7 Books That Have Changed My Life

Reading has always been a crucial part of my life. The best part is when you finish a book and you know it has changed you forever. That may sound overly dramatic, but it’s true. Here are seven books that did just that for me. 

1. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney

Growing up, I enjoyed reading, but I had trouble finding books that really clicked with me. Then, my elementary school librarian told me about the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series. Lots of my classmates were reading this series. Plus, the movie was coming out in a few months, so I was excited to give it a try. Instantly, I knew “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” would be a lifelong favorite. The story was hilarious and the little doodles in the story added something extra. This was the book that truly sparked my love for reading. 

2. “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins

“The Hunger Games” is my favorite book of all time, so it just had to make this list. When I was in fifth grade, it seemed like everybody was reading it. Because it was so popular, I had no interest. Then, during Thanksgiving break of 2012, one of my best friends forced me to watch the movie. To say I fell in love with this story would be the understatement of the year. The movie wouldn’t leave my head, so I just had to pick up the book. I read the entire trilogy in a month, and I haven’t been the same since.

3. “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton

After reading “The Hunger Games,” I really didn’t think another book would ever strike a chord with me in the same way. Boy, was I wrong. I picked up S.E Hinton’s classic novel on a whim when I was a junior in high school. I’d watched the movie that summer with my mom, and, like many people, the cast immediately drew me in because, well duh. I thought the movie was good and it really had something to say, so I decided to add the book to my TBR. The story of “The Outsiders” just breaks your heart and it was one I will never forget. 

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4. “One of Us Is Lying” by Karen M. McManus

The Breakfast Club” might be my favorite film of all time, so when I heard “One of Us Is Lying” was being pitched as “The Breakfast Club” meets “Pretty Little Liars,” I needed to get my hands on a copy of McManus’ debut as soon as possible. And I’m so glad I did. In the future, I would love to be a published author, and Karen M. McManus and her work inspire me so much. 

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5. “Salt to the Sea” by Ruta Sepetys

I read “Salt to the Sea” last year, and it blew me away. This novel follows the story of the “Wilhelm Gustloff,” a ship that sank in the Baltic Sea towards the end of World War II. The sinking of the “Wilhelm Gustloff” is history’s greatest maritime disaster, yet it has gone extremely underreported. As a history major, I found this very troubling. “Salt to the Sea” got me thinking about how many historical events have been swept under the rug, and we, as a society, need to work to uncover these lost stories.

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6. “A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara 

If you’ve ever read “A Little Life,” then you know exactly why it made my list. Firstly, it may be the longest book I’ve ever read, so I proved to myself that I can totally read 800-page books. Second, this is the first book to ever make me cry. Now, I’m not an overly emotional person at all, but “A Little Life” absolutely wrecked me; I bawled my eyes out for a good 15 minutes after finishing it. This story is so powerful and so heart-wrenching. It’s a true challenge to make it to the end without coming out as a changed person. 

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7. “Violent Ends” edited by Shaun David Hutchinson

“Violent Ends” is my most recent read on this list. I finished it a few weeks ago, but I can’t get it out of my head. It is a novel written by 17 authors in 17 point-of-views. “Violent Ends” tells the story of a school shooting and how so many people can be affected by it. It forces you to think about the consequences your actions have and how interconnected all of our lives are. I think this book is criminally underrated because so many more people need to hear this story.

I highly recommend you pick some of these up if you haven’t already and you’re in the mood to have your perspective shifted forever!