I love this week's TTT topic. Some days I even miss my reading habits back before I blogged, when I'd just step into a library or bookstore, pick up the titles that caught my eye, and give them a try. The following books run the gamut from children's classics to overlooked gems.
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
I devoured books like I did food in my early years: consistently, but with little discrepancy between one type or another, and little interest in discerning the differences. That all changed when I found Ella Enchanted in fifth grade. Suddenly, reading could be magical. Characters could be role models I aspired towards.
Chasing Redbird by Sharon Creech
Sixth Grade Honors English introduced me to Sharon Creech, and while I love all of her books, Chasing Redbird holds a special place in my heart. Every time I finished rereading this, I, too, wanted to discover an old abandoned trail behind my house that led me through off-the-grid mountains and familiy secrets. And, of course, I wanted a gorgeous boy to notice me as well.
Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan
Homeless Bird was a random find I came across at my school's annual book fair. It was the first time I can distinctly remember reading about a girl who comes from a different culture and land than me, and yet made such a lasting impression on me.
Kissing Doorknobs by Terry Spencer Hesser
Another random school book fair find, this book both terrified and enthralled me. Hesser wrote about Tara's struggle with OCD with such painful conviction that my eighth-grade self was convinced this was a memoir. I think this was pretty much the only book I read over and over again for several months that year.
The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
Here, finally, be a book on my list that many people have probably read! This random library pick of mine was probably way out of my league of comprehension in middle school, but was undoubtedly what led me to what is now my favorite genre: fantasy. This book will never budge from its place on the top of my McKinley favorites, because of its significance to me and my reading habits.
All-American Girl by Meg Cabot
The Princess Diaries were charming, but All-American Girl was my religion. There were lots I loved about it, from Samantha's pitch-perfect voice to the romance, but what I remember most is being in awe of Samantha for being able to pull off wearing combat boots with white-out daisies drawn on them.
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
Her later books may have been more skillfully written, but Saving Francesca will always be my beloved for introducing me to Melina Marchetta (and Will Trombal, ugh my heart). I was Francesca and yet I wasn't, because she and her friends were effortlessly cooler and more enviable than I could claim to be at that age.
Love and Other Four-Letter Words by Carolyn Mackler
Carolyn Mackler may have gone on to write better books, but her debut will forever hold a space on my shelf. I wore out my library's copy of this with the number of times I borrowed it. There have been countless of contemporary YA books about moving and first love published since then, but this one was what started it all for me.
Tithe by Holly Black
And now we get to the good and dark stuff! This book was totally out of my league in terms of coolness points, but I read it at that sweet-spot age when arbitrary moody protagonists and I would forever retain a connection. Plus, I love saying the name "Rath Roiben Rye" to myself, over and over...
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Ah, I miss those days when I could walk into a bookstore and randomly pick up a book that looked and sounded good and have it later become one of my favorite books of my high school years. Libba Bray and Gemma Doyle did historical, paranormal, and darkly romantic waaaaay before anyone else did, which is why little has lived up to this book since for me.
I'm intrigued by how so many of my childhood favorite books seemed to be award winners (just look at the disproportionate number of medals gracing the covers above). Nowadays, award winners seem to be a hit-or-miss with me. Have you, like me, ever wondered whether or not you would've loved a book as much as you did had you not read it exactly at the right point in your life?