Ten “Gateway” Books/Authors In My Reading Journey

Top Ten Tuesday, as  always, is hosted at my other blog — The Broke & the Bookish

This week’s topic: Top Ten Books/Authors That Were Crucial In My Reading Journey/Opened The “Gates”


The most important gateway on this list is dedicated to the gateway where I discovered I love reading by myself as a child. The immersion gateaway. These books and authors (and I’m only naming 3 when there were SO many) are what hooked me to reading. I guess I should thank them for who I am today.

Beverly Cleary really hooked me as a young’n. I would read them over and over again.
The Little House On The Prairie made me really see how books could take you some place else. I got lost in this series.
RL Stine. Oh man. His books just were the ultimate excited page-turning experience whether it was Goosebumps or Fear Street.


If you read my My Reading History post you know that I went through what I’ve dubbed “the lost years” from high school until I finished college. I read very few books in that time period. The book I attribute to getting me back into reading fiction and voraciously so is:

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer: This is one of my all time favorite books. After completing college and not really having read much new fiction or any at all in the past few years…this book just made me fall in love with fiction and just reading all over again. This book + Goodreads that is.




Here’s the thing you need to know about me. I ONLY read adult fiction once I got back into reading and I was a bit of a snob and would secret side eye YA lit. I just didn’t think it would be good (and only because I just had never read it). But I found out that YA lit was not only entertaining and well written but thought-provoking and powerful. I read these three before I started blogging but MAN I have to say…blogging is what REALLY got me into YA lit. Love this community of readers and authors! Changed my life.


Twilight & The Hunger Games were DEFINITELY out of my reader comfort zone FOR SURE. I just fell in love with both series for very different reasons. I had never read these genres before and I enjoyed the entertainment value for both but MAN did The Hunger Games impress me with how complex it really was.
The Book Thief was just one of the best books I’ve ever read and I was SO taken aback with how brilliant it was. This YA skeptic was SOLD.



It’s no secret that contemporary YA is my favorite genre and most read from genre and has been that way SINCE I got into the YA lit scene. I like light and fluffy and dark and serious and everything in between. I think it’s important to note the authors that really got me hooked on to my favorite genre!


Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson was that hard hitting powerful read and Laurie Halse Anderson immediately impressed me. I read a lot of “serious” books before YA and I loved reading a tough topic handled so well. If I Stay just blew me away and reminded me how emotional reading could be when you really connect. Gayle has continued to blow me away. Anna and the French Kiss was a stretch for me at first. I was all about the more “serious” or “heavy” reads when I got into YA but Anna and the French Kiss is what sold me on the more light reads. I feel like these 3 books really showed me all that contemporary YA could be. It’s funny because these three books are STILL, even after all the books I’ve read, at the top of my faves list.


So tell me…what books or authors were your “gateway” reads to various things — genres, into reading in general, etc.

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she’s actually that old. When she’s not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.


  1. I loved Little House in the Big Woods so much when I was younger! I was part of a Laura Ingalls Wilder book club that sent me things like Little House journals and crafts through the mail. So fun! Twilight made my list as well–it’s what started my obsession with YA paranormal romance. Oh, Speak! I can’t believe I didn’t think to add that to my list!

  2. The Little House books were so much a part of my childhood and really fueled my love for books. I too completely forgot to add Speak!—that was the first book that really hit some heavy issues for me, and I still love it and think about it a lot.

    My TTT

  3. Ahhh! I’m excited to see Speak on someone else’s list as well. I think I’d go as far as to say that Speak changed my life. At least when it comes to reading. 😛 Great TTT! I can totally see how they’d be gateway books!

    My Top Ten Tuesday!

  4. I loved both Anna and the French Kiss and The Hunger Games, so I agree with you whole-heartedly there. I see others that I’m ashamed to have not read, but I hope to rectify that someday. Great list.

  5. First of all, I love how you’ve organized your post this week, Jamie! While I’ve been a voracious reader my entire life, like you my reading history can be divided into different stages during which I was introduced (or, in the case of the young adult genre, re-introduced) to a particular category of fiction.

    Although I didn’t participate in this week’s topic, both Little House on the Prairie and Twilight would have made my own list as well. The former was one of the first series I read as a child, and I re-read it so often a few of the books in the series actually fell apart! I loved all the books for different reasons, although I think my favourites would have to be On The Banks of Plum Creek and The Long Winter. GAH! Now I want to re-read the series from the beginning.

    As for the latter, while I’m no longer a fan and now recognize how dangerous and destructive many of its ideals are, Twilight was definitely responsible for re-introducing me to the young adult genre. I had never thought to read it as an adult, but, like so many others, was curious to see what all the fuss was about soon after it was published. At the time it was new and different because it was unlike anything else I was reading (if I recall, I was going through a ‘non-fiction books only’ stage) and I soon became a regular fixture in the young adult section of our local bookstore.

  6. Speak is such a powerful book. It’s good to see that it’s had an impact on many people. I’m not surprised Anna and The French Kiss got you into contemporary YA. It’s such a brilliant book, too sweet/cute to dislike!

  7. OMG we have almost the same answers except for The Book Thief , Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close , and Speak (because I haven’t read those) but YESSSS to all of the rest! I love love love R.L. Stine’s books especially Goosebumps and Fear Street series. I remember reading those when I was around 4th and 5th grade. I checked out like a bunch of Goosebumps books and bought the ones that weren’t in the library. I also love Beverly Cleary’s books! I also read Little House on the Prairie maybe 4th grade? Don’t remember, but def. during my elementary days. Twilight and THG were also my gateway for young adult. So glad I read those! I read If I Stay when I was just starting out my blog and OMG the feels man. Anna and the French Kiss was also such a cute and fluffy read! I really felt like I was in Paris the whole time.

  8. I almost feel guilty that I don’t consider Beverly Cleary that influential in my life – my mom was a 2nd grade teacher, and she was pretty obsessed with reading all the Ramona books aloud to her classes. So, by extension, I read them several times myself. 🙂

  9. I have got to read If I Stay! I loved Beverly Cleary and can’t believe that I haven’t thought about her books in forever! Hunger Games is the book that got me into YA, too! =)

  10. After seeing R.L. Stine on so many lists I kind of realized I maybe should have included it on mine as well, just because I used to be OBSESSED with the Goosebumps books. Also The Sweet Valley High books were pretty meaningful to me at some point. 🙂
    Great list – I love how you organized it!

  11. Great list! Love addition of childhood books 🙂
    Adored Beverly Clearly and now my niece is reading them

  12. Jamie. JAMIEJAMIEJAMIE. If you loved the Little House series you MUST read Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen. It’s about a Vietnamese-American woman who discovers that a family heirloom might have actually belonged to Laura Ingalls Wilder. AND IT’S SO GOOD. Seriously, if you’re looking to rekindle a childhood obsession, this will do it!

  13. Great list, I love how it’s organized! I also loved the Little House on the Praire series. I’m looking forward to reading Anna and the French Kiss and The Book Thief soon. Is it sad that I still haven’t read The Hunger Games ( and some of the other books)?
    My TTT

  14. Yay to little house on the prairie!! I would add the boxcar children, BSC and Judy Blume to that list (:

  15. Fabulous list!! I love how you organized and display your post as well – it’s so fun and creative! The Hunger Games is definitely on my list as well 🙂 New visitor to your blog!! Happy Reading!

  16. I almost had RL Stine and Speak on my list as well, but they were pushed down by what’s on there. I really like the way you organized your list; I just did mine in one big list. The Hunger Games is the only book on my list and yours, so it was cool to see the differences.

  17. I’m curious. Do you attribute your dry period during high school and college to all the required reading you had to do? Here’s my list Chronicles

  18. That is an awesome list! Little House on the Prairie was such a great series. The Book Thief was another book that opened me up to different writing styles.

  19. I love this post! I’d have to say my early favorites that hooked me to reading were the baby-sitter’s club books, and the boxcar children. Later on, Someone like you and Dreamland by Sarah Dessen were other early favorites that really solidified my love of reading as I was younger.

  20. I can’t believe I forgot Little House on the Prairie! I’ve reread the first few books so many times I lost count. Although I never read the last two books… I’ll have to go back and find out how it all ended 🙂

  21. Twilight made my list this week as well. I also enjoyed the Hunger Games and really need to read The Book Thief. That has been on my TBR list forever. Anna and the French Kiss is one of my contemporary favorites as well. Great list!!

    Here is my TTT: http://jacquesbooknook.blogspot.com/2014/04/top-ten-tuesday-gateway-books.html

  22. Beverly Cleary is a great choice! And Twilight was definitely a gateway book for me! I didn’t manage a TTT today, but I did post a review of an amazing book that I think everyone should read – check it out here.

  23. I loved Beverly Cleary and Little House on the Prairie when I was a kid! I was homeschooled for three years between 3rd grade and 6th grade and my mom actually taught using Little House on the Prairie books. I remember we got to do all kinds of fun activities including making their molasses snow candy they mentioned in the book (which was disgusting by the way). We used to watch the show all the time too.

  24. You summed up perfectly why I love contemporary YA! Also, a big gateway for me into YA was the Maximum Ride series and Goodreads…Goodreads really helped me cross the bridge from middle grade fiction which tends to be a little more on the children’s fiction side to YA. The people I followed and some of the books and groups I discovered for YA helped me really get into it. One of the groups I joined read Divergent in November of 2011 and that was definitely a gateway book for me. After that, I started to read more mainstream YA by reading book summaries on Goodreads or discovering some interesting-looking books on the shelves at Barnes and Noble. Additionally, my book club with girls my age in it also gave me recs of books people my age were reading and loving.

    Marie @ Marie’s Bookworm Blog