My early teens were filled with Anne of Green Gables. I don't know why orphans are so appealing to young people, particularly red haired ones, but for some reason I was obsessed.
Anne Shirley, L.M. Montgomery's most well-known character, is a highly imaginative, intelligent girl who ends up in the home of the Cuthberts, aging brothers and sisters who really wanted a boy to help them with their work. Of course, they are won over by Anne, though Marilla is quite disapproving at first. On the TV version Marilla is played by Colleen Dewhurst, whose name was an influence on my Dad's nicknaming Baby "Duforth". Seriously.
The first book is probably the most captivating, and certainly put Prince Edward Island on the map for me. We meet Gilbert Blythe, who obviously has a thing for Anne but is shunned by her for calling her "carrots" upon their first meeting. Anne is so sensitive about her hair color, even though I envied her and even considered dying my hair when I was old enough. (I kept my hair natural, though, and will continue to do so until the greys start taking over. Maybe then I'll go red?) Anne's obsession with puffed sleeves makes the reader sympathetic: she's a bit unusual, which is a good thing, but most teenagers would rather be normal than anything else. I can't read the account of Matthew Cuthbert's death without losing it each time.
Bonnie and I had a little competition regarding Anne. First, who would finish the series first? I did, by a close margin. That sort of thing really doesn't matter to me anymore, but I think I had a little pride, being the older sister. The other issue was who looked more like the actress who played her? Back then, she did: I looked like Napoleon Dynamite. Recently then, someone told me out of the blue that I looked like the actress, and though I wasn't as excited as I would have been 15+ years ago, it was still kind of cool. Though last time I saw her was as an arsonist on Law and Order. Yikes.
I've read most of L.M. Montgomery's books; there's Emily, Marigold, Pat, Jane...but Anne will always be the big one for me.
And how funny was it when she was forbidden to see her "bosom friend" Diana because she'd accidentally made her drunk?