Blast to the past

Regardless of whether or not you still spend hours reading books, everyone has that one series that they couldn’t put down as a pre-teen. From “Harry Potter” to “The Hunger Games,” fantasy fiction books were the go-to way to spend your car rides and down time, even if you weren’t an avid reader. Taking a trip down memory lane, here are four book series that are still worth reading, whether it’s your first or fifth time. 

Harry Potter (7 books)

Let’s face it, we were all disappointed when the owl post didn’t show up on our eleventh birthdays with a Hogwarts acceptance letter. The famous series follows the titular Harry Potter through his adolescent years as he lives up to his name as the most famous boy in the wizarding world. Having survived an attack from the evil Lord Voldemort, or “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” as he’s referred to throughout the series, when he was only an infant, Potter is known as the only one with the potential to end Voldemort’s reign of terror over the wizarding world. Throughout his six years at Hogwarts, we see Potter develop, from when he first joins house Gryffindor to when he eventually takes Voldemort to his ultimate death. However, current readers may not be so inclined to gush over the story due to author J.K. Rowling’s recent controversial tweets against the transgender community, which has soured the experience for some readers, especially those of the LGBTQ+ community. Nevertheless, the narrative is still branded in many children's minds as the fantasy book of their ages and it’s safe to say we wouldn’t be who we are today without a little “Expelliarmus” in our lives.

The Hunger Games (4 books)

Set in a dystopian future where tributes are chosen to fight for their lives on a televised platform for entertainment, “The Hunger Games” is an exciting escape into a world of action-packed adventure and an engrossing love story, all the while still managing to weave in social commentary on racial inequality and a scathing critique of America's class distinctions. The series starts when heroine Katniss Everdeen volunteers to replace her sister as tribute in the Hunger Games, a life-and-death competition held for the entertainment of the Capitol elite. What follows is a story of survival, sacrifice and emotion as Everdeen rebels against the oppressive Capitol government. What draws people to this series is not just it’s innovative setting, but the fascinating love triangle between Katniss and her fellow tribute Peeta Mellark and her best friend Gale Hawthorne. Everdeen is a symbol of bravery and rebellion in every fifth grader’s heart as well as a very influential leading femine figure in literature. It’s no wonder that we could never put it down.

Percy Jackson (5 books)

The primary reason why everybody knew all about Greek Mythology before middle school was, hands down, because of the “Percy Jackson” series. The story spotlights Jackson and his life after discovering he is a demi-god. Having Poseidon, the god of the sea, earthquakes and horses, as his father gives Percy the ability to control and breathe in water, create earthquakes and tornadoes as well as converse with horses. But Percy isn’t the only demi-god. In fact, the story is set in Camp Half-Blood, a center dedicated to training, housing, and nurturing half-bloods (those who have one mythological parent) in preparation for quests. The series is known to be the first of its kind for this generation, the sole series that introduced every kid in the country to ancient mythological. And due to the collections’ immense success, multiple other mythology-based series have also been created, thus keeping kids' love for myth-based novels as lively as ever.

A Series Of Unfortunate Events (13 books)

Everyone’s favorite unlucky siblings were the Baudelaire orphans: three intellectual children who, as the title suggests, very rarely had any positive experiences in their lives. The story centers around fourteen-year-old Violet, the eldest Baudelaire and an inventor, twelve-year-old Klaus, the middle child who has a photographic memory, and the infant Sunny who has abnormally large teeth and a knack for cooking. After their parents die in a fire at the family mansion, the three are sent to live with a man named Count Olaf, who they quickly discover intends to get his hands on the Baudelaire family fortune, which Violet is set to inherit once she turns 18. Over the course of the series, Olaf develops multiple clever schemes to inherit the fortune, which include arson, murder and other crimes. However, each time he develops a plan, the orphans are able to thwart and escape him with their witty thinking. A classic favorite of young readers everywhere, the Baudelaire orphans were, and always will be, the gateway into a world of mystery, horror and above all, impeccable adventure.