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#1 Edited by Rainbowkisses (472 posts) -

No, not Harry Potter. Not Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Not a Series of Unfortunate Events. These are books (or book series) that are less well known. Some book you found at the library as a child without any prior knowledge of it. A book most haven't heard of.

The one that sticks out the most to me is "Into the Candlelit Room"

I found it at my school library. Without reading the inside of the jacket or even looking at the title page I started reading.

Incase you want to track down the book for yourself, I made a spoiler block.

The story is told through the journal entries of a young boy. He lives with a his low income family, dealing with the death of his mother. He runs into an elderly man who recently runs into town. They get along fairly well and the boy helps the man around his house, which is the titular candlelit room.

The two of them quickly begin bonding. The man gives him a diary to write in, which the boy uses to explain the current experience. They discuss the boy's family and his deceased mother. He decides to bring over a picture of his mother to show the man. When he take it back home and puts it back in the frame the parent notice the picture looks like it's damaged on the sides. The boy lies but is unsure of why that is.

The boy continues to help the man, despite his family's wishes. He helps him organize books, which seem to be written in some strange foreign language. Eventually one night the man asks the boy to help him. The boy begins to lead him around until they go into one building. The elderly man's skin begins to burn as he bursts into flame, after having entered the church.

The boy realized that the man was reading his thoughts through his diary entries and that the language in the books was not of any human civilization. He was some entity from hell.

I noticed I wasn't very far into the book. I turned to the title page and saw "Into the Candlelit Room and Other Tales" I read the inside jacket. This was a collection of horror stories. This lack of knowledge made this one of the most shocking endings that I could possibly imagine. There was something special knowing that such a moment could rarely be repeated. Few people probably experience that book the way I did.

So what are some obscure books you remember fondly as a child.

#2 Posted by gaminghooligan (1465 posts) -

When I was 14 I read a book called Vampire High by Douglas Rees, and apparently it became a Canadian tv series. I remember it being a cool take on vampires and it came out before the whole twilight fiasco, so the vampires still had a little edge to them.

#3 Edited by Rainbowkisses (472 posts) -

@gaminghooligan: That kind of reminds me of the Bailey School Kids books, though probably BSK is geared towards a much younger audience. That series was a hit when I was a kid but no one talks about it anymore.

#4 Edited by Laiv162560asse (487 posts) -

I didn't realise just how obscure my choice was until I tried to search for it. Anyway it's 'The Pool' by T.S. Rue, part of the short Nightmare Inn series. A swimming pool is haunted. You don't want to swim in there.

I read this at around age 10 or 11 but I'm pretty certain this was a book meant for mid- or later teens. It freaked me the fuck out and I found it hard to forget about. This was probably the first horror novel I ever read, although it wasn't too long after that I found my mum's stash of James Herbert novels. Piranhas that materialise out of nowhere are pretty freaky, but they don't compare to the grimness of an old man having half his head hacksawed off in a care home ('Moon', RIP Mr. Herbert).

#5 Posted by gaminghooligan (1465 posts) -

@rainbowkisses: totally. I read a shit load of BSK books in elementary school, in fact I think I still have some in a box at my parents. Book fairs were the realest.

#6 Posted by Inkerman (1452 posts) -

There was a series of Harry Potter esque books, but a bit edgier (IMO), the Charlie Bone series, which I quite liked, about kids who had magical abilities (but they were singular, as in one power per person), IIRC Charlie's was the ability to see the past through objects, and later on travel there. Also the Golden Armour series was also really good, but at the same time a bit weird because it seemed to have a hell of a lot of backstory that went unused.

#7 Posted by Demoskinos (15019 posts) -

Any dumb horror book I could get my hands on. I was really into Goosebumps and all the spin off series from that as well as watching "Are you afraid of the dark" on Nickelodeon at the time.

#8 Posted by Zecks23 (157 posts) -

I don't believe it's obscure but my favorite book as a kid was definitely The Phantom Tollbooth

#9 Posted by Hailinel (25179 posts) -

I forget the author, but I once read this book called The Train. It was about a class of high school students that take a trip on a train when a homicidal maniac starts attacking them. I don't remember much of it, other than a particularly silly moment when the class is watching Terminator 2 in a car with seats set up for a viewing. At the end, everyone but one guy stands up to leave and the guy just sits there and says, "I think I've been stabbed." Sure enough, there's like an ice pick or something jammed through the back of his seat into his upper back. And his reaction is to just sit there like getting stabbed in the back is the most nonchalant thing that can happen.

#10 Posted by joshthebear (2700 posts) -

Any dumb horror book I could get my hands on. I was really into Goosebumps and all the spin off series from that as well as watching "Are you afraid of the dark" on Nickelodeon at the time.

Yes and yes. Any and every Goosebumps and "Are You Afraid of the Dark" were pretty much a given.

#11 Posted by Rainbowkisses (472 posts) -

@demoskinos: Goosebumps books were entertaining but occasionally it felt like R.L. Stine just wanted to put something on paper. Attack of the Jack-O-Lanterns was especially guilty of this, going through 3 different story ideas throughout the course of a thin chapter book. The give yourself goosebumps books were amazing though.

A Corner of the Universe was a pretty memorable teen drama. It dealt with a young girl's relationship with her mentally challenged uncle. I remember crying at the ending.

#12 Posted by MariachiMacabre (7099 posts) -

I don't know if they'd be considered Young Adult (however there's some graphic violence in them FOR SURE) but I always LOVED the Redwall series as a kid. Absolutely loved them.

#13 Posted by believer258 (12000 posts) -

I remember liking Stormbreaker a whole lot as a kid. I don't know if it holds up but it certainly entertained me then.

#14 Edited by Demoskinos (15019 posts) -

@demoskinos: Goosebumps books were entertaining but occasionally it felt like R.L. Stine just wanted to put something on paper. Attack of the Jack-O-Lanterns was especially guilty of this, going through 3 different story ideas throughout the course of a thin chapter book. The give yourself goosebumps books were amazing though.

A Corner of the Universe was a pretty memorable teen drama. It dealt with a young girl's relationship with her mentally challenged uncle. I remember crying at the ending.

Oh yeah I'd never try to make a claim that they were quality at all.

#15 Edited by DFL017 (141 posts) -
#16 Posted by MariachiMacabre (7099 posts) -

@dfl017 said:

@mariachimacabre: Redwall was awesome. They still hold up too.

They absolutely do. I loved that series so much as a kid that I'll admit to crying when I heard he passed away. He and J.K. Rowling are responsible for my love of reading.

#17 Posted by Zella (774 posts) -

No idea how obscure it is but I fucking loved the book Hatchet back when I was 10 or 12. I didn't read many young adult books, I only read a couple meant for that age range then pretty quickly just starting read straight up fiction thanks to my grandfather. Never really had interest in reading stories like Harry Potter or Narnia or whatever, I found they just felt too dumbed down when I was a pretty advanced reader for my age(was reading stuff like The Godfather back in grade 6 or 7). It does distance me from most of my friends though when it comes to talking about what we read cause while they talk about reading stuff like Book Thief and Harry Potter back in elementary/middle school I was reading shit like The Hannibal series and beginning to read historical fiction such as the Conqueror series. I also disliked how they often tried to impart life lessons and shit, I treat reading like I treat TV, Cinema, and Games, to be entertained and possibly learn some irrelevant knowledge(obviously less so when it comes to gaming).

#19 Edited by Rorie (3117 posts) -
Staff
#20 Edited by MoltenBoron (89 posts) -

For a while, my favorite book was 'Dogland' by Will Shetterly. I originally thought it was gonna be a pretty nice story about a dog-based tourist trap, but ended up being about some fairly complex racial and social issues in the rural south. It still has dogs in it, and they totally kill racist assholes. So that's cool.

#21 Posted by takayamasama (442 posts) -

Animorphs. The whole series was great, had em all. And those covers! Tripping my 6 year old mind out.

#22 Edited by Blu3V3nom07 (4235 posts) -

I've thought about re-buying some shameful books from Kindle, from this wonderful thread..

Anyway: The Chronicles of Narnia, Holes, Night, Where the Red Fern Grows, Max the Mighty, Superfudge, Wayside School is Falling, Beware of Kissing Lizard Lips

#23 Posted by thomasnash (579 posts) -

I don't know how obscure it is, but I remember Brother in the Land having a significant effect on me as a young teenager (I think I read it the first time when I was about 12). It's a post-apocalyptic thing set in Britain, thoroughly depressing. It contributed to a lasting terror of the possibility of nucular war, which is probably the point. I remember liking it because it reminded me of fallout 2.

That's actually the only young adult book I can remember reading, although I'm sure I did read others. I read a lot of Redwall books. I went through a phase of reading a lot of RA Salvatore books; I even had hardcovers of a couple of the later Drizzt books that I got when they came out. I guess I remember them fondly, but I was thinking about reading them again but as I read some of the synopses on wikipedia I realised how totally stupid they sounded. This was especially with the Cadderly books, which I remembered being fairly sensible, but reading up on them they sound like the dumbest shit ever.

#24 Edited by coaxmetal (1641 posts) -

I read a whole lot of the redwall books too. I think that's what got me interested in reading, really. Not sure those count as obscure though.

My favorite "young adult" fiction, though perhaps for a bit older demographic than Harry Potter and Redwall, was (and still is, I just reread them an they are fantastic), Garth Nix's Abhorsen Trilogy (Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen). Those are great.

Also I read Dune in 5th grade, that was formative. Not young adult or obscure though.

#25 Edited by ArbitraryWater (11918 posts) -

I remember liking the Seventh Tower series quite a bit as a lad, though by middle school I was already starting to get into the dark hole of actual fantasy written for adults. Looking back, most of the Shanarra books are kind of dumb, aren't they?

EDIT: Also Redwall, though I drifted off of those books once I realized that they all had very, very, very similar plots, almost frighteningly so.

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#26 Edited by Sanitysend (82 posts) -

artemis fowl :D

#27 Posted by Red (5995 posts) -

I read a lot from ages 7-10, but then slowed down throughout my later years. Looking back, though, I now realize the books I read when I was a kid were far closer to my current tastes in entertainment than music, TV or movies. I read a lot of the Series of Unfortunate Events and Wayside School books, which have a similar quirkiness and occasionally bleak irony to the stuff I enjoy now. I guess because books were a more private thing, I could just read things I innately enjoyed, instead of having to worry about whether doing something make me look cool.

#28 Posted by HarlechQuinn (450 posts) -

Probably not that obscure or young adult, but as I kid I was really into Edgar Wallace novels, especially "The Ringer" and "The Gaunt Stranger".

#29 Posted by BigMike (36 posts) -

It's kind of stupid but as a kid I freaked out when I saw these on at the book fairs at school...

#30 Edited by zFUBARz (636 posts) -

@laivasse: I vaguely remember reading that.

Anyway I have a pretty good memory for books from those years, I'd say Phantom Tollbooth, a lot of Gary Paulson (specifically The Hatchet), A Wrinkle In Time i remember fascinating me, The Girl Who Owned A City was a surprisingly fun book i was forced to read in school. I'd read most Douglas Adams work by about 10 or 11 but that's not really so obscure. There was a short lived series called gooflumps, they were a comedic take on the goosbumps series, about vomit and farts and such, pretty funny when I was like 9.

Way more that aren't coming to mind right now, I'd have to go home and dig through my moms library, woman never throws anything out.

#31 Edited by IcedWhale (53 posts) -

Time for Andrew, and The Transall Saga would be pretty high on my list

#32 Posted by Arbie (1449 posts) -

Any dumb horror book I could get my hands on. I was really into Goosebumps and all the spin off series from that as well as watching "Are you afraid of the dark" on Nickelodeon at the time.

Pretty much this. I'm sure I also read a series called Spinechillers, or something like that.

#33 Posted by Milkman (17034 posts) -

This isn't a young adult book but I didn't really read many of those as a kid. (I was way into a Series of Unfortunate Events, though.) If I was reading anything as a kid, I was much more interested in reading stuff like Classy Freddie Blassie's autobiography or something.

But I do remember that there was some book of horror short stories that I used to read all the time as a kid. I forget what it was called but that shit was legitimately scary. I remember it had these really creepy illustrations too. Wish I could remember the name.

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#34 Edited by notdavid (840 posts) -

I loved the FUCK out of the Silverwing trilogy as a kid. I would read anything with sentient talking animals (Redwall, Guardians of Ga'hoole, etc), but Silverwing, Sunwing, and Firewing all seemed significantly darker and more violent than the other stuff. I still feel a little something when I think about the conclusion.

I was a shitty judge of quality as a kid, so it probably sucked.

#35 Posted by biggiedubs (499 posts) -

I read Pig-Heart Boy as a kid, which I think was alright.

The title kinda gives away the plot though, really.

#36 Posted by KingOfAsh (51 posts) -

My favourite YA books are Mortal Engines Quartet and Chaos Walking.

#37 Posted by Sinusoidal (1661 posts) -

I don't know if it's obscure since the author recently won a Hugo and a Nebula, but Paolo Bacigalupi's "Ship Breaker" is a great YA novel.

#38 Edited by BaneFireLord (2952 posts) -

Dunno if it's actually "obscure," per se, but I read the fuck out of the Artemis Fowl books when I was younger. I think literally every page of my copy of the first one in the series has been dogeared at least once.

#39 Posted by EquitasInvictus (2036 posts) -

Remnants by K.A. Applegate, who apparently also wrote the Animorphs books, which I surprisingly haven't read.

It's basically about this group of young men and women who are basically launched into space on life support to enable the survival of the human race as an asteroid is about to wipe out all life on Earth. It starts out pretty promising but I feel like the series of books get waaay out there later on in the series, which is probably why I haven't read past the first four. Nevertheless it was definitely a great book for me when I was in elementary school since it basically helped me understand some more mature topics.

#40 Posted by PatODay (223 posts) -

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card is a great book and one I find myself going back to at least once a year. The rest of the series isn't so great and it is loaded with religious undertones which, I feel detracts from what started out a fantastic sci-fi series.

I don't know that I recommend reading the book if you have any interest at all in seeing the movie when it comes out in November. I'm a little hesitant as to how true to the book the movie will be.

#41 Edited by HerpDerp (133 posts) -

I dig the Redwall love going on here :D

The most I remember is the Pendragon books, it lasted most of my entire teenage years(2001 - 2010), so I kinda grew with them, good books, but I feel like the author ran out of ideas by book 8. The villain became a decidedly less interesting character, more cliched, although that may have just been me getting better standards.

#42 Posted by Smuglittleman (59 posts) -

I don't know how obscure it is but I love Lois Lowry's Number the Stars.

#43 Edited by EvilNiGHTS (1093 posts) -

Point Horror was pretty popular when I was in high school, and another RL Stine stomping ground, but I don't really look back on them with that much reverence. In fact, Call Waiting had one of the worst end of chapter cliffhangers I have ever seen committed to paper.

#44 Edited by leftie68 (215 posts) -

The Only Young Adult books I got into were Goosebumps. By the time I was 14 I was reading Stephen King books alot. But I do have very found memories of Judy Blume's Fudge Series when I was a kid. Who didn't love "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing", or "Super Fudge"?

#45 Posted by Cyrus_Saren (536 posts) -

I do not think it was really obscure but I remember loving the hell out of the Encyclopedia Brown books. I also enjoyed The Chorincles of Prydain series, specifically The Black Cauldron. I often wonder how well it holds up.

#46 Edited by Aegon (5706 posts) -

The Bartimaeus Trilogy is great. One of my favourites.

Also as some have said, Artemis foul. I read the first four of those books. I remember enjoying them quite a bit.

Something that's a bit more obscure is the Children of the Red King series which was quite interesting and a fun read when I was a kid, but I never went past the first 3 books.

#47 Posted by jaycrockett (469 posts) -

@cyrus_saren: Chronicles of Prydan still totally holds up.

#48 Posted by TheVeteran13 (1210 posts) -

The Alex Rider series, they were like a young adult James Bond stories.

#49 Edited by Nivash (241 posts) -

I have no idea what they were called - or if they were even a series - but I remember reading through my dad's old Young Adult books at about 10-12 years old sometimes when I was at my grandparents house. My dad was born around the mid 50s but I get the impression that he probably bought said books at around the same age too because they were strictly 60s style boy's fiction: Cowboys & Indians, hard men like soldiers or astronauts doing hard manly things, teen boys outsmarting violent criminals and thugs in surprisingly violent ways, that sort of thing.

Me and my dad are both Swedish, born and bred, but those books were clearly translations from the American market which was apparent even for me at the time - characters all had American names and they were clearly set in the US, or in US set-pieces like the Pacific theater of war. They being translated and re-released might also be a a possibility as to why the content might have "lagged" a few years and been more McCarthy sixties than Flower Power sixties.

Hardly literary masterpieces any of them, but fun reads none the less. I think the only one I can remember by name was one book that belonged in the BIggles series. That one was obviously British in origin rather than American, but the time and mindset was pretty much the same: Manly books to make boys grow up to be Manly Men. To fight the Commies. Or possibly the Japs. Sure as hell to fight someone, no doubt about that.

#50 Posted by TheFreeMan (2712 posts) -

@milkman said:

But I do remember that there was some book of horror short stories that I used to read all the time as a kid. I forget what it was called but that shit was legitimately scary. I remember it had these really creepy illustrations too. Wish I could remember the name.

I'm thirty days late, but I'm willing to bet that this was Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Those illustrations were fuckin' terrifying.