Books are life. They offer an escape from reality and change different lives every day. The stories they tell will be here for generations to come. In honor of World Book Day, we are each sharing some of our favorite books and the effects that they had on our lives.
McKenzie: The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Synopsis: An orphaned Harry learns he is a wizard on his 11th birthday when Hagrid escorts him to magic-teaching Hogwarts School. As a baby, his mother’s love protected him and vanquished the villain Voldemort, leaving the child famous as “The Boy who Lived.” With his friends Hermione and Ron, Harry has to defeat the returned “He Who Must Not Be Named.”
First, let’s start off with J.K. Rowling, she is someone who I wholeheartedly do not support. Her comments and beliefs are frankly disgusting and goes against everything I believe in. Our own Lizzie put together a beautiful letter to her that I still think about. It’s not her series anymore, it is ours, but I digress.
Harry Potter was a staple in my house as I grew up. I have read and breathed these characters for most of my life. This series was what made me fall in love with reading. It taught me how much injustice there is in the world and that life isn’t fair. That you should always do what is right over what is easy. The moments spent at the movie theaters, reading in the dark with a flashlight over the latest book release. Waiting countless hours to buy a book. Harry Potter is rooted firmly in my childhood and it will always be on my list of favorite books. I just don’t have to support the author – the stories belong to us.
Jasmine: The Fear Street Series by R.L. Stine
Synopsis: Fear Street is a series of young adult horror novels that take place in a fictional city called Shadyside, set somewhere on the East Coast. More specifically, the street it’s on is named after the cursed Fear family. Although the series deals with paranormal such as ghosts, many of the books involve murder mysteries.
R.L. Stine books played a very big role in my childhood. I literally grew up with his books. Like most kids who read R.L. Stine books, I started with his Goosebumps books which were slightly creepy but more kid-friendly. As I got older, I worked my way up to the Fear Street books which were very on the adult side. The subject matter they all dealt with was pretty intense.
I remember going to my local library and checking out the max number of books and I would devour them over the weekend because they were so short. The fact that they were quick reads with cool twists, always kept my attention. I’ve recently purchased the books in his new Return to Fear Street series and am currently on the hunt for the original books as well. I’m also really excited for the movies Fear Street 1994, Fear Street 1978, and Fear Street 1666 to hit Netflix.
Gillian: A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas
Synopsis: Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator, and killing something so precious comes at a price.
This was a recent find for me, but it has impacted my life in such positive ways that I cannot imagine not writing about the series here. When I picked up the first book in 2019, I was in a dark place mentally, kind of going through life as a ghost. For the first time in a while, I found myself relating to the lead character, Feyre, but not only because of our good qualities but because of our flaws. Feyre managed to learn to love herself despite her flaws, and in the process, save the world of fae that she once hated.
The series made me feel again. It made me want to experience the world and create art. I always feel a little embarrassed admitting that since the series is marketed as young adult or new adult, but the fact is they helped me out of a hole and every time I reread them, I feel less alone in my struggles. That’s what books should always do: help you escape from the real world for a bit and figure out where you belong.
Beata: The Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare
Synopsis: The Shadowhunter Chronicles is comprised of five main series: The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, The Dark Artifices, The Last Hours and the yet-to-be-released series The Wicked Powers. All five series follow a race of supernatural warriors whose mandate is to rid the world of demons.
This is a massive series – well, more like a bunch of series that follow each other and intertwine in interesting ways – but I can’t pick just one book because it’s the saga as a whole that I love so much. I’ve been following the books for almost a decade now, and there’s something so special about being able to pick up an old favorite book and remember where you were when you first read it, what stage of life you were in, how you felt about it the first time around. It’s wild to me that there are still new Shadowhunter books coming out, and that I’m enjoying the new ones just as much if not more than I enjoyed the old ones back in middle school.
I care so much about every single character in this extended universe. Cassandra Clare’s storytelling is also so complex; I have so much fun trying to fit all the puzzle pieces together and figure out what’s going to happen next. Because there are so many books, they explore so many different themes and character dynamics. I’m just constantly blown away by these books, and keep returning to them because they’re so much fun to read. The series is a bit difficult to get into (the first few books are rough), but the payoff is so, so worth it.
Lizzie: Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Synopsis: Six of Crows is a fantasy novel written by American author Leigh Bardugo. The story follows a thieving crew and is primarily set in the city of Ketterdam, loosely inspired by Dutch Republic-era Amsterdam. The plot is told from third-person viewpoints of seven different characters
Part of me wants to say the Grishaverse, but I admit I didn’t enjoy the three main Shadow and Bone books as much as I enjoyed Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom and King of Scars/Rule of Wolves, but if I have to pick, the book with Kaz Brekker and Inej Ghafa wins. Sorry, not sorry.
This is a recent book for me, and you’d think I’d be talking about a book that impacted my childhood here. I’m not – not just because Kenzie already covered Harry Potter beautifully, but also because I think the books we like necessarily change as we grow older, as different things impact us. Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom, for me, are about the power of getting over your trauma. The main message of the books for me is that you aren’t what happened to you, and you aren’t the bad parts of you. Nothing defines you other than you, and the people you choose to surround yourself with. Well, that, and the idea that family is something you build for yourself, and that just gives me many, many feelings.
Julie: Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Synopsis: Everyone knows that Colin Bridgerton is the most charming man in London. Penelope Featherington has secretly adored her best friend’s brother for…well, it feels like forever. After half a lifetime of watching Colin Bridgerton from afar, she thinks she knows everything about him, until she stumbles across his deepest secret…and fears she doesn’t know him at all.
Colin Bridgerton is tired of being thought nothing but an empty-headed charmer, tired of everyone’s preoccupation with the notorious gossip columnist Lady Whistledown, who can’t seem to publish an edition without mentioning him in the first paragraph. But when Colin returns to London from a trip abroad he discovers nothing in his life is quite the same – especially Penelope Featherington! The girl haunting his dreams. But when he discovers that Penelope has secrets of her own, this elusive bachelor must decide…is she his biggest threat – or his promise of a happy ending?
There are way too many books in the world that I love to pick my absolute favorite, but Romancing Mr. Bridgerton is my comfort read. This book has never let me down when I need a smile on my face.
I come back to Colin and Penelope time and time again. Not just for the romance, but the characters. So many women can identify with Penelope — witty, funny, talented, but not in line with society’s standards of beauty or style. She uses her skills as a writer and sense of humor to not only make commentary on the very society that shuns her but to make bank. She is a queen and I love her. And let’s talk about Colin – he feels out of place in his family of successful people and yes, for a while, he is an idiot because he does not notice Penelope right in front of his face. But when he does? He is so proud of his lady that he could explode from it.
Romancing Mr. Bridgerton hits that unrequited love to romance sweet spot that makes me melt every time I read it. Their banter is so funny and their sex scenes are delightfully steamy (hey, if the carriage is rocking, don’t come knocking). Reading this book is like getting a warm hug.
What books are your favorite or had an impact on your life? In honor of World Book Day, share with us in the comments!