The Best of the Best

Abigail Raffin

As a kid I hated reading with a fiery passion. It was always the last thing on my list of to-do’s when it came to homework assignments and because of my distaste for literature, I was placed into a “special reading group” from grades K-5. Of course since then I’ve ignited my admiration for reading as it is a means of escape from a harsher reality that knows only the bounds of expectation and possibility. I still remember to date the first book that I picked up and truly endorsed myself in and that would be the historical fiction I Survived series or to be more specific the I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 written by Laura Tarshis. The intricate depiction of tragedy such as Hurricane Katrina enticed my love for learning more and within a week I had finished the entire series, and with it, my internal prowess grew to extraordinary highs. Yes, I know, reading is not for everyone but for my fellow diction addicts out there I do have a few more complex reads to recommend based on my own preference!

First book I’d like to preface, Malice dulogy written by Heather Walter, is one of my favorites. If you enjoy re-verbed versions of classics from a villain’s perspective, LGBTQ+ romance, magical potions, and the theme of internal vs external struggle in a society of broken promises made by cruel rulers then this version of Sleeping Beauty is for you! I fell in love with the main character, Alyce, and her narrative within the first chapter; I don’t speak to fallacies of my own preference for reading, so truly I recommend this book. 

Alyce is part of a magical realm where she is an outcast due to her birthright to the ability of dark magic, and because of her external appearance differing from all the presentably standard beauty of other women in her civilization, they tried her like a plague. In this retelling of Sleeping Beauty she has no friendships beyond her similarly lonesome sidekick. In order for me to not ruin the book, due to the numerous twists and turns the summary is determined between making a choice that has the potential to ruin the kingdom or save it. The book is about self discovery, loving whoever you love without discrimination, and the fight for determining ones own strength when in tyranny. P.s Aurora and Alyce are a fabulous ship. 

It is easily said that Stephen King is an infamous icon in the world of fictional writing and so it goes without saying that I needed to include one of his works and my own personal favorite of his: Carrie. There are many correlations between the book and both the 2013 and the 1979 movies depicting his work, but as many readers say the book is always better than the film adaptations, to which in this case I must agree. Carrie is more powerful in her abilities in the novel and truly illuminates the religious and abusive trauma from her peers and own mother. I recommend this book only if you have the stomach to feel empathy for a girl born to die in the name of revenge and despair. 

Now if you’re not much of a reader and admire the talents that are comic instead then I strongly recommend the Heartstopper series. The drawings are magnificent, and bestow a higher imagery to the work if it were only made of diction. You will follow two highschool students, Charlie Spring and Nick Nelson, in their journey of love. There are trigger warnings that you must be wary of though such as: eating disorders, past relationship abuse, sexual assault, and mentions of experiences with intense bullying due to homophobia. Despite the sad themes that occur throughout the series I left the last published book wanting more. It’s the perfect read in the car when you have a couple hours to spare and can’t process words, because don’t worry I’ve been there too. 

Overall reading may seem to be a waste of time, I used to believe this to be true as well, but you will find eventually once you pick from the right genre that fits your interest, you’ll find yourself living in numerous other universes that are to your own design as you near the last page. Some of the smartest people in the world are readers and I recommend giving reading a try. You never know what you may find, and to me that is the adventure of literature.