As someone who has considered herself a reader for basically my whole life, it’s hard to pinpoint the *one* book that really got me invested in the hobby. Surprisingly, though, it’s a question I get asked a lot!
Reading books is something I’ve loved to do since the day I learned to read, and before then, I still really enjoyed listening to stories read to me. They’ve always just been a constant in my life, and I’m grateful it’s a hobby I never really grew out of.
All that being said, though, there are some books I have a very vivid memory of reading and most of these fall into the range of when I was in 6th-9th grade (11-15-ish). Those years were pretty critical in terms of developing my taste as a reader and pushed my hobby from being just reading to being very invested in books to the extent of making it basically my whole personality for a while 🤧
Anyways, here are all the books I LOVED during that time and made up the whole of my personality for a solid number of years. Would I recommend them all? I don’t know, probably not. But they all hold a special place in my heart and I will not accept any slander towards them 😌
Four children have been chosen to compete in a national competition to find the tastiest confection in the country. Who will invent a candy more delicious than the Oozing Crunchorama or the Neon Lightning Chew?
Logan, the Candymaker’s son, who can detect the color of chocolate by touch alone?
Miles, the boy who is allergic to merry-go-rounds and the color pink?
Daisy, the cheerful girl who can lift a fifty-pound lump of taffy like it’s a feather?
Or Philip, the suit-and-tie wearing boy who’s always scribbling in a secret notebook?
This sweet, charming, and cleverly crafted story, told from each contestant’s perspective, is filled with mystery, friendship, and juicy revelations.
To this day, there is not a book I have re-read more than this one. Wendy Mass as an author was 100% my favorite when I was younger, and The Candymakers specifically was my favorite book by her. I mean, this story is basically about four pre-teens who live in a candy factory and are competing to make the best candy,,,so what’s not to love??
Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.
Honestly, this was low-key traumatizing and gave me nightmares after reading, but it’s the first book I can vividly remember as being a page-turner. Life As We Knew It had me staying up late and reading whenever I had a minute, even if it was only a few paragraphs, because I just could not put it down. Full disclaimer, I highly doubt any part of the science behind this book can be considered realistic, so if you do decide this sounds like an interesting dystopian, just something to be aware of!
In the Society, officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.
Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one…until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.
The Matched trilogy is one that I know for certainty if I read now, it would be a one or two star rating. That being said, my twelve-year old self loved it and was living for the romance and love triangle. It is painstakingly cliche and has all the annoying stereotypes that were all the rage in the mid 2000’s dystopian era, and you know what, it worked.
Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. In just a few weeks she’ll have the operation that will turn her from a repellent ugly into a stunning pretty. And as a pretty, she’ll be catapulted into a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun.
But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to become a pretty. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world—and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally a choice: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. Tally’s choice will change her world forever….
Yet another book that I know if I read now, would very likely be a low star rating. Uglies is actually pretty similar to Matched, which isn’t too surprising since, like I said before, this was the dystopian era. I actually still remember reading this back in 6th grade and just being so interested by the whole idea and concept of the story. I also still own my copy of the book so it’s nostalgic to see on my shelf 🤧
In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, this will change the way you look at life, love, and family.
First book that ever made me FULL. ON. SOB ?? That would be If I Stay. I typically don’t get too emotional when reading, but this was the first book that emotionally wrecked me,,,and there have been a lot since then. Anyways, I never saw the movie because I figured it would be too much to handle, but I did love the book.
One cruel night, Meggie’s father reads aloud from a book called INKHEART– and an evil ruler escapes the boundaries of fiction and lands in their living room. Suddenly, Meggie is smack in the middle of the kind of adventure she has only read about in books. Meggie must learn to harness the magic that has conjured this nightmare. For only she can change the course of the story that has changed her life forever.
Okay, this book is literally the definition of magical. Inkheart is every bookworm’s dream, in that the main character is a book lover who ends up actually living out a story. I remember having a lot of fun while reading this, and it was the first time I watched the movie adaptation of a book and could actually annoy everyone around me by pointing out the differences. Fun times :))
In the blink of an eye, everyone disappears. Gone. Except for the young.
There are teens, but not one single adult. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what’s happened.
Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day. It’s a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your 15th birthday, you disappear just like everyone else…
THE HOLD THIS WHOLE SERIES HAS ON ME !!! yes, i did in fact save the best for last, and I can tell you all without a doubt that the Gone series deserves the most credit for really getting me into reading. I could probably write a whole essay on how much this series means to me and why I love it, but I’ll spare you all lol. I feel like the first book in itself isn’t the best, but the way the whole series come together and the dynamics between the characters is just *chef’s kiss*. Very much Lord of the Flies vibes. Also, this series is very violent (like, very), and just gets more and more gruesome as the plot develops. I still have one scene like engrained into my brain because of how horrifying it was 🤧 But anyways! I highly recommend.
And that’s a wrap! I only talked about a few here today, but honestly there are so many more books I could’ve mentioned. Percy Jackson, Divergent, The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, etc etc all played a huge part in developing my tastes as a reader, but they’re also all very popular and I’ve talked about a few of them so many times so I didn’t want to sound like a broken record.
I hope you all enjoyed this post and happy reading! 💙
Have you read any of these? What books got you into reading?