I’ve tried to put this list in chronological order, but I don’t actually remember what age I was when I read them! Here’s my best shot. Links go to my reviews or to Amazon.
I ended up liking this series more than the more famous The Faraway Tree series, even though it’s really similar. I think there was a bit more drama with people trying to steal the wishing chair, and I remember liking the characters better. They visit some of the same lands that the children from The Faraway Tree visited, and I thought that was cool.
This is about a orphaned half-Romani girl (Diddakoi) called Kizzy who lives with her grandmother in an orchard. When her grandmother dies, Kizzy is fostered and, as you’d expect, has trouble fitting in with her new family, and at school, where most of the other children are horrible to her. If you read just one of the books on this list, make it this one.
I’ve actually only read this once. I couldn’t bring myself to read it again because it made me cry so much. It’s about twins called Ruby and Garnet, who are completely inseparable, and how they stop being that way.
This is about a girl called Dolphin, her sister, Star, and their mother, Marigold, who has a not insubstantial number of tattoos (hence ‘Illustrated Mum’). Other people think Marigold is weird but Dolphin adores her, despite her strange moods, tendency to go out all night, and obsession with Star’s father, Micky. Things start to get more and more difficult when Marigold is reunited with Micky, and Star gets a boyfriend. Dolphin makes friends with this boy called Oliver who spends his school break times in the library to avoid getting bullied which I so would have done if I’d had the choice.
As I wrote in my second Top Ten Tuesday post, this is probably the book I’ve reread the most.
Another book that is in ‘well-loved’ condition. I read Matilda over and over and thought it was completely unfair that I had to put up with other kids being mean to me at school without developing any magical powers. I thought the film adaptation was really good, but it was pretty close to the novel, no Harriet the Spy.
I never read any of the other Katy books, this was the only one in my house. Basically, this girl called Katy (which always really annoyed me as a child, I was fixated on the idea that the prettiest spelling was Katie) goes to boarding school with her sister, Clover. There’s a bit of drama over washstands, and a Society for the Suppression of Unladylike Conduct – a club against flirting! That would never fly in a YA novel these days! My favourite parts were the descriptions of Katy and Clover’s going-away presents and Christmas boxes, Sometimes I would try to find things I owned that were similar to the things they got in their boxes and put them all together and pretend I was at boarding school and had just got them in the post.
Or rather, half of Little Women. I only found out a year or so ago that the first half of it was published first, under the same title, and I must have read one of those copies, handed down from my mum’s childhood library. D’oh. But I read that half innumerable times, loving Jo and hating Amy. I would have been so furious if anyone had dared to destroy anything I’d written.