Alexandra Monir is the author of Timeless and the recently released sequel Timekeeper
My Favorite Teen Reads
by Alexandra Monir
It’s no surprise to any of my childhood friends that I became an author, because reading was always my obsession! Every day I’d toss a new “just for fun” book in my backpack, and I’d race to finish school assignments and tests quickly so I could spend a few more minutes in the fictional world. The book series that captivated me from childhood into my teens, and that I love to revisit every several years, is the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace.
Betsy-Tacy begins when the characters, protagonist Betsy Ray and her best friend Tacy Kelley, are only five years old in the year 1897, and it continues all the way till Betsy’s wedding and first year of marriage in her twenties. While the first few books are adorable and perfect for younger kids, I was absolutely entranced by the teen books in the series, four novels that recount Betsy’s freshman year of high school (Heaven to Betsy), sophomore year (Betsy In Spite of Herself), junior year (the aptly-titled Betsy Was A Junior) and senior year (Betsy and Joe). It was magical to read about high school from the perspective of characters nearly one hundred years in the past! While Betsy and her friends’ way of life was drastically different (no cell phones or Internet, and only a handful of families had cars) so much still matched up to my own high school experiences. From school spirit and the thrill of being part of “a crowd,” to the dizzying highs and crushing lows of first love, Betsy and I had so much in common. We even both wanted to be writers! My love for this series showed me how special it is to see the coming-of-age experience through a historical lens, and that’s part of what inspired me to write Timeless. I wanted my modern-day protagonist to get to live my fantasy of going back in time and experiencing what it was like to be a teenager one hundred years ago.
When I discovered that Betsy and her friends were all real and that the books were entirely based on the author’s own childhood and teen years in Minnesota, I was floored. Visiting Betsy and Tacy’s real houses when I was in Minnesota is an experience I will never forget. Now, as I look at my own books on the shelves, I have to thank Maud Hart Lovelace for spurring on my love of writing and reading historical fiction, and for brightening my childhood with her enchanting stories.
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