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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Waseda chapter.

This summer was unlike any other summer many of us have experienced – quarantined in our houses, bored to our minds. I, for one, had a clear goal in my mind – cleaning my closet. Now, if anyone had seen the condition that my closet was in, you would understand the motive. Scattered papers, tangled up jewelry, unfolded and unironed clothes, 10-year-old stationery. The diversity of my own closet shocked me beyond the extent. Sighing to myself, I began sorting out the contents of my closet one by one. First the loose papers, then the jewelry, and so on. Little did I know what this massive adventure would entail. 

After going through a major load of papers, I got to my books  – books I had spent hours reading as an elementary and middle schooler. I would dedicate an hour of my day as an elementary and middle school student to reading everyday, dreaming I was a character going through all these magical, sometimes terrifying, tear-jerking, adventures with the main character. Once high school came along, these once cherished books were buried deep into my closet while textbooks became my new reality. 

Going through my closet had brought back all the adventures that I had been on – from saving the world with Percy Jackson to becoming a Grisha in Shadow and Bone. Soon enough, my closet was forgotten and my books were my new muse.


Here is a list of books that you would’ve probably read (or you should read because these are masterpieces) as an elementary or middle school student, and are my personal favorites:

1. Percy Jackson and the Olympians (by Rick Riordan):

I may be a bit biased because I’ve read this series about 50 times and loved it every time. It’s just so so enjoyable. “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” follows the story of Percy Jackson, a dyslexic, ADHD kid, who is labeled as a misfit for being kicked out of almost every school he has attended. All Percy hopes for is to make it through Yancy Academy. However, what he doesn’t know is that his true identity will catch up to him. Percy is what they call, half-God, half-human – a demigod. Let’s just say that Percy gets kicked out of Yancy Academy and (SPOILER ALERT) finds out that he is the son of Poseidon, the God of the ocean, seas, waterways, horses. The series consists of five books and span over four years of Percy’s life. It is discovered in the first book that the evil Titan Kronos is rising from the depths of Tartarus to avenge his defeat in the first war with the Gods of Olympus. Percy Jackson and his friends, Annabeth Chase and Grover Underwood, go through countless quests to prepare for the main battle with Kronos. The trio faces many challenges, betrayals, successes, failures, and figures out who they really are along the way. Furthermore, the books discuss many issues like gender identity, friendship, loyalty, and even what it means to be environmentally friendly. Now, this is a series I am very passionate about. I could go on and on talking about it. There’s not much I can say without spoiling the contents of this book, but if anyone ever wants to discuss how good this series is, then please, let me know!  


2. The Legend series (by Marie Lu):

The dystopian trilogy series follows the story of Day and June, two individuals who come from different economic backgrounds. June is a rich, military prodigy on a path that was set out for her from the very beginning. Day is the most wanted criminal of the Republic who was brought up in the poorest of slums. In a world dictated by the Republic, the two meet when June’s brother, her only family, is unexpectedly murdered. June believes that Day has murdered her brother and sets off to avenge his death. But this unplanned meeting is only the start of unveiling the secrets that the Republic holds. This series is, as it is called, a “legend.” Besides telling the story of these two individuals, the book teaches the importance of family, trust, and truth. If you have read it, you would know the impact this book has. There’s only one complaint I have about this book: the ending was one of the best endings yet that only keeps you yearning for more! (Give me mooooore!) 


3. The Divergent Trilogy (by Veronica Roth):

The Divergent trilogy is another dystopian novel. In the world where Beatrice Prior resides, society is divided up into five, very firm, factions, Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite. The story begins by introducing Beatrice and her journey from the age of 16. At the age of 16, her society asks all those her age to take a test to determine which faction they belong to. However, Beatrice discovers that she is Divergent, someone who is able to belong to more than one faction. This revelation doesn’t fit with the idea of the “perfect” society she belongs to. Beatrice is forced to keep the results of her test a secret and ends up transferring from Abnegation to Dauntless. At Dauntless, Beatrice trains to fit into the society that she has chosen, but soon finds out the truth about her so-called well-constructed society. Although this book sounds familiar to the Legend series, the two authors construct their own way of portraying the injustices of each society. The Divergent series teaches readers to be daring, dauntless, and to not be afraid to be different – a message everyone needs to hear growing up. 


4. Throne of glass (by Sarah J. Mass):

The fantasy novel series, Throne of glass, is the epitome of female empowerment. The main character, Celaena Sardothien, is an assassin in the kingdom of Adarlan. Celaena meets the Crown Prince of her Kingdom and is offered a chance to fight to become the King’s Champion. As the story goes on, Celaena begins to uncover the mysteries of her background and identity, and see the dark magic that lies within her world. Celeana was just the powerful role model every girl needed. It’s not like she endorsed the idea of being an assassin, but the way she held herself in the face of adversity was truly admirable. Living through this series with Celeana was simply a rollercoaster of emotions! 


5. Let it Snow (by John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle):

Because I’ve only talked about thrilling adventure series up till now, let me introduce you, or re-introduce you, to a romantic Christmas classic – Let it Snow. Yes, while it isn’t quite winter just yet, this book is still a good read. The book consists of three mini-stories that are all interrelated. The main character(s) of each story – Jubilee and Stuart, Tobin and Duke, and Addie and Jade – find themselves trapped by the huge storm in their town. Each character comes with a different background and is trying to navigate through their personal relationships while also creating new ones. As we soon approach winter, this is the perfect book to read cuddled up in your blanket. 


These are just five series/books to get you hooked to your past where YA novels were your world. There are so many more series and books that I could talk on and on about – like the Hunger Games, Shadow and Bone, the Maze Runner, the Matched series, every John Green book, amongst many others. But then, my long-forgotten closet came back to view. Let’s just say that many of the books remained within my field of vision (Of course, in my now clean closet) for the entire summer – a little blast from the past never hurt anyone!

Harshita (more commonly known as Harshi - in fact, so commonly, that she is unresponsive towards anyone calling her Harshita) is an FSE student at Waseda. Her hobbies include singing and sleeping. Harshi hopes to use this platform to explore different forms of writing and what she is capable of.