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. Wow, really 14 years. I remember when I found this website. I think I was among some of the first. It was wonderful to be able to trade books. Life got busy and I don’t get to read the way I would like, but you are still my go to for information about books.

    My favorite books when I was 14 were historical novels and biographies. Basically I have not changed, I still love those. I remember reading about Thomas Edison, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and presidents, love biographies about presidents from the past. Does anyone remember Cheaper by the Dozen, that book changed my life, LOL. Button from the bottom up for efficiency.

    Thank you Paperbackswap. Great idea 14 years ago and still a great idea!

  2. Tanya S. (tbsmart) says:

    When I was 14 love to read, still do. I really enjoyed Stephen King’s books. IT was and is a great read! Way better than the movie!

  3. Pamela L. (grandpam) , says:

    Wow, I come from a family of readers, lovers of books. We have continued this tradition with our daughters and now our granddaughter. I have a Kindle…but I do so love the smell and feel of a “real” book. When I was fourteen I already knew I loved a good mystery. I had devoured Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew. By chance I found an Agatha Christie book on the library shelves and thus developed a life long dedication to all things mystery. Not blood-riddled, scary (only slightly) mysteries, but English Countryside Mysteries, Southern mysteries, a good Regency mystery; well, just about any well-written good plot and characters mystery.

  4. Teresa P. (nonickname) says:

    I remember enjoying Fifteen by Beverly Cleary when I was 14. I was not allowed to date, but this book helped me to dream of the day I would. I also enjoyed Cleary’s Sister of the Bride. Fun, funny, touching character-driven books. Loved them.

  5. Terry H. (lilbyrd) , says:

    When I was 14 I didn’t like to read. That meant sitting still inside. If my mom would have let me take a book with me into the tree I would have read. I started reading when I was in my mid 20s. Now I read a lot! I love PBS.

  6. Joann B. (HuskerJoann) says:

    I loved the movie Princess Bride when I was 14 and read the book abridged by William Goldman. The book was so much better than the movie, and I know I read it many times that fall.

  7. Jessica C. says:

    I remember exactly where I was when I learned of PBS…..I was sitting in a cafe in Taos, NM, on a business trip, and happened to pick up a little local magazine which had an article that mentioned PBS. A website where I can trade books? That seemed like magic! I wrote it down and took that note home, and have been a member ever since. Happy 14! I sure appreciate this website and all the people who make it happen.

    When I was 14 (appropriate right?), a history teacher assigned us The Walking Drum, an epic historical saga by Louis L’Amour. It’s an engrossing, globetrotting adventure, entirely different than L’Amour’s typical westerns. I told my father about it, and next thing I knew, he was reading it, too. It remains a “top 5 books of all time” for both of us.

  8. Ana S. (sol28) says:

    Happy fourteen, it has been amazing love the website. When I was fourteen or around there I was reading Homecoming by Cynthia Voight. It gave an interesting prospect in terms of being a teenager and what would you do on your own, the character had siblings with her so it was good example of leadership and responsibility. With the character you felt as she did not knowing what would happen next. Anyways books were my companions on those days. Good luck.

  9. Nicole P. (phscskitty) says:

    I was pretty obsessed with Sweet Valley High. My favorite was probably “The Wakefield Legacy.” Kind of embarrassing now.

  10. Stefi W. says:

    Yay 14!!! My favorite was all the Nancy Drew mystery books! They ignited my love for mysteries and spy dramas. I was also probably reading VC Andrews as well…and staying up well past my bedtime to freak myself out! Ah, to be 14 again….

    Congrats on 14 years! Love this service.

  11. Donna B. (beckhamdd) , says:

    When I was 14, Nancy Drew was the rage in young girls’ books, but my favorites were the books of another mystery series – the Beverly Gray mysteries. The first one in the series was Beverly Gray, Freshman. In it, she began her mystery solving during her freshman year in college. When you hear that the 2nd book in the series was entitled Beverly Gray, Sophomore, you can probably guess the titles of the next 2 books. After that, though, book titles became more enticing: Beverly Gray’s Quest, Beverly Gray in the Orient, etc.

  12. Finly K. says:

    When I was 14 my favorite book was probably I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. I was very much into science fiction, and I liked to read the classics.

  13. Samantha T. (sammyg) , says:

    I loved anything by V.C. Andrews. I would say Flowers on the Attic was one of my favorites.

  14. Jannene A. (jannenemarie) says:

    When I was 14, I didn’t read. In fact, I started reading when my nephew turned 10 (I was in my late 30s) and was struggling to read. I bought him the Rangers Apprentice series and read them along with him. (A great series for parents looking to buy something for their tween.) This was eight years ago and we still read a books together. Enough about him though, I listened to my teacher reading us a book in homeroom class and it was Where the Red Fern Grows. I loved that book even though it made me cry. I always looked forward to her reading the book to us.

  15. Annie C. (annie18thc) says:

    Perhaps younger than 14, I read my favorite childhood book; _Rifles for Watie_ by Harold Keith. I loved the Civil War, but this book gave great insight on the Missouri/Kansas conflict, and Native Americans involved in the war.
    My mother did not approve of such an unfeminine book, and a friend had to defend me for reading it. (Mom encouraged romances). Today I still read history and non-fiction predomimately. PSB has been such a blessing. Thank you for all the work, volunteering, etc. It is much appreciated.

  16. MICHELLE B. (shellbovee) says:

    When I was 14, I started to dive into true crime books (where were my parents! haha). I remember reading ‘Doc: The rape of the town of Lovell’ by Jack Olsen and ‘Chop Shop’ by Kathy Braidhill. I was horrified yet fascinated and was from then on True Crime was cemented as my favorite genre of books.

  17. Karen K. says:

    When I was 14 I was reading anything I could get my hands on! I remember reading The Wolfen -just getting to the climax (reading by flashlight late at night i my bed) when I heard tapping on my bedroom window (and I was on the second floor!). I had come home from babysitting and locked my brother out – he was throwing rocks at my window!

  18. Cynthia W. (cindywiser) says:

    Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell was one I probably read at about 14, I’d say. Like most other PBS-ers, I have read in every spare moment for most of my life. Happy Birthday, PBS!

  19. Cameron-Ashley H. (BigGreenChair) says:

    OMG OMG it has to be Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes published in 1962. I was 14 and had NEVER read a ‘science fiction/fantasy’ book before and didn’t even know they existed..I was so blown away, it’s about two 13 yr old best friends and while nowadays considered a dark fantasy, I didn’t understand all about genres back then–I just knew it consumed my imagination and after that I had to read anything he put out..it started me writing my own short stories trying to BE like Ray Bradbury…only shared them with my parents but loved entering that part of my imagination. Prior to that I’d only read good youth books of the time, 14 a week checked out of my library but they were all G-family rated and the wildest they’d gotten up to then were Tarzan books by Edgar Rice Burroughs which I also loved and devoured.

  20. Desmond W. (desmond) says:

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams.

    Back in the day, MTV was kind of like a radio station; it really just showed videos all day, with very little interruption, and almost no actual programming. When I was about 14, that changed: at 7 PM was the game show Remote Control, hosted by the late Ken Ober and featuring Colin Quinn, Adam Sandler, and others. But at 7:30 were reruns of an amazing show called Monty Python’s Flying Circus. I had never seen anything like it before. I was talking about it with a friend at school, who said, “If you like that, check out this book.” He actually had it on him.

    Douglas Adams, and Monty Python, showed me that there was a weird, wild world of humor out there that was an alternative to the sitcoms and comics pages of the day, and I’ve always been grateful.

  21. Melissa M. (steubenvillechick) says:

    When I was 14, I was starting to read Gothic Romances from Victoria Holt and I loved “Christy” and “Julie” from Catherine Marshall. I guess the hormones were acting up! Happy Birthday PBS!

  22. Erin B. says:

    When I was around fourteen I was assigned to read Jane Eyre. I didn’t want to read it because it seemed like such a girly book and I was a tomboy, but I ended up falling in love with Mr. Rochester just like Jane.

  23. Marie T. (majtak) says:

    My favorite book at 14 was “The Prince Commands” by Andre Norton. At the time I was still in love with fairy tales and this was an updated expanded tale with a touch of humor. I got it from my public library and must have read it 20 times before I had to return it.

  24. Sandra D. (bonnealyce) says:

    Cheaper By The Dozen!

  25. Johnitta M. (sapphirelf) says:

    My favorite book is Arrows of the Queen (Heralds of Valdemar, Bk 1) by Mercedes Lackey. Found it on the free shelf at school back in the 90s and have been in love with the Valdemar books ever since. I’ve always found the books to be a perfect blend of good/bad emotions and situations. Some stories are a little more tragic than others, but for the most part they have a well balanced and happy ending.

  26. Corri G. (corlyssa) says:

    When I was 14, I read The Scarlet Pimpernel by the Baroness Orczy for the first time. The scene where he kisses the ground where her footsteps were brought me to tears. Still one of the best books ever!

  27. t02s03b11d20 says:

    Has to be Gone With The Wind. My grandmother took myself and I friend to see the movie, and we immediately fell in love with Rhett Butler. We had to run out and buy the book so we could experience everything all over again.

  28. Sue S. (stak) says:

    Wow,14 was a long time ago. I remember loving series mysteries. Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden and all the Clara Barton books. No surprise I wanted to and became a nurse.

  29. Pennie S. (minipennie) says:

    Wihen I was fourteen I remember loving A Tree Grows in Brooklyn as one of my favorite books.

  30. Pennie S. (minipennie) says:

    When I was fourteen I remember loving the book A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

  31. Leslie L says:

    Judy Blume’s Forever. It was the book to read in high school. All my friends read and it was topic of conversation all the time!

  32. Jean G. (bernerlover) says:

    “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”. I felt like I was reading a grownup story. My very conservative mother didn’t approve but my aunt and female cousins read it and thought it was great reading.

  33. Jill R. lionjill says:

    When I was 14, I loved Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell. I still love it to this day. I read it differently now, with a larger understanding of the times in which it was written. I can still get lost in the story of Scarlett and Melanie, Rhett and Ashley. I now know more about the Civil War, so I can feel that horror much more. I can now see the blatant stereotypes for what they are – and can see how important the discussion of this can make us all have better understanding. I still struggle with Scarlett and as I read the last few pages, I still wish for a happier ending for them all. That a book can affect me so profoundly 40+ years and multiple reading later is a testament to this amazing book.

  34. starman says:

    I read Stephen King’s CUJO when I was 13 or 14. I remember realizing how unusual and interesting it was to have a book where almost everything took place in a small setting (inside a car).

  35. Rebecca R. (abeccapug) says:

    The Flowers in the Attic Series by V.C. Andrews. My grandmother introduced me to the series. I loved it. I would read every chance I got. I used to get into trouble because I would stay up all night just to finish it. It is about siblings that return with their mother to their grandparents home after their father’s death. Their grandfather didn’t like their father, so their mother was estranged from her parents. They agreed to help her as long as there were no children as a result of her marriage. So the mom and grandmother hide the children in the mansions attic. They are left in the attic for a long time. When the kids question what is going on, they are fed poison. The youngest child dies. The rest of the kids escape. The subsequent books explain what happens to the children as they grow up and the revenge they seek against their mother and grandmother.

  36. Brittney Y. (lunakat805) says:

    When I was 14, I was reading Clan of the Cavebear… probably a touch graphic for my age, but I loved the series.

  37. Rachel M. (booksrthebest) says:

    At 14, I was horse crazy. My favorite book at that time was “Comanche: Story of America’s Most Heroic Horse”. I read that book at least four times. While some of the story was fictional, it fascinated me as being told from the horse’s vantage point.

  38. Audrey J. (crafty-ace) says:

    At age 14, I liked the Replica series of books by Marilyn Kaye. Book #1 of the Replica book series “Amy, Number Seven” would be the one I listed as my favorite. She’s learning she’s a genetically modified clone and learning all these really cool skills because she’s coming of age, just like I was, but not to the crazy spectacular degree that she was, of course. It made me want to try learning lots of things, so it was inspirational to me.

  39. Leanne E. (dmbfan68) says:

    At 14 i was reading The Diary of Ann Frank, Books were an escape from reality until I read this book, it changed me forever, by the way I see people and how I view the world. Books have been and always will be an amazing adventure so close to home.

  40. Valerie G. (vgebhardt10) says:

    East of Eden by John Steinbeck

  41. Debbie S. (lovesyeshua) says:

    Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. I was into poetry and Silverstein’s poems where fun to read.

  42. Rebecca L. (bookwormgirl) says:

    Wow! Happy 14th Birthday PaperbackSwap! I remember when I was 14 my interests were horses and pets, so my favorite books involved those animals and other creatures great and small. My go to books were the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley(?).

  43. Cathy G. says:

    when I was 14, I had mostly stopped reading science fiction and fantasy and was primarily reading mysteries. However, I’m pretty sure 14 was when I discovered The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. I loved that book. I was attracted to it first by the cover. While I’m pretty sure the standard edition at that time was the one using a picture from the animated movie, I found my copy in a used bookstore and it had the Ballantine cover. In terms of the story, I loved Molly Grue as a character, I loved that the wizard had a Yiddish name, and Peter Beagle is an amazing storyteller. Since then I’ve read pretty much everything he’s ever written and I’ve even met him in person at a science fiction convention and got to talk to him for around half an hour.

    In terms of mysteries, my favorite authors at the time were Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh. It’s impossible to pick just one book by either author. However, at 14 I favored Ms. Marple over Hercule Poirot, and my favorite Mr. Marple book has always been A Murder is announced. I live the depiction of village life, the cast of characters, the happily ever after given to the two young couples and the fact that everything needed to solve the mystery was on the page.

  44. Kelly C. says:

    I wish I had found PBS when it started 14 years ago. I have always been a reader and had discovered Harlequin Books by 14 so I read those like crazy and there were bookstores that traded books so I traded them much like PBS but in a physical store. I think the book I remember most at 14 was Forever by Judy Blume. I remember there was one copy and everyone was passing it off in the lunchroom. Looking forward to the next 14 years with Paperback swap!

  45. Peggy F. (Joysong) says:

    Little Women by Louisa May Alcott was my favorite at age 14. Happy Birthday PBS!!

  46. Susan R. says:

    My grandmother started me on great books called “The Little Peppers”. I read “The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew” and I was hooked. Thanks Grammie!

  47. Carole says:

    Happy 14th birthday

    I read all the classics:
    a tree grows in Brooklyn
    The outsiders
    To kill a mockingbird
    Anne of green gables

    Plus anything by Charles dickens, the bronte’s and Shakespeare’s plays

  48. @tesolgeek says:

    So, when I was around 14, that puts me in junior high, and I have to say the book I read that was probably my favorite book was Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire. When I mention this book, most people go, “Oh what is that about?” Then I say it was a Star Wars book. Then they say, “Oh,” again… but in a different tone. Somehow it is not literature if it is a Star Wars book.

    But, no matter how old I get, that book will always be the one that stays on my top 10 list, when others come and go. Why? Because, in a very real way, that book not only changed my life, it saved me, in a way. As many of us know, adolescence can be a very unhappy time. I went through a point where I felt lost and friendless and let’s say many other dark and lonely emotions.

    Well, the book came out and, my mother, who is usually into murder mysteries, happened to pick it up, just because everyone was talking about it, because it was the first authorized Star Wars novel outside of the original novels that had been released around the time of the movies. And, it was supposed to continue the story. So, I guess it sounded like a good book to read because everyone was talking about it.

    Well, I was a reader, but not one by choice; I was a reader by advantage. If I read books for school, I could earn those free pizza coupons from “Book It!” and I could get a good grade in class. But noting I read inspired me to read more.

    Mom happened to grab that book when we went on a road trip, and I happened to forget the books I was supposed to read for school for the summer. And, lacking smartphones in the 90s, there was absolutely nothing for me to do on that long car ride, so, I took the book out of her bag out of sheer boredom and started to read.

    My life was never the same. Turns out, I was into science fiction, big time, and I had just never happened upon a sci-fi book. Reading sci-fi from then on out also led me to fantasy, which I adore.

    However, not only did it lead me to books I love, but it also gave me a world to live in. For a period of about 3 years (mostly the end of junior high and a little bit of high school) I lived in the world of Star Wars. It was a place where I could “go” that had familiar faces and stories, good people who were doing good things, and a world where good guys won. After high school started, real life and a love of sci-fi led me to others who loved it too, and I made friends and started “living” in the real world.

    But it also led me to science, and to studying science and technology at university. It also led me to a love of reading, and I actually spent a few years in a library as a Media Specialist, too.

    So, yeah, maybe it is a Star Wars book, and maybe it isn’t the epitome of literature, but it was a key turning point in my life. So, I will have you know, while other books have come and gone and have been traded away at some point, many on this website, that original copy still is there, on the shelf, and it’s one that I won’t be swapping… sorry!

  49. Maureen (Missy1019) says:

    When I was 14 I was reading the Sweet Valley High series and enjoyed following the Wakefield twins and their high school adventures. Wow I can’t believe I still remember that far back: it feels so far away.

  50. Mary Pat W. (Reni) says:

    My favorite book I read at the age of 14 was To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This book opened my eyes to the world beyond my little world. Many years later it is still my favorite book.

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