This has been a tough one. See, if I don’t think I’m going to like a book, I don’t read it. So, I’ve been racking my brains, trying to think of books assigned in school or given to me by friends. Unfortunately, all of the school books I didn’t think I’d like… well, I didn’t like them. And my friends are well aware of my tastes, so they usually only give me books that we all know I’ll like.

The closest that I can come is with Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. It was assigned during my freshman year of high school and I was indifferent to it at best. Once I started reading though, it sucked me in and I finished it in one go. The bigger surprise was when I went and re-read it for fun a few weeks later.

Harper Lee has a very clean style of writing – her details are crisp without bogging the reader down and she knows how to take different stories and weave them together into a cohesive whole. She alternates between scenes of warmth and humor and scenes of rage and fear very well as one of her strengths seems to be capturing peoples’ emotions.

As a young teenager, what initially drew me into the book was the mystery of Boo Radley. But by the time the courtroom scene rolled around, I was hooked by the whole thing. Atticus’ nobility, Scout’s innocent curiosity, and the Ewells’ malice all drew me in as these characters grew and fleshed out. The ending fight and Boo’s rescue were exhilarating (to me, at least) and I felt that the book ended at the perfect time – nicely wrapped up, but with the potential for more.

This was one of the first non-fantasy/sci-fi books that I read for pleasure as well as for school. It encouraged me to look into similar novels when I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. 😀

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