I just unearthed this list I put together for a juvenile literature class I took in college, and enjoyed the memories it recalled of the books it lists. I loved these books fiercely, and believe they have shaped me significantly into the writer and person I am today.
- Lloyd Alexandar’s The First Two Lives of Lukas-Kasha: This has always been my favorite Alexandar book, although I enjoyed the Westmark Trilogy immensely as well. This book tells a tale of a lazy, good-for-nothing teenage boy who magically becomes a king in a far-off land. He is forced to accept the responsibilities this role forces him into, and it changes him forever.
- Jean George’s My Side of the Mountain: This book is like a watered-down Hatchet. I’ve always loved this book; the boy who chooses to leave civilization and make his own way in the world for a time has always appealed to me.
- J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: These books have been my hands-down favorite for years. I used to read them over and over again. Their epic tales and unwitting heroes held me spellbound.
- William Golding’s Lord of the Flies: This book deepened, perhaps birthed, my appreciation for dark literature. I could so vividly picture the events happening in real life, which thrilled and terrified me.
- Gean Stratton-Porter’s Freckles: I identified very closely with Freckles in this book of an orphaned, crippled boy who falls in love with a well-to-do, beautiful young maiden. Very much a “Hunchback of Notre-Dame”-esque tale, but with a happy ending.
- Brian Jacques’ Martin the Warrior: This was the first of the “Redwall” books that I read, and it remained my favorite. In hindsight, I think that this is because once you read one of the Redwall books, you’ve read all of them. But this book introduced me to the series, and I enjoyed these books for several more years before tiring of their formula of feasts, badgers, quests, unlikely heroes, and evil ferrets.
- Wilson Rawls’ Summer of the Monkeys: Let Where the Red Fern Grows be damned. This is/was my favorite Rawls book. Nobody dies, and a little girls gets surgery to restore her ability to walk.
- Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game: This book is just plain fun. It was in constant rotation on my rereading list. There was so much depth to it. Even now I can’t sort it all out.
- Harold Keith’s Rifles for Watie: Another one is constant rotation. I absolutely loved this book. It has wars and battles and honor and love and espionage and moral dilemmas. Lucy Washbourne was my dream girl.
And in some ways, perhaps, Lucy Washbourne is still my dreamgirl. :) Feel free to share your own lists of memorable books from your childhood and teenage years.