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Robin McKinley's books were the backbone that gave me hope growing up. Teenage years are particularly hard for book worms with a touch of melancholy. I felt like I understood and fit into the worlds that McKinley created. They were and are excellent for disappearing into. When I felt out of place at school or home, I could always hide in Beauty or The Outlaws of Sherwood.

I wanted to curl up in Beauty's armchair and read Fairy Queen(never mind that I never bothered to read it in real life). I wanted to run my hands along the brocade and jewel dresses that tumbled out of Beauty's wardrobes every night before her banquet suppers with the Beast. I wanted to fight with the invisible maids who wanted to make me beautiful.

I wanted to Marion in the The Outlaws of Sherwood. I wanted to curl up below big trees and fall in love with McKinley's unwitting hero. I wanted to be a better archer than all the other boys, and then get my man in the end.

I love the worlds that McKinley creates in her books. They are special treats, worthy of reading with shortbread and peppermint tea. I felt like they were doors into hidden worlds, like the 12 princesses in The Door in the Hedge. I curl up in bed, open her book, and I am dancing the slippers off my feet.

I believe I always thought something would happen, a destiny would creep up on me, and I would be defending good, making the right choices, and riding horses and fighting dragons. So I fight the cubicle life and hope for something smelling of roses and horses, and imagine myself as a princess in the making...

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