With it finally being summer, I decided to compile a reading list that tops all other reading lists. This is no ordinary list of books. I asked some of my dearest friends and most important people in my life for one book that changed their lives and why. I'm no expert but behold, the most powerful list of books on the face of the planet.
Disclaimer: participants in this survey were put on the spot and these are their raw, unedited, some serious, and some funny responses.
1. "The Summer I Turned Pretty" trilogy by Jenny Han
"'The Summer I Turned Pretty' trilogy made me realize that my perception of myself does not necessarily match the perception of others who know me or meet me. The books helped me understand that not only is my opinion of myself extremely important but that I need to be kind to everyone I meet because I can't possibly know what is going on in their lives."
2. "I'll Give You The Sun" by Jandy Nelson
"It genuinely changed my life, not in some big impactful way, but I think about it almost every day and have read it probably five or six times. Plus, it's 300-400 pages, so not a light read. It's about twins, boy and girl, told from each perspective, once when they're 12-years-old from the boy and 16-years-old from the girl. The boy is super into art and the girl used to be popular, but then became the quirky girl that loves ghosts. I'm super passionate about art and spirits have always been cool to me so the topics are perfect. It's just about their life in the rocky beaches of Northern California and it's just soooo cool. The writing is beautiful and I can easily depict all of it. It just fits my vibe as a person and I can read it a million times and never get bored because the plot is so good and the writing is just WOW!"
"I also have a strong personal connection to the sun, so the name really sticks out to me and makes me so genuinely happy. I'm so in love with this book that I want to name my children after it, want twins because of it, and may even get a tattoo because of it. I'm considering ordering a second copy of it to write and draw in because I cannot taint the original one I read. This book is like a bible to me and I love it more than anything and recommend it 100000%."
"It also gave me a strong connection to family, nature, art, dead relatives/ghosts, and myself. Like, wow, thank you, Jandy for changing my life."
3. "The Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis
"In high school, I read 'The Screwtape Letters' for an assignment, but ended up reading the book again in college. It altered the way I thought and perceived things and from a completely opposite point of view. It made me realize or think about how the things I was doing could possibly not even be my choice, but whatever I was influenced by."
4. "Where the Red Fern Grows" by Wilson Rawls
"I read 'Where the Red Fern Grows' in 6th grade and I finished it within a week. I had always been a big reader in elementary school, but it was mostly for the ever-cool AR points. This book was the first one that ever made me feel something. So much that I cried in the middle of class."
5. "After" by Anna Todd
"'After' is the best book because it taught me true love, blah, blah, blah. It taught me to be myself, and that it's okay to be who you really are. Wait 'til you find the right person, and they'll absolutely love everything about you."
6. The Bible
"It keeps me focused."
"Well, no matter the situation, God is always the answer. Everything happens for a reason and God has a plan for every step you take."
7. "The Reapers are the Angels" by Alden Bell
"It showed me that relationships are complex and shape our entire life, relationships with other people, and ourselves."
8. "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Brontë
"'Wuthering Heights' because it's very dark and twisted, and the characters are evil but you can't help but root for true love despite how despicable the characters are."
9. "A Series of Unfortunate Events" by Lemony Snicket and "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton
"Read them my 7th-grade year. First 'real' books I ever read. Reading them brought me to the realization I don't need a screen to experience a story. 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' brought me to an imaginary world through pages for the first time. 'The Outsiders' made me feel real emotion and ties to a world that could have been real. Those books sparked my love for reading and still remain ingrained in my memory, and I'm sure they always will."
10. "Allegiant" by Veronica Roth
"The only book that ever made me cry was 'Allegiant.' I don't know, when Tris died and just Four's reaction afterward. It was really just a shock, like, I did NOT expect her to die because most books usually don't kill their main character, especially young adult books like that."
11. "My Dog Skip" by Willie Morris
Skip: June 5, 1997-September 24, 2014
"'My Dog Skip' because I had a Jack Russell terrier named Skip too, and it felt too real reading it as a kid."