The other day I was looking at a collection of my old books, most of which I completely forgot that I owned or had ever even read. It got me thinking about all the books I loved in middle school and high school, and how I would feel about them now.
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
Okay, I loved this book when I first read it back in high school. I wasn’t blind to all the problematic tendencies of the male MC, the bad writing, the corny scenes, and the flat characters, but I was willing to let it all slide because OMG sWoOnS. Of course, the reader that I am now wouldn’t even get past the fifth chapter. Seriously, this book is bad. Every single other character except Abby and Travis only exist to talk about Abby and Travis and how much the two of them should be together. There is literally nothing keeping these two apart except for their own stupidity. Travis is extremely immature and borderline abusive, and yet literally everyone thinks he’s a god. He does corny things like dancing on lunch room tables and singing to Abby while everyone else claps along, and we as readers are expected to think it’s endearing instead of horrendously cringe-worthy. There is no plot whatsoever. The sex scenes are atrocious. I’m getting mad just thinking about how much my teenage self liked this book.
AKA, every paranormal romance Twilight rip-off that I was unable to keep my hands off from. Many of these were filled with characters that were either boring or abhorrent with derivative plots that didn’t make sense. They usually revolved around cheesy cardboard insta-love romances with hot brooding alpha males. While they were entertaining at the time, I would probably find many aspects eye-roll inducing now.
This leads me to the next obvious choice:
The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer
You were either obsessed with these books, or you’re lying. The Twilight Saga completely took over my life during my freshman year of high school. There isn’t much to say that hasn’t already been said about this questionable series, but while there are many things I find mockable/humorous/disturbing now, I think these books were exactly what I needed at the time.
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
This was a trilogy, but I’m sad to admit that I never read the last two books. Someone spoiled the ending for me, and it’s hard to finish a series knowing that it may not end the way you want it to. I really enjoyed this first book, though. It focused pretty heavily on a love triangle, which is usually a deal-breaker for me, but the two male leads were both endearing in their own way. I’m sure I could find something to pick apart if I read this book at this point in my life, but I remember loving it for the coming-of-age contemporary YA beach-read romance that it was.
The Vampire Academy Series by Rachelle Mead
Okay, if I reread these books now, I would probably still love them. What can I say, I’m a sucker for vampires (pun intended). Rachelle Mead is a talented author, and the way she writes is incredibly compelling. I was completely sucked into this world (I’m done now, I promise) and became invested in every one of the characters.
Anything Meg Cabot, Sarah Dessen, or Nicholas Sparks. My middle school/high school self definitely had more of a taste for humorous books and contemporary romances.
Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison. I went through a huge phase of loving all things British.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares. Because who doesn’t want to share a pair of pants among your friends for years without ever washing it?
The Giver, The Outsiders, and The Great Gatsby. Three of my most enjoyed assigned reads.