ronnie run around with this boy she meets, named Will, and [very] slowly mending her relationship with her father, Steve, was captivating. I read that thing in less than a day. It takes you on an emotional rollercoaster, as every other Nicholas Sparks book does, but this one was by far my favorite.
The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
Actually, there’s a movie for this one, too. And I made a review for it about two years ago. The author, Kody Keplinger, wrote this book when she was only seventeen years old, so she became an immediate idol of mine. The story follows Bianca, who has two best friends, Jessica and Casey. Both of which are tall, thin, and beautiful—but Bianca never really had a problem with that until a boy she grew up with, Wesley, points that out, and basically labels her their DUFF. A DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) is the friend someone brings around to make themselves appear more attractive than they would alone.
Bianca asks Wesley to help her basically transform into someone as beautiful as her two best friends, and in that, they fall for each other. So Bianca and Wesley have the stereotypical hate-that-turns-into-love story. But it’s amazing because it teaches a lesson about body image and how you look shouldn’t mean anything when it comes to love or friendship. Just…read it. It’s great. There’s so much more that goes on.
Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
To be honest, this novel totally shocked me. I thought, “okay, this is definitely gonna be another cheesy romance. I’m ready.” And then I started reading it. It was another cheesy romance, but there was a twist that totally took me by storm. And I’m not going to tell you what it is.
Sydney, our protagonist, is twenty-two, and has a pretty good life. She’s living in an apartment with her best friend, she’s in college, has a great boyfriend, and a steady job. Then her boyfriend cheats on her. And, by distracting herself from thinking about it, she finds herself attracted to the kid who plays his guitar on his balcony to himself. That guy, named Ridge, and Sydney start writing their own music together, and [obviously] fall for each other. It’s honestly such a cute story, and the twist really hits hard.
Crank by Ellen Hopkins
Let me start by saying that this book is messed up; it takes you on a rollercoaster ride that just goes up. It’s insane. The author actually based the main character of the story, Kristina, on her own daughter and her relationship with crystal meth, also known as “crank”. Ellen Hopkins is known for her novels being completely made up in free verse poems, and she constructs every page to look and feel and sound the way Kristina feels at every moment. It’s so intense.
Basically, the story introduces you to Kristina, who tries her hardest to be the perfect daughter. During a trip seeing her father, she is introduced to the addictive drug, and creates a badass alter ego named Bree. We follow Kristina trying to control herself, and Bree live it up—and essentially ruin Kristina’s life.
Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder
Actually, this one is also written in verse. Lisa Schroeder makes her characters both believable and likeable—especially the hero, Nico. I’m a total sucker for love stories (if you haven’t noticed yet), and this one is definitely one of my favorites. This is one of those boy-saves-girl type of stories, but I specifically love this one because she saves him too. They learn from each other, allow each other to heal from their past, and their relationship is actually kind of realistic (unlike other stories). Not to mention we move back and forth between points of view, so we get to hear both sides (I love those kind of books).
The story begins with the heroine of our story, Brooklyn. Her boyfriend, Lucca, died in a tragic accident about a year ago, and then their friend, Gabe, just recently died of a drug overdose. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, Gabe starts visiting Brooklyn in her sleep. She has no idea what he wants, and is even more upset that it isn’t Lucca visiting her. And then there’s Nico, who can’t stop running from the idea of his younger brother’s death from a year ago. Lucca leaves Nico a message to help Brooklyn, and so he follows instruction. Neither Nico nor Brooklyn can confess that they have personal ghosts with messages, but they find themselves having to deal with their own emotions, and a shoulder to lean on.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I was obsessed with all things Gatsby my senior year of high school. When I found out that there was a movie being made—and Leonardo DiCaprio was going to be playing the lead—I finally gave in and read the book. And I fell in love with it. My English teacher at the time was so hype about this movie coming out, and even told us how he took his wife and mother to see the movie…only to have his mother say that she preferred Robert Redford.
For those of you who don’t know, this story surrounds some wealthy characters on the north shore of Long Island—but mainly concerns the mysterious millionaire, Jay Gatsby, and his obsession with a former lover that lived right across from him named Daisy Buchanan. Who just happens to be a married woman. (Drama!) The Great Gatsby takes place during the Roaring Twenties, and we follow (for a good amount of the time) Nick Carraway, who lives next door to Gatsby—and also happens to be Daisy’s cousin. He brings the story together, and we experience the high life with him, his friends, and the adventures along the way.
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Let me tell you something: if you thought that you cried pretty damn hard to the movie adaptation of My Sister’s Keeper, you’ll cry even harder to this damn book. This story is like a hard pill to swallow—you find yourself, on multiple occasions, questioning characters’ intentions and morals. So basically, if your plan was to look for a lighthearted book, keep looking; because this is most definitely not one of them.
The protagonist of this story, Anna Fitzgerald, was born for a reason: to keep her older sister, Kate, alive. She has donated bone marrow to her sister her entire life, and now that she’s a teenager, she has made the decision that doesn’t want to do it anymore. Her parents, especially her mother, isn’t on board with the situation, so Anna seeks emancipation. We follow the Fitzgerald family deal with this legal matter, her older brother’s pyromania, her sister’s failing kidney, and the adventures leading up to devastating end. It may not end happily, but you won’t regret reading it.
Prompt: List some of your favorite books