Hello friends and fellow book lovers! On Twitter, I teased that I would be doing some fun things this month and this is the second part of that. Earlier this month, I posted my movie challenge post. Now, I’m going to be talking about the childhood favorites I re-read and analyzing them with my adult glasses on. Of course, I’d be remiss to not mention BooksandLala who inspired this idea.
Lala is breaking down her reads by grade level. For the life of me, I couldn’t pinpoint certain books that I read during each grade. However, I decided to pick 3 books that I knew I had loved and wouldn’t mind returning to. With that being said, let’s get into the 3 books I picked, my thoughts on them, what wouldn’t be published now and generally if I think they held up.
1. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
- What It’s About?: Princess Diaries follows 14-year-old, Mia Thermopolis who finds out that her dad has secretly been a prince after all these years. Upon admitting that he can’t have any more children, Mia is his only child and thus, the heir to the throne. Her life basically goes completely off-the-rails at that point and shenanigans ensue from there.
- My Thoughts: I remember that I read this book after the movie came out and really loved it. Now, I think that the book is a YA classic but not exactly modern. As for the things I liked, I liked that Mia wasn’t a traditional heroine. I loved the journal entries that we got to read and I thought the writing was good. As for what I didn’t like, I’ll get into that now.
- What Wouldn’t Be Published Now: Sadly, this book had a lot of things that wouldn’t be published now. I think if it weren’t for that, I would have liked this book a lot more. Let’s get into some of the things: Mia’s “relationship” with Lily’s brother Michael who is 18, Lily boycotting a place because it’s “racist” toward white people, the use of the r-word and girl hate. Those are just some of the things I remember that really bothered me while reading.
- Does The Princess Diaries hold up?: As much as I want to say yes, I think it’s going to have to be no. While I do think the original concept is still fun and unique, a lot of the book is extremely dated. I think there are a lot of other great princess-related books that would be a better fit such as A Princess in Theory, Royals or American Royals.
2. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
- What It’s About?: This book follows 4 girls who have been friends since birth and have spent every summer together until now. Magically despite being all different sizes, a pair of jeans fit them all perfectly so they agree to send the pants to each other throughout the summer along with a letter. It sounds like an odd premise, but it’s surprisingly good.
- My Thoughts: This was another book I remember loving when I was younger. I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed it upon reread. One thing that I particularly enjoyed was the friendship between the girls. They were truly best friends and it was great to see that represented. Additionally, I loved that it was a diverse group of girls and that the book focused on other topics aside from friendship.
- What Wouldn’t Be Published Now: Surprisingly, this book was pretty good aside from two things in particular. Firstly, Bridget and her coach end up having sex which is statutory rape for him as she’s 15 and I think he’s at least 19. Plus he makes a comment after it happens about her ending up being the hottest girl in college and how he hoped that she’d give him a chance then too which was ew.
As for the other thing that made me a little uncomfortable, Lena’s grandparents push her together with Kostas. The only problem is that Lena is also either 15 or 16 (I forget) and is being pursued by an 18-year-old who eventually sees her naked which is super weird. Overall, those were the only two things that I was meh about.
- Does The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants hold up?: I have to say yes aside from those two things. This book is a celebration of each of the characters, their friendship and the changes that come with that. Overall, I thought this book was surprisingly good for being published in 2001 plus it has a great adaptation so there’s that.
1. Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin
- What It’s About?: This book is the first in the Baby-Sitters Club series and it’s basically how Kristy comes up with the idea. It also features the club being formed, them dealing with clients and us basically getting an introduction to the characters, the club and what some future plotlines will be.
- My Thoughts: I’m sure that no one is surprised that I loved this. I haven’t read it in probably 10 or 15 years so it was nice to be back in the world. There was so much I loved in there. I loved the characters, their friendship, their business plan and how even when they fought, they didn’t let it impact their friendship. Honestly, this was such a freaking delight.
- What Wouldn’t Be Published Now: While reading, I didn’t notice much. There was one instance where Claudia said something and Kristy gave her a look and Claudia said “too exotic” which I thought was odd. While I do think that it was unique to include Stacey’s diabetes into the story, it could have been incorporated a little differently as they all thought she had an eating disorder. It was just a little bit odd but I might just be nit-picking.
- Does Kristy’s Great Idea hold up?: Absolutely! I was so happy and pleasantly surprised at how good this book was. I’ve been reading a few articles that touched on that and I wholeheartedly agree. I think that the book does a great job of setting up the series and really making us root for the girls. Plus it’s basically about a group of teenagers who run their own small business which is amazing.
Overall, I had a lot of fun, revisiting these titles and seeing if they’re still as good as I remember them. For the most part, I enjoyed almost all of them and it was nice to be able to do this.
One thing that you might have noticed is that this is only part 1. The next part I’m going to be doing is childhood favorites that I haven’t read so basically books that I know are beloved but I have yet to read. I’ve already read one and I’m excited to read more so if you have any suggestions, leave them below.
Next time, I’m also planning on doing more than 3 books. For some reason, I couldn’t think of the 4th one for this list. Either way, this was an extremely fun challenge and I can’t wait to continue doing this. I’m also open to any feedback if you guys have anything you want me to talk about, the format or basically anything!