Wednesday, September 7, 2016 / 4 Comments

My Favorites Books and Series from My Tween/Teen Years! (Throwback)


I can't even begin to tell you how much fun I had writing about my favorite childhood reads. It was such a walk down memory lane and it made me want to go back and read some of my past favorites, just for old times' sake (also, adulthood is really hard, so who wouldn't want to revisit the past to escape the present? Just me? Sigh). But that got me thinking: if I wrote about my favorite childhood books, wouldn't the next logical step be writing about my favorite teen or tween books? YA (or Young Adult, for those who don't know literary lingo) wasn't quite as popular when I was around that YA age as it right now, but I still had a good amount of YA literature to choose from. So for my tween years, turn on some Radio Disney (lots of boy bands and girl groups and then lots of Avril Lavigne), and then for my teen years, get out your old emo band CDs (From First to Last, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, etc.) and you'll be all set to experience my favorite reads from my tween/teen years!

A Series of Unfortunate Events By Lemony Snicket


If you read A Series of Unfortunate Events as a child, then I'm pretty sure you had a great childhood. Lemony Snicket was my introduction to dry, incredibly smart, humorous writing and the clever use of grammar. Looking back, it amazes me that he wrote these books for children, because though they are incredibly entertaining, they are downright depressing. The things the Baudelaire orphans have to go through it are downright traumatizing (um, the Lucky Smells Lumberbill clearly violating child labor laws??). Oh, and the fact that Count Olaf literally followed them around wherever he went to get his hands on the famous Baudelaire fortune (and do away with the children, might I add) in various ridiculous disguises and that NO ONE ELSE but the Baudelaires' could see right through his disguise??? But all of that dark humor, Snicket's sardonic writing, and other entertaining and interconnecting elements (the Baudelaires various odd guardians, VFD, and Snicket's own connection to the Baudelaire orphans) perfectly meld this children's series into a classic and one of my absolute favorites.

Note: And I cannot begin to even tell you how excited I am for Netflix's new series of the books coming out soon with Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf! I enjoyed the movie that came out years ago (starring my girl crush Emily Browning), but it was a pretty different adaptation of the books, so I'm hoping the Netflix series will follow the books storylines and humor more closely! *crosses fingers forever until the ASOUE series is released on Netflix* Don't let me down, Harris!

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Trumpet Club Special Edition
Was this the first time you ever sobbed while reading a book? Because it was for me! Plus, I think I read this during MY VERY FIRST PERIOD EVER. But I'd still probably cry over this book even when I'm not on my period. #truth

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Farrar Straus Giroux
The book version of Tuck Everlasting was a beautiful study of coming to terms with death and living your life while you can. It's a simple, somewhat short book, but it packed a powerful punch. I've taken the advice of Mr. Tuck and can honestly say that I don't fear death, I fear the unlived life. (Not a direct quote, Natalie Babbitt said it much, much better) Which is why I eat so much chocolate. You only live once, guys! I'm just doing what I can!

Dear America and Royal Diaries series by Various Authors
Scholastic Inc/Scholastic/Demco Media
When you're a tween, playing pretend really isn't as acceptable as it was when you were a little kid. But with the Dear America books you can could live through these fictional girls' lives, set during real historical events. Sure, most of them went through incredible hardships (slavery, famine, war, etc.) but it was still thrilling to step back in time and subliminally learn some history. And don't get me started on the Royal Diaries series! The Marie Antoinette one was my favorite (they made her seem very relatable and had a nice foreshadowing of her learning to play cards aka gambling and loving it), just from the descriptions of all the gorgeous dresses she got to wear- and the gross facts, like how lice and other bugs lived in the powdered wigs and instead of bathing they just doused themselves with perfume to cover their body odor. I live for creepy info like that! Bonus points if you watched the Dear America and Royal Diaries half hour live action movies! They were so low budget but so good. Actually, I'll be right back, I'm going to check and see if someone uploaded them on YouTube!


The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
Turtleback Books/HarperTrophy
The Disney movies pale in comparison to these great works of art. First of all, Mia and her mother live in NYC, not San Francisco, and her father is NOT dead, he just had testicular cancer and the chemotherapy he underwent left him sterile (you definitely canNOT put THAT in a Disney movie!). Second of all, the books keep it real, with teens talking about sex and life. And thirdly, the grandmother character is the exact opposite of Julie Andrews (literal royalty that is Ms. Andrews): tattooed eyebrows, chain smoker, and calls Mia (her granddaughter, might I add!) a prostitute in French (so grandmotherly!). All of this makes up a super fun and surprisingly emotionally poignant series. Though there are multiple books, the first three book (The Princess Diaries, Princess in the Spotlight, Princess in Love) are my absolute favorite and in my (humble) opinion make up the perfect Princess trilogy. I have to admit that I loved the newest addition to the series that came out last year: Royal Wedding: A Princess Diaries Novel that Meg Cabot wrote for everyone who grew up reading the books and needed closure about Princess Mia. I'm a sucker for weddings (especially royal weddings!), what can I say!

Georgia Nicolson series by Louise Rennison
Harper Teen
Georgia Nicolson is the coolest awkward-bigbusted-boy-lusting-slang-talking-wild-cat-named-Angus-owning-Ace-Gang-leader-living-with-the-weirdest-parents-and-little-sister-possible protagonist of a YA series EVER. I have fond memories of reading these books and being jealous of all of the boys that were into Georgia. And also that I wished I lived in England so I could get a chance to date some of these British hotties. Also, I may have watched a video of the entire movie someone recorded in a theater in England on YouTube because they never showed the actual movie in the US. Pirating is wrong, people. Don't do it and don't watch it. But I ended up buying a legit copy of the movie so I think it all worked out!

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
I am not a big fan of fantasy. There. I've said it. Harry Potter is the only "fantasy" that I like. But fairy tales....I like fairy tales. And The Goose Girl is that perfect blend of fairy tale, real human characters and their intersecting relationships, and just a damn good story! The fantasy world that Shannon Hale creates doesn't seem at all fantastical, it seems incredibly real and vivid. Once you start reading it, be prepared to be swept away by the story and characters. There are other books in the series, but to me The Goose Girl is the epitome of perfection. Oh, and it has MAGIC in it. Because it's a fairy tale! ♥

Gemma Doyle series by Libba Bray
Simon and Schuster/Ember/Delacorte Press
Oh my god these books are so good. My pitiful synopsis can in no way compare to Libba Bray's iconic trilogy. Just read it. You'll be awestruck. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I will read anything Libba Bray writes. ANYTHING. She could literally write a Fifty Shades of Grey and Twilight crossover fan fiction and it would be flawless. She's THAT good.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Simon Pulse
Back before The Hunger Games, this was the dystopian (or utopian, all depending on which of the characters in the Uglies series you ask) world of choice. In a world where normal looking people are considered "ugly," when kids turn sixteen, they get surgery to make them look "pretty." But some kids decided that that's not the way it should be and plan to make it all change. And damn, it was deep and. Sh*t. Got. Real. As a teen, the concept blew my mind and I had everyone in my life (family, friends, random people at the library) read it. Or at least I recommended it. You can't win them all. And as a 20 something year old, Uglies still holds up and is a great discussion piece about how much we as a society view outer beauty and how we see ourselves. Seriously, book club the hell out of this thing with your friends!

His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman
Knopf Books for Young Readers/Laurel Leaf
Okay, I lied earlier when I said I didn't like fantasy. Philip Pullman doesn't count because he is a genius and deserves to be celebrated. I don't know how exactly to describe the His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass), but extraordinary would be an excellent start. Yes, it is pretty fantastical and out there, but when you have a compelling story, characters, and excellent writing, sticking with a series like this will open up a whole new world (or worlds. *gasps*) that you could never imagine or dream of. Plus, it's a bit of a mind bender and will make you think about authority and morality in completely different ways. It's a very adult and substantial series with very young characters at its center but one that readers will enjoy, but not everyone will get. Reading the series again in my 20's has completely opened my mind to all of the subtext that Pullman subtly hinted at. Doesn't it just amaze you how talented some writers are??? If I had an ounce of that talent to write my resume....

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares
Delacorte Press/Delacorte Books for Young Readers/Ember

A. Magical. Pair. Of. Jeans. Fits. Four. Best. Friends. And. Keeps. Them. Connected. Through. Their. Summers. Apart. You are LYING if you say that you did not want these exact same pair of pants for your group of best friends when you were younger. So just admit that you actually wanted these magical pants and maybe still kind of do because as you get older you and your friends are drifting apart, because of school, work, relationships, and maybe these magical pants (that fit ALL of you by the way, even though you are all VERY different body types!) will still keep you guys together and you will meet for brunch at least once a month. Being an adult is really hard, you guys.

Also, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie (the first, though the second one is pretty good) is one of the very few examples where the movie is (almost) as good as the book. Like, right up there. It's stupid how much I love that movie.


What did you guys think of my list? Did you read any of these as a tween/teen? Or did you read them when you were older? How much of an impact did they have on your life? Let me know!

-Emily
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4 comments:

  1. Ahhh so many reads from my school years! Although I'm sure I was the entire opposite of Georgia Nicholson and I'm from the UK, British boys were not so dateable at that age haha xD my favourite books from my teenage years were The Narrowboat Girl and anything by Marcus Sedgwick haha! I have some of the Gemma Doyle series but never got round to reading them, I have to now! :D xx

    elizabeth ♡ ”Ice Cream” whispers Clara | (lets follow each other on bloglovin or instagram)

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  2. I was the exact opposite of Georgia Nicolson too! Maybe that's why I loved the books so much ;) haha, I didn't have much luck with boys in the USA, so I probably thought I'd have a better chance in England! The Gemma Doyle books are so good! Let me know what you think of them if you end up reading them!

    Thank you for commenting! I am so in love with your blog now! Your photos are EVERYTHING!

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  3. I've actually never read any of these, and had no idea The Princess Diaries were books either! When I was younger I loved Roald Dahl books and The Hobbit.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, I loooove Roald Dahl! It reminds me of storytime when I was a kid in school :) I feel like not a lot of people know about the Princess Diaries books but I personally like them better than the movies! And I still haven't read the Hobbit yet. I'm going to have to add it to my TBR list!

      Thank you so much for reading my post and commenting! It really means a lot!

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