Suzanne Collins means something to me that Louisa May Alcott can’t touch. While Louisa inspired me, encouraged me, gave me the courage to write, Collins saved my life.

When you read the book that changes your life there is a distinct before and after.

Am I crazy saying that? Is it only me? I doubt it. I will never forget where I was, what I was feeling before, and what I was feeling after. It was 2013 and we had finally watched The Hunger Games that summer. Catching Fire came out in November of 2013 and we were quick to go see it. When the movie ended, I decided to read the series. The Hunger Games was the first book I had picked up in close to four years. Our life had been a whirlwind and with two special needs babies to care for I had fallen into major depression. I hadn’t consumed much less produced art in years. I told myself I didn’t have time for it and in reality, I didn’t, but we all know when you neglect yourself you crumble. I was destroyed at that point in my life. I just didn’t know it. I sat in my bed, a warm beverage on my nightstand, devouring the first book in the series.

Different books mean different things to me, The Hunger Games will always mean hope.

I neared the end of the story and read the words that would forever change my life. “You’re not leaving me here alone,” I say. Because if he dies, I’ll never go home, not really. I’ll spend the rest of my life in this arena trying to think my way out.

I read those words and knew what they meant for me, my life had turned upside down and inside out, and I had never left the hospital room where my son was diagnosed. I had been trying to think my way out for years, but I couldn’t. I needed hope again, I needed something bigger than me to hold onto, something bigger to remind me why I was alive. For me, the bigger thing, the thing to keep me going, was writing. That December I started writing my first novel. I haven’t stopped since, I just keep writing, and writing, and writing. It became my dandelion, in so many ways.

What book forever changed your life?