Favorites Friday -- Part 4
Have you ever been asked the impossible question? The one that leaves dedicated readers shaking in their coziest slippers? Of course I’m talking about the question “What’s your favorite book?”
I never can answer that question in under five minutes. So, I decided to do something about it.
Every Friday, Favorites Friday (it’s totally a thing, I swear), I submit for your pleasure a list of my favorite books in various categories. So far we’ve worked our way through Read-to-me, Early Readers, and the murky world of Middle Grades.
This week we’re tackling Tween/Teen reads. Now, chances are the books you read when you lived through these formative years are some of the nearest and dearest to you. They are the books that made you realize you weren’t alone; they were the books which made you fall in love with reading. Perhaps they were also the books which made you fall in love. All of which makes this particular list a touchy one. What books formed you during those critical years between childhood and adulthood? Here are some of my favorites.
Story Thieves by James Riley
Owen’s life is boring with a capital “B.” He desperately longs for more. When he spots his friend, Bethany, climbing OUT of a book in the library, he’s suddenly found the adventure he is looking for. Bethany, who is half fictional, shows Owen how to get into and out of books. Soon he is starring in his very own adventure, with hilarious consequences.
I loved Story Thieves and the subsequent sequels (is that redundant? Subsequent sequels?). Each one is jam packed with humor and action, and full of enough twists to keep a reader guessing. This is probably the easiest read on my list for today, so it falls more in the tween category than teen. I read it as an adult though and totally enjoyed the series, so take that as you will.
Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene
Nancy Drew and her friends Bess and George find themselves embroiled in one mystery after another. Helped by her father and her ever-worrying housekeeper, Hannah, Nancy transforms into a super sleuth like no other.
Every girl ought to read at least one Nancy Drew book in her lifetime. Where else can you find a heroine who is kind, smart, resourceful, and strong. Nancy doesn’t need a Prince Charming to rescue her (though we all have a secret crush on Ned Nickerson), she can find the bad guy, recover the stolen jewels, and foil the nefarious plot all while wearing a fashionable twinset and linen pants. I love her. I want to be her.
If girl detectives aren’t your thing, try the Hardy Boys for similar values and readability.
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
Redheaded orphan, Anne Shirley, is wanted by no one. Not even the elderly brother and sister who claim her from the railroad station seem to want her. Will Anne (with an E!) be allowed to stay on their beautiful farm in the house with green gables, or will she be shipped off to another home to care for even more children? Will she ever find a place to belong?
The classic story of Anne of Green Gables is charming and beautiful. During those teen years when you don’t know how you fit into the world, it helps to have Anne right there with you, finding her place. If you have never read Anne’s story, there is no time like the present. And don’t miss the rest of the series - you’ll want to know what happens to Anne throughout her life.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
In a dystopian Chicago everyone is separated into five factions based on their abilities. Each faction has their own role to play and each person is expected to remain within their own faction. As Beatrice “Tris” Prior struggles to fit herself to the mold of the Dauntless faction, she discovers that no one can be defined as just one thing. But what would a breakdown of the factions mean for their society? Or perhaps more importantly, what would a breakdown of the factions mean for those currently in control, those currently wielding all the power?
The Divergent Trilogy was written well after I was in my teens, but I wish I had read it then. The series contains the mix of sci-fi, human emotion, romance, and action that I love. Tris’ journey to discover who she is and how the world works is a journey we all find ourselves taking. Also, Veronica Roth is totally inspiring — she wrote the novel before she graduated from college.
There are so many other books which could go on this list. I think I’ll write another Favorites Friday for this age group again!
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