10 Books That Have Stayed With Me:
1. “Howl’s Moving Castle” by Diana Wynne Jones—I related to Sophie’s character so much. Her curse is effectively broken early on in the novel, but remains due to her perception of herself. Often I’ve struggled with self-sabotage, and Sophie’s character reflects that struggle of how we can hold back ourselves by not believing in our potential.
2. "Child of the Prophecy" by Juliet Marillier—Fainne’s character growth in this book is utterly beautiful. She blooms from being a shy, nervous girl into one of the most powerful players in the series, conquering the enemy that had plagued her family for the past generations.
3. "Lirael" by Garth Nix—The opening of Lirael’s near-suicide struck me; I had never read anything that had so blatantly detailed a subject I had believed was taboo. Now I’ve read other books that use this supposed taboo for shock factor to make it seem scandalous or edgy, but Lirael’s depression stands as genuine amongst phonies. Catcher in the Rye stood out to me as well for this exploration, but it came into my path way after Lirael and never had quite the same impact.
4. "Green Angel" by Alice Hoffman—With a fairy-tale-esque style writing, Hoffman tells the story of Green, a girl who loses her sense of self. The tragedy in the novella destroys everything that Green is, and the portrayal of a broken being rebuilding themselves resonated strongly with me.
5. "Ink Exchange" by Mellisa Marr—I loved Ink Exchange for bringing a powerful heroine into the young adult landscape, one that choses her own success over the sacrifice of binding herself to either of the two men vying for her.
6. "The Sugar Queen" by Sarah Addison Allen—This book was my first introduction to magic realism. The supernatural element remains subtle leaving the characters to drive along the plot.
7. "The Naming" by Alison Croggon—Unlike so many young adult novels that focus on romance or a superficial struggle of good vs. evil, The Naming presents itself more as an epic ballad. While Maerad deals with two-faced characters in the novel, she also comes to terms with the two halves inside herself and her own potential for great evil.
8. "A Great and Terrible Beauty" by Libba Bray—Rich with imagery, A Great and Terrible Beauty delves into the archetypes of womanhood young girls are faced with in a manner that ceases villainization.
9. "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien—A classic of childhood, this was the first proper book I ever read. I learned how to read from comics, but The Hobbit led me to novels.
10. "Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman—I believe most of the writing community has accepted Gaiman as a god among authors. Out of all his work, Neverwhere stayed with me because I often think of reality as being split in two with one surface being quite mundane and the other surreal.
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