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You're The Voice: Heidi on falling in love with popular fiction

Dec 11,2012
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Helloooo everybody!!

I must mention what a fine week this is, as I assume for most of us summer holidays have already come to a head. It’s time to kick back and catch up on some tasteful holiday reading, I say…

In this blog, however, we’ll be doing nothing of the sort. Instead I’ll be venerating some of the much loved books of my 11, 12 and 13 year old self, in other words the pre-teen audience, reminiscing in the somewhat faded glory of acclaimed books such as the Cathy Cassidy books, the Twilight series, the Georgia Nicholson series, and of course the slightly rough around the edges, CHERUB series.

Fond memories indeed!

I am more of a classics fan now, but I do remember the days where hype did draw me in. The days where I found myself salivating over newly released Stephenie Meyer novels, or being tantalised by the allure of buying the complete collection of Cathy Cassidy and Louise Rennison books, or even holding my breath to get through another instalment of the CHERUB series. These were truly monumental and magnificent epochs throughout my introduction to the world of reading and it would endlessly please me to share my experiences of these books with you.

So, without further ado, let me unlock my thoughts on the many fantastic books that have dominated my childhood.

File 12494Cathy Cassidy and her colourful novels have served me well. They’ve been nothing but an inspiration to me and I revisit them on a regular basis due to their light-heartedness and the author's ability to create such pretty imagery. Cathy Cassidy introduced me into the all-absorbing feeling of falling head over heels in love for characters in books and, to an extent, appreciating the beauty of literature and realising just how delightful and writable the stories of our immediate world can be. It is extremely difficult for me to select a favourite novel of hers as they are all so wonderfully whimsical in their own right, but I can tell you that I’m definitely tossing up between a top four, they are: Ginger Snaps, Driftwood, Scarlett, and Dizzy. Four fantastic books, they are!!

Now on to the Twilight series… [Speaking of which, wasn’t Breaking Dawn—Part 2 great?]

File 12497In Grade 6, when I first picked up a battered copy of Twilight at my school library - an action which had taken place by many other kids in my grade that year - I felt a nervous thrill resonate through my body. You see, that must have been the first time that I began to grasp the fact that so many individuals had read and loved the book before me, and somehow, in spite of this I found a means of making it my own. What did I do? I read it in the rain! I know, this is not the way you should look after a book, especially a library book, but it just felt right for some reason. I absolutely loved how the pages were dotted with splodges of rain, but most of all I loved the way reading Twilight in the rain made me feel, I felt sooo gloomy and raw and strong. It really set the scene and I developed an instantaneous connection with the book. Anyway, I ended up having to buy the book from the library, but the thing is, I was okay with that, because that copy of the book was of more valour than any store-bought copy. You see, it had been loved and shared by so many, with each person transferring their own mark upon the book, each making it their own… this is what made the book metamorphose into something truly special in my eyes.

File 12500Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicholson series is yet another fantabulous series that I encountered in my pre-teen years. At the age of 13 I first delved into Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging and well, I hated it!! The main character, Georgia, was sooo frustrating, stubborn and vain, and I hate these kinds of qualities in a main character. How can you continue on reading a novel when you absolutely despise the person who’s telling it to you (Georgia Nicholson that is, and not Louise Rennison)? Despite these initial difficulties, as Year 7 was finishing up, I tried again with the series thanks to many of my friends urging me to do so. This second time, with a new approach, I learned to absolutely love Georgia and her whacky world of boys, embarrassing parents, candid friends and just very British humour! If you haven’t yet come across the Georgia Nicholson series in your reading exploits, I encourage you to do so.

File 12503Lastly, we’d better discuss the CHERUB series. This pre-teen targeted series was, surprisingly, a highly interesting read, although a tad repetitive at times. Exploring the world of drugs, sex, corruption, war crimes, and cults all through the eyes of kid spies I found hard to swallow, but it sure captivated me and opened me up to a new perspective of writing: the action genre. In primary school, the series was all the hype, especially for boys… In retrospect, I should have approached the books differently but as I am reporting on my thoughts as an 11 year old on this series, at the time, I found the books quite gratuitously vulgar… One book I really did like in the series however, was Maximum Security.

Anyhow, I’d better end this blog discerningly and wish you all a great lead up to Christmas. Here’s an instruction for this week, and I’ll take it in my stride as well: catch up on some old favourites of yours, I guarantee it will balm you up with warm, fuzzy feelings to get you in the spirit of Christmas.

So I’ll end with: “Have a holly jolly Christmas!”

- Heidi

Dec 17,2012
anonymous's picture
Yes!! I've read Heidi. Great book! And great film too (the one with Shirley Temple that is)!!
Dec 12,2012
A great blog post Heidi. Cathy Cassidy books are adorable and cute but now when I pick them up it feels very strange and I guess it's because they were aimed at pre teens. With Twilight, I read it because of the hype and I thought it was great. I guess it's because I had read a limited range of paranormal romance books when I was in year five. Now I look back and it's shameful thinking I enjoyed it and thought it was very, very good back then. With Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal snogging, I enjoyed reading them because it was an easy, light-hearted read. However, I stopped at the 6th or 7th book? Because I found it quite repetitive because Georgia found every guy breathing a Sex God, or a Love God. With the CHERUB series, I quite enjoyed them and even if it was 'vulgar', it was real and I agree with ambivalence and with the hype, I thought it deserved it though because I remember boys who never read from primary school picking them up and reading them. However, I haven't bothered to pick up the more recent books in that series.
Dec 12,2012
Oh gosh, I'm with you Daydreamer - I've only read Twilight (and pre-hype by a few years). And I can't say I enjoyed that. :/ I too think I missed out on something great because of Hype (a capital H, because there is hype and then there is Hype wherein everyone tells you 'you MUST read this book'... I don't do well with 'must'). Never picked up a Harry Potter book because of it, or The Hunger Games. Over the last few years I've sort of turned my back on 'what's new out' and am concentrating on authors/ books I've missed: Melina Marchetta, Neil Gaiman, Patrick Ness, Cassandra Golds.
Dec 12,2012
Wow, of all the books you talked about, I've only read Twilight... and only the first two books of the series. Can't say I ever saw the big fuss about it. But speaking of hypes, I think sometimes I resist it too much and almost miss out on really awesome books like Harry Potter and The Series of Unfortunate Events and Deltora Quest. Sometimes, I've learned, there's a hype about the book for a good reason. And ambivalence, your last comment made me smile. :P It was the exact question I would have liked to ask.
Dec 11,2012
Never read a Cathy Cassidy, Twilight lost its appeal, I'm still in the icky mode for Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging (but perhaps I'll give it a second chance like you did!), and I share similar-but-not-really feelings about the CHERUB series. I agree that it was vulgar to a high extent, and I feel like that was the author's way of trying to make his characters 'realistic' - but in the end they all seemed to fall into an exaggerated teenage stereotype. But I really liked the action in that series ^^ Speaking of classics, though, have you read Heidi? ;)

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