My Favorite & Defining Books Of The Past Decade // Reflecting On The Decade I Grew Up In & YA Books I Loved As An Actual Young Adult


It’s literally a new decade. Well, it’s been that for a month but like I’m always behind nothing is new so shh. I don’t know how that happened. I mean, every month I’m like wow the time is flying but that this point it’s literally a new decade. 

To say that a lot has happened to me in the past decade would be an understatement. The 2010s are literally…the decade I grew up in. 

In 2010, I was 8. I was in 3rd grade, still “lower L” elementary school. Now, 10 years later, I’m 18 years old and a freshman in college.

A few of the things that have happened to me in the past decade:

  • graduated elementary, middle, and high school, and started college
  • learned cursive and typing
  • wrote my first full length novel…and then 5 more (60-90k words)
  • learned to ride a bike & drive a car
  • created all my current online accounts
  • did 7 years of dance and 3 years of color guard
  • learned (at least a small account) to play violin, guitar, and ukulele
  • took the act, 2 sat subject tests, and 7 ap tests
  • went to my high school football games, dances, grad night party, etc

Well, anyways, there’s a ton more things I can’t even think about right now, but the one thing that’s stayed pretty much constant through it all is reading. 

I’ve been a reader my whole life. At the beginning of the decade I was reading kids books (loved those rainbow magic fairy books!), then I moved to middle grade, then YA, and even a few adult books! I’ve done a lot of growing up, and here are some of the meaningful books I’ve grown up with these past 10 years.

(Note that these are all books I read in the last decade, not necessarily books published then)

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Harry Potter

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This book series means so much to me, just like the millions of other people it has impacted. I read the entire series in 2010 before the Deathly Hallows Part 1 movie released, and since then I’ve reread them all maybe 4 or 5 times? I was watching the movies at an even younger age, and feel a bit like I’ve grown up with Harry.

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Ella Enchanted


When anyone asks my favorite book, it’s always Ella Enchanted. I fell in love with this book in 2011, and it was the book that introduced me to my love of retellings! It’s the book I’ve read the most times, falling apart in the spine, but I don’t care.

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Little House On The Prairie

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…and the entire series. I remember reading this series I believe in 2010 in 3rd grade and absolutely falling in love! I loved reading about the pioneer girls, and I even went on to read the Rose books, the Caroline books, etc…

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The Mother Daughter Book Club


I love these books because of the special memories of reading them together with my mom! We would read them together, one chapter per night, while I was in 6th grade (the age of the girls in the first book!) And now that I’m older, I think about how the girls middle and high school lives compared to mine!

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The Winnie Years

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Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, and Thirteen Plus One! I think I read all these books when I was 10-11 and I just loved them so much!! I felt like they were really a guide to middle school (especially Twelve lmao my guide to getting my period. Oh yeah, that’s another unfortunate thing that happened this decade was my first period I miss the days before her) and I loved seeing how Winnie grew up and navigated being a tween!

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Percy Jackson And The Olympians 


I read The Lightening Thief for school book club in 2011 and I had zero regrets! I loved reading about Percy and his friends and the adventures with gods and demigods and monsters and everyone else they hung out with! It definitely introduced me to my love of Greek mythology for sure!

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Half Magic Series

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Gosh I loved these books! I remember reading them all when we had required reading in fourth grade, 2011, where we weren’t assigned a specific book but were just required to read. I read them with my best friend at the time, and it was an early magic book I loved!

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Tales Of The Frog Princess


This was another of the early fantasy books I loved in fifth grade! A couple of my friends also loved reading about these princesses and magic, and I remember being so excited reading the book that supposedly inspired Disney’s Princess and the Frog!

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The Hunger Games


So now we’ve made it to 6th grade, 2012, when I was just starting to read YA. This book series was crazy! Kids killing kids, a corrupt government, people getting murdered, tragic backstories, and romance!! Going from middle grade to full on YA was crazy, and I remember being shocked at how dark it was for my 11 year old self, yet loving it and being unable to set it down! I remember I stayed up until midnight reading, which was very late for me at the time. Everyone was talking about it at school, and a couple of my friends even said they didn’t want to read it because of kids killing kids. This was huge in my life for sure.

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Love it or hate it, this was another hugely influential book. By then I was a little older, 13 (and a full blown teenager wow), so my friends and I were really getting into it, actually texting about it, and I remember myself and five friends all went to see the Divergent movie together and we all wore all black because we were Dauntless! The first fandomy thing I really did and wow I was so into this series. We all were.

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The Fault In Our Stars


I think this might be the first YA contemporary romance I ever read? I remember the focus on romance was crazy to me, and I loved it! Thinking about huge super old 16 year olds having this grand romance flying around the world together and… having sex so scandalous omg what would my parents say if they knew what this book was about? The Fault In Our Stars movie was also the first ever movie I went to with a friend without any parents, and the first movie I paid adult price rather than kid price for, so it was a gigantic deal for me.

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This is another book everyone and their mother was reading and I actually wonder if the bookish community was obsessed with it back then because I feel like I’ve rarely seen it but let me tell you. Everyone was reading it at my school in eighth grade. It was almost as big as Divergent and TFIOS and I loved getting in on what was popular and arguing over the love triangle.

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This has such low reviews on Goodreads lmao I wonder if I would hate it if I read it now; probably. But in 2013 it was hugely popular and everyone was reading it, myself included, and loving it and loving all the dystopian lit we were getting.

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The Selection


MY GUILTY PLEASURE and I will stand by that. I read this when I was 13 and loved it and I won’t let anyone reviewing it objectively and pointing out actual flaws convince me that it’s anything but perfect. I loved this series! And my friends did too! I remember how excited we were when The Heir was announced wow takes me back to the simpler days.

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The Princess Diaries


The Princess Diaries were my whole life!! They were 10 books and I loved each and every one of them. I read them all my freshman year of high school, 2014, and they were so fun and easy to read about! Mia was quirky and awkward and so relatable, but also a princess so that’s cool, and I swear I read it religiously as a guide to what high school would be like. (It’s definitely not what high school was like).

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Wicked Lovely Series


This book has so little recognition and everyone calls SJM and Holly Black the faerie queens, but lemme just say that Melissa Marr was my original Faerie QUEEN! I loved this series, I loved getting to see the darker grittier faery lore as opposed to just fairies. I am so obsessed with faeries, and this book was the original reason why!!

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The Lunar Chronicles


I got so obsessed with this series! I first got Cinder for my 15th birthday the summer of 2016 and I just loved the idea of a retelling but sci fi and set in the future and even part in space! Since reading this book, Marissa Meyer has become my absolute favorite author, and The Lunar Chronicles is the only book series I own in full.

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To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before


One of the first books I read after starting my book blog in January 2018 because of all the hype and wow am I glad I did so. This book was so meaningful to me because it’s the first time I ever felt represented as a half Asian in a book, not to mention Lara Jean being so relatable with baking, reading, being introverted, and so much more!

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Six of Crows


Another hyped book I read late after starting my book blog and I’m so glad I did! This book moved me so much, caused laughter and (more) tears, and also Crooked Kingdom was the first book I ever had a major “book hangover” from. I mean, I was bugging my whole family about it for like a week after I finished! For me, it was crazy!

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This trilogy was insanely influential to me because it’s the first time I really followed a series, eagerly anticipating each new release. Before joining the online bookish community I didn’t really pay attention to release dates and what was popular and coming out, and just read random backlist titles I found on the library shelves. This was the first series where I had that devastating wait for each book, spending the hours formulating theories and stressing, and it’s so crazy and I’m at a loss of what to do with myself now that it’s over.

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Small Town Hearts


This was my first ever ARC from a publisher! I was so so so excited, I felt like I had finally made it after a year of blogging I was finally legit enough to be sent ARCs from publishers! Every time I see this book on my shelf, I get a rush of pride!

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The Wicked King

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Everyone and their mother is obsessed with The Folk of the Air. I wasn’t super obsessed, but then I read Wicked King and it was all over for me. I spent 2019 waiting and dying waiting and formulating theories for QoN and it’s all because of this masterpiece.

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Permanent Record 

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I got this book at Yallwest 2019 and it’s signed by the author!! It’s the only book where I’ve ever met the author and gotten it signed and so it’s so so so special to me!

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Let’s Chat

What are some notable things that happened to you this decade? What types of books did you mostly read? (I obviously started with middle grade and ended with young adult!) What are some of your favorite/most influential books of the decade? I’d love to chat in the comments below!




27 thoughts on “My Favorite & Defining Books Of The Past Decade // Reflecting On The Decade I Grew Up In & YA Books I Loved As An Actual Young Adult

  1. I was a bit older than you, but it’s crazy how we grow up in a whole decade, eh?!

    Apart of some Canadian French’s reads, I remember the Spiderwick Chronicle being MY THING back then 😂 I was so pissed at the movie to having cut so much..
    Out of the ones you mentionned, I only ever read the fault in our stars 🤭..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeeees to The Princess Diaries! I grew up with Mia and she and I ended up graduating around the same time. Those books, though unrealistic, were such a breath of fresh air for me. I feel like I should be rereading them right this second.

    Also, I STILL haven’t read Renegades, but your summary makes me very excited for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So many amazing books on this list! Harry Potter is definitely a huge one for me (although I read them back in the 00s – I’m a bit older than you, so I was following along with the releases back in the day!), and so is Six of Crows! That was definitely one of my biggest book hangovers after reading that book.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such a beautiful list! I believe I’m a little bit younger than you, but I read most of these during this past decade too. It’s crazy how time flies!

    And YES to the Half Magic series! I totally forgot how good those were. Marissa Meyer is the best haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved reading this post Kay!! The Hunger Games, The Fault In Our Stars, Divergent & Uglies were my entry into YA too and I loved them all! I don’t really remember what Uglies was about though and you’re right – I hardly ever see it mentioned!
    To All The Boys & Six of Crows are also two of my all time faves so was happy to see these mentioned!💗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yessss Hunger Games, TFIOS, Divergent, and Uglies are the o.g. YA seriously when I think of the huge popular books among YA book bloggers and stuff those are never the prominent books but they were EVERYWHERE In middle school I swear everybody and their mother was reading Uglies I’m surprised I don’t see it more here that book was briefly my life

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I did a lot of growing up in the 2010s too! It’s just crazy that it’s been a whole ten years. Can’t wait to see what the next ten hold, especially for reading! I might even publish a book (or at least write one haha)
    The Hunger Games were very influential for me, probably the first YA books I ever read. I read Rainbow Rowell and hoped my parents would never flick the pages to see what I was reading lol! I took enjoyment in Twilight which, now I look back, was actually the worst fanatic phase I ever had. Very glad it’s over.
    Loved this post idea! It must have taken a lot of work to choose the most influential books of a whole decade.
    Have a good Sunday 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh I’m so happy to see Ella enchanted on your list! Gail Carson Levine is so underrated and I loved her books as a kid. Have you ever given the two princesses of bamarre a try?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. of COURSE I’ve read basically all of her books!! I liked that one, and I remember also especially loving Fairest and A Tale of Two Castles (which I now realize is probably a play on a tale of two cities lol) but nothing beats Ella Enchanted has my whole heartttt ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What a decade! My reading tastes went from vampire novels to manga to my first LGBTQ novels to YA & MG to whatever it is I’m reading now 😀 I think the only consistent thing was my preference of fantasy over other genres.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ahhh this is so cool to see all the formative books for you from the past ten years! And so many incredible books on this list. Ella Enchanted has been a favorite of mine too for A LONG time. I still love returning to it now and then when I need a pick-me-up! And wow, your description of The Hunger Games hype brought me back to those days 😂 EVERYONE was obsessed with those books, and I remember my grandma being very concerned that we were all into this series about kids killing each other lol.

    This was very cool to read, and I hope you’re able to find many more amazing books in the next decade!

    Liked by 1 person

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