Last week I picked a couple of books off of my shelf that I had not read in a while, but had been influential to me when I was a young teenager. After reading these books, I began thinking about what other books I had enjoyed around then. These are books or series that I always recommend to others who are looking for their own young readers. So why shouldn’t I share them all with you guys, too? Most of these are series, but there’s one that is a standalone novel.
Diary of a Teenage Girl: My Name is Chloe by Melody Carlson
Those books I picked up last week were both from this series. Apparently I also began reading the first one a few weeks ago because it was not in its spot with the others. Oops.
Chloe Miller is the kind of girl who lives life on her own terms. From cutting her own hair to her multiple piercings, she’s her own person. Still, Chloe has questions, questions no one seems to be able to answer satisfactorily. Then she has an encounter with God, in a cemetery no less, and suddenly her whole world is turned upside down. Through her music she finds the words to express everything, and even forms a band with a couple new friends. Now, Chloe’s on a mission to share her love for God with the world. It won’t be a smooth ride for any of them, but Chloe knows that God has it all under control.
I found this book when I needed it most. I identified with Chloe and the things she was going through. While I was already a Christian, I heard echoes of my own questions in hers. As Chloe walked out of her own darkness, I found myself walking further out of my own. Chloe’s life is far from perfect, even after she accepts Jesus, but that helped me learn in my own life to hold on to Him.
Even after all these years, there’s a lesson I learned from these books that I still think on and share: Even though we are one person, we still bring light to the darkness, and like a ripple, the light will expand.
There are four books in the series and I have to say, I wish there were more. I have questions, mainly about the state of a few relationships. (Melody, if you ever read this, I really need these questions answered!!!) The bright side is there are two spin-off series after this, and it sounds like at least one of them may hold the answers I’m needing.
There are Three other Diary of a Teenage Girl series: Caitlin, Kim, and Maya.
I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
That’s the title of the first book in the Gallagher Girl series. The titles that follow are just as creative and fun. I have shared this series before in Eight Book Series You Should Read, but it’s worth sharing again.
Cameron Anne Morgan, Cammie aka Chameleon, attends the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women. Paraded as a boarding school for the daughters of the rich and elite, it’s actually a school for spies. When you attend a school for spies, things can get pretty crazy (like a teacher who never looks the same two years in a row). When you’re a legacy and you’re mom’s the headmistress, sometimes it seems like everyone is watching you. So you learn to be invisible. Until you’re not. First it’s Josh, a normal boy. Then it’s Zach, a definitely not normal boy. The next thing Cammie knows, she’s on the run for her life. Good thing a spy is never without her backup.
I don’t think I could write enough words to tell you just how much I love this series. I was the same age as Cammie, a sophomore in high school, when I found this book. To this day, I wish I had been able to attend the Gallagher Academy. I literally dream of this book being turned into a movie and getting a part in it. I know that sounds cheesy, but it is the truth. This series is one I always recommend. Always.
There are twists and turns, happy surprises, and absolute heartbreak in this series. It’s not just about spying, but about the relationships you make and lose, and how they all impact you. But it’s also totally about spying.
Kate’s Turn by Jeanne Betancourt
My copy of this book is falling apart. It was gifted to me about a year before I began my own ballet journey and I have loved it ever since.
Kate is given the opportunity of a lifetime when she’s accepted to the National Ballet School in New York City. She’s only thirteen years old but she knows better than to turn this opportunity down. But life at the NBS is not what she expected. The dancers are pushed toward perfection, both in movement and in body, and the other dancers will do anything to achieve their dreams. Kate watches as the dancers around her beat up their bodies and suffer. When one mistake sidelines Kate, she has to ask herself if her dream of ballet is actually worth it.
This book gives an insight into the life of a dancer that I did not believe for a long time. Unfortunately, some of the harsher aspects of being a professional dancer that are portrayed in the novel are actually true. This novel is probably why I am so conscious of each and every injury I get. This novel helped inspire my love for ballet, I’m sure, but it also gives a real look (in some aspects) of what a dancer’s life is like. However, to this day, I think Kate eventually changed her mind.
What was your favorite book as a Teen? How did it impact your life? Would you still read it today?