Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday: The Books of My Childhood

The folks over at YA Highway ask a reading/writing question every Wednesday and invite people to blog their responses. Today's question is: What books were you obsessed with as a kid?

Here's the list I came up with off the top of my head, though I'm certain that I'm leaving out something important. I refrained from including the romances that I started reading at the age of 12 and included only those non-romance books that I read up to early teen years. The late teen years were basically exclusively dedicated to Harlequin.

Baby Sitters Club Series by Ann M. Martin - Pretty much the series that made me love reading. When I was in elementary school, my mom worked for the local Wal-mart, one that didn't open until 9 am (gasp!), stocking shelves in the early mornings before the doors opened. Since she was a single mom and I was too young to stay alone, she often woke me up at the crack of dawn to go to work with her. Small town, Arkansas FTW. An empty Wal-mart is pretty much a 7 year olds dream, or nightmare, depending on how many lights were turned on on a given day. I did like to wander around the toys, but inevitably, I would wind up in the book aisle, sitting on the floor, reading the BSC books that I loved but couldn't afford to buy. Then they'd go back on the shelf. As an adult, I can only hope that I didn't damage them too much.

The Giver by Lois Lowry - I think I found this in the middle school library, and its the first book that I can remember which made me really think about the message it was putting forth. I was a really type A kid, and part of me was really attracted to the way that Lowry's dystopian society was so organized and regimented. It was an interesting exercise to get to the end and have to evaluate Jonah's actions and what they meant about my own attraction to the system he was escaping.

The Graduation by Christopher Pike - This was the 3rd book in a series, and I'm not really sure if I ever read the other two books that precede it. I include it because it's the first book that I was truly crazy about because I had a crush on a character, Michael Olson, and I wanted him to get the girl in the end. It was also probably the first book I read that included reference to teens having sex, though it was fade-to-black. There was even discussion of condoms! Heady discussion for a pre-teen. Can you tell my mother didn't screen what I read at all?

Others I loved:
  • The Hardy Boys (I loved the ones set in the 80s)
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor (school assigned book that I loved)
  • All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor (the main characters were Jewish girls in NYC in the early 1900s, and I was fascinated by the culture differences)
  • Sweet Valley High Series by Francine Pascal (Duh.)
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (Also duh.)
  • Nancy Drew Series by Carolyn Keene (I loved the 50s set ones best)
  • Bad News Ballet Series by Jahnna M. Malcolm (Thanks to The Mighty Ducks, I loved these books because one of the characters was a hockey player)
  • Palm Beach Prep Series by Elle Wolfe (Again, blame a movie, but I got into this series because one of the characters was a soccer player and I had just seen The Big Green)
If you're curious about other answers to YA Highway's question, check out the comments on Road Trip Wednesday.


  1. Holly! Are we neighbors? I'm in NWA. (And also loved the BSC.)

  2. Oh, I went to college there!

    Wait, did we already have this conversation in the chat room? *head desk*

  3. Oh...the All of a Kind Family books! They should have been on my (embarrassingly long) list too!

  4. Nope, I don't think I've been in the chat room. I went to UCA and never left!

  5. Oh, that makes me feel better! LOL I was a Hendrix kid. Another of the YA Highway girls, Amanda, lives in Germany, but she's from central Arkansas too!

  6. My poor daughter AND her friends get most of their books screened - by me. Poor things.

  7. Oh, THE GIVER. How did I forget that! I loved, adored, cherished The Giver. I wish that the follow-ups had been published sooner after it than they ended up being, because the gulf between when I read The Giver and when I read Gathering Blue was just too large – I haven't even read the third (it's out, right? I think it is out.).

  8. I never got around to reading Gathering Blue, AKG, mostly because I idolized The Giver so much that I'm afraid to ruin anything! I think the third book is out and I've been hearing rumors on Twitter that Lowry is writing a fourth book.

  9. Great collection of books! Thanks for sharing.