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How I Fell Back in Love with Reading | Sydney Hecht

My relationship with reading is … complicated. It hasn’t always been. When I was in elementary school, I was the kid who would sneak a flashlight in my room to stay up past my 8:00 bedtime, reading Rainbow Magic and the Mysterious Benedict Society under the covers of my bed. In fact, at one point, my mom had to hide the flashlights to make sure I wasn’t staying up too late.

Once I got to middle school, my relationship with reading completely changed. Now, with sports, school, and homework to balance, I never found the time to pick up a book. Even when I did have the time, reading fell forever secondary to mindlessly scrolling through social media. And now, five years later, I still find myself struggling to find the willpower to read for fun.

I will say, I’ve managed to stay a little bit more consistent. I definitely wouldn’t consider myself anything close to an avid reader. But now, I can proudly say that I am now a recovering reading hater. For me, it was all about finding the right books to get me out of that slump. So, without further ado, here’s my list of book recommendations to help you fall in love (or fall back in love) with reading.

We Were Liars by E Lockhart

Fifteen-year-old Cady Sinclair had planned on spending her summers as usual: going up to her family’s private island, spending day-in and day-out with her cousins, a group dubbed “The Liars,” only to go back home just in time for school. When Cady suffers from an unknown head injury, however, her plans become complicated, and she finds herself unable to remember anything from that entire summer. Now, two years later, 17-year-old Cady narrates as she goes back to the island for the first time since her accident, determined to discover what had happened. As she explores the truth, she uncovers countless lies about her family history, and finds a truth more shocking than she could ever imagine.

We Were Liars holds the best mystery of any book I’ve ever read. Despite Cady’s first-person narration, the truth about what happened to her in the accident never seemed obvious, until the extreme plot twist at the end of the novel. I would say that this book is slightly slow in the beginning, but once the story picks up at the end, it’s almost impossible to put it down.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

The Midnight Library is easily the best book I have ever read (and it’s very short and easy to read!). The story follows Nora Seed, a painfully ordinary person living her monotonous, everyday life. After reaching her breaking point, she commits suicide, having an almost successful attempt. Instead of dying completely, she ends up in a realm between life and death, dubbed “the Midnight Library,” where she has the opportunity to see what her life would have been like if she had chosen different paths. As Nora visits countless parallels to her own life, each different after a single decision, she learns that although superficially her life seems perfect, every outcome comes with its consequences.

Quite simply, the Midnight Library is an exploration of the butterfly effect: how one small decision can completely change your life later on. Haig narrates Nora’s personal narrative, tuning into her emotions and thoughts about her past while visiting every alternate version of herself in the library. Themes of mental health, toxic relationships, and self-exploration propel Nora through her journey in the Midnight Library as she explores the infinite possibilities she has throughout her lifetime.

Both We Were Liars and The Midnight Library helped me regain some of my love for reading back. Of course, if neither of these sound promising to you, that’s okay! If anything is to be learned from this article, it's that finding the right book for you (personally, that’s any book that can teach me something or make me think differently about something) can be the most important while getting out of a slump. And, once you start that first book, picking up the next will only get easier and easier. Happy reading!

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