I have lived a thousand lives
I am only 19 years-old but, I have lived a thousand lives. Through the words on blank pages on books, I have been able to experience a million different things, and see the world in a million different ways. Books have been my escape for as long as I can remember. Through school drama, family feuds, lost loved ones, and horrible breakups I have always been able to turn to a book for help.
I want to share with you four different book series and how they each helped me through my life during crucial moments in time.
I’ll take you back in time now, to the fourth grade when I was an awkward child who had no idea how to make friends. I was always really smart and geeky, consistently on the outside looking in. That was until I met my best friend. You see this girl had no idea that she was about to change my life, but without her I wouldn’t be who I am.
This person sat in the back of the classroom with a book in her hand and I looked over and thought ‘how could a book be that interesting?’ So I decided to find out for myself, I walked over and asked if I could sit and read with her. Never mind that she was on book two in the series, I just wanted a friend and to know why she was so engrossed in the book.
That day I was introduced to the Maximum Ride series and I found my best friend. We bonded over this books series, all the characters — Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gazzy, and Angel. They were a band of misfits who were on an adventure to save the world. This nine-book series helped me through my first crush, my first friendship fight, and most of middle school into high school. Even in though now I am in college I still go back and reread it.
Seeing how Max had to work out her feelings for Fang and what they meant or could mean helped me realize that I don’t have to jump into a relationship head-on, not without figuring out how I feel first. The close-knit vibe of the Flock made me see that blood doesn’t need to be shared to create a bond that is as strong as family. Most of them were not related by blood at all and yet they stood by each other. It was that bond of friendship that showed me how to be a loyal friend and stand up for those who needed it.
My best friend and I waited for months on end to pre-order each and every book, and believe me when I tell you that I cried when the series ended. Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gazzy, and Angel had all given me lessons on what it meant to be a family. Their story means a lot to me and I would highly recommend it to any kid going through that awkward stage of life, I promise you that their adventures will warm your heart.
Fast-forward to middle school, the time where mean girls are starting to emerge and most of the time you spend lunch in the bathroom trying not the get in their way. This was when the House of Night series appeared for me. This twelve book series was recommended to me by a family friend, a girl that I had grown up with who now is married and has her own daughter. I can’t say thank you enough to her for putting me on the path to this series.
Zoey Redbird’s journey through her transition from human to an adult vampire is one that is not only enticing but its informational as well. She struggles with her physical changes, just like I was in middle school. I was growing up in ways I had no idea would happen. She also struggled through relationships, friendships, deaths and a whole lot more. Yet, whenever my own world got too scary it was hers that I turned to. I knew that at the end of the night I could close the book and stop the story if hers ever got too intense, but I also knew that at the end of the day there would be a happy ending somewhere in it, and that’s what I looked forward to.
Zoey and her gang all went through their own problems, but if they could survive in a world full of hateful vampires I knew that I could be strong enough to deal with a few petty humans.
Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘Another vampire book again’? Well yes, but let me explain why. You see I stumbled upon this series because my aunt took me to the bookstore and told me to find some books as a gift for my birthday. By this time I was in 8th grade, still nerdy but a little bit more confident. I hadn’t found my sassy attitude just yet though. However, all that would change the day I picked up this book and read about Rose and Lissa.
Rose was the friend that every girl wanted to have growing up, the badass that everyone was afraid of and yet still chose to be your friend. It was her snarky attitude and her sharp wit that got me through that last year of middle school and into high school.
She had a best friend from a broken home, a teacher who was trying to save them, and the willpower of a god to protect those she cared about. It was her drive to save others and look good while doing it that gave me the confidence to speak up in school, work hard and get to the top of my class. We both had a lot of setbacks but it didn’t matter because when my life got complicated I could dive right back into her story.
The six-book series also helped me make friends, as we bonded over whether or not Rose would fall in love with the fighting machine Dimitri Belikov and if he would return the feelings or not. My friends and I got to talk about the books and form our own little circle. It was like a mini book club except these were people I went to school with, people I had now become unlikely friends with.
This series brought me people who helped me through a really tough school year and I couldn’t be more grateful.
Finally, I am in high school, the roughest four years of my life. Let me tell you I would not have made it through the same way without the Mortal Instruments. City of Bones is about a girl named Clary who finds out in an unexpected way that she hails from a long line of shadowhunters. While I don’t fight demons or jump through portals to the land of the Faerie, Clary and I are still a lot alike in many ways. It was these parallels that got me through high school and into college. While the original six books ended during my high school career, the prequel, the sequel, and the side stories are still being created today.
Clary is still helping me navigate the world I live in, even from the pages of a new series. While I definitely didn’t experience even a quarter of what she does, I did get to share some things with Clary. Like finding out how to stand on your own when someone from your life is taken from you swiftly or finding peace in art.
With all the twists and turns in the story, it mimics the truth of how life can change unexpectedly. In the end, it gives an unfailing hope to the readers that they too can navigate their crazy lives.
You see all four of these stories have helped me through hard times, happy times, confusing time, and so many more life events. I have always found my escape in books like these. Whether it’s on my phone or an actual hard copy, most people will never find me without some form of a book on me.
If you are struggling with something in life, pick up one of these and I’m positive that their stories can help you. There is a wealth of knowledge in books and a lifetime of stories. It is up to you to pick one up and start the journey of one of your thousand lives.
Originally Published on The Odyssey.