I've always loved books but I haven't always collected them the way I do now. Lately I have been in the habit of trying to track down hazily-remembered, favorite childhood reads. The ones that I loved, secretively or loudly and were formative in how I approach and appreciate novels even now. The ones I took out from the library and never returned (I'm sorry but Daine and Numair!). Some of these books I've managed to hang onto in the twenty-something years since that first reading (A Royal Pain --- like the Princess Dairies but funnier!), but others have gotten lost: in the various moves of college, in those times later in teenage years when you decide you're "so over" anything younger-you loved.
Sometimes this is an easy process. I can remember the title, the cover, or the author's name. This is how I re-collected most of my childhood collection. I bought the boxed set of the Samantha stories last year, for example.
Other books are harder for me to remember, or just harder to track down a physical copy. In the case of the latter, there is one book (Walk Through Cold Fire - an 80s YA obviously inspired by The Outsiders
The worst ones are the books where I can vaguely remember the plotline and but I intensely remember how that book made me feel. I'm left scrambling key words on Google ("a girl named Scottie wants to be a writer but the publisher wants her to pay") , sending out echoes of inquiries into Twitter (a book where a girl gymnast moves to a new school and falls for a boy gymnast! His sister's also a gymnast!) in the hopes that someone out there has had the same thought or has read the same book.
(Those are The Great Mom Swap by Betsey Haynes and Head Over Heels by Lurlene McDaniel.)
The worst is when my memory is good enough to remember things like there was a love interest named Francis... but not the main character's name. I could remember that the main character's cousin had come visiting from California and that a pool (???) and murder were somehow part of the plot. For a couple weeks, I would reword that info and google or Bing the key words.
It ended up being My Crazy Cousin Courtney and its several sequels. I found it by Bing-ing (boy that does not sound as good as "googling") "90s book about a cousin visiting from California" -- and then checked the IMAGES not the links that returned. Or in another case, searching various combinations of "girl moves from California and her dad makes snow shovels." (This was The Year My Parents Ruined My Life by Martha Freeman.) I eventually found it only because after nights of trying to remember more, the name of the town it was set in - Belletoona - surfaced in memory.
I think the reason I have decided to recollect these books is that I can now see a lot of them influenced the kind of reader I became. Clemence McLaren's Inside the Walls of Troy was the first historical fiction novel I remember reading and it made more than a lasting impression. (I loved it so much I forgot to return my friend's copy. I was a terrible child.) To this day, Hector is my first and most beloved book boyfriend. Though it's a light and probably silly read, the sheer happiness that flooded my body when I found My Crazy Cousin Courtney shows how much younger-me loved that book. The title is problematic and now that I am older I know that, but I will be buying this come pay day. I feel I owe it to... myself.
There are still other books from childhood I am trying to find or remember and it's definitely becoming more of a goal for me going forward as a reader.
What about you? Are there any books out there you've searched years for? That you can kinda remember but not really?
Or have you read any of these random novels I attached way too much investment in?
*not available in kindle, and even if it were, NOT THE SAME when I loved my physical copy to the point of having to self-laminate the cover.**
**I taped it with clear tape, okay?