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The beauty of reading and withdrawing from reality

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The crisp pages crinkling as I turn the page, the distinct smell fumes out of each word laid perfectly upon the pages. The binding bends and twists, as does my mind, as I grasp the complex and difficult concepts leaking out, the extravagant diction and syntax bewildering my mind, reeling me in, entrapping my being and acting like a trap, a withdrawal from reality drenched in hardships, and complications that leech off my mental and physical stability.

I haven’t pleasure-read since middle school, meaning I haven’t picked up a book out of wanting to read a novel on my own in years. I used to read books continuously. I would spend the entirety of my free time entranced in a novel. But I seem to have forgotten this hobby, and I honestly do miss it. I miss being able to simply enjoy a read and not be required to be tested for it.

I miss being able to simply enjoy a read and not be required to be tested for it.”

So, I went to Barnes and Noble hoping to find a few books that would push me to go back to reading. As I was browsing around, I fell upon an old treasure, Katie Cotugno and Sarah Dessen. I had read every single one of Dessen’s novels in middle school. Her books were what caused me to fall in love with writing and reading. It’s like a hideout within those pages, my secret little place where I could go and no one would know.

Browsing up and down the aisles, I noticed a Cotugno novel that I haven’t read before, 99 days. I decided to buy the novel and try to find that flicker of light that extinguished a long time ago. I came home from my trip to the shop and placed my new books on my dresser. They sat there for about a week until I was finally able to find free time from the hectic schedule and bottomless pile of assignments and projects.

I pick up the novel 99 days and read, looking at my phone only to notice that four hours has passed by, creating a significant dent within the novel. I was so engaged I didn’t even notice. 99 Days is about a senior, Julia Donnelly, in high school who had to move her junior year due to some gossip and drama (no spoilers). She has to spend her summer, 99 days, within her old town where she struggles with letting go of her past while trying to keep up with the future. She has to make a drastic decision that will make a powerful change in her life. I forgot what it was like to lose yourself within a fictional character, what it was like to forget that they are just that, fictional characters. I disappeared from those pages, intertwining my life within Julia’s. Her situation related so deeply to my life that I honestly couldn’t stop reading. And I didn’t. I finished the novel within a week and continued to grab more novels from my dresser till I had to refill my stock.

99 days served as a reminder of why I loved reading so much. The reality and duality of this novel were unlike any other. 99 days is a must-read for any senior in high school. It will entrap the reader into its world, providing an escape and reflections towards the reader’s own life. I’ve learned from this book that no matter how busy life gets from school, work, and commitments, one needs to find time to take a break and depart from life for a bit.

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