There’s a new feature over at GotYA. Each Friday we’ll be taking to our own blogs to write about a particular flashback topic. This week we’re chatting about the books we grew up.

I was unique amongst a lot of my friends in that I had a weekly book allowance. My parents are both voracious readers and it was a quality they wanted to pass down to me. The result? I had enough Sweet Valley Twin and Sweet Valley High books to supply a small army of pre-teen girls. Plus I had Judy Blume and Anne of Green Gables shelves before I was old enough to read.

For the first post in the Flashback series, I thought I’d throw out a few titles that had big impacts on me.

1. Christina’s Ghost by Betty Ren Wright. I remember sitting in my fourth grade math class, this book hidden on my lap, reading when I was supposed to be learning how to do division. My entire arms broke out in goosebumps. It was the first time I was ever really scared by something I was reading, the first time I had that “my heart is going to stop and I’m on the edge of my seat” feeling.

2. The Secret of the Unicorn Queen series by Josepha Sherman. This was the series that taught me all about anticipation. I was always eager for the next Sweet Valley book but I was positively desperate for the next Unicorn Queen book. It was also the first book where I made up stories about what happened to the characters off the pages — elaborate bits of fanfiction that existed in my head.

3. The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams. This was the first book I read by DNA. I was in the eighth grade and I remember thinking that it was THE BEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN. All in caps in my wee little brain. Over the next few years, Douglas Adams would come to my rescure time and time again, convincing me that there were minds that worked a little bit like mine and places where my sense of humor might actually make sense.

4. The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice. Though I read the first four volumes in the Vampire Chronicles, it was The Vampire Lestat that had the biggest influence on me and which stuck with me. I loved the sarcastic narcissism of Lestat and found myself writing much in the way of bad vamp fiction between the ages of fifteen and eighteen.