Personal Literary Canon

By Zoe King

Harry Potter

The first Harry Potter book is the story of a boy who lives in a cupboard under the stairs in his aunt and uncle's house for most of his life, until he is visited by a man who tells him that he is a wizard. Harry then finds himself swept up into the wizarding world, enrolling in Hogwarts, a school designed to teach young wizards and witches how to do magic. He makes friends with Ron and Hermione at the school, and together they end up exposing the return of Voldemort, the man who killed Harry's parents, along with many others. This book was probably the first larger series book that I read that had a continuous and complex plot. I first read it late into elementary school, and I think this series encouraged me to continue reading throughout my life.

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Percy Jackson

The Percy Jackson & the Olympians series follows the life of a boy named Percy who finds out that he is the son of the Greek god Poseidon, god of the seas. Percy then is taken to Camp Half-Blood so he can be protected from the demons in the outside world that are after him because of his godly blood. He becomes friends with Annabeth, daughter of Athena, and Grover, a satyr. Together they must face off against all the threats that rise up to destroy the safe haven they have at Camp Half-Blood. This book ignited my interest in Greek mythology and history in early middle school, and has served as continuing entertainment for me.
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The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games series is about a girl in the future dystopian society of Panem that gets stuck in a competition for her survival with 24 other contestants, in the first book. During the competition Katniss bands together with Peeta, the boy from her district, 12. They make a show of their "romance" and effectively get to the very end of the games. When faced with the choice to kill each other, Katniss decides that they should both fake eating poisonous berries so that they would die together. The overseers of the game rush to stop them from both dying and allow them to win the games together. This creates a multitude of problems for them both, which span the other books in the series. This series got me into the dystopian type of books, and it was very interesting to see what the author had predicted of our future and what we should be wary of.
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The Mortal Instruments

The Mortal Instruments series tells the story of Clary, a seemingly "mundane" girl living with her mother in New York. After witnessing a strange and supernatural occurrence at a nightclub, Clary gets pulled into the world of Shadowhunters and demons, finding out that she herself has Shadowhunter blood. Throughout the series she gets more wrapped up in this hidden world, pulling her friends and family into it along with her as the Shadowhunters defend the mortal world against ravenous demons. This book explores a lot of biblical lore, intertwined with action and romance. I first started reading it in late middle school and it made me more interested in this kind of supernatural type plot.
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Divergent

The Divergent trilogy is about a girl named Tris who defies the norms of the dystopian society that she lives in. Because of this, she is seen as a danger to the people who control the world in the books, and she must constantly jump through hoops to stay in their favor, but eventually break free and overcome the odds. This continued my streak of dystopian-setting stories, and I often like to read something where the main character is different than all the others in the book.
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The Hobbit

The Hobbit is a fantasy story about the adventure of a hobbit, some dwarves, and a wizard across the land of Middle Earth. The hobbit, Bilbo, was enlisted to assit the dwarves take back their home under a mountain that a dragon has now made a home of. Bilbo is not used to adventure and must overcome many challenges mentally and physically, making for an interesting read. I first read this book in elementary school, but enjoyed it more when I reread it when I was a bit older, as I was able to understand it a little better. It has lead me to read more fantasy-based books.
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Maximum Ride

Maximum Ride is about a girl whom the series is named for and her group of friends. She and her friends are all a sort of hybrid creature - part human and part bird - meaning that they have wings sprouting out of their backs. The series follows their continual escapes from the people who made them the way they are, and eventually lands them at the very end of the world as people knew it. This book kept me occupied throughout middle school and interested me because I liked the thought of a group of friends living out and escaping the odds on their own.
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The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is a book in The Chronicles of Narnia series, and is the first of the books I read from the series. It's about four siblings who stumble into a magical world through a wardrobe in an old man's house. From there they are lead to save the world of Narnia from an evil witch who has taken over the land. They become the kings and queens of Narnia. I read this book in fourth grade for book battle and greatly enjoyed it and the entire world of Narnia established within the books.
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The City of Ember

The City of Ember is about a city built entirely underground after war ravaged the world above. The city underground is very organized and kept under tight rule. Teenagers have their lives and jobs laid out for them as they graduate, and everyone must always follow the rules of the city. The story follows a girl and her friend as they break the rules of the city and eventually break out into the world above. This was probably the first dystopian type book I read, and I read it with my class in fourth grade.
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A-Z Mysteries

The A-Z Mysteries series follows three friends as they solve various mysteries ranging through all letters of the alphabet. The series was always interesting to me and made me think about different solutions to things, much like the children had to do in the books. I used to read these all throughout elementary school, and whenever I could get one of these books I would.
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Warriors Series

The Warriors series is an extensive series about the inner workings of clans of wild cats. The first series starts with a common household cat worming his way into the world of the cats of the forest. He eventually becomes the leader of ThunderClan, and multiple stories diverge from that point on, making the series very long and ever-extending. This series was the main thing I read in middle school, and since I love animals it was very interesting and entertaining for me to read.
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