Books not only help in whisking us away to new, exciting worlds; they also enable us to grow as we read them, learning from them and idolizing a few characters that shape who we are. There exist some impressionable books that are a must have, which help you figure out yourself as well as the world.

1. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

This popular children’s novel series is a timeless classic loved by people of every single age. Harry and his friends guide us through their upside down lives and magical adventures in an absorbing way. The fondness that you feel for the characters heightens and stays with you even when you grow older. Once a Potterhead, always a Potterhead.

2. I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

A treasure. This exuberant, emotional rollercoaster of a book is a favorite of mine; with its careful way of shifting from light to dark. It addresses several issues: homosexuality, consent and divorce, but in such a relatable yet original light that the reader is captured by the words, and hopeless before it.

3. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

A dive into Nazi-Germany, seem from the mind of a young Jewish girl whose every thought is captured in this journal. This is a genuine and very real story, and hits upon the troubles of youth as well as how she copes with life in hiding. Anne Frank is a brilliant and joyous girl, who you will love and feel sadness for as you continue to read.

4. Everyday by David Levithan

This brilliant author tackles multiple issues, such as mental illness and adolescent struggles, in this work of fiction. His characters all shape into something a large audience can relate to, and talks of things that exist in everyone’s minds. Not only that, but the story itself is so unique that it deserves a read. I promise you’ll be hooked.

5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbotksy

A hard-hitting account written purely through letters sent to an anonymous person, giving us a window to the life of a slightly autistic child who goes through many things. It is happy at parts, it is sad at parts; it is hopeful and abysmal all at once. But most of all, it stays imprinted in your mind forever. It touches upon silent issues, usually battled out in a persons mind than on paper, and that makes it such a impacting book.

6. Blue Dust by Ayesha Salman

A look into the life of a young Pakistani woman, and how she deals with trauma, relationships and emotional manipulation. A point of view of a reality so many women face, brought to life by Salman’s words. This book changed me as a person upon reading it, and it’s events lay imprinted on my mind even now.

7. The Forty Rules Of Love by Elif Shafak

A romantic, spiritual ride that takes you through multiple point of views, allowing your mind to delve deeper and think about things it was not aware of initially. This powerful book changes your idea of love; towards your partner, your parents, your God. An insightful read that remains the favorite of many.

8. The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald

A tale revolving around wealth, lust and obsession. Gatsby’s lies and deceit surround him and his companions. Fitzgerald focuses on the manipulative power of money, and how the world is run by it. Yet, in the din there is a certain sense of wonderment and joy wrought from it that is worth hanging on to. We face many challenges and must overcome them, a fact that Gatsby helps us learn with his obsession with the green light he ever increasingly goes towards.

9. Kartography by Kamila Shamsie

This is quite possibly one of the best words of regional fiction ever, helping me change my entire perception of our country. It’s depiction of friendship is interesting, where two best friends swap fiancés, yet also touches upon how she distances people. An eye opening read that highlights the dangerous, sensuous, vibrant and romantic side of Pakistan, allowing you to open up your heart to the country.

10. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

A modern classic, holding the enchanting tale of Bilbo Baggins, who is as unreliable as he is endearing. His adventures and experiences are not only humorous, but also show how life becomes worthwhile when you take a step out of your usual routine and comfort zone. A necessary coming-of-age read.

These only touch upon the works of literature you should shower upon yourself. They highlight important issues that helps a growing person reach a certain level of awareness. Not only that, but here are some of the best books I have ever read and deserve a place in each of your hearts.