Favorite Books: From The Tween Years

blastfromthepast

Ready for a trip down memory lane? 

It’s been awhile since I did a segment of “Blast from the Past” so this week I decided to share the books that defined my tween years. The books that entertained me when I was SO BORED at home. The books that kept me up at night and taught me that books are “cool” and powerful. The books that helped me during my awkward and formative years where I was trying to figure out how to transition into a teen. 

Years later, most of these books stick with me. They were read over and over again and were very well-loved. 

babysittersclub
What girl from the 90’s DIDN’T have a collection of The Babysitter’s Club books? Stacey was my favorite, she was so glamorous. In fact, my relationship with Kristy and the gang started back a few years earlier, when one of my first couple “real” Chapter Book was the “Babysitters Little Sister” books that chronicled the adventures of Karen, Kristy’s little sister. 

littlehouseinthebigwoods
Oh the joys of reading about a little girl’s hard life as a pioneer. This would be around the same time I kept trying to forge rivers and dying of dysentery on the Oregon Trail. This book encouraged a lot of “I’m barely surviving off of a few acorns and woodchips and the snow is 10 feet deep” dramatic imaginary play for me. 

matilda
I loved all of Dahl’s books but who didn’t love little spirited Matilda? She taught me that it’s okay to be different and that reading can change your life. Most importantly, that you have the power to change your life, if you just try to believe in yourself. 

tuckeverlasting
I was enchanted about this fantastical story about immortality and exploring what the risks are involved in living forever. This was a “big concept” book for a tween, allowing all those new emotions I was feeling to get out and explore a little bit. Later, as an adult, I bought the 2002 movie version starring Sissy Spacek, Alexis Bledel and Joshua Jonathan and still love watching it. 

sidewaysstories
On the other end of the spectrum was this gem of a comedy book. I can’t count how many times I laughed my way through this book series about the crazy kids, families and teachers at Wayside School. So fun! I’d sneak this into bed at night when I couldn’t sleep. 

thesecretgarden
Such a beautiful book. I loved The Secret Garden and The Little Princess equally, but The Secret Garden gets top billing because I also designed the theme of my wedding off of it. I fell in love with the richness of this book and its story of redemption, love and rebirth, no matter the circumstances. 

justaslongasweretogether
Does anyone do YA coming of age better than Judy Blume? This book about three best friends navigating the first year of junior high together hit close to home. I remember laughing and I remember crying, knowing I wasn’t alone in all the changes I was going through. 

anneofgreengables
Oh sweet Anne! I loved the 12 books in the series about plucky Anne. I still would love to plan a vacation to Prince Edward Island, just because of these books. Anne taught me how to deal with your disappointments, loneliness, and faults while also never letting go of dreams. A woman led series  that teaches us that we don’t have to be “empowered” to be leaders, we merely have to believe in ourselves and follow our hearts.

thoroughbred
What little girl doesn’t love horses? I was hooked on this series chronicling the journey of Ashleigh as she nurses the weak filly, Wonder, back to life and transforms him into an award-winning thoroughbred. Story may sound trite, but I was wrapped up int he drama of life on a horse farm and racing and showing horses. 

thegiver
This book blew my 12-year old self away. It’s a haunting tale of a society that gives up all emotions, feelings, memories, and depends on a monotonous “sameness”. There is no love, no hate, no warmth, no loneliness, no passion, and no color. Everyone has a role they must play and no one knows any better. Except for the Giver, the man “assigned” to hold on to all the memories and feelings of the past. That is until it is his time to pass on his “assignment” to the next generation. Love this book.

Who has seen the movie that came out this summer? I’m scared to be disappointed, it looks to science fiction (even though the book is a dystopian fantasy I never pictured it so science fiction in my young mind).


 

There you have it!

Do you share some of my favorite tween books? What were yours?

Other Blast from the Past posts: Favorite TV Shows from my Teen Years    |    Passing Notes     |    Back in MY Day

Passing Notes – blast from the past

high school notes

Confession: I am a hoarder. I keep EVERYTHING. I have boxes of old school papers, notebooks, ticket stubs, toys, cell phones, printed out emails, programs, brochures, gift bags etc.

Last night I came across a dusty shoe box (which used to contain Mia platform sandles circa 1997) stock full of middle school and high school notes. I lost myself for a good hour, pouring over the thoughts of 14-year-old Katie and her bff Kay (who still is my bff which makes it all the more fun!). We were huge boy crazy dorks. Some days we passed at least 4 notes to each other. We kept each other sane during our freshman year of high school when hormones were high and we were desperate for boyfriends.

This blast from the past got me thinking about “today’s youth” (oh god I sound OLD!). In 1998 we teenagers didn’t have cell phones. We didn’t have texting, facebook, twitter, instgram, or snap chat. We relied on good old paper and pencil and sly ways to pass paper to one another during and between classes.

Nowadays, kids can type as many text messages as they want, developing a good back and forth banter. With notes, you had to think out how you were going to use that one piece of paper, what important things did you have to share? What couldn’t wait until the end of the day? Hand written notes have more value and more permanence. I can positively say that in 15 years I will not be going back and looking at old text messages the same way I browsed through notes from 15 plus years ago.

So I’m here to see what being a High School Freshman was like. The year was 1998 – Leonardo DiCaprio was the king of the world, skater culture ruled, the members of Weezer were our idols, boys were mystical creatures, and no one understood us.

Most notes were intricately folded. They are full of code names for boys. Half the time I have no idea what we are talking about. Here is one of my favorite finds. Turns out we were pretty mean and terrible girls!

high school notes

 So poor Kay thought she’d fail science (even though she currently has a 93%) and then suggested that we stage a fight so that we scare the freshman next year? (we so couldn’t wait to be sophomores). I also love that it is written to “Kate”. There was a time that I thought “Kate” sounded SO much more sophisticated then “Katie”.

Don’t worry – we never staged a fight. We actually took freshman “under our wings” that following year. Look forward to more freshman girl insight next week!

xoxo Katie

 

Weekend Wrap Up – 90’s party in DC

Hello hello hello!

I’m having an exhausted Monday morning after a fun-filled weekend. Friday night started off with a celebration for my Pop Pop’s 88th Birthday. I joined him for dinner and a nice one on one visit. Then the rest of the family and some friends came over for cake and ice cream. At 88, Pop Pop is still as vibrant and full of love as ever. I spent some time interviewing him. Stay tuned later this week for a fun video of wisdom from Pop Pop!

pop pop birthday

While visiting him at his lovely retirement communty, I learned that Emma Stone’s (girl crush alert!) grandmother is also a resident. In fact, Emma Stone visits frequently and showed my love for Lancaster in this nice article in the community’s magazine:

emma stone emma2

Fun, right?!

On Saturday, Ryan and I went to Washington DC to visit my best friend and college roommate Laura! Of course we couldn’t visit any museums to due to government shut down, but we had fun enjoying the beautiful 85 degree weather! I love Laura’s cute neighborhood and all the colorful row homes.  We had a front stoop BBQ with some Old Fashioneds.

Katie and Laura

Emily, Laura, and Ryan

We then go ready for a 90’s Party!!! Kel (from Kennan and Kel, All That, Good Burger fame) was hosting a awesome and tacky 90’s party at the most frat boyish bar ever. And we just HAD to be there. There is nothing more that Laura and I enjoy more than a good costume party!

So we got all jazzed up in our best 90’s gear and did our hair in the best Spice Girls’ style. FYI – my hair crimper from 1989 still works!

90's party

90's party

ryan and katie 90's party

You can bet we got some good stares on our 30 minute walk to the bar.

Once we arrived, we imbibed in some Pop Rocks cocktails and rocked out to some good 90’s jams. Too bad most of the people there were like 5 in the 90’s and most of their outfits were not even close to being 90’s themed. Nice try, kids. Like for instance — Heath Ledger’s 2008 joker showed up — um what about Jack Nicholson joker instead?

joker

No! Not from the nineties!

Kel finally showed up. He was so sweaty and gross.  I should have asked him if he’s heard from Amanda Bynes lately…

kel

Ah what a night!!

Sunday we had a nice little brunch and walked around the city before driving home.

brunch in dc

After a full month of weekend travels Ryan and I are both ready for a quiet weekend at home. I love getting around and visiting friends but boy am I ready to do things around the house and explore our own lovely city.

xoxo katie