Top 10 Favorite Books When I Was a Tween


Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish. Today’s topic is a Freebie. I’m sharing my top 10 favorites when I was a tween. By the time I was 13, I had stopped reading young adult fiction, but I read it voraciously in the years from 10-13. Based on my reading life, I probably shouldn’t have grown up to be a normal person, and I certainly shouldn’t have grown up to be an English major, but there you go. These were the years of developing an appetite for reading, though clearly not for developing any taste as a reader!

flowers in the attic

I have been tempted to reread Flowers in the Attic as an adult–just to see what it’s like. But thankfully, I was spared because Lizzie Skurnick did it instead in a hysterical piece called He Ain’t Sexy, He’s My Brother. Read those quotes and cringe, because this is bad, bad writing, people. But I bet I read this book 20 times as a tween.

secret identity

I read seemingly a million of the Sweet Dreams and Silhouette romances as a teen (how I wish I still had all my copies!), but Secret Identity was definitely my favorite. It’s about a girl who is forced to spend the summer on her parents’ ranch while her parents fly off to Europe. She meets the cute boy next door, who tells her he’s a student. They fall teenishly in love. But wait! He isn’t a student! HE IS SECRETLY A ROCK STAR! So awesome. I just KNEW this was going to happen to me someday.

don't care high

Gordon Korman has been publishing books since he was 14 years old! I’ve never read his very first novel, written as a seventh-grade assignment (hey, my son fills out Word Searches for his seventh-grade assignments! I’m trying to imagine the 7th-grade teacher who has her students writing novels instead), but I was obsessed with three of his novels throughout the mid-80s. Don’t Care High was the first one I ever read, and unlike most of the books on this list, I think it’s probably still a good read. A couple of years ago, I gave myself a special treat of picking up copies of my three favorite Kormans (for like a penny each on Amazon), and some day, I’m going to reread them.

sweet valley high

Elizabeth is the goody-goody twin; Jessica is fast–and kind of mean. It’s the Sweet Valley High soap opera! This series went on for twenty years and an astonishing 152 books! I stopped reading somewhere around book 25.

are you in the house alone

Richard Peck’s Are You in the House Alone? was singlehandedly responsible for my decision to stop babysitting. It was too terrifying! I don’t think I entirely understood what was going on in this story, but I knew it was very disturbing and wrong.

sylvia smith smith

Sylvia Smith-Smith, maybe more than any other book I read as a teen, was a good predictor of my later reading taste. Sylvia is quirky, a bit of an oddball, and very funny. I will never reread a Sweet Valley High book, but I’d love to get my hands on a copy of Sylvia Smith-Smith.

hail hailthere's a bat in bunk five

I’m pretty sure if my mom knew how totally obsessed I was with books about summer camp, she would have signed me up to go to one. Since I didn’t get to go to camp, Hail Hail Camp Timberwood and There’s a Bat in Bunk Five were the next best thing. I think I had every word of these two classics by Ellen Conford and Paula Danziger memorized.

up in seth's room

Do you know what happens Up in Seth’s Room? Sexy times, that’s what! Again, pretty sure that most of the sexual content of this story was over my head at the time I was reading it. It didn’t hurt that I had a huge crush on a boy named Seth at the time….

gone with the wind

I read Gone with the Wind the summer I turned thirteen. Twice, in fact. I avoided the woozifying book hangover that threatened on the final page by flipping back to page 1 and starting all over again.












10 responses to “Top 10 Favorite Books When I Was a Tween”

  1. Aj @ Read All The Things! Avatar

    Great list. I want to read Flowers in the Attic because I remember my mom talking about it when I was a kid. She liked that book. I’ll probably get to it eventually.

  2. billbrarian Avatar

    The Richard Peck book was really creepy. Did they make that one into a movie? I cannot remember.

  3. Brown Books and Green tea Avatar

    Oh man I meant to read Flowers in the Attic, and the sequels after watching the movie. Its still on my list but I dont know if I’m ready yet

  4. Jessie Mathisen Avatar

    I’ve read the book Gordon Kormon wrote when he was 14, and it’s not half bad. The *other* 3 books he wrote later in high school in the same series (i.e., Beware the Fish!, The War with Mr.Wizzle, and Go Jump in the Pool) are much better though. They’re ridiculously funny. Like, I might have pulled a muscle in my abdomen from laughing and snorting.

  5. Sara Avatar

    Ahhh, I loved Richard Peck’s books! I read them earlier than you did though and by the time I was a tween I was already into Stephen King/Dean Koontz 🙂 Yep, that probably explains why I’m so ‘quirky’ now lol.

  6. Lauren @ Always Me Avatar

    Somehow I missed out on the Sweet Valley High books… Great topic!

    Check out my TTT.

  7. fallingdowntherabbitholecalledlife Avatar

    I watched the first ten minutes of Flowers in the Attic when I was a teenager before getting freaked out and turning it off! I am in awe that you read Gone with the Wind when you were 13. I don’t remember specifically when I watched the movie but I was bored to tears. I feel if I watched it now I wouldn’t have the same opinion but I don’t have the time for 4 hour movie right now.

  8. […] list of my Top 10 favorite reads when I was a […]

  9. Kellee from Unleashing Readers (@kelleemoye) Avatar

    I am stealing this topic for a TTT for us! I loved Flowers in the Attic, too! Though I didn’t read the whole Sweet Valley High series, I did like what I read. I was a big Stine and Pike fan 🙂

  10. Akilah Avatar

    Oh man, Secret Identity sounds AWESOME. I love this topic! And I can’t believe you topped out at 25 SVH books. I’m pretty sure I read almost all of them. I miss the dime (they were more than a dime, but you know what I mean) teen novel.

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