Ah yes, middle school, a time when reading novels for fun was actually possible to do (being an adult sucks sometimes). While most kids my age read The Wimpy Kid (remember when this novel was a thing?) and waited tirelessly for a new installment of the Harry Potter series, I, on the other hand, was obsessing over the Maximum Ride series.
I waited, albeit impatiently, for every new installment that came out every few years. What made the series more compelling than the journeys of Harry Potter was the obvious displacement of youth. There was always the sense of a never ending movement and mobility for the female protagonist; there was a constant refusal in the novel to allow Max to enjoy her youth.
From middle school to college, that sense of never ending movement is something that I have always felt. Like Max, I want to enjoy my youth, but because of the weight of responsibility I have for my family, I feel the need to continue moving through a wave of motions to prepare for the future.
Despite the sense of anxiety that’s woven throughout the novel, Max shows an understanding that it’s also important to take things as we go; it’s important to prepare, but it’s also important to look and focus in the present instead of the future. Granted, I struggle with this today, but it’s the self reflection of what I could be that connected me to Max as I read her thoughts and feelings.
Overall, my middle school self proclaims that Maximum Ride trumps Harry Potter any day.