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

As I’ve grown older and things have changed in my life, my love for reading has never changed, and I can say strongly to this day that reading holds a special place in my heart. The characters I read about and the journeys they go on has always inspired me, but these nine books come to mind when I think about the books that define me. I hope that these books also make as big of an impact on your life as they have mine.  

“Honor Girl” by Maggie Thrash

The summer she turns 15, Maggie goes to the same summer camp in southern Kentucky that she’s attended forever. But this year, the unexpected happens. First she learns to focus well enough to become an ace rifle shot when she was previously pretty sloppy. And then she develops a crush on Erin, a 19-year-old counselor in the junior camp. As a fellow queer girl who came out for the first time at her childhood summer camp, Honor Girl hit a chord that I never was expected to be touched.This book introduced me to the fact that you don’t have to know everything about yourself in order to love- and that love may hurt but to never punish myself for feeling love. 

“They both die at the end” by Adam Silvera

Adam Silvera reminds us that there’s no life without death and no love without loss in this devastating, yet uplifting, story about two people whose lives change over the course of one unforgettable day. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day. I actively call this one of my favorite books of all time because it taught me that the people you love, no matter how hard and deep you love them, will leave you one day or you will leave them even if it’s just for a little while and it is HARD but you do it.

“The Magnus Chase Series” by Rick  Riordan  

Now this doesn’t go to say I’m not recommending the Percy Jacjson series, because I do heavily, but the effect that the three Percy Jackson spinoff series took on my life were more life lessons and not immediate advice with this series. Mangus’ has always been clear and to the point. Magnus Chase’s series is about Norse mythology and Magnus himself is a character that many people strive to be- He never knows what he’s doing and not once was he afraid to ask for help. What the Magnus Chase series taught me was that I don’t have to be strong and always ready to fight to be a hero, I just have to be willing to ask for help when I need it and put my all into everything I do.

“The Kneebone Boy” by Ellen Potter

This is the story of the three Hardscrabble siblings: Otto, Lucia, and Max. These kids are outcasts in their hometown of Little Tunks because their mother disappeared and the whole town suspects Otto killed her and their father buried her in the backyard. But no one really knows what happened to the mother. She may be dead. She may have been kidnapped. It’s been many long years since anyone’s seen her and the Hardscrabbles have precious few memories of her. This book has a cannon mute character and that is EVERYTHING to me and my cousin Laci. It also addresses the unfortunate way many families who have children who can’t communicate with words refuse to learn sign language, a topic not many think about but takes a hit on the silent child themselves. This book taught me that family ties can be tied and severed whenever and however I need them to be, because I have the scissors and rope and create as many as I need.

“Leah on the Offbeat” by Becki Albertalli

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s an only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon. This book came out at a time where I really needed it, I was just begining to note the differences in locations of queer people in the world in their experiences, and this book provided an excellent supply of sources first hand. It was the book that helped me acknowledge that everyones coming out experience is different- and that’s okay.

“The Night Circus” by 

Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. A very famous quote from this book is “The circus arrives without warning,” and by the time I finished the book it hit me how true this quote is for real life. The Night Circus taught me that the world send us things without warning and we take that, and then figure out if we fight it or sour with it. 

“What if it’s us” By Becki Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a show stopping romance when you least expect it. Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things. But when Arthur and Ben meet at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them? This book reminded me that there are such things as friendships after a breakup, and after I broke up with my last partner I really needed a book written by two of my favorite authors to tell me that is okay to be friends, even best friends with someone you used to love romantically.

“The Lumberjanes” by Noelle Stevenson

At Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s camp for hard-core lady-types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams. Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together… And they’re not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! This series is loosely what I’m basing my future goals of being a camp director off of, because how powerful the friendship and sisterhood shown through the pages read as. Lumberjanes taught me that there truly is no normal summer camp experience and that normal is a myth, and that friendship is powerful.

“Homestuck” by Andrew Hussie

This IS a webcomic, not a book, but Homestuck is the piece of literature that truly made me who I am today. Homestuck is a webcomic about a group of kids playing a video game in which they get sucked into and discover that they’re the ones with the power to save or end the world. It is the fifth largest piece of english literature and spans over 50,000 pages long, and though I’ve been a fan since sixth grade and much of passion has fizzled out, I could say that it was Homestucks influence that made me express love like I do today. Homestuck taught me that you don’t have to be good to be a hero, being scared doesn’t mean your not brave, and most important, you don’t have to be someone important to do something important.

In the end, your allowed to read whatever books you fancy, but I hope you at least look over all these nine life changing books I love so deeply.


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Wells Womxn