[Top Tuesday] Books I Wish I Had Read As a Child

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is being scaled back a bit to a Top FIVE Tuesday due to things, so thank you for bearing with me and still stopping by. 🙂

The topic of the week is Books I Wish I’d Read As a Child. As long ago as that was 😂 (not really, but it feels like it), I can’t quite remember everything I read, but there are some recent favorites that I know would have made a world of difference to young Me.

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. Upcoming & past topics can be found here.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

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The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan came out when I was twenty. I would have been so excited to have a series like this when I was a kid because I was hugely into Greek mythology at Percy’s age when the only book I really knew about was Edith Hamilton’s Mythology. A perfectly adequate book, but it was more educational, textbook-y, nothing like the adventures that Percy & co. encounter.

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse – Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena – Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

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This would have been later childhood, but I really wish I’d had a book like this when I was a teen. There’s a lot of rough times for Ben in this book, but they end up experiencing some things that I would have found both familiar and, perhaps, hopeful. Growing up I didn’t know a lot of things because my environment was very anti-questioning and forced me to remain closeted and even deny thinking about who I was. Finding pieces of myself in I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver is something I wish I’d had the chance to do back then.

When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.

But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.

At turns heartbreaking and joyous, I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

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I was very lost for a long time and had dark periods, especially in middle school. Portal fantasies, or books like Every Heart a Doorway where we find out what happens to children that return from other worlds to this one, were the sort of story that I would have inhaled.

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

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In the vein of my reasoning for I Wish You All the Best, Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann would have enabled me to see representation that was sorely missing in books when I was growing up (so far as I knew from the books that I had access to at the time).

Alice had her whole summer planned. Non-stop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting–working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating–no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.

But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).

When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn, and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood.

The Gilded Wolves by Roshni Chokshi

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Growing up with beautiful characters and settings and a story like this? 😭 Roshni Chokshi has many books under her belt at this point and I’ve sampled many of them, but I think that The Gilded Wolves would have interested a younger Me the most because it had interesting concepts: the searching for lost artifacts, the found family, and so forth. Those elements would have comforted me through a lot of times and as much as they mean now, even more so then.

It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.

What are some novels that you would have loved to have read as a kid? Are there some that you can remember loving when you were younger? Let me know in the comments below!

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[Tag] The Animal Crossing Book Tag

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After a morning playing the Stalk Market, what better way to take a break than an Animal Crossing book tag? 😅 I played a lot of Animal Crossing on the DS, not so much the GameCube. The bug has bitten me with New Horizons, though, and I am loving it. 😁

I wasn’t tagged, but I saw Pauliina @ Bookaholic Dreamer do this tag today and thought I’d do it as well.

 

The Rules

 

  • Please link back to the original creator of the tag, Bookish Things and Tea.
  • Answer the following Animal Crossing themed book questions.
  • Feel free to use graphics, but be sure to credit Bookish Things and Tea.
  • Tag some friends to spread the love!

 
I’m using the graphics created by McKenzie @ The Bookish Things and Tea. Full credit to her for these terrific images.

 

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I haven’t read as many classics as I’d like, so among those on my list I chose The Color Purple by Alice Walker for this answer. A multiple award winner, adapted to the silver screen, it’s a modern classic I’m looking forward to engaging with in multiple formats.

A powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature, The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence. Through a series of letters spanning twenty years, first from Celie to God, then the sisters to each other despite the unknown, the novel draws readers into its rich and memorable portrayals of Celie, Nettie, Shug Avery and Sofia and their experience. The Color Purple broke the silence around domestic and sexual abuse, narrating the lives of women through their pain and struggle, companionship and growth, resilience and bravery. Deeply compassionate and beautifully imagined, Alice Walker’s epic carries readers on a spirit-affirming journey towards redemption and love.

 

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143761When picking this answer, I didn’t realize how few second books I’d read. I could have sworn there would be a lot more to pick, but I apparently need to actually get to those second books. 😂 Anyway, my answer is A Good Yarn by Debbie Macomber. It still has one of the main characters from the first novel and we see other recurring characters, but the new main characters are more refreshing and allow the story to move at a better pace.

You might have heard about a wonderful little yarn shop in downtown Seattle. Debbie Macomber can take you there!

In the year since it opened, ‘A Good Yarn’ has thrived and so has Lydia Hoffman, the owner. A lot of that is due to Brad Goetz. But when Brad’s ex-wife reappears, Lydia is suddenly afraid to trust her newfound happiness.

Elise Beaumont joins one of Lydia’s popular knitting classes. Living with her daughter, Aurora, Elise learns that her onetime husband plans to visit and that Aurora wants a relationship with her father, regardless of how Elise feels about him.

Bethanne Hamlin is facing the fallout from a divorce and joins the knitting class as the first step in her effort to recover a sense of dignity and hope.

Courtney Pulanski is a depressed and overweight teenager. She’s staying with her grandmother, who’s trying to help by taking her to the knitting class at ‘A Good Yarn.’

Four women, brought together by the craft of knitting, find companionship and comfort in each other. Who would’ve thought that knitting socks could change your life?

 

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38739562With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo takes place in Philadelphia, the largest city in Pennsylvania and the sixth largest in the U.S. (something I didn’t realize until this post). It was one of my favorite books last year; I read it twice in different formats and recommend it every chance I get. Acevedo’s writing is exquisite and experiencing her books is even better in audio when she reads them herself.

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

 

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Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin came out in February. A retelling of Macbeth, it is one of the best, one of the most intense books I’ve read in recent memory. Jade, the main character, experiences a trauma and goes about getting revenge on those that have wronged her. Witnessing the path of destruction that she carves through the book is a sight to behold & experience.

Elle and her friends Jenny, Mads, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable, they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Elle’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Elle as their next target.

They picked the wrong girl.

Sworn to vengeance, Elle transfers to St. Andrew’s Prep. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly.

Foul is Fair is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough. Golden boys beware: something wicked this way comes.

 

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When I first read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, I didn’t actually like it all that much because it was a summer reading assignment and I had to read it. There were other books I wanted to read at the time, so of course I had some bad feelings about it. When I came back to it, though, years later I found a favorite. I’ve seen read it several times, occasionally multiple times a year. Whether text or listening to the audiobook (Kate Burton is an amazing narrator), it’s an easy book to sink into no matter the outside circumstances.

The beloved American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness — in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

 

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The cast of Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant is very rich. Whether we’re connecting with Tory, whose sister was on the original Atargatis mission that mysteriously vanished near the Mariana Trench; Olivia, a reporter on the new ship out to find what happened to it; or one of the rest of the myriad crew, learning about the why they’re on the ship is about as interesting as worrying about their journey and their fate as they travel further out to sea. 👀

This book also has autism rep (Olivia, a main character, is autistic, so if you’re looking for a read for Autism Acceptance Month this is a great choice).

Seven years ago, the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “mockumentary” bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy.

Now, a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost.

Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves. But the secrets of the deep come with a price.

 

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There are a lot more books that would fall under this than I thought. One stars, DNFs, that sort of thing. 😅 The first answer that came to mind, though, is any book by M*ck*ie L**. She is so problematic and I am very, very done.

 

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a character driven historical fantasy that revolves around a challenge between two young magicians. Their skills pitted against one another within the Cirque des Reves, many lives are touched by the contest: some for the better, some for the worse. 😥

I’m reading it again this year so I can annotate a copy for a friend and I’m looking forward to returning to all the places the circus travels in the early 19th & 20th century.

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

 

 

I’m not really sure who of my followers play Animal Crossing, but if you do please play along with the tag and let me know! TAG!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.