“What’s your favorite book?”
That is one of the hardest questions to answer. Recently, my mom said something I resonated with about why it’s so hard to pick a favorite. She read an article which proposed that it is hard to choose a favorite book because we are affected by books differently at different times in our lives. You could read a book today and have a different perspective and reaction than you did when you read it three years ago. Similarly, different subjects and themes are important to us at different times. While a book might be incredibly interesting to you now, you might not want to read a similar book three years from now. A book that really impacted you might not be your favorite anymore, but it was still important to you and that counts for something.
Using this theory, instead of asking what someone’s favorite book is, we can ask, “What is your favorite book right now?” or, “What was your favorite book in high school?”
I’ve had many favorite books over the years. Right now, I don’t know if I could pick one as my current favorite. I do know what used to be my favorite, though, and I’d like to share some of those with you.
Sort of Forever by Sally Warner
Sort of Forever was one of my favorites when I was in middle school. It is the story of a young girl with cancer, Nana, and her best friend, Cady. Nana is no longer able to go to school because she has gotten so sick, and Cady has to start middle school by herself. The book follows their friendship and the struggles they face as they both adjust to the new dynamic in their lives, Nana’s deterioration.
This book was one of the first times I was exposed to the idea of children having a terminal illness. I had not experienced anything like that in my life and was surprised to find that things like cancer could happen to people my age. The book opened my eyes to truths in the world and changed the way I looked at things. While I couldn’t have formed the same reflections about the book at the time as I can now, I knew that it had touched my heart and opened my eyes to something new. I could feel the importance of what I was reading.
Saffy’s Angel by Hilary McKay
Saffy’s Angel was my other favorite book in middle school. It is the story of a young girl, Saffy, living in England. She lives with her beautifully eccentric family but has always felt a little out of place. She befriends a girl down the street who is in a wheelchair. She and her friend’s family end up going on a trip to Italy in search of a lost item from Saffy’s past.
I fell in love with Saffy and her family in this story. Their artistic nature called out to me. I loved the dynamic between the siblings. I felt the pain of the characters as life put obstacles in their way. This was another book that showed me the vincibility of children. I was able to see more examples of loss and difficulties in people’s lives. I also saw the strength that got them through. The determination and independence I saw in Saffy were a guide for how I wanted to be.
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
The Truth About Forever was my favorite in high school. It is the story of Macy, a teenager who recently lost her father. She is struggling to work through her grief and get her life back to normal. Over the summer, she gets involved with a catering company and begins to help out with some of their events. She finds a group of friends, the catering crew, who are unlike any friends she has had before. Her life with her new friends and her normal life begin to conflict as Macy gets more involved with the catering company.
This story taught me a lot about the importance of breaking the mold of what is expected and not just doing things to make others happy. I wanted to become part of the catering crew and interact with the people I was reading about. I became invested in Macy’s grieving process and wanted to help her. The characters were so real for me and taught me things that I needed at the time. This book also contains one of my favorite book scenes ever. I don’t want to spoil anything so I will just say: if you read this book, the part where Wes comes to the library to ask Macy about the tongs and what happens afterward is my absolute favorite part.
These books, especially the first two, were not written for someone my age. If I read them again now, I would not be affected in the same way. Regardless, they have affected my life in numerous ways and I would still consider them some of my favorite books.
Do you have a favorite book now or one from the past? I’d love to hear about it!