Below are some of the books that helped mold me into the reader I am today.
Forever by Judy Blume
This is the book that actually got me thinking about this topic. I can't tell you how many times I've read this book. Forever was my first (and so far only) Judy Blume book that I've read. This was the first book that I read that actually showed sex between the characters. I remember my friends and I passing this book along to everyone we knew. I love that even though this book is from the seventies, it's still relevant today. The characters are relatable and I thought it depicted an honest portrayal of relationships between teens.
The Thrill Club by R.L. Stine
This was the first paranormal book that I ever read. I think I was ten or eleven and a friend of mine lent me this book telling me that it was pretty good. Oh my goodness, I devoured this book. I became obsessed and I became a Fear Street fiend. I gobbled up all of the previously released Fear Street books and I would wait on pins and needles every month for the new book to come out. I just loved them and because of this book I became a huge fan of paranormal books.
No Mean No-Sweet Valley University #10 by Francine Pascal and Laurie John
I admit I was late to the game when it came to Sweet Valley books. I think I was fifteen when I picked this book up and up until that point I had steered myself away from anything Sweet Valley related. I had watched the show but that was it. I just never wanted anything to do with any of the books, until No Means No. I was browsing for books at my local library and saw this on the shelf. The premise seemed interesting so I decided to give it a try. After quickly finishing off this book I promptly made a trip back to my local library and proceeded to glom every Sweet Valley University book I could get my hands on. Once I had read everything that was already out, I would wait not so patiently for the next monthly installment. I just had to know what was going to happen next with those Wakefield twins.
This was my very first romance book. It was a romance novel for teens and it was part of a series called Love Stories. Every month a new book by a different author would come out featuring a love story with the main characters being teenagers. I loved these books. In fact some still top my list of all-time favorites. These books opened my eyes and made me realize that there were actually teen romance books out there. When I was a teen there weren't that many good YA romances and this series of books let me indulge in my inner romantic, the part of me that always clamored for the ultimate HEA in every book that I read. And believe me it was super hard to find those in the worlds of R.L Stine and Christopher Pike.
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Twilight. Yes, I was a freak for this book. And let me just say, I read this book way before it was popular. I picked up this book when it was first released and devoured it within a few hours. I just couldn't put it down. I hated, and I mean HATED the fact that I had to wait a year for the next book. But I'm thankful that I was such a freak for this book because it helped give me a push to finally pick up adult romance books. Let me explain.... up until Twilight I read YA and only YA. I don't actually remember why I was so hesitant to move on to adult romance (maybe I didn't think I could relate) but after reading Twilight I became obsessed with it. I loved it and couldn't get enough. I would constantly troll online for any info I could find on the books. One day I was looking at reviews for Twilight when I came across some recommendations it had listed for books that were similar to Twilight. Among the listings were Dark Lover, Lover Eternal, and Lover Awakened. I found myself looking at some of the reviews and they looked pretty interesting so I decided "what the hell" and bought them. At the time I hadn't really realized they were adult, I had assumed that because they were recommending them along with Twilight that they were YA (yes I was that naive) When they arrived and I did indeed notice that they were adult paranormals I quickly placed them on my book shelf and that is where they sat for months.
Dark Lover by J.R. Ward
Yes, I did place this book on my shelf for months before picking it up. And I kick myself all the time for waiting so long to finally pick this book up. After running out of books to read and not really wanting to read Twilight yet again (at this point I think I was up to 5 times) I decided to give Dark Lover a go. OMG, I can't believe I waited so long to read this book. It was AMAZING!!! I devoured this book in one sitting and then quickly moved onto Rhage and Zsadist's book. I was hooked. As soon as I finished reading all three books I quickly started reading them from beginning to end once again. With these books I had finally made the leap from YA to adult romance and there was no going back. These books opened my eyes and I quickly began devouring any paranormal romances I could get my hands on. And that's how I came across the next book on the list.
The Vampire Who Loved Me by Teresa Medeiros
I kept seeing this book everywhere I went. And every time I saw it I would pick it up thinking it looked really good. Then I would read the blurb on the back and notice that it took place in England in the 1800's and I would quickly place it back on the shelf. At the time I had no desire to read historical romance. I just didn't find them appealing at all. Finally after playing the pick up, put down game for over a month I finally gave in and bought it. And again "why did I wait?" I loved this book from beginning to end and I just couldn't get enough of Julian and Portia. I quickly purchased the first book in this series and ended up loving that one too. After finishing both books and loving them, I went out and purchased most of Teresa Medeiros's back list. Then from there I moved on to other historical romance authors. Now I can say with certainty that historical is my favorite genre and I owe it all to Teresa Medeiros's vampire Julian.
What about you? Are there any books that opened your eyes to new things, may it be different authors or genres? I would love to hear your stories.