My Personal Canon

Books That Have Changed My Life

The Harry Potter Series

When I was a kid, everyone read these books and I didn't understand what the hype was. Then, I was going to Harry Potter camp for a week in the summer, so I decided I should probably read them. I devoured the saga and wanted to be immersed in the universe. I created a Pottermore account and found out I was a Hufflepuff. Harry Potter and his friends have taught me about friendship, because they have the best relationships that are not impossible to reach. It was perfectly imperfect. Elements of racism, bullying, jealousy, self-hatred and many other difficult to deal with ideas are in these books. They helped me understand some of these concepts and helped me form my morals. I love these books for all they taught me and helped me deal with. Harry, Ron and Hermione were like older friends that took me under their wings. I love them for that. Thank you JK Rowling.
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The Divergent Series

The basic premise of the first book is multiple groups of people who disagree on the most important trait in a person: bravery, intelligence, love/peace, honesty or selflessness. By the end of the series, they realize they value differently because their brain chemistry is off. I strive to be smart, brave, selfless, peaceful and honest in my everyday life. I have found myself thinking through a problem by wondering what each faction would do and picking the best option. This book really hammered down the idea that I don’t have to be the best at any one thing; that it might not even be healthy. I admire the main protagonist, Tris, because she is all of these traits, as her brain chemistry has healed itself. I have learned and changed to try to be the best I can as a person, not the best intellectual or any one thing, but the best person. We are not so simply divided into one category, so I think it’s best to embrace our differences and be all the things we desire to be.

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The Outsiders

This is probably my singular favorite book ever and it has resonated with me throughout the years. I have read it multiple times and can’t quite imagine my life without having read it. Excluding any other facets of the book, I just really enjoy the storyline and the characters. Ponyboy, Sodapop, Johnny, Two-Bit, Dally, Steve and Darry are wonderfully crafted characters with amazing back stories and different motivations. The main impact and life lesson from this book was the idea that right and wrong are not always as easy to distinguish as black and white. Johnny kills Bob in the book, but Johnny was still the victim. He and Ponyboy were being attacked and while it might not have been the best course of action, I don’t believe Johnny deserves punishment. I realized not everything was on one side or the other of the morality line.

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The Maze Runner Series

Early in high school, I began to read this outstanding trilogy. The characters, especially Newt and Minho, were great inspirations to me, because they had real problems and issues. They were action heroes with a story. This story taught me about friendships and betrayal, sacrifice and morality, in a riveting story about boys trapped in a maze. I think this book showed me that you shouldn’t take any means to an end, because they tried that twice in this series and both times caused the deaths and suffering of a large quantity of people. I liked these characters and how they managed to remain the same, but grow as people.
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A Mango Shaped Space

This is an interesting, quirky book I read a few years ago, where I first heard of synesthesia. For the main character, her synesthesia is audio connected with her visual senses, meaning words and sounds she hears, they appear in the air to her. I thought this concept was interesting and that is one of the main things I love about this book. It’s unique and original, and I like that there didn’t need to be a huge adventurous plot to have a book like that. I aspire to be an author, and this inspired me. The girl also deals with the loss of her cat, hence the space, and that helped me when it came time for me to part with my precious dogs. This book will likely never be hailed as a national treasure, but I like to think of it as my own private treasure, which I can share with people who want to find those little nuggets of goodness in everyday books.
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The Bible

The Bible has been taught to me for as long as I can remember and I use many of those teachings in the way I try to act toward other people. I try to be that good samaritan and help people out with a problem. I do my best to love everyone and try to avoid judging other people. It helped to form a lot of my morals and ideals. I am a Christian, so learning the teachings of Jesus Christ is important to me. I try not to lie, cheat or steal. I try to live my life as a moral, ethical kind Christian, so I think the Bible has a lasting effect and likely always will.

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The Boxcar Children Series

This massive series I have been reading for a long time and even now I will occasionally grab one of these easy mysteries to relax my mind. Benny, Violet, Jessie and Henry were as much a part of my childhood as my own siblings. I remember being the age of each of the children and being amazed at the adventures they had at my age. They were closer than close and they helped me realize the importance of family and siblings. The kids from the boxcar helped me find and maintain my sense of adventure and I owe Gertrude Warner many thanks for creating my fictional siblings.
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The Hardy Boys Series

I was first introduced to Frank and Joe in the 1970s TV show, which I devoured. I then borrowed my grandpa’s books from when he was a child and now they sit on my bookshelf. I read more recent versions of the series, ranging from the 70s until the current decade. I read more of these after I began to outgrow The Boxcar Children and it helped my sense of adventure flourish. They taught me helpful tricks and interesting facts. I first heard of chloroform and read tricks to help me if I was ever tied up. I have yet to display these skills, but these are books that have stayed with me and entertained me through times of boredom and sadness. Frank and Joe might be from the past, but they will forever be with me in odd little factoids that randomly come to mind. Maybe I’ll even read a few more if new titles come across my desk.


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The Hunger Games Series

This was the book of our generation, as almost everyone I knew read it and loved it. Katniss is a girl who had imperfections and was not a happy-go-lucky protagonist. I loved that about her. I loved the way the romance was tied in. Suzanne Collins got me started on YA dystopian novels and I can’t thank her enough. Peeta is an amazing character and I love his selflessness. I want someone to love me the way he loves Katniss. It’s cheesy, but true. I have also loved archery, but with Katniss being very skilled in the field, it made me love it all that much more. Hunger Games is really about family and I love books that make me realize just how important your family is.


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The Found Series

I have not finished this series yet and I’m not even sure if all of them are published yet, but this unique way of combining today’s world with historical fiction intrigued me. I love learning the historical pieces, but I also like the idea of ordinary kids being historically important, because it makes me feel like we can all one day be important. I love this series and hope to buy the rest soon and then maybe I can convince you better on why you should read it.


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Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie

I enjoyed this book when I first read it for Book Battle years ago, but lately it’s become more relatable. The main character’s younger brother has cancer and last year, my mom was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Both the brother and my mother were fine, but it was relatable to realize how to deal with that. The characters made me realize that cancer was beatable and my mom would be okay.


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Every Day

This book is about a teanager who switches bodies every day of their life, which they have grown used to by the time we get to know them. ‘A’ is the only nickname they have for themselves and ‘A’ has gotten used to their ever changeable life until one day. ‘A’ is in the body of Justin and meets Rhiannon, the girl of their dreams. Unfortunately, Rhiannon and Justin are already dating, so ‘A’ has to work hard for Rhiannon to first break up with Justin and then accept his crazy reality. The thing I learned from this book is to appreciate every day you are given. Constants are taken for granted and I try to appreciate my family, school, house and life that doesn’t change. Changes may happen, but the truly important things are always there.


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The Fault in Our Stars

This John Green classic first came into my life a few years ago and it was the first book that made me cry like a baby. It’s mostly considered a romance novel and I had never really read much romance, but I could tell it was something special. It showed me love doesn’t have to be perfect and that it can come at the most unexpected time. Augustus is amazing and I have to admit I had(have) a crush on him. Hazel was as intelligent as I aspire to be in my life. The way that John Green writes is so inspirational and authentic. He writes like a teenager, but he speaks so eloquently at the same time. I hope to write like him one day.


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