Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Writing Prompt Wednesday - Childhood Reads

This week, I've been thinking about the books I liked to read as a kid - and the books I never got to read. I'm sure they existed; I just didn't find them. They might've been up high in the grown-up section of the library, where my mother had to approve every book I checked out. Or maybe I glanced over one because the title or cover art seemed uninteresting.

Describe the book that you always wanted to read, but never got your hands on as a kid. What kinds of characters did you want? What kind of drama or action? What seemed to be missing from the books that did end up in your lap?

I think my younger self always wanted more 'girl power' - not Babysitter's Club drama or high school romance (no offense!). Something more like The Hunger Games, which didn't come out until I was fifteen, or a more mature version of Sailor Moon. I've always been drawn to fantasy and sci-fi stories, but the ones I had access to as a kid often felt a little watered-down. Geopolitical ramblings had the potential to bore my teenage self, but when they were well-done, I liked them a lot.

And, more than anything, I think I wanted characters who were scared. I wanted characters that were unsure of what to do next, and really unsure of the potential consequences, but who persevered anyway. One of the most memorable books for me as a kid was Inkheart, which did a magnificent job depicting a main character who was (rightfully) scared in the face of bizarre twists and turns. She had to depend on others to make it through, while also summoning her own courage. Much more recently, Saturn Run did something similar with a character who had PTSD, though it was less about fear and more about trauma. I think my struggle to find these sorts of characters was what eventually led me to read manga nearly constantly in high school, though I was extremely picky about what I did and didn't like.

So, to summarize and avoid turning this into an entire thesis (or AP Literature essay): I think if I could've combined the sparkles and girl power of Sailor Moon with the death and destruction of The Hunger Games and the fantasy elements of Inkheart and the geopolitics and PTSD in Saturn Run, that would've been what set twelve-year-old Ria's heart on fire. Hell, I would still kill to read something like that. Any suggestions?

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