The Books That Shaped Me: Part 3

I honestly thought that I would only be doing one post for this series but the more that I thought about all the books that have meant so much to me over the years, the more that I realized there were way more than could fit into one post.

Part 1 consisted of the books that I read throughout elementary school. Part 2 was all the books that I read throughout middle school. And now this post, Part 3, is going to showcase all the books that I read throughout high school. There could possibly be a Part 4 someday with books that I read in college (my first attempt at college anyways) but I’ll have to see, I might also lump a few of them into the end of this post because there really weren’t many that I read. Homework kinda got to me and I avoided reading so much!

So high school was when I discovered BookTube and Goodreads. I joined Goodreads in November of 2011 when I was a freshman.

Books by Sarah Dessen

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Her books are some of my favorite YA contemporary books and whenever I need something happy to read I pick up one of hers. I haven’t read all of her books yet but I’m working on it. She and Maureen Johnson are two of my absolute favorite authors and I will probably buy every single one of their publications from here on out.

The Top 8 series, which then turned into my love for Morgan Matson starting with Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour

I don’t even remember why I got the Top 8 series, I’m sure I had a gift card to Barnes and Noble, looked inside, liked the formatting and then bought all of them. But the Top 8 series were written under Matson’s pen name, Katie Finn. I’m not even sure when I found out that Finn was Matson but I remember being absolutely shocked because I had had books under both of her names for years before ever realizing.

Dystopian Books: Hunger Games, Delirium, Shatter Me, Divergent)

I would honestly be shocked by anyone who was into reading from around 2012-2014

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

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Her books introduced me to graphic novels! And boy did I reread Smile so many times, like I would be genuinely interested to see just how many times I checked it out from the library back then before I owned my own copy of it!

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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Oh good ole TFIOS. I don’t think I could make a post about books I read in high school without mentioning this gem. This was also the first ever signed book that I owned and I literally shrieked and danced around my kitchen when I saw that that’s what my grandma had managed to purchase.

The Possession of Cassie Quinn by Kathryn Knutson

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My sister bought this book at a local bookstore in the town that my grandparents live near. After she read it, I picked it up and I loved it. I’ve read both this book and her second book and I’m so glad that I liked them because I love having the opportunity to support a Minnesotan author.

It took me a really long time growing up to get into horror things. I mean, I used to be terrified by the show Ghost Hunters and either had to leave the room or put on headphones to block out the noise. I was scarred pretty early on in life by the movie Arachnaphobia and while I’m still terrified by spiders, other horror stuff doesn’t really scare me anymore. I love the spooky stuff.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

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This was one of the only classics that I was forced to read in high school that I genuinely enjoyed. The story sticks with me even to today and there are just so many quotes from this that make me feel all the feels.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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And this one is not on here for a good reason. I HATE this book, like it is one classic that I genuinely despise. I usually dislike classics for one reason or another (most of the time being that I have the hardest time reading them) but I actually have a deep seated hatred of Great Expectations. I’m now kind of fuming right now just thinking of it and almost want to write an entire blog post dedicated to my hatred of this book.

Quiet by Susan Cain

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I read this book so that I could write a paper about it in my tenth grade English class. I have absolutely no recollection what that paper was about but

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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One of the first books I’ve ever read where I saw myself. It hurt. It’s still absolutely everything to me.

Anna and the French Kiss/The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight/My Life Next Door

I also started to get really into YA contemporaries when I was in high school. I bought Anna and the French Kiss at a Borders Books store on the way back from New York one summer (does anyone else fondly think of Borders? I might like it too much because I don’t have any access to small book stores and I’ve never been a big fan of Barnes and Noble). I even saved the sticker from AatFS because I wanted to preserve the last Borders purchase I ever made.

Anyways, I very quickly fell in love with the contemporaries that I read. The idea of having an open ended happy ending just made my heart happy. I devoured happy endings as much as I could, breaking my own single little heart time and time again. I pretended that they taught me a lot about what I wanted in relationships and in guys.

So overall, my reading in high school was full of contemporaries, classics (forced reading), and dystopian. I definitely started to hone in on my favorites and began to read a bit more critically than I had in the past.

Now that I’ve written about a lot of the books that have shaped my reading and myself over the entire course of my life, I’ve started to think about a new series of posts. I would really like to start rereading some of the books featured on these posts and discuss them now. Why I loved them when I first read them, why I still love them today (or not love them depending), and if they still hold up today. I’ll preface it all by saying that I almost always fail with my post series though so we shall see how far this idea takes me.

What were some of your favorite books in your teenage years?

 

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A Trope That Never Bothered Me Before

So I finally sat down to read Save the Date by Morgan Matson. I’m going to preface this post by saying that Morgan Matson is one of my all time favorite authors and I will read absolutely anything that she comes out with. I also used to be quite obsessed with her Top 8 series the she wrote under the alias Katie Finn.

Warning you now that this post will contain minor spoilers for Morgan Matson’s books.

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I got this picture off of Morgan Matson’s website in case any of you were wondering 🙂

I’ve read every single one of her books multiple times (except Second Chance Summer, because 1. It makes me sob and 2. I don’t have a physical copy of it) and until reading Save the Date I never realized that there was a common theme in her books that now really bugs me.

In almost every single one of these books, the main character is a high school student (I think every single one is said to be 17) and the love interest is in college. As I was reading STD (yes, I am going to refer to it as that for the rest of this post, sorry!!) I kind of figured that Jesse was going to be a scumbag, it just made sense that Charlie had to have her little crush shattered by the person she thought was her “dream guy”. It made me so uncomfortable that Jesse is a sophomore in college and he’s trying to have a casual hook-up relationship not only with his best friend’s sister but also a high schooler.

Matson’s main characters are all romanced and a few are even implied to have lost their virginities to these college boys. To me this just screams inappropriate. I get that a lot of these are very innocent, I mean apart from scumbag Jesse, the farthest Charlie goes with a guy is a kiss on the cheek from Bill at the end of STD. There’s also a whole lot of underage drinking and other shenanigans… Like in The Unexpected Everything Andie was almost caught drinking at the age of 14, yep FOURTEEN! And okay, maybe I did spend my entire high school career reading books and staying up too late scrolling through Tumblr and taking too many AP classes but I still feel like 14 is really young to be out partying.

When I first read Matson’s books I was in high school and I never thought anything of an age difference or even a lifestyle difference but now that I’m older and have gone off to college and just been in the “real world” for a while I can’t even begin to imagine wanting to date a high schooler. Now I do think it’s different when someone continues to date a younger boyfriend/girlfriend when they leave for college but I also don’t feel comfortable with people who do things like date a freshman when they’re a senior. And yes, most of the characters are just finishing up their first years of school (or in Clark’s case, not in school at all) but that’s a whole year of being an adult and they’re deciding to be with high schoolers.

And you know what, maybe I’m crazy in developing this dislike for the pairings that are developed in these books but I just feel like no one who has moved past high school should be dating someone who is still 17. I’m in no way condemning Matson’s books, but I also don’t want impressionable young girls to read these books and fall for the Jesse’s because it’s “cool” or “exciting” to be in love with a college guy. Trust me, young girls reading this, college guys aren’t that great… Honestly, most guys aren’t that great. Read your books and wait to find someone who actually cares about you!

On a similar note, I also have never found myself interested in books where college students fall for their professors. I just think it’s a storyline that doesn’t make sense. There’s a power difference there that makes me uncomfortable and I don’t really think that there needs to be as many stories involving this storyline as there are.

As I’m working through Morgan Matson’s books again this spring, as I tend to do, I have to wonder how many other odd tropes I’ve just looked over in books before. Like I mentioned in my Rereading Old Favorites post I have to take a step back from a good chunk of my old favorites just because there are so many issues in them now that I completely brushed over in the past.

I really do like Matson’s books but I do hope that girls don’t romanticize dating an older boy because of the couples that she creates. When I was first reading her books it never occurred to me that this could even be an issue, I didn’t know any older boys and honestly I know that not a single one would’ve looked my way anyways. But I know that there are other girls out there that would and still will catch the attention of older men and I genuinely worry. I know that high school relationships can be awkward but that doesn’t mean that we have to glorify dating older people because they’re “mature” and “experienced”.

All in all, I don’t want to just brush this off but at the same time I have to wonder just how influential these relationships might be… I mean, maybe I’m reading too much into things and it means nothing. But I just got that nagging thought after reading STD and had to sit down to write about it.

Do any of you have thoughts on this? Or know of other YA books that have this trope? I couldn’t think of any off the top of my head but I’m sure there are others out there.

 

Currently Reading

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour Cover

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson is one of my favorite summer reads. Since buying it I’ve read it at least once a year.

Basically, the concept behind the book is that Amy needs to move her mom’s car across the country but Amy is scared to drive. So Amy’s mom gets her friends son, Roger, to help with the driving. Once they begin their journey they decide that they want to take a detour, following their own route instead of taking the planned out route Amy’s mother gave them. There’s a lot of personal growth and it’s overall just a light book that I could read and reread all the time without getting sick of it.
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour Inside

One of the coolest parts of this book is that it takes on a scrapbooky feel. It includes pictures, and playlists, and other mementos from the road trip.

I’ve rated it five out of five stars for it’s unique design, engaging story, and the fun I felt while reading it.

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Morgan Matson is one of my favorite authors and I highly recommend picking up this book if you want to try out her books.

What is one of your favorite books to read during the summer?

I’ll see you all on Thursday with my next post.