If I can still feel the pain after 15 years, it should have been a real book.
As a young writer, I spent countless hours both reading and (mostly unsuccessfully) writing for The Neopian Times- a feature of Neopets.com that allowed young children to express their creativity through stories, comics, and articles. While I will absolutely not be sharing my own (few) published works to the greater public, there are a few stories that I think back to often and wonder what ever came of the authors.
My body image issues didn't begin until a couple years after I read this story, but the author tackles them very well. The protagonist is unable to see herself as beautiful, and it destroys her; it takes over her life. That's definitely something that young teens and tweens can relate to.
2. "My Vacation" (and others by jeanaet)
This author had a theme of writing stories about her own Neopets, and her stories were always quite entertaining to read. Her characters were always getting into exciting adventures with some emotional moments mixed in as well.
One of the first series I came across, this story introduces Maybelle, who has generally always had good fortune in life, but also showcases the aspects of her life that are less than ideal (her distant relationship with her mother) and her struggle to make friends because of assumptions others make about her.
4. "There Is No Cost to Friendship"
This is one of the last series I remember reading. In my original review of it (on one of my Neopets pages for which the account has been deactivated) I mentioned that I constantly forgot I was reading a Neopets story when I was reading it. Some more great themes about assumptions and friendship!
5. "Playing the Part" (and others by precious_katuch14)
I had the hugest celebrity crush on Kat when I was in 5th-6th grade. I used to print her stories out and read them all the time, and even made a DeviantArt profile to have another connection to her. The story I was most obsessed with was "Playing the Part", a story featuring her own Neopets. I used to write my own versions of the story featuring my pets, and sometimes act the story out with my dolls.
Kat, I hope you're doing well these days.
6. "They'll Never Hear a Word We Say" (and others by sytra)
THIS STORY. Sytra is one of the best authors I have ever read work from, the only author who made me shed real tears over this website. This story in particular and its sequel, I felt such a strong connection to. I printed it out and even did a book report on it in seventh grade. The stories reminded me strongly of Lauren Myracle's "The Winnie Years" series, which I discovered around the same time.
"They'll Never Hear a Word We Say" ripped my soul apart and put it back together multiple times over, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Sytra, I hope you're still writing things, and if you come across this, please inform me where I can purchase anything you've written professionally. As in the days of Neopets, I will read every single story.
Do you remember any of your favorite stories from Neopets?