Top Ten Tuesday – Books for My Younger Self


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is Books for My Younger Self (These could be books you wish you had read as a child, books younger you could have really learned something from, books that meshed with your hobbies/interests, books that could have helped you go through events/changes in your life, etc.).

I decided to go the “books that could have helped you go through events/changes in your life” route because when I thought about the topic, it immediately started making me think back to some tough times I went through when I was growing up.  I’ve been an introvert all my life, but when I was growing up, I was also just flat out painfully shy and it was hard to make friends.  I also went through a period, right around the time my parents were fighting and ultimately divorced, where I was terrified of being abandoned.  I used to have nightmares about it and ended up seeing a counselor about it for a while.  I was always afraid, stressed out, and anxious about the state of my life.  Thankfully I moved past that stage pretty quickly, but to this day, I’m still shy and struggle to open up and make friends.  The books I’ve listed below are books I think could have helped me better deal with certain stresses in my earlier life, or at least know that I wasn’t alone in my struggles, and also just escape from the stress of it all.


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Top Ten Tuesday:  Books for My Younger Self

(in no particular order)


FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell

I think Fangirl would have helped me know I wasn’t alone when it comes to social anxiety. Plus it shows a huge positive in that even if you move away to go to college and leave all of your friends behind, it is possible to find a new friend group and fit in just fine.  That message would have helped me tremendously.


ELIZA AND HER MONSTERS by Francesca Zappia

Similar to Fangirl, I think this book would have helped me know I wasn’t alone in what I was going through.


DUMPLIN’ by Julie Murphy

I wish this book had been around when I was growing up because I think Willowdean is such a great role model for girls. I think she would have given me a much needed boost of confidence.



I wish this series had been around when I was growing up 1) because of Hermione. I think seeing that a total brainiac could also be a badass would have done wonders for me, 2) again another positive example about how you can go away to school and become almost a “found family” with your schoolmates, and finally 3), what an amazing escape from reality this series would have been for me.  As much as I adored it as an adult, I can only imagine how much more it would have blown away my younger self.



I would have loved this series both for Clary as a strong female heroine and for the ultimate escape from reality.  As you can tell, I was obviously lacking YA fantasy series growing up.  Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia were pretty much all I had.



Another fantastic escape from reality with a totally badass heroine who also loves to read.  Celeana’s ability to make it through anything would have been a great motivator for me when I was struggling.


RECOMMENDED FOR YOU by Laura Silverman

One of the subplots of this YA contemporary is that the main character’s parents are fighting and seem to be on the verge of divorce. I think a book like this would have been so helpful for me to know I wasn’t alone in the sense of being caught in the middle and not knowing what to do.



There’s lots to love about this series but it makes my list today because of Kaz and his team and that “found family” vibe they have, especially the further into the series we go.  I love the idea that no matter how mismatched a group of people may seem, they can still bond and look out for each other.  I would have loved that reassurance when I was leaving home for college for the first time.



I don’t think this book would have cheered me up or provided me with an escape when I was growing up, but I do think it would help me to understand some of what I was experiencing and that I wasn’t alone in feeling the way I did.



Honestly, I would have loved to have all of Becky Albertalli’s books in my life growing up, just because they always leave me with a smile on my face.  This one just really stands out to me since the main character is specifically dealing with anxiety and fears of rejection. I identified strongly with Molly reading this book as an adult and it think it would have been an even more powerful read for me as a teen.

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Have you read any of these? What books would have helped you if they had been around when you were growing up?

32 replies
  1. RO
    RO says:

    These are some great choices! There’s a series from Richard Paul Evans called The Walk that I wish I would have read as a kid. Totally life-changing books for sure. Hope you’re doing well. Hugs, RO

  2. verushka
    verushka says:

    Oh Suzanne (hugs) the books during this TTT are just reminding me how far YA has come in leaps and bounds — and you know what, it’s no wonder so many adults read YA. — they speak to the stuff we needed help with as kids.

  3. Dini @ dinipandareads
    Dini @ dinipandareads says:

    Great list! I was just saying on another post that I wish I had read The Perks of Being a Wallflower when I was a teen coz I think it would’ve resonated with so much more. I think Fangirl would’ve also been great to read then! It would’ve been a favourite for sure 😂 Great take for this week’s prompt!

  4. Susan (Bloggin' 'bout Books)
    Susan (Bloggin' 'bout Books) says:

    I was a teenager in the late 80s/early 90s and it seems like all the books back then were about the importance of being popular and how to make yourself more popular by being more outgoing and flirty. Like you, I wish there had been books back then that taught it was okay to be shy, smart, different, nerdy, etc. It’s awesome that kids’ books these days preach the importance of being your own unique self.

    Happy TTT!


  5. Sam@wlabb
    Sam@wlabb says:

    We actually had some overlap (3 books!). Those were all my introvert books too. I come from a family of extroverts, so seeing people like me in a book would have given me some comfort.

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Same here. Since everyone around me was so outgoing, I just always felt like I was somehow weird. Knowing it was a normal thing would have been very helpful.

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Same here! I read it earlier this year and thought it was fantastic, but I definitely think it would have had a huge impact on me if I had read it as a teen.

  6. Greg
    Greg says:

    Fangirl would have been amazing for so many people I think. I would have loved to have had something like it when I was starting college- it’s such an exhilarating but uncertain time! And The Mortal Instruments! Always room for good fantasy growing up…

  7. ShootingStarsMag
    ShootingStarsMag says:

    I would have loved reading Fangirl when I was still in high school – about to go to college. I think it would have been helpful, but Cath is still a character I really relate to. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one that I DID read growing up, and I used to re-read it once a year. I need to read it again someday soon. It’s one of my all time favorites.


  8. Lindsey @ Lindsey Reads
    Lindsey @ Lindsey Reads says:

    Definitely agree about all the introverted character books like Fangirl or Upside of Unrequited! But also a big yes to the YA fantasy series with strong heroines. Even as an adult, Celaena Sardothien still is a role model to me when I’m going through a tougher time 🙂

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