The Boys Start The War (1993)

By: Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

The Hatford brothers are devastated to learn that their best friends, the Benson brothers, are moving away from Buckman, West Virginia. But when the Malloy sisters move into the Benson house, the Hatford brothers concoct a scheme to drive the Malloy sisters away and bring the Bensons back.

I’ve read this book series three times over. Naylor is one of my favorite authors of all time. This reading, however, was more for business than pleasure. But I enjoyed it just as much as I did back in the day when I read it the first time. The characters are brilliant, the setting perfectly nostalgic, and the pranks hilarious. Definitely keep this series alive and pass it on to the children in your life. They’ll thank you for it.

The Boys Return (2001)

By: Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

When the Benson brothers come to visit for spring break, all havoc breaks lose as the three Malloy sisters, four Hatford brothers, and five Benson brothers converge.

This was my favorite book in the whole series, by far. I loved the way all the relationships played out, and I was enthralled by the crushes that blossomed. Reading in again, fifteen years later, I still loved it. Like I said, pass this series on to the children in your life. You won’t be disappointed.

Outlander (1991)

By: Diana Gabaldon

I started reading this novel when I was planning my trip to Scotland with my best friend. It follows the story of a WWII-era nurse that gets transported back to eighteenth-century Scotland and falls in with some highlanders. To save her life, she must marry one of the Scotsmen, though she still hopes to return home to her husband and her time.

Though I enjoyed the book when I started reading, I found it was so long, that I wouldn’t be able to finish it before I felt for Scotland. Plus, it was all very long-winded. Personally, I enjoyed watching the TV show more, which suited my needs just fine. That being said, I won’t be watching anything after the first season, given how it ended. But that’s just due to personal tastes about rape being in literature. I understand full well that it was a part of the time period, and is a very serious matter, but I prefer not to read about it.

Other than that, if you’re a fan of the series, of Scotland, of history, and/or of romance, check it out. Jamie and Claire are pretty adorable, and the story is compelling.