10. Lolita By Vladamir Nabokov. My obsession started with a random viewing of the Showtime version of the movie. I saw Jeremy Irons and it was all over. So I picked up the audio book read by Mr. Irons himself (on Cassette tape, mind you. My husband has since replaced it with the CDs God bless him) and started listening at night to the book that I have now read at least five times since then. My take on the book has changed over time. When I was seventeen it seemed totally normal, young girl seduces older man. Hot. Now when I read it I get the "Oh's" pretty bad. Like "Oooh I get it, he's a creep." Never the less Lolita (among other books on this list) started my age-difference infatuation and my love of good prose.
9. Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger. If there’s one thing I was feeling as a teenager it was angsty. So very, very angsty. Holden made me feel less alone in that angst and actually made me feel like I didn’t really have any problems if I compared myself to him. The perfect read for high school students.
8. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume. The epitome of a beach read and the first book I read with anything close to resembling a sex scene.
7. Twelve by Nick McDonell. What can you say about White Mike? He's a privileged girl from the Midwest suburbs' dream, that's what. If you haven't read this book I highly recommend it. DO NOT watch the horrendous movie starring the adorable but not at all well-cast Chace Crawford. I didn't even make it through the first hour before I was ready to just reread the book and curse Netflix. Twelve was the first book that didn’t make me feel so alone in my style of writing short chapters. If it only needs to be one sentence then so be it!
6. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. This wasn’t my first romance but it was truly the first book that made me feel like I knew what it was to fall in love. If you haven’t read this book you are living under a rock or you are a man.
5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The book in high school that I was required to read and then went and bought my own copy because I knew it needed to be on my shelf for my entire life.
4. Dracula by Bram Stoker. The original vampire himself! Before Twilight made teen girls go all giggly for glittery Edward, I was devouring Dracula at rapid speed freshman year. My love of vampires was very evident in high school starting with this heavy read. I later took a stab at Anne Rice and ultimately settled on weekly viewings of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Who knew that vampires would make such a comeback in the late 2000s? If only I had had the reading selection that's out there now...but more on that on another Tuesday.
3. Zoey Fools Around (Book One in the Making Out Series) by Katherine Applegate. I will never forget walking into Walden Books (yeah...) with my best friend Maggie and us both being drawn to the same cover. From the title alone we knew it was for us. We each bought a copy and that night at Maggie’s house we stayed up all night reading the entire book...out loud! I had to be the boy parts and she was all the girls and we alternated reading pages. We ended up reading the first twelve books over the next few years and then I did something so stupid in college. I was broke so I took all of my books to a used bookstore to get some cash and then a few years later I couldn’t find this series anywhere! Lucky for me I have a phenomenal husband who tracked down every missing book for me for Christmas a few years ago. These books changed my life and made me want to write.
2. Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare. Enough said, right?
1. Innocents by Cathy Coote. By seventeen I already had the seedling in my mind for what would eventually become The Low Notes. I picked this book up because of it’s scandalous cover and I had no clue the bombshell of a story I would find. The intense and at times disturbing story of the two unnamed main characters only fueled my passion for writing, reading and for one day telling my own version of the teacher/student romance.