Finding happiness in books

Avery Bogemann, Staff Writer

As a kid, I didn’t have many friends. I kept to myself and found comfort in quiet things, such as reading and baking. Longing for the friendships I couldn’t have because I was homeschooled at the time, I found my friends in books. 

The Gallagher Girls is a 6-book series by Ally Carter. (Ally Carter / free use)

The book series that to this day still makes an impact on me is Gallagher Girls. Not many people know of this book series, but as a child, it was my life. It was about a school for spies and a girl named Cammie who felt insecure and just wanted a normal life. Cammie was someone I could relate to, and if I’m being honest, I think she was my first book crush. I adored her and all the stories her character had to tell.

Over the course of the six books in the series, I found stories of love, friendship, and danger. I acted scenes out in my backyard and daydreamed along with my favorite characters. I wrote my own stories with those same characters and ranted to my sister about them. Cammie and her friends were something I ached to have at the time, so reading it was bittersweet at moments when I escaped the world of the Gallagher Academy and found myself still sitting in my room.

A story about a school of spies sounds so childish, but at times, the books took on a more serious tone. I cried for the characters and laughed with them. I shipped Cammie with her love interest Zach and cursed the name of Josh, who was Cammie’s other love interest. It was the first time I joined a fandom and entered a community of people who liked the same thing as me.

There weren’t many people in the fan base since the book series wasn’t big at the time, but any content I could find, I would grasp onto it for dear life. Fanart, fanfics, fan castings. I loved all of it and would share some of it with my sister who was the only other person I could talk about my interests with. 

The book series took me a few weeks to read, and the ending crushed me because there was nothing else. It was the first time something ended and I had no way of stopping it. I had read Percy Jackson before this series, but Percy’s story never ended, he made cameos in other books and had 2 whole book series dedicated to him. Cammie didn’t have that: her story ended with the books. I had nothing left to grasp onto and it made me sad. 

I had felt like these characters were my friends and letting go hurt even though I knew they were fake. To this day, I’ve only read the last book once, because it hurts that much for me to read. I hold this series close to my heart as something that brought me comfort and happiness when I didn’t have many people to give it to me, and its place on my bookshelf will never change.