PaperBackSwap Blog

PaperBackSwap’s 14th Birthday Contest


Today, PaperBackSwap turns 14! Happy Birthday to us! And what is a Birthday Party without games?!

Since playing pin the tail on the donkey, or musical chairs isn’t easy to do online, we have come up with a game everyone can play.
We call it Favorites at 14.

Here is how it works:

In the comments here on the Blog, tell us one of your favorite books, title and author, from when you were 14, or thereabouts. And tell us why you liked the book.

It is that simple. On Friday, September 7, 2018, we will choose a winner at random.

The winner will receive their choice of 6 PaperBackSwap Credits, one year of Standard Membership or a one year subscription to Box-O-Books.

Contest is only open to current PBS members whose accounts are in good standing.


Good luck to everyone!



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418 Responses to “PaperBackSwap’s 14th Birthday Contest”

  1. Nancy (ndmzero) says:

    I got a set of the Lord of the Rings in hardback for Christmas at that time. I loved the world building and the story. So Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien was my favorite book at age 14.

  2. Jonathan H. says:

    I got my first copy of a junior novel adaptation of a movie called “Star Wars The Clone Wars”. It was written by Tracy West and it was my favorite book when I was around that age. I loved it because I loved going back and reading the story of the first Star Wars movie I ever saw (yes I know it was animated, but it’s the one that introduced me to the whole saga and I thought it was great. . .)

  3. Teresa B. (mystery-lady) says:

    I’ve enjoyed mysteries my entire life, so I started reading Mary Higgins Clark in my teenage years. I’ve read all of hers, and liked them all. The Cradle Will Fall came out when I was 13, so that was one of my favorites from that time frame.

  4. Atti R. (RoyalScatterbrain) , says:

    when I was 14 I became enthralled with egyptology after reading:

    “Sinuhe der Aegypter” published in Germany 1952 – I believe the American movie “The Egyptian” was based on this historical novel by Mika Waltari…

    I still have this treasure of a book and my favorite genre is still historical fiction and/or history. It is well over 40 years ago that I read this 670 page tome and here is what I remember: the story is told in the 1st person. Sinuhe is an egyptian physician who lived from about 1390 BC to 1335 BC and described his life as such in 15 books/chapters. It’s as well an adventurous as it is a travel ‘memoir’ of this fictitious physician told in simple prose almost like a fairy tale. I do not remember much of the details by looking at the headers of the chapters but I do remember being propelled into a different era and culture and can’t wait to read this novel again.

  5. Lynne L. (KJaunti) says:

    My best friend and I would go to the library every Saturday AM – this started when we were about 10. At 14 I believe we were reading Anne of Green Gables L.M. Montgomery. Her tales of Prince Edward Island, the area that both of our families came from. This is still one of my favorites and have watched the movies over and over again.

  6. Lisa B. (bunnybee) , says:

    My favorite book at 14 was To Kill a Mockingbird. At 57, it still is. It has it all; mystery, humor, coming of age drama, and a life lesson. Very powerful.

  7. Heather M Damian says:

    I loved Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews because it was the start to a new, deal and gripping series; furthermore, it was entertaining and haunting reading, and not required school reading!

  8. Matthew E. (matthewedmond) says:

    14 is when I would have read Ten Little Indians by Agatha Christie the first time. A thriling novella perfect for that age.

  9. Trish B. says:

    I was given IT by Steven King for my 14th Birthday. I had already read Tommyknockers, and that book made me an instant Steven King fan, so with my young hands on IT I remember being captivated once again, staying up late into the night, being spooked by an incredible author.

  10. Julia R. (juliafaith) says:

    The Alienist by Caleb Carr. A bit disturbing for 14 but the mystery was so compelling and the all the physiological discussion about the extent of free will… so much to mull over!

  11. Marsha R. (HomeschoolMama) says:

    Rebecca by Daphne du Maurer

  12. Barry A. (scary-floating-eye) says:

    Dune by Frank Herbert. It was interesting strange sci-fi at the time and I liked the idea of riding giant worms.

  13. (TomasBar) , says:

    Lieutenant Hornblower by C. S. Forester. It was the first real adult fiction book I read. Before that it was a lot of Hardy Boys/Three Investigators type books. I was captivated by the description of the life on board a large sailing ship when they were Queens of the ocean. To this day C. S. Forester is one of my top three favorite Authors.

  14. Melody A. says:

    Shapes by Steve Vance.

    It’s about a secret society of shapeshifters who are in danger of being exposed. Loved scary/supernatural books when I was younger. I still have this one.

  15. Angi B. says:

    A friend convinced me to read Gone with the Wind when I was 14. I didn’t want to read it, but loved the story. It was the book that convinced me to try new books based upon reviews, not the cover!

  16. Claudine S. (flicker815) says:

    I think my favorite book at 14 was Gone with the Wind as well. I have always loved anything associated to history and historical facts. I had also seen the movie and knew there would be more to the book as far a details.

  17. Terri porter says:

    At that age, I read the Flowers in the Attic series by VC Andrews. Prior to that , I read mostly children’s books like Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. These books were very “adult” and seemed somewhat forbidden which I guess made them more appealing.

  18. (UrsulaLiz) says:

    Oh my. I was enthralled with Anya Seton’s *Katherine* at 14. SO romantic! SO racy! SUCH good history! That’s what I thought.

  19. Megan Y. (inkynotebook) says:

    The Sight by David Clement-Davies. It became my favorite book which threw me into the world of fantasy and sci-fi. I loved animals at the time so I was recommended the book by my librarian and it stuck to me like glue. I still have my copy on my bookshelf from over a decade ago, complete with all the wear and tear of having read it 100 times over. I’m currently writing my own fantasy novel as an adult because of this book and every so often I return to it for inspiration.

  20. Sunshine S. (sunnyday) says:

    I loved the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery. Her descriptive writing about nature was beautiful and uplifting. And reading and re-reading the books was a cozy, comfortable, nostalgic “book blanket” when life was stressful with teenage angst!

  21. Lori B. says:

    The Lord Of The Rings by JRR Tolkien. I loved all three books in the trilogy. They made me happy.

  22. Joseph L. says:

    I was already a serious bookworm at 14! I’ll just mention one science fiction book though I read many other types of books. A short SF book I read then and still think is pretty good is “City At World’s End” by Edmond Hamilton. It imaginatively describes a situation in which a typical post WW II American small town is thrown into the very distant future when the Sun has become too weak to maintain life on Earth. The galaxy is governed by a Galactic Federation. It shows how people may variously react when faced with such an unimaginable event, the role of taking a risk and taking the initiative, and the story is a comment, perhaps unintentionally, on what a “Federation of Planets” type of government might be like, both the good and the bad.

  23. bck says:

    A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith was my favorite book at age 14, and it still is…. I guess because I was lucky enough to grow up in Brooklyn 😊

  24. Annette C. (waysideschool) , says:

    My 1st adult book at 14 was Treasures Lost Treasures found by Nora Roberts Silhouette Intimate Moments.
    Being a young girl this book was given to my mom and I snuck into my room to read this forbidden book. Reading about the romance, the ocean, and all the intrigue was beyond wonderful. I remember hiding under my covers at night just to see what happen next. That was the start of a book being passed from girl to girl hiding in the bathroom giggling and talking. Soon it passed to my best friend in another school and it started going around again. I still love Nora Roberts after all these years and still have that book that must have been read by 20 girls in 1 year, some who never read a book without force.

  25. Karen S. (jdcountryclipper) says:

    Wow…having to remember when I was 14…..Little Women comes to mind first.

  26. Jess G. (musicnlyricz) says:

    When I was 14, I was already an avid reader. I was reading anything I could get my hands on. I remember reading To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee and feeling the ‘magic’ a good book transpires. It was a book I was assigned to read for my freshman English class and one that I was dreading to read. However, I ended up falling in love with the story and the prejudices and the lessons. I enjoyed how ‘adult’ it was at the time – how it wasn’t fluff and had actual meaning. Beautifully written and it still withstands today!

  27. Denis R. says:

    I’ve always loved mysteries, and when I was 14 years old, I especially enjoyed The Hardy Boys series by Franklin W. Dixon. The Boys were always smart enough to unravel the mysteries and had an adventure or two along the way.

  28. Jadine T. (jadine) says:

    At around 14 I was either reading Diane Hoh Nightmare Hall books or The Boyfriend School by Sarah Bird.

  29. simplifyrhome says:

    At that time, all the young teens were reading Go Ask Alice and someone loaned me their copy. It was like nothing I’d ever read at the time. I’m not exactly sure it was my favorite, but it is a vivid memory for me and a complete change from the books I’d been reading.

  30. Michele Mekel says:

    At 14, I adored (and still do) Ray Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles.” I was really getting into my love for sci-fi then, and Bradbury is, of course, a master of the genre.

  31. Heather Stevens S. says:

    At age 14, I was in eighth grade, and The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton was required reading. The book was given to us on a Friday, and we had two weeks to read it. I finished it that same night and read it again before the two-week requirement was up. I can’t say exactly what it was that I loved so much about the book, other than the fact that the story simply drew me in–it was like I was right there, living it with Ponyboy. My daughter is now 14, but she wasn’t required to read it in eighth grade, so I made it part of her required summer reading before starting high school. She, too, finished it in one day and read it again a week or so later (of her own volition–I didn’t tell her I had read it that way until after she had). Then, about a month ago, we watched the movie together. I have to admit, reliving it all again with her brought it all back so vividly, I almost felt 14 again!

  32. Jay N. (ajdowning) says:

    My favorite books when I was 14 were the Harry Potter books. I didn’t like to read at the time and those books helped me to start enjoy reading. I liked how easy the books were to read and the characters were around my age.

  33. Kathy says:

    About age 14 I read Gone with the Wind for the first time (a couple times since) and living in Atlanta was horrified, amazed and in awe of the tribulations Atlantans during the Civil War faced. I later saw the movie and was again horrified with the burning scene and all the injured lying on the ground. I’ve recently acquired Scarlett, the sequel here on PBS, and look forward to learning the next chapter.

  34. Jo L. (PIZZELLEBFS) says:

    When I was 14 a friend lent me his copy of The Hobbit by Tolkien. It was unlike anything I had ever read. I still remember how thrilled I was to discover that the saga continued with the LOTR series. Tolkien introduced me to fantasy.

  35. Adrienne H. (fuzzytop) says:

    My mother bought me a copy of Gone with the Wind for my 15th birthday. I sat in a bean bag chair in my room reading that book for days, totally immersed in the saga of Scarlett, Ashley, Rhett, and Melanie. Hands down, my favorite book at that time.

  36. Amanda C. (amandarosebooks) says:

    When I was 14, I picked up a copy of “The Lovely Bones” By: Alice Sebold. Growing up, my parents always pushed the classics on me and as thankful as I am now as an adult that I was exposed to those novels, I never felt like I had a book that I really saw myself in until The Lovely Bones. Reading about Susie Salmon- a girl so close to my age, was thrilling. I remember cherishing every word when she spoke about her connection with her sister or when she had her first crush. It changed the way I felt about reading and it has been a never ending love since.

  37. Velma C. (krznana) says:

    I have a 1909 first edition of ‘A Girl of the Limberlost’ by Gene Stratton-Porter….I still have that book although it is falling apart and the pages are old. I read it every year. when I was 14 my family was in turmoil and I loved to loose myself in this young Elnora. that is many readings as I am now 67.

  38. Mavis L. (auntmaymay1221) says:

    I am almost 66. At 14, in 1965-1966, I was in the midst of reading all the Cherry Ames books. They were written by Helen Wells and fueled my imagination and future goal of going to college. I never became a nurse, but I did graduate from college! I am the only one of five children who did.

  39. Patricia W. (trishann72) says:

    When I was 14 I was still enjoying Nancy Drew. I think my favorite of hers was The Mystery at Lilac Inn.

  40. TIFFANY L. says:

    When I was a teenager, I really enjoyed Stephen King’s books. Cujo was definitely one of my favorites and I read it several times. As usual, the book was much better than the movie!

  41. Kay B. says:

    At 14 was probably reading Mrs. Mike. Loved that book! I have always loved reading. Our parents took us to the library every Saturday at 5 pm. Some of my most cherished childhood memories.

  42. Christine J. (cmj1543) , says:

    Oh to pick just one book when I read like crazy. So probably any of the books about Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys. Sorry I don’t remember just one title.

  43. Meagan C. says:

    I got introduced to Robin McKinley around the time I was 14. Her book Beauty was my favorite when I was 14. It is still one of my favorite reads!

  44. Cathy W. (Firefly) , says:

    I think it was around age 14 that I was reading a lot of VC Andrews. My friends and I would trade Flowers in the Attic books, trying to hide them from adults who might tell us they were inappropriate. They were scandalous books! I was also reading a lot of the Nancy Drew novels….not the yellow cover ones, but the later, white ones with the older Nancy Drew! (And, frankly, any book at the library was a favorite, because I could take it home and read it, LOL!)

  45. Anne R. (ritairis) says:

    I was reading Christy by Catherine Marshall and fell in love with the book. When the tv series came out, it was a big favorite of mine!

  46. Christy B. (kurstee) says:

    We read “The Once and Future King” in high school when I was 13, so at age 14 over the next summer I loved reading Mary Stewart’s Merlin trilogy. Then I read everything else by her I could find at the library!

  47. Debbie M. says:

    My favorite book from when I was fourteen was A Once and Future King by T.H. White. I went on to love everything Arthurian. Read all I could about him, went to Rennissance Fairs, tried cooking pastries from the time, etc. I have read it three times now, still love it!

  48. Floral R. says:

    I loved The Rowan by Anne McCaffrey. It stated an early love of fantasy and sci-fi. Now that my daughter is a super-reader, I’ve used PBS to collect the whole series! I love that I can provide books with strong and deep female characters for her.

  49. Amber (berd) says:

    One of my favorite books was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. We had to read it in a class around 7th or 8th grade. I really loved the meaning behind the book. It was sad to me to learn that the color of your skin can dictate how you are treated. I’ve never forgotten about that book in all of these years.

  50. Theresa K. (toribo) says:

    Helter Skelter. by Victor Bugliosi was my first Non-fiction Book. Having heard the grown-ups discussing the murders a few years before and been told it would give me nightmares I had to read it. I was captivated by the way anyone could so mindlessly follow someone into murder and madness. Thinking back I wonder if this is way I love the In Death, Alex Cross and other murder mysteries so much. The psychological madness and murder mysteries still captivate me.

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