Thursday, July 30, 2015

Nostalgia Part One: Teen Favorites!

This past holiday weekend, I made the short trek to my hometown to visit my family. My mother decided that it's time I help her clean out the house a little by taking my old school papers, boxes of memories, magazines, and almost all of my books with me. Oh the books, so many books. By the time I headed back Sunday evening my car was so full, there was no seeing out the back window.

Since my library was closed down this week (they're replacing the air condenser and can't have people in and out of the building), I've went through all of those. So in the spirit of going down Memory Lane...this will be a two part post. First here are (in no particular order) the Top Ten Titles from My Teenage Years!

You will hear me repeat this one a few hundred times, but Libba Bray is a phenomenal writer. A Great and Terrible Beauty was the first novel of hers that I read. The story is one of mystery and intrigue, magic, friendship, and romance. Bray expertly crafts a dark, supernatural story and leaves you wanting more. Read it. 

Before you disown me for this one, hear me out here. I read the Twilight series as a young teenager. I connected with Isabella Swan because I was clumsy, a reader, and I felt very ordinary. Like Bella, my parents were divorced. My mom a bit chaotic, dad s cop. And then she meets an extraordinary man. He's beautiful, alluring, and a mystery she aches to solve. So yes, I loved the Twilight series. 

SPOILERS: And though I know many say their relationship is dangerous and the story is anti-feminist, I disagree. Yes Edward knows where she is all the time, but he's protecting her from evil. Yes, Bella has a meltdown when she's left behind in New Moon, but that's just an exaggeration of how we all feel in a breakup. If she were being controlled, Edward would have forced her to stay human forever. But Bella is a strong, brave female character. She punches a werewolf when he kisses her. She armwrestles Emmett; she stands against vampire royalty multiple times; and she is willing to sacrifice herself for her family and everyone she loves. She overcomes her awkwardness and discovers the person she was meant to be. End rant. 

If you like mysteries, art, history, scavenger hunts, or adventure, you should give this one a try. The Da Vinci Code was a great read as a teenager because it allowed me to think critically. It will really get your adrenaline pumping and have you craving the sequel, Angels and Demons. 

Powerful teenage girls who get their abilities from Diana, the Greek goddess of the moon come together to battle the forces of evil. How much better can it get? 

This one is a little crazy, so beware. When their father dies, the four  Dollangager children are uprooted by their mother to go live with their grandparents. What they don't realize is that they'll be shoved in the attic, where they are forbidden to be heard or seen. Their grandmother calls their existence an abomination, and they soon learn that that may be true. 

This beautiful Laurie Halse Anderson story should be read by every teen. When Melinda called the cops and busted a big party last summer, her friends disowned her. She begins to block out her family and finds her only solace in art class where she begins to express herself  using the tree that is blocking her thoughts and her ability to share the truth of what really happened at the party that night. 

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes is an inspiring writer. She published her first novel when she was 13, and now has several series. This novel is about a girl named Jessica (that's my name!) that is a published author in high school, but no one knows because she published the book under a different name. When two new kids start going to her school, she becomes increasingly drawn to Alex, who seems surprisingly familiar. If she didn't know better she’d think Aubrey, the villain from her novel had just sprung to life. But he's just a figment of her imagination. Or is he?

As the year 1905 draws to an end, great changes sweep through Russia. The tragic events of ""Bloody Sunday"" usher in a sequence of massive national strikes that force the tsar to turn his government into a constitutional monarchy, and it appears that the radical element has finally won. But for Andrei and Yuri, the overwhelming tragedy of that fateful day was the slaying of their father. Andrei, the youngest, becomes driven to see his father's death avenged, and aims toward the downfall of the monarchy. Yuri, the oldest, is also grief-stricken, but he approaches it with characteristic confusion and uncertainty and finds he cannot support his brother's revolutionary fervor. As Russia plunges from World War I into the ensuing civil war the family is caught in the middle of conflicting national interests. Will their faith and love be strong enough to help them survive?

I think this is one probably self explanatory for most of you, but for the few others...I was introduced to Mr. Potter at the age of 12. Though the books were published three years earlier, I had shrugged them off as silly and childish. But beyond bored at my grandparents one day, I picked up Chamber of Secrets (it had been lying around since my aunt night it for me that Christmas) and couldn't put it down. After that the series became a part of my life, as I grew up with the characters and the actors who portayed them. 

Beyond that, to the doubters out there, the Harry Potter stories are much more than a boy going to wizard school. They're about good versus evil. They're about doing the right thing even when those choices can mean life or death. They're about how friendship and love can get you through anything. They are political, funny, sweet, and beautiful. 

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