I am a huge reader, but there was a period of time where I didn't read very much. During the ages of thirteen and fifteen, I had a tendency to start books and then never finish them, so when I turned sixteen, I knew something needed to be done. I decided to read sixteen books before October 29th, 2016- my 17th birthday- and I did it! I thought it might be kind of cool to look back on all the books I've read, and see what I've learned from reading them. So here you go! The 16 books I read while being 16:
1. Looking For Alaska by John Green
The main thing I learned from reading this book was to not finish it the same day the person who recommended it to you leaves for the Philippines. Otherwise, you'll end up pacing your room wanting to explode with emotions but can't because they don't get back for another two weeks. It was a rough fourteen days... In all seriousness, though, this book was incredible. I've read The Fault In Our Stars, Paper Towns, and An Abundance of Katherines, and this book was just as, if not more so, amazing. I highly recommend this book if you're a bit of a history nerd and have the heart of a rebel.
2. Sounds Like Me by Sara Bareilles
I got this book around the time that I was babysitting a LOT, so this was mostly read around 8:00 when children were asleep and I needed something to do. Sara Bareilles has always been a musician that I admire (she was at my first concert, actually!), and her book was very much like her songs- brilliant, full of vulnerability, and sometimes quite funny. I don't have much to say about it other than it's an amazing book that should be read by everyone who loves music and wants to understand themselves a little more.
3. The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman
This is a small book, only 88 pages, but there is a lot packed into it. Carrie Hope Fletcher (Actress, Singer, and Youtuber) made a video a few years ago where she talked about some of her favorite books, and this was one of them. I read it in a day while sitting in a window seat, and it was one of the loveliest afternoons I've ever had. This book is excellent to read if you feel as though you've forgotten the important things in life or if you just want to get back into reading but can't find the time. I really felt like I learned a lot about what's important in life when I read this one. I will say, though, that it was really hard to find so I recommend going to amazon or another online store that sells books if you are interested.
4. All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher
As I mentioned earlier, Carrie Hope Fletcher is an actress, singer, and YouTuber, but I neglected to mention that she's also a writer! She has a new book out now entitled On The Other Side , which I will definitely be picking up the next time I'm in England. This book, however, I read this year and it was spectacular. It's part memoir, part advice, and everything is written in such a way that you feel as though you are talking to her other than just reading words on a page. This book helped me come to terms with my perfectionism, and be okay with making mistakes. I would recommend it to anyone who is feeling a little bit lonely or needs some advice.
5. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
After realizing that I wouldn't have the chance to read this for school, I bought it while in Los Angeles during Spring Break. This copy has suffered two backpack water bottle induced floods, and some of the pages are a little torn because of it, but there is so much love inside. All of the books on this list are very important to me, and I love them all dearly, but this is definitely my favorite book. The story touches my soul in a way that other books have never done, and every chapter as something new and important to say.
6./7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
The only reason these two are in one is because I had to get the pictures for these and #8 from a friend because they are her books and I don't live near her anymore (*tears*), but just because they're grouped together doesn't make them any less important to me! Chamber of Secrets is the book that really got me into Harry Potter, actually. The first one was amazing, but it wasn't until I read this one that I felt captivated by the story and all it had to share. Also, Ginny Weasley is amazing, so need I say more? As for Prisoner of Azkaban, it is definitely my favorite of the entire series. This may or may not have anything to do with my love of Sirius, but moving on from that... The twists at the end kept me on the edge of my seat for a good two hours after school one day.
8. Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Like I said, this was another of the books I borrowed from my friend and she had to send me pictures. She's one of those beautifully artistic types, hence the flower :-). This book was also incredibly beautiful, and I still can't believe that it took me so long to read it. I would recommend reading it and then also seeing the movie, because there are some things that I didn't catch until watching the movie, and there are some things I don't think I would have noticed if I hadn't read the book first. The whole thing is both relatable and yet spectacular all the same. There is a line at the beginning where Mr. Anderson, the English teacher, says to Charlie, "they say if you make one friend on your first day you're doing okay," and that one line got me through my first day at a new school last August. This is a very important book, and I don't think I can fully explain why, but it just is.
9. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
This is one of those books that stays with you long after you close the back cover. The same person who recommended Looking for Alaska told me to read this one, and since he had been right before, I figured I might as well- and I am so glad that I did. This book is great if you are trying to find where you fit into the world, and what you want to be known for. I can't say that I was able to totally relate to everything in this book, but the idea of trying to find the secrets to the universe is very beautiful to me.
10. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
This is the Harry Potter book that too me the longest time to finish, which is probably why I was scrambling to finish all 16 books by the time October came around. All things considered, though, this book was incredible. I specifically love Dumbledore and McGonagall in this one, as well as Hermione. Mad-Eye also makes his first appearance, so that was one of my favorite moments. This book was the one in the entire series that focused on character development more than anything else, at least in my opinion.
11. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
OKAY, where do I begin? This was easily one of my favorite books that I read this year, and I don't think I'm completely over the ending yet. Everything about this book was incredible- the characters, the length, the twists throughout the entire thing, everything was amazing. This was the first Harry Potter book that I found myself crying at, which is saying something because I came pretty close during Prisoner of Azkaban and I usually don't cry at books anyway.
12. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
I don't have a picture for this one, because it was also borrowed, but here's a link to it if you want to find it (or just see a picture... The illustrations are beautiful): https://www.amazon.com/Little-Prince-Antoine-Saint-Exupéry/dp/0156012197/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477507390&sr=8-1&keywords=the+little+prince
Okay, I know I just said that I don't really cry at books, but I definitely cried while reading this one. The chapter with the fox in particular got to me, and I was a crying mess until the end of the book. Like The Tiny Wife, it's a shorter book that I read in a day while sitting in a window seat. I also learned a lot from this book; a lot about myself, a lot about the world around me, and a lot about things that seem unreal.
13. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
I have always been fascinated by the idea of family, and likewise books that center around families. This is one of those books that really makes you think. I found myself relating to every character at least once during the novel, and some more often. Hannah in particular was a character I could see myself in throughout the entire book. This is a great book to read if you are constantly feeling misunderstood, or like you're constantly feeling as though you are misunderstanding.
14. The Devil and Miss Prym by Paulo Coelho
This is one of those books that I didn't fully understand until the end of it, but I'm glad I kept reading because it was an incredible story. It's all about good vs. evil, and which of those wins out most of the time. I won't spoil anything, but the last few chapters were certainly a roller coaster.
15. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
NOPE. NOT OKAY. I AM REALLY NOT OKAY... And I finished this a month ago. This was ironically the book I was looking forward to reading the most, but it broke me in every possible way. Even so, it's a wonderful book. The writing is exquisite, and the story is exciting. It's upsetting, but exciting. There isn't really anything I can say about it without giving away any spoilers, so let's just move on to the final book shall we?
16. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by J.K. Rowling
So I went on my Junior/Senior class retreat last weekend, and came back with a cold. Because of this, I stayed home on Wednesday with tissues and tea and much of that day was spent reading this. Once I finished it on Thursday, I just curled up in a little ball. This entire series means so much to me. All the characters, all the story lines, all the emotions that go along with it. I will say, though, that the title is extremely accurate, and I was ready to stop after chapter six. SIX. Aside from that, I really loved this book. Now I will go watch all the movies and cry...
All of the books I read this year have impacted me incredibly. They all represent a certain period of time this year and remind me of where and who I was while reading them. And now I'm off to read 17 books while being 17, and here's to another year of reading :-).