You ever read something that takes your breath away? It’s so powerful and moving – sometimes unintentionally – that you don’t know how you had existed before reading this book? It’s not a feeling I’ve had so often but I ended up finding seven books that, for one reason or another, mean the world to me and made a difference in my life.
Some of them made me sob and realize just how fragile the world was, some made me realize how pure the world can be, and all of them helped me understand myself a little more.
1. The Color Project by Sierra Abrams
The Color Project is one of the few books that caused me to actually cry, both while reading it and weeks later. While I was reading it, I was able to get through a death in the family and realize love. Sierra has a gift with words and you can’t miss out on this read.
2. Ms. Marvel series by G. Willow Wilson
When I read the first volume in Marvel’s Ms. Marvel series, I was 17 and it had just come out. It was the first time I saw myself – a Muslim American teenager – so authentically portrayed in any sort of entertainment. I still can’t believe it took me 17 years to find such a thing.
3. What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler
It’s been three years since I read this novel, and there’s not a month that goes by that I don’t think of it. I can’t properly put into words how much you need to read this. What We Saw should be required reading in every classroom and sexual assault seminar across the world.
4. Vigilante by Kady Cross
Taking matters into her own hands, the protagonist Hadley becomes a vigilante, doling out justice on those who assaulted and caused the death of her best friend. Throughout the book, it seemed like Hadley’s actions, feelings, and experiences were authentic, bringing her journey to life in a way many books fail to do.
5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Honestly, I nearly cried and put down the book several times because it was too real. I’m happy I didn’t, though, because The Hate U Give is so timely and needed. If you haven’t already, put it on your list.
6. Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali
Saints and Misfits really hit home and resonated with me and, whether you are Muslim or not, I am sure it will matter to you in some way too. One experience, in particular, helped me just as much as those I read about in The Color Project, and I carry that understanding with me to this day.
7. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
I began reading the series at 6 or 7 years old, so the books very much affected my personality, morals, and love of reading, all of which led me to opportunities I definitely wouldn’t have had if I’d missed out on the books.