I’m pretty sure the first “real” novel I ever read was The Thorn Birds by Colleen Mcullough. Of course by “real” I mean “grown up”. I read lots of Sweet Valley High and Nancy Drew etc etc but this was the first adult novel I read. I think I was about 12 or 13 at the time. I remember being fascinated by the description of how the beads from her doll’s necklace had disappeared between the blades of grass. The books I read never went into that kind of detail!