The funniest thing happened today: I was on Goodreads, browsing through the YA books slated for release in August, and I found myself really drawn to A Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor, a YA novel about two sisters stranded on an island with only each other and a young man named Alex. It sounded really interesting and unique, so I mentally noted the book, telling myself I definitely need to pick it up as soon as I make it through my current extensive TBR…or before, because you can never have too many books, right?
Just a moment later, I logged onto YouTube (you know, you wake up, check texts, and kind of make your rounds on the apps?), and discovered that booktuber emmmabooks had done a tag based around the book A Map for Wrecked Girls called The Book Lover Survival Tag.
Well, well, well. What a coincidence.
The tag, created by Penguin Teen to coincide with the release of the book, is pretty straightforward in terms of intent (but maybe not in terms of choosing your answers, because this is hard): if you were stranded on an island, which books would you want to bring with you? You can choose five to eight books. Still hard, but at least it’s not the question that is a bookworm’s literal nightmare, AKA which ONE book would you want with you if stranded on an island.
So, in honor of A Map for Wrecked Girls, here we go with the Book Lover’s Survival Tag, and the eight books (because you know I’m not going to be reasonable about this) I would want with me if I were stranded on an island.
In no particular order.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Okay, so I’m definitely not going to be stranded on a desert island without at least one Harry Potter book, but if I choose the whole series, that’s going to take up seven of the eight slots, so I have to at least try to narrow it down. I chose Order of the Phoenix because of all the Harry Potter books, if you forced me to choose—like you were going to throw all my books into the river if I didn’t choose—I’d choose Order of the Phoenix as my favorite for quite a few reasons, including but not limited to the Weasley twins being featured pretty heavily, the kids really, really starting to kick some ass, and the mystery and intrigue majorly ramping up. It would probably drive me insane not to have all the books, but if only choosing one, I’d have to go with this one.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl is easily one of my favorite contemporary YA novels, and also just one of my favorite novels, period. I relate so much to Cath, her struggles with anxiety, and her life of being an introvert, and Fangirl is the type of book that gives me hope because I remember I am not alone in my feelings or my struggles…that there are other people out there like me. If everyday life gives me anxiety, I can only imagine being stranded on an island would also be a pretty anxiety inducing situation, so having a book that reminds me that I’m not alone and everything will be okay seems like a good idea. Plus, Cath and Levi’s adorable banter is something I never get tired of reading, so I won’t mind rereading this one infinite times while stuck on the island.
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
The Things They Carried is intense, powerful, and wonderfully written literary fiction. I never get tired of rereading it and hits me hard in the feels every single time. I don’t think I would be able to leave this one behind and be stuck on an island for an indeterminate amount of time without it. Plus, being stranded on a desert island would be an extremely intense and taxing experience, andThe Things They Carried would help to remind me that there are others out there who have gone through unimaginable things, and would make my island-stranding experience seem like a tropical vacation by comparison.
City of Bones: The Mortal Instruments Book One by Cassandra Clare
This is another situation where I have to choose just one book from a series, which is nearly impossible, but I think I’d be mighty unhappy if stranded on an island without at least one of Cassandra Clare’s books (okay, let’s be serious, if I’m stuck on an island, I’m going to be pretty unhappy either way, but I’d be even more unhappy without one of Clare’s novels). The Mortal Instruments is easily one of my favorite YA fantasy series, and I’d choose to bring book one just because it is our introduction to the world of the Shadowhunters, and a truly magical experience that I wouldn’t mind rereading and experiencing again and again. And of course, it’s the book where we first meet one of my favorite bad boys with a heart of gold, Jace, and I never get tired of him.
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
On the high fantasy side, I’d kick myself if I were stranded and didn’t have one of the Lord of the Rings books with me. It’s hard to decide which one I’d want to have most, but I decided on The Fellowship of the Ring because it includes some of my favorite LOTR moments—the start of an epic journey, the first meeting of the mysterious Strider, the poem All That is Gold Does Not Glitter in Gandalf’s letter to the hobbits, and many more. On top of that, it just seems so fitting to have a book about an epic journey with you while you’re stranded an island, because even if you’re not actually going anywhere while on the island, it’s definitely a type of epic life journey, and would certainly be an epic experience.
Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan
I don’t want every book I’m stuck on the island with to be fiction—it’s important to me to mix things up a bit and I would definitely want to have at least one non-fiction book on hand while I’m stranded. I can’t think of any non-fiction book I’d rather have with me than Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan, which I could read an infinite number of times without tiring of. Every time I read Pale Blue Dot I feel like I learn something more and understand something better than the previous time, so I could only benefit from rereads while stuck on the island. In addition, Pale Blue Dot would be the perfect book to put things at least a little bit into perspective for me, and remind me that my island I’m stranded on is really just a speck—just a tiny pinprick of a place on a tiny dot of a planet in the grand scheme of the universe.
Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
I had a really hard time choosing between Rilke’s poems and his letters, but if I wanted to bring all the other books on my list, too, I only had room for one. I ended up choosing Letters to a Young Poet because it has been such an impactful book on my thinking and my life, and it truly means so much to me. It seems like it would help a lot to have it with me while stranded. And I imagine I’ll be pretty busy on the island shaking trees for coconuts or spearing fish with sharp sticks (LOL, yeah, right. Like I have the hand-eye coordination for that), so some days I may only have time to read a little bit, and Letters to a Young Poet is perfect for such times because I can read just one letter, or two letters, or all the letters, depending on how successful my spearfishing was for the day and how many dead fish I have to skin and cook (ew).
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Last but not least, I think I’d want to have the futuristic YA fantasy novel Cinder by Marissa Meyer, because it is a really fun read, and because Cinder is a freaking badass. I totally love her, and maybe having Cinder with me while shipwrecked would inspire me to be a badass and get through any struggles that come my way.
Like the struggle of skinning a fish.
Whew. That was hard. Five to eight books? The struggle is real.
I hope you all enjoyed this tag, and I can’t wait to read A Map for Wrecked Girls when it is released in a few days!
What books would you bring with you if stranded on an island? Are you looking forward to A Map for Wrecked Girls? Let me know in the comments! You know I’d love to talk. <3