©BECCA @ VICARIOUSLY!
I caught the reading bug at the age of nine, when I was presented with the first three Harry Potter books. From that day on reading became a part of life. They were my freedom and escape from overprotective parents and a world that scared the crap out of me. If I couldn’t do it in real life, well I could certainly do it in books! It seems rather cliché, but oftentimes books were the only thing that would get me through the day. I wasn’t the kid who got in trouble for not reading, I was the girl that got in trouble for reading too much.
By the time thirteen crept up on me? Reading was so much a part of my life that I often considered characters in books more like a friend than actual people. When no one could keep a secret and people were constantly at my throat for one thing or another, books were my constant. In fact, I could hazard a guess that they’re one of the only reasons I made it through middle school.
At thirteen, I had made great strides in children’s literature and the classics by reading everything one could put in front of my face, but I was ready for something different. I was ready to read something fun and easy, but not overly so. I wanted to read something about someone my age! It was because of this that I discovered Young Adult literature. I’m pretty sure the first book I read was Lurlene McDaniel’s Dawn Rochelle series. I loved it. I voraciously made my way through every YA book I could find. I was enchanted, but I was also kind of bored. These books were too easy! They were predictable! I had to find something that threw punches like Harry Potter had, my imagination needed to be stimulated again.
It was through this quest for something different and magical that I discovered Sandry’s Book by Tamora Pierce. I was sucked into a world of mages and magic, a world of good and evil, and, most of all, a world I began to compare every other book I read to. I practically devoured the remaining three books in the Circle of Magic quartet. For the first time since Harry Potter had waltzed its way into my life, I was eagerly looking for information on upcoming books in the Circle series. The characters became my role models and best friends. I had to know who they went on to become.
Another thing these books did was help me learn to identify as more than one character. Before these books I had to be one character in a book and no one else. Now I’ve learned that there’s a little bit of myself, good and/or bad, in every character that I relate to and read about. These books made me realize that it’s okay to be myself and that I didn’t have to be anyone else. There’s a certain amount of effort that goes into anyone learning that lesson and mine was gargantuan. I never would have been able to learn it without the help of Tamora’s imagination.
While I waited for new books to come out I realized that Tamora Pierce had given me something , or rather her books had. I had been given the proverbial golden ticket into the world of YA fantasy and, much like Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I knew there was no turning back. Suddenly just any book wouldn’t do. I wanted to read something as fantastically creative as the worlds all of Tamora Pierce’s books had shown me. Through this hunger I would go on to discover many other series such as the His Dark Matierials trilogy, authors such as Garth Nix and Meg Cabot, and a very extensive section in the local book store.
I never really compared books before The Circle of Magic series. Tamora Pierce gave me a standard. She gave me an example to hold all other books to. To this day, whenever I read fantasy I am constantly comparing the world, imagery, and characters to my beloved Circle companions. To this day, I have yet to find another book or series that has captured me the way Tamora Pierce’s have. I have plenty of books I love. I even have a favorite book and it’s written by a completely different author! But to this day Tamora Pierce remains one of my most cherished authors.
Tamora Pierce showed me that literature can be anything that you want it to be. In a world that seems so black and white sometimes, she showed me through her books that there are so many shades of gray. Sometimes the people you think are evil are really just neutral and not everything lasts forever, but a good friend can get you through just about anything. Her books helped with the effort of guiding me into the adult I am today. I could never say thank you for that. I really wish I could.