T5W: Books For My Younger Self

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Sam and Lainey in which we all talk about our top five favourite books/tv shows/movies that fall into the week’s chosen topic. Goodreads group can be found here!

This week’s topic is books that you would give to your younger self if you could. I really like this one. It’s an opportunity to go a lot more personal which while this post will be brief, I hope it can reveal a little bit more about me.

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1. Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake

Girl Made of Stars is a book that I would give to my younger self for many reasons. One of these is that the book features a female/genderqueer romance, which I had never seen before in books when I was younger, and I feel would have made me feel so validated. While I never was one for romance, and only like little bits here and there now, to see a on-page queer relationship in a book would have made me very, very happy.

And on a little bit of a darker note, this book deals heavily with rape, sexual assault, rape culture, and the abuse of power by a teacher. I’m not going into any specifics but these topics were unfortunately a focal point of my childhood and one I never talk about because I just don’t want to go there. However, I think while it would be upsetting to me, it would have been a very cathartic experience to read from these characters’ experiences.

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2. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I think in general that this is a book every child should be given if they can handle the subject matter, so it is less personal to me and more a generalisation. Speaking from the perspective of a white person, I think it’s so important to educate white children and young people to the racism people of colour face. I’m from a working class area in the north east of England, and my education was sorely lacking even in the exam department, never mind anything outside the curriculum to be used in actual real life. Without books like this and the internet, I would never have known about so many social issues.

The Hate U Give, aside from being just an amazing book by an amazing author, is an opportunity to start a conversation, which I wish I had been able to do as a child.

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3. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

If you guys know me even a little bit, you’ll know that I am completely and utterly obsessed with the An Ember in the Ashes series, and that I hold Sabaa Tahir up at goddess-level. I adore both her and the series, and the characters are at the very top of my list of favourites.

I wish my younger self would have been able to become engrossed in this series because I feel like it would have definitely become my Harry Potter. I can see Young Abby fantasising about running through streets with Laia and Elias.

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4. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

I think I might do another post about this in the future, but university for me has been a very conflicting idea. While I’m happy with the choice I’ve made now – a three-year online degree with the OU – juggling the idea of traditional university with illness, family, money, and mental health just seemed terrifying.

I wish I’d had this book back in secondary school, just to show me that I had a choice. Everyone in my life was telling me I was making the wrong one and that I had no options but the traditional uni route, but this book not only showed me there was more than one avenue I could take, but that none of those avenues were wrong.

Radio Silence also has an asexual character which if I’d read when I was younger, I would have figured my identity out a whole lot sooner.

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5. When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

And a light one to finish, I would give my younger self When The Moon Was Ours just so that Young Abby knew to keep her standards up. Anna-Marie McLemore’s writing is my favourite in the world and I feel like if I’d read her wonderful stories when I was young, I would have had a much higher standard when it came to reading books, but also probably despaired over how inferior my writing was!

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And that’s all! Which books would you give to your younger self? I’d love to know!

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