I am going to be moving soon, which unfortunately means I will have to sell most of the books in my house. Going through everything, I noticed all the books I enjoyed in junior high school and late elementary school. Some of them I still love today, and others make me cringe and I probably couldn’t stomach reading now. There was a pretty large collection, but here are five that stood out to me:
Wow, I remember loving the story of The Penderwicks, because it fully captures the essence of childhood wonder. I never actually finished the entire series, so I’m mainly speaking for the first book. It is the story of the four Penderwick sisters, all of different ages, and the adventures they get into during their summertime vacation at an estate. I read the first book during the summer after fourth or fifth grade, and it is a perfect summer read! At the time I read this, nostalgia isn’t something that would have registered with me, but now I know that that is the feeling this book gave me; nostalgia for a childhood I didn’t live, but not the sad kind of nostalgia, the heartwarming kind. This was a sweet and touching story with a feel-good ending, and I could read this now and probably still enjoy it.
Ah, the Mackenzie Blue series. Stories about a seventh grader and her trials and tribulations dealing with friendship, crushes, first kisses, getting her period, and of course she was also a musician. To be honest, this book is way too tweeny for me now, with all it’s references to pop culture and obsession over boys, body image, and stolen diaries. Also the dialogue is kind of cringey, but back in fifth grade I loved this sort of thing! I would get one book, read it in about one to two days, then I would anxiously await the release of the next one. I was such a thirsty fan that I emailed the author, Tina Wells, asking her when the next book would be released. It’s funny because my taste has changed to much, but Mackenzie Blue will always hold a special place in my heart. I also remember loving how colorful the cover designs were for this series, and they really added a pop of color to my bookshelf.
Mary Poppins is such a classic! Honestly I read these earlier in my elementary school days, but I just wanted to include in this list anyway because I have such fond memories of it. Of course I saw the movie before I read the series, in fact I didn’t know it was a book until my mother told me and bought me the series. These were so fun to read; the adventures and hijinks that she got into with the children of the house were very enjoyable, and I also have a deeper appreciation for these books after having seen the movie Saving Mr. Banks, the story of P.L. Travers and her collaboration with Walt disney to make the Mary Poppins film. I recommend watching Saving Mr. Banks, because you also get to see a little of the inspiration behind the books.
Why We Broke Up
Why We Broke Up was written by Daniel Handler. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, he has also been known to go by his pen name, Lemony Snicket. Yes, Lemony Snicket of A Series of Unfortunate Events took a crack at contemporary young adult. Looking back, this book is nothing special as it is full of clichés, but at the time I read this those clichés were new to me. I hadn’t read anything yet that took on the story of a nerdy theater girl starting an unlikely romance with a jock, and losing her virginity to him just to find out that he was cheating on her with his ex-girlfirend. It was the first sort of, and I use this term loosely, mature book that I’d read and I thinks that’s why I liked it. That, and the visuals that went along with the story were cool.
The Harry Potter series. Loved it then, still love it now, will probably love it 20 years from now. ‘Nuff said.
Even though I read these books what feels like ages ago, it will still be difficult for me to let go of them. Excuse my over-sentimentality, but books feel like old friends, and even though you lose touch with some, it is still hard to say goodbye.
What books did you like in your youth? I’d love to know!