Saturday, 22 September 2012

September Book Chat: Books for Our Younger Selves

I've only just discovered Misty at The Book Rat and her wonderful monthly meme, Book Chat and I was thrilled I could take part in this month's topic. Anyone can participate, by making a blog or video post. The video posts are great, but I'm so paranoid about being seen on the internet and then stalked (or you know, seen by one of my students and made fun of) that I'm sticking to a written blog post. Not as fun, but just as informative.

This month's topic: Books that we have read as adults and wish we could give to our younger selves.

Looking back, my childhood reading was really limited. I read all the time, but after I got to about age 10-11, what I read was The Babysitters' Club and Sweet Valley Twins/High almost exclusively. If I ever picked up anything else, it was almost always another series like Sweet Dreams, Sunset Island or Katherine Applegate's teen series. I don't think I read anything that was particular acclaimed or still regarded as a great book to pass on to the next generation. I read a much more varied choice of YA now. 

If I made a post about all the children's and YA books I've read and enjoyed since becoming an adult, this post would be a million words long, so inspired by Crystal at Vanilla Hearts, I decided to narrow it down to books I really think would have helped me in some way when I was younger; given me confidence and helped me feel better about myself.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Every young person who is a little different and doesn't quite fit in should be given Stargirl.  The character of Stargirl has an infectious personality and I think she'd make any oddball feel proud to be one, too. The whole book really celebrates marching to the beat of your own drum and not letting what other people think of you hold you back, which is a message I really needed when I was a kid.

The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart         

I love Ruby Oliver as a heroine and I recognise many parts of my 15 year-old self in her, so it would have been nice to have met at the same age. Ruby goes through a lot of the problems I did: panic attacks and being ostracised from friendship groups. I think the fact that Ruby has such a good relationship with Dr. Z would have made me feel better about seeing a shrink, because I was really resistant to the idea when I was a teen.

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers       

I think this book would have helped me because I dealt with mean girls and being bullied and I think if I'd read this book as a teen, I would've been able to say: "Yikes! At least what's happening to me isn't that bad!"

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Two E. Lockhart books on the list! I guess she really speaks to Teen Me. Seriously, when I was a teenager and was just starting to think about things like feminism and why it was always the boys who lead the classroom discussions even though the girls knew as much, and why when we went out as a group, we always ended up going where the boys wanted to go (the arcades), having a role model like Frankie, who could actually articulate these things and do something to challenge it, would have been great.


  1. We're a lot alike--I read BSC and SVT/SVH when I was that age. My variety was fairly limited. I had a few other middle grade books in there (anything to do with cats, a Judy Blume book, Anne of Green Gables, etc.) but mostly those series.

    It was nice to discover great books that were more modern and I could relate to in some way. I adored The Boyfriend List too, the whole series really. That one would probably have been good for me when I was younger. :)

    1. One thing about BSC and SVH was that between the ordinary books and the Special Editions and the Mysteries and the Super Thrillers, you never ran out of a new book to read - but that left you time for little else! I'm glad my eyes have been opened to other books for kids/teens - better late than never!

  2. Great topic. My mom died when I was in HS and at the time I didn't know anyone else in that situation but now I read YA contemporary books that address this all the time. it would have been a great help to me if I had these books back then.

    1. I'm sorry to hear about your loss. You're right; there are many YA novels about grief and it's nice to think there are teens who these books are really helping. And if you think this is a great topic, you should make a post, too!

  3. Yay, I love Misty's book chats! They're always so much fun. I haven't read any of these yet, but from what I've heard Ruby Oliver and Jessica Darling would be in the same camp--and the Jessica Darling books would certainly be on my list!

    1. Yes, Ruby Oliver is another great YA heroine in the vein of Jessica Darling. You'll love her, I'm sure.

  4. Just found your blog! Love it! Hooray!

  5. Thanks for letting me know that you were inspired by me! I find that really flattering. :)
    Great list, especially for Stargirl. I forgot about that book but I agree that it would be fabulous for a younger person to read. With so many self esteem issues, it is great to have a role model like Stargirl.


If you visit this blog, please comment! I really do appreciate and read every one and try to answer back as much as possible.