15 books that changed my life before I turned 20

A book list with 15 books that changed my life or had a big influence on my life before I turned 20. Including Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

Hi lovely reader! In this blog post I will be listing 15 books that changed my life before I turned 20. Okay, the title may be a little bit dramatic, but they definitely changed my reading taste or influenced my life in a big way. I’m posting this post today because my birthday is getting closer. On June 30th I’ll be turning 20, which I find really weird…

I will be grouping series as one book because if I don’t do that, I feel like it’ll get too complicated. A little disclaimer before we start, these are not my favourite books, but books that had a big influence on me or my life. They are also not in any particular order, so it’s not that number one had the biggest influence. Nevertheless enjoy these 15 books!

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. I can’t make a list of books that influenced my life without including the Harry Potter series. These were the first books I vividly remember reading and they really sparked my love for reading as a child. With every new Harry Potter related thing coming out I get excited, even though I don’t support J.K. Rowling as a person anymore. I actually don’t own a lot of Harry Potter books, but because the series means so much to me, I’ve been slowely acquiring the illustrated editions. Since I don’t want Rowling to make any more money from me, I’m buying them second hand.

The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins

Where Harry Potter made me read as a child, these books really made me realise that I loved reading as a young adult as well. I do have to admit that I saw the film before I read the book. Basically, I went to see the first film in cinema’s when it came out in 2012 and wanted to know what happened so I bingeread the series. I also remember rereading them so often. This was the book series that really launched my love for reading and for that it’ll always have a special place in my heart.

Divergent series by Veronica Roth

I can’t talk about The Hunger Games without talking about Divergent. This film came out in 2014 and I, once again, went to see it in the cinema’s before I read the book. Same case scenario as THG, I then wanted to know what happened so I read the rest of the series. And I also reread those books multiple times. However, I never saw the next films because I saw the trailer of Insurgent and just went like “nope this is not what I read so I’m not watching it,” and so I never did. This was my next trilogy obsession after THG, so it just deserves a place on this list.

Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer

Honestly, can this list get more predictable for anyone around my age? Twilight was the first ever franchise I was a fangirl of, even before THG. But the difference is that I was mainly a fangirl for the films. I binged and rebinged the first three films so often when I was eleven. But at that point I just couldn’t wait any longer so I bought the fourth book in the series, I just needed to know what happened next. So cute little innocent eleven year old me read Breaking Dawn and I was OBSESSED.

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

This was the first book ever that gave me all of the feels. And the first book where I read it before I watched the film. And also the first book ever I read in English. So a lot of firsts for TFIOS, which is why it’s on this list. I also remember gifting this book to a lot of people because I loved it so much and I wanted everyone to read it.

The Selection series by Kiera Cass

I remember reading these books when I was 15, so I was slowly getting a bit older. But I still loved this series. I think I read every one of them in one sitting because I was so obsessed. When I think of my early library reading days, these are the first books that come to mind. I used to randomly browse my library and these were the books I kept returning to, I can still tell you where to find them in my hometown library!

Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

I first started watching Booktube at the end of 2016 and this book was all everyone was talking about back then. However, I didn’t read it up until the end of 2017. I can tell you that this was one of the first books I ever added to my Goodreads TBR, so that’s a fun fact. Before I read Six of Crows I used to mainly read dystopia and contemporary. This book really influenced my reading taste; because I started loving fantasy thanks to it. I also now consider Leigh Bardugo to be one of my favourite authors, and since this is the first book I read by her, it has a special place in my heart.

This Savage Song duology by Victoria Schwab

This is once again the case of the first book I read by an author who I now consider to be one of my favourite authors. Next to that I also felt like I finally read something fresh, something new for the first time in months. It’s a goal of mine to read everything Schwab has published because I love her work so much and I even got to meet her and get some books signed. And I traveled to another country for it, so I guess that expresses my love for her enough.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

I feel like some people view me as someone who reads a lot of feminist fiction, which is definitely not untrue. However, this is the first ever feminist fiction book I read. And I think also one of the first adult books I read. So this book opened two new worlds for me, and two new genres that I still consider to be two of my favourite genres. And next to that this is just such a good book.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I don’t talk a lot about this book because I find it a hard book to talk about. But this book definitely influenced my life in the way that it opened my eyes to the Black Lives Matter movement. It made me realise what kind of privileges I have as a white person. Out of all of the books on this list I think this one has had the second most influence on my personal life and on my beliefs as a person.

Three Dark Crowns series by Kendare Blake

Three Dark Crowns was the first book series ever where I was so excited for the next book to come out that I pre-ordered those books. And even to this day I’m not that much of a pre-orderer. So if I pre-order a book, that just says a lot on its own. This book also made me realise that I love political plotlines in books. I’m still so sad that this series is over, because it is my favourite YA fantasy series!

The Arc of a Scythe series by Neal Shusterman

This is my most recent read on this entire list. This was also one of the first series I bingeread since my whole THG – Divergent era. Basically I used to love dystopia books when I was younger, but as I grew older I couldn’t find a single dystopia book or series that I loved. This was the first dystopian series in like 6 years that I ended up loving and being obsessed over. This book really made me realise that I don’t hate all of the new dystopian books, and that I should give them a chance.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

I didn’t grew up in a native English speaking country, so I never read any of the classics. I was also never really interested in reading those, up until I read The Picture of Dorian Gray. I read this classic because the concept sounded so cool to me; and it did not disappoint! Even better: it made me want to read more classics. After reading this book I also bought a bind up of Wilde’s work, so I mean you can tell I loved this book so much.

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

Out of all of the books on this list, this book had the most impact on my personal life. I started eating less meat at the end of 2018, when I started cooking for myself at my dorm. However, I didn’t quit eating meat because I didn’t want to be a burden to other people. However, after reading this book I became fully vegetarian. Since I finished this book in November 2019, I haven’t eaten a single piece of meat and I never want to again.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This is my favourite book of all time so it can’t not be on this list. I find it hard to put into words what I love about this book, so I won’t try doing that. But I do really really want to give this another reread soon. Even though I reread it earlier this year…

So that’s it, that’s the list. I hope you liked this blog post. And don’t forget to tell me a book that influenced your life or reading taste a lot!

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