Do you ever feel nostalgic?
Sometimes I get stung with sentimentalism and have to dig out all my childhood movies, all the old photos and letters and diary entries until I’m floating on a sea of nostalgia. It’s often a laugh – hairstyles and clothing, trends you loved, blue eyeshadow, friends and enemies and crushes you swore you’d die for if they didn’t speak to you soon.
But there’s always those important firsts in a reader’s life. You know the ones:
- the first time you got so completely lost in a book
- the first book that made you cry
- the first romance to sweep you off your feet
- the first book you threw across the room in a rage because WTF was the writer thinking?
There’s many more, but I’ll share just a couple with you.
The first time I lost myself in a book was a book called The Named by Marianne Curley. It’s the first of a fantasy trilogy about a group of kids who are entrusted to save the world by order of prophecy. I’ll point out that this hadn’t been done to death in the early 00s. It was gripping, imaginative, unexpected and, at times, romantic enough to have the teenage me sighing. And the end of the first book only had me racing to buy the next two. A little birdy told me recently that Marianne Curley is actually writing a fourth one, to be published this year. The teenage inner me is very excited.
But the first book that made me cry was – and is – a very special book/series by L. M. Montgomery. I was thirteen. I can’t even remember why I picked up Anne of Green Gables, but I will always remember the absolute intensity of the emotions it drew out of me. By the end – and no spoilers, but it’s quite a traumatic end for a kid’s book! – I was in floods of tears, gasping for breath. I can’t say more without giving it away, but I’m so grateful that the series was made first into a TV mini series with Megan Fallows and Jonathan Crombie (which is a fabulous version and one I get sucked into every year), and now again for a younger generation. I want everyone to love Anne and Gil as much as I did and do.
I think it’s good to end on a positive (and I don’t want to novel bash) so the last book I’ll share is my first romance. Surprisingly it was by Meg Cabot (though the name on the cover was Meggin Cabot) and was called She Went All The Way. It’s your typical opposites attract, enemies to lovers trope – which I love – and the banter in it, as well as the attraction had me hooked and seeded a longtime adoration for HEAs that continues to this day.
What novels were your firsts – and are they still?