5 Books For My Younger Self

I feel like I missed out on a lot of YA books when I was a teenager. Going from reading Anne of Green Gables at the age of 12 to consuming almost exclusively Stephen King and Dean Koontz with some Jim Morrison poetry from 14 onwards, I think there are plenty of books I never got the chance to discover.

That said, I must admit, I wasn’t even aware of any YA stuff back then. Apart from Harry Potter, I don’t think I could name any book intended to the younger audience at the time (1998-2002, my high school years). We didn’t have internet, and most books I read were either from my mum’s collection, borrowed from my friend’s parents (thanks to Niki’s dad for Agatha Christie!), or recommended by the dude who ran the second hand bookshop at the farmer’s market. I went to see him on a weekly basis, and he always had some cool shit that was just right up my alley.

But let’s see 5 books young Norrie would have gone nuts about, had they existed.

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted on Goodreads.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Fancy, poetic writing was always a thing for me. The weirder the better! This book not only has a beautiful prose, it also has a mystery, so it’s pretty much perfect!

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

This is such a cute summer read, full of friendship, music and adventure. Would have been perfect to break up all the doom and gloom from Stephen King and Koontz!

It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.
On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?
Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.
Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?
Kiss a stranger? Um…
Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane’s list. Who knows what she’ll find?
Go skinny-dipping? Wait…what?

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

I always loved sci-fi, but never read one with young adult characters. I read this book last year, and loved it. I can only imagine I would have been crazy about it when I was 16 with all those themes lifted from Greek and Roman mythology!

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.
Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.
But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.
Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I have never been a great fan of romances as I feel they set kind of unrealistic expectations about relationship. This book however? I think the author nailed it pretty well! It’s sweet, but sad at the same time. It has brilliant music too.

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.
Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.
Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

See All the Stars by Kit Frick

High school setting, first time boy friend, friendships, and wallowing in self pity. A lot of it. I feel like I spent quite a lot of time back then feeling sorry for myself, because clearly nobody understood me, and everything was oh so dramatic. The story also had an underlying mystery that would have appealed to my younger self, looking for intrigue.

It’s hard to find the truth beneath the lies you tell yourself.
THEN They were four—Bex, Jenni, Ellory, Ret. Electric, headstrong young women; Ellory’s whole solar system.
NOW Ellory is alone, her once inseparable group of friends torn apart by secrets, deception, and a shocking incident that changed their lives forever.
THEN Lazy summer days. A party. A beautiful boy. Ellory met Matthias and fell into the beginning of a spectacular, bright love.
NOW Ellory returns to Pine Brook to navigate senior year after a two-month suspension and summer away—no boyfriend, no friends. No going back. Tormented by some and sought out by others, troubled by a mysterious note-writer who won’t let Ellory forget, and consumed by guilt over her not entirely innocent role in everything and everyone she’s lost, Ellory finds that even in the present, the past is everywhere.
The path forward isn’t a straight line. And moving on will mean sorting the truth from the lies—the lies Ellory has been telling herself.

Would you choose any of these for your teenage self? What were your favourite books back then? Or if you are a teenager now, what books do you enjoy?

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78 comments

  1. I’m so lucky to have grown up when YA was really exploding, but I still feel like I missed out and got to the game a bit late, especially when I see new releases that I just KNOW I would have adored as a 13/14/15-year-old but am not too bothered about now. I’m still so grateful for YA, though – it definitely paved my way into reading!

    Liked by 2 people

        • Hmm, i only know the Scarlet Letter – tried to read it last month, but just gave up on it. It’s super short so i thought i can do it, but i didn’t find it as interesting as i thought i will.
          I think there are some nice classics most people enjoy, but they were not part of our studies… :/

          Liked by 1 person

          • I noticed my list was a lot of American classics? We had English Literature, World Literature, and American Literature? I liked some of each, but I understand about Scarlet Letter. Sometimes it helps to read with others and discuss the deeper meaning of the writing. It’s probably not a good one for pleasure reading- I can totally understand that. It was more for study. Have you read Great Expectations?

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Absolutely agree with you about Eleanor and Park and Morgan Matson! They really should’ve been read by high school me 🙂 However I read Fangirl at the right time of my life when I was as old as the main characters, which was nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved We Were Liars. It makes me sob ugly tears each time I read it! I think it’s a really amazing book and I’m not surprised given it’s from the author of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, another book I would love the chance to recommend to my younger self.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great list! I wish I had all of these books and so many others back when I was in my teenage years as well, especially the morgan matson ones, they are brilliant, I love them so much 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is such a great idea, and I definitely feel like I am making up for missing out on the YA genre when I was younger now. I went straight from MG to King and Koontz and almost exclusively the classics, the latter of which was a habit I didn’t break until I was almost 30.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If there’s one genre i’m lacking is classics.
      I read a few, but whenever i get to the point where i’m picking a new book i just don’t feel tempted. At the same time, i kinda want to be the kind of person who reads classics… 😀

      Like

  6. I definitely feel like high school me would have liked Morgan Matson. Grown me does so it makes sense 🙂 I haven’t read Elenor and Park but I think younger me would have loved Carry On and Fangirl. I actually think Fangirl should be required reading it’s a good introduction into college in a sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nice list ! I have a few I wanna read on there .. Eleonor and parks still waiting for me on my shelves ahah oops.
    Growing up I had no idea (still dont! for thoses I used to read) what was YA or NA or A .. im just generally lost and settle for what people say it is, ahah.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “We Were Liars” was amazeballs! In high school, I jumped between classics and the likes of Dean Koontz and V.C. Andrews. I graduated high school in 1993, so pre-Harry Potter and I don’t remember YA even being a thing. I would have loved “Twilight” (don’t throw things at me!) and “Hunger Games” and Maggie Stiefvater’s “The Raven Cycle” and so many more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t read the Twilight books, so i can’t tell for sure. But even when i was younger i wasn’t keen on romance.
      Hunger Games, yeah, defo would have loved it even when i was younger. ❤

      Like

  9. Fantastic list, Norrie! I wasn’t a big reader at ALL when I was younger, so I’d probably recommend myself some quick romcom reads. I haven’t read Since You’ve Been Gone yet, but younger me would love it I think. 😉 And current me would love to read See All the Stars, since it seems just a tad darker. Heh.

    Liked by 1 person

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  11. OH MY GOD NORRIE YOUR BLOG IS BEAUTIFUL. c: c: And I love this list, everything here is on my TBR and now I have to make them priorities, especially Since You’ve Been Gone! I love friendships in books, they’re my favorite, so I’m going to get into the story for sure.
    Also, oh gosh whenever someone mentions Stephen King I actually shudder bc I have some deep, subconscious adversion to his books?? When I was a little kid I remember wanting to be a little jerk, so I picked up my mom’s copy of one of his books (I wasn’t supposed to read them) and flipping to a random page. And there was a traumatizing sex scene and ever since i can’t read his books????? I WISH I COULD JUST MOVE ON. XD

    Like

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  13. LOL, a lot of YA books didn’t exist when I was a teen! They were not a thing so much, back then. I was also reading almost exclusively Stephen King! Although I wasn’t familiar with Dean Koontz. We were morbid teens then, I guess 😀 haha. But those are just so good for teenage angst. Those books are all about the feelings you go through when you’re a teen, in a weird way.

    I know I would have enjoyed Red Rising for sure too! Plus, it was such a strong book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know right? I think Stephen King did help me express some feelings (even if only to myself) i struggled with when i was younger. I’m sure there are other authors who would have done the trick, i just didn’t know them.

      Like

  14. Red Rising!! ❤ Love that series. 🙂
    There are definitely books I wish I had read when I was younger. The Chronicles of Narnia comes to mind since my grandma had owned the collection and I've recently started reading them sort of in memory of her because I always remember seeing them on her bookshelf. I feel like I would have absolutely adored them when I was little, but worry that I perhaps waited to long to give them a go. :/ They aren't bad or anything, I just know I would have appreciated them more if I'd had a lifelong love for the series like many other fantasy readers do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never read the Narnia books. They are on my wishlist forever, but i kinda have the same feeling you do.
      And it’s written for kids and i’m not a kid and what if i read it and it will not be as good as i thought (or a kid might find them)… Uh. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Great list Norrie. Interestingly, we were in high school around the same time, (1999-2002) for me. Back then, I was still reading Sweet Valley series, probably Sweet valley University and a lot of romance novels. Those crazy books with bare-chested men and swooning ladies on the covers and Mills and Boons. I can’t really explain my book choices back then :D. I think I’d have enjoyed the books on this list though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember Sweet Valley as a TV series. I watched it all the time after school! ❤
      My friend was super into those bare chested books 😀 She got them from her grandma… haha 😀

      Like

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  17. I love reading YA. There’s just sooo many great YA books and I’ll never have the time to read them all.
    I loved We Were Liars. I loved the mystery and the unreliable narrator. Also, it had such an interesting backdrop.
    I haven’t heard of See All The Stars before. It sounds really interesting. I want to read it now!

    Liked by 1 person

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