As a book nerd, I've read just about every popular book series there is, and I have dozens of favorite novels. It seems like my favorite book changes like the phases of the moon, but there's one thing I'm absolutely sure of: the "Percy Jackson" series means the world to me.
If you've somehow never heard of the "Percy Jackson" series, allow me to enlighten you. Written by Rick Riordan, the "Percy Jackson" series follows twelve-year-old Percy Jackson as he discovers that he is the demigod son of Poseidon and attends a secret camp for kids like him in order to save the world many times over. It's a fast-paced series that, while intended for a middle-grades audience, enchants any and all who read it. Full of mythology, adventure, comedy, and heartfelt moments, the "Percy Jackson" series has earned its fame with good reason.
I first read the "Percy Jackson" series when I was ten years old, and now, nearly a decade later, it is still my favorite book series of all time. It's taught me valuable lessons, and here are ten of the most important.
1. There's a lot to learn about the world
Percy and his demigod friends are always going off on whirlwind adventures to save the world, taking them across the country and around the globe. They did what they needed to do to get things done, and as I begin my own quests and my own adventures, I learn that I, too, need to learn all that I can on my travels in order to be successful. There is never just one side to the story, never just one explanation for how something can be.
2. You can find great friends in unlikely places
On his many adventures, Percy made friends in the strangest of places with the most unique stories. He always welcomed people in with a warm heart and fought for them, with them, fiercely. His loyalty and kindness inspire me to look after my friends and to never fear about making new ones too. New stages of life bring new people, and those new people might just be people that are meant to stick around.
3. To understand the present and future, you must understand the past
The Oracle and her prophecies are a central theme of the "Percy Jackson" books, and while there's no mystical mummy lady spewing out ancient prophecies whenever I have a problem, the power of reflection and introspection has proven to be a valuable one. Taking the time to pause and think about your current situation, whether good or bad, can give you the clarity necessary to move forward. While our emotions are good and should not be ignored, they can sometimes cloud our judgment. Sometimes, the best way to understand our current situations is to think about how we got there and how we can move forward.
4. Not everyone has the best intentions
As the most powerful demigod of his age, Percy was bound to have some enemies, and sometimes, finding out who those enemies were was enough to overwhelm him. They've been strangers, gods, mortals, and even friends. While there are no evil Titans set to destroy me, there have been those whose intentions might not have been pure during the course of my life. I remember how they've wronged me, and while it hurt, I understand that some people are not always meant to be in your story. Sometimes, they're there to make you stronger once they leave.
5. You're braver than you think
Life is scary, for both demigods and mortals. We both fight monsters, whether mythological or otherwise, and the prospect of going through something tough can be frightening. However, there's hidden bravery within all of us—we just need to embrace it. Once you do, the world becomes so much more inviting and the monsters in need of fighting turn out to be not as frightening as they once seemed.
6. Sometimes our "fatal flaws" can be our greatest strengths
To save a friend, Percy Jackson would sacrifice the world, or so he was told by the goddess Athena. Of course, Percy's big on loyalty to both his friends and his cause, and made sure to never truly live up to that fatal flaw of his. If anything, that fatal flaw became Percy's greatest strength. When it appeared that the odds were against him, he found a new way to make sure they turned in his favor, and applying that sort of mentality to my own life has made a huge difference. It's easy and almost tempting to believe in the pessimistic, dark side of things but taking a chance on positivity and possibility can have more power than you know.
7. You don't need demigod powers to make a difference
As children of gods, Percy and his friends had unique powers of their own, from controlling the seas to charmspeaking to immense battle skills. However, the one thing the "Percy Jackson" books enforced was that you didn't need powers to be a hero. There were countless mortals who saved the day and even demigods like Annabeth who didn't have any magic powers but whose intelligence made all the difference. Powers would make the world a whole lot easier, but realizing that you have all the skills you need to make your life worthwhile makes it easier too.
8. Even if you feel like you don't fit in, you'll find those like you when the time is right
Everyone feels lonely sometimes, even out of place. It's one of those feelings that might chase you throughout your life, and that's okay. Growing up, I took refuge in Percy, because he was a bit of an outsider like me at the time. He never felt like he belonged until he found Camp Half-Blood and discovered a whole world just waiting for him to arrive, full of people just like him. That moment taught me that there's a place for me and people who want me to be their friend, I just have to be patient and find it.
9. Sometimes believing in yourself can be hard...
Life is full of crazy situations and scary experiences, some of which might leave us feeling down and powerless. This is true for everyone, whether they're real people or fictional, like Percy and his friends. Even when armed with godly powers, the characters are human—there are moments when they find it hard to believe in themselves as well. But, no matter how heavy the thought, there were always ways to turn things around...
10. ...But anyone can be a hero
...Because the triumphant message of the "Percy Jackson" series is that anyone can be a hero. All it takes is some courage and a cause, no matter how big or small. You don't need to change the world, you don't need to fight in battles, but in your everyday life, realizing that you've got what it takes to realize your dreams can turn you into the stuff of legends.
Which book has taught you a valuable lesson?