Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: YA "Gateway" Books In My Reading Journey

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic:

YA Gateway Books In My Reading Journey

Oh, my gosh, this post was so hard to make! I've been wracking my brain for nearly half an hour trying to remember some of the first YA books I ever read. The fact that it's been ten years (ten years!) since I turned thirteen combined with the fact that I didn't have Goodreads back then to track my reading progress, I've forgotten a lot of what I read back then. Luckily, after a little digging around through the YA book lists on Goodreads, I was able to find some of the books I read as a young teen. So, here you have it: Teen Alex's list of gateway YA books. This list spans some of the most influential books I read from around ages twelve to fifteen.

1. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech: This is one of the few childhood books that has survived two cross-state moves and multiple book shelf sweeps. I remember reading this book as a kid and just being absorbed by Creech's storytelling.

2. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot: If I had to name my favorite series in middle school, Meg Cabot's The Princess Diaries would be it. They are hands down the funniest books I've ever read, even now. As an awkward, shy preteen and teenager, I related so much to Mia's struggles but loved the way Cabot conveyed them with such humor.

3. Romiette and Julio by Sharon Draper: One of my absolute favorites in sixth grade. I think this was one of the first books that I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to finish. It's the classic Romeo and Juliet story modernized; set in an inner city where two teens in love are challenged by the racism perpetuated by school gangs, peers, and their own parents. It was such a suspenseful and exciting read at the time, and was the first truly "romantic" book I'd ever read.

4. A Rose for Melinda by Lurlene McDaniel: At the time, reading this book (about a young ballet dancer with terminal cancer) was the equivalent to reading The Fault in Our Stars now. I bawled at the end. My heart was totally broken. Afterward, I went into Lurlene McDaniel craze that lasted pretty much all throughout middle school. Not much has changed since then--I still love books that make me cry.

5. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli: If you were in middle school in the early 2000s, there's a good chance that you read this book. I wouldn't be surprised if this book ends up as required reading someday, if it hasn't already. It was so popular at my school that even with multiple copies, it still took forever to get your hands on one.

6. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares: Again, is there any 00s girl who didn't read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? I remember being at Target with a friend who was begging her mom to buy this book for her, but her mom was really wary of letting her read it (I think it might have been the "You must never let a boy take off the Pants (although you may take them off yourself in his presence" line on the back of the book that was giving her reservations...we were only twelve at the time, after all). In the end, she caved and let my friend buy it.

The "Alice" books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor: To be perfectly honest, I don't remember a thing about this series other than the fact that I read a lot of them in seventh grade.

Daughters of the Moon series by Lynn Ewing: Whoever designed the covers for these books knew what they were doing--how could I pass up a book that featured fierce-looking girls wearing glitter and awesome dresses on each cover? Plus, I think the whole superhero/goddess aspect of the books appealed to the part of me that loved Sailor Moon as a little girl.

Sabriel by Garth Nix: This is a book I've been wanting to revisit for a while now. I read it in eighth grade, but a lot of the fantasy elements went over my head.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer: My list of gateway books would not be complete without the ultimate book that defined my high school years and started my obsession with YA paranormal romance. I read Twilight over fall break of my freshman year, wanting something spooky to get me in the Halloween spirit, and that, my friends, was the beginning of the end. I've been obsessed ever since.


  1. Walk Two Moons! I loved that book, and I'm really happy to see someone else that's read it! You've got a really great list. :)

    My TTT

    1. Yay, another Sharon Creech fan! And thanks! :)

  2. Princess Diaries! I've seen this on a few posts this week, while I only ever read like the first two I still loved them and for me there one of those books that I read before I loved reading, you know?

  3. The Princess Diaries was (and still is) such an awesome book!

  4. Twilight is forever <3 LOL

    Check out myTTT.

    Leydy @OUaT & RCE

  5. This is a great list! I loved The Princess Diaries series! And Stargirl and Love, Stargirl should be required reading for every person.

    1. Thanks! :) I've actually never read Love, Stargirl. Need to check that one out!

  6. I remember loving the Princess Diaries when I first read them. :) I secretly wished I was a princess too!

  7. I read alot of Lurlene McDaniel's books as well. I loved her *One Last Wish* series, which I read in 10th grade, via my English teacher's classroom library.

    OMG, I love *Sailor Moon* as well. I'm so excited about the new anime airing in July!

  8. I've only read the first few Princess Diaries books, (I love them) I think I need to go back and reread and read the rest! I love that you included Meg Cabot, I can't believe I didn't think to add her to my list, since she is a gateway for me loving to read too.
    Wonderful list! I have The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books, but I haven't read them yet. I think I need too!


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