Books that changed our lives
It’s Kind of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini:
On the surface, this book follows the story of Craig, an ambitious and high-achieving student who drives himself past his breaking point and one day gets checked into a mental hospital after a suicidal episode. It follows his journey with his mental health and the people he meets while in the hospital. It is both humorous and deeply sad. I was in middle school when I read this book and my angsty, anxious self was drawn to the different characters and felt understood immediately. As I have grown, however, this book has grown with me and I connect to it on a much deeper level. Craig wasn’t a stereotypical “disturbed” teen that many books and movies love to portray. He was high achieving, smart, and successful. I felt less alone because I knew that people like me and Craig could also struggle. Now, as a college student, I have helped myself and my loved ones to understand that there is no certain look or characteristic you need to ask for help or to struggle. We are all on our own journey, and like Craig, we all have the strength to make it through whatever struggles we may face.
The Selection Series by Kiera Cass
I have been made fun of for loving this series more times than I can count, but I will never back down. The Selection Series is basically the bachelor but for royalty. One prince courts 35 aspiring young women for the chance of a lifetime to become a queen. It sounds super cheesy but I promise it is deeper than that. It’s full of love, adventure, romance, and a monarchy. I quite literally could not think of anything better. This is my go-to feel-good series. When life gets scary, and dark, like it has been for the past two years, we are all entitled to some sort of vice, and this is mine. I love these books because they are truly well written and I get swept up in them every time. Whenever I need a break from reality, this always gives me that. I highly recommend it.
The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley:
This book follows the lives of six strangers as they all write in a green notebook left in a neighborhood cafe. The point of the project is to share your true self in it, and the parts that others do not see. Once you write in it, you leave it somewhere else for someone else to find. The notebook connects six strangers. This is such a feel-good book that explores topics like grief, motherhood, social disconnects, etc. We all share our best lives on social media, and now because of the pandemic, we have all been disconnected for so long. This book reminds me to be my authentic self, and it does such a good job of normalizing such common struggles. Even though I am not one myself, the brutal and raw life of the mother in this story normalizes such common experiences in motherhood that are often pushed to the side. Always choose yourself and your happiness, and this book always reminds me of that.
The Raven Cycle Series by Maggie Stiefvater
Accurately describing the plot of any Maggie Stiefvater is impossible because there are so many things happening. It is roughly about private schoolboys, a girl from a magical family whose power is amplifying the power of those around her and a lost Welsh king in Virginia. I was in a book club throughout middle and high school, and it was a rite of passage to read and then fall in love with this series. The writing is beautiful and full of as much magic as is in the story that it tells. Anyone that likes fantasy should read this series!
The Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling
I hate the author, but the story and characters that she created quite literally made me who I am. The comfort that I find in both the movies and the books is something that I am forever thankful for, there is not a time when I do not remember being able to recite the lines of the first movie by heart.
Turtles All The Way Down by John Green
This is a book that I felt very accurately depicts how anxiety can affect a person. I love John Green and this is his best book, by far. This book is like a blanket that can keep me warm. Aza Holmes felt super relatable to me and helped me get over my anxiety and fear of driving. I was terrified of driving, but reading this book helped me realize that I am able to do it and get over the anxiety and nerves that I have.