19 Years, 19 Books

So… I turned 19 yesterday. It’s kind of that weird age when you don’t know whether you’re still allowed to call yourself a teenager or whether you’re expected to be an adult. I mean, I still don’t know how to cook myself a meal without almost burning down my house and I can’t be trusted to go into a bookshop alone, but hey! In society’s eyes, I’m considered an adult — and that freaks me out.

But now’s not the time for an existential crisis! It’s not the time to think about all the things I haven’t achieved on my time on this planet! I don’t want to think that I’m probably a quarter of the way to my death, or that I might actually die tomorrow, or the world might get engulfed by a solar flare while I sleep tonight, or another war might start while I’m binging Brooklyn Nine-Nine… but let’s not talk about that!

Instead, today I want to reminisce on my nineteen years on this planet by sharing my top read of each year, compared to what was a popular YA book at the time! Are you following me? You’ll pick it up. Just go with it. It’ll be fun, I promise.Read More »

Why I Love Pop Culture References

Pop culture references in books has been something that’s been on my mind for quite a while now, and it’s something I’m starting to pay a lot more attention to than I used to. As contemporary is my favourite genre, most of the books I read have at least some references to things in popular culture, whether that be TV shows, music, or social media. What I love most about these references is that it so clearly ties a book to a time period, and I think that’s a good thing. However, some people don’t feel the same.

I was recently on Goodreads, looking at reviews for a book I can’t even remember now. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Goodreads is often regarded as the cesspool of bloggers and reviewers, where people are hated on for disliking books, liking books, and even just thinking they were average. You can’t have your own opinion on Goodreads, apparently.

But anyway, I saw that one reader disliked a book because it had pop culture references. And that reason for disliking something puzzled me. I can understand that sometimes these references aren’t seamlessly inserted into the narrative or they feel forced, like the author’s trying to appear ‘cool’ in the eyes of teens. But most of the references I’ve come across felt authentic and definitely improved the novel in my eyes, giving it a depth in ways that books devoid of any links to specific time periods don’t have.Read More »

Writers in YA

I’ve always had a special connection with books that include characters who love to write or enjoy reading. Part of me thinks that’s because bookish people are some of the most passionate, kind, hardworking people there are, and I want to read about those sorts of people. But really, I think the main reason is because, as a reader and a writer (what a surprise) I’m able to connect with these characters and see a piece of myself within them. As readers and writers, we’re all connected. There’s something about the love of books and the written word that ties us all together — the adoration of stories and storytelling is something we all grow up on, and the ones that keep this passion throughout adulthood have a sense of creativity and empathy that might not be as prominent in other people. So you, as a reader or a writer, are spectacular. That’s what I’m trying to say.

It’s amazing to open a book and be able to see a part of yourself on the page — whether that be represented through your cultural identity, your sexual orientation, your disabilities, your neurodiveristy, or even something seemingly as simple as your passions or interests. It’s so important that readers, especially teens and young adults, are able to see a part of themselves in what they read, because seeing people like yourself is something that shows your identity or who you are is valid. You matter, and as a reader, you deserve to see people like you in the books that you read. That’s why reading diversely and supporting #OwnVoices is so important — to show young people that they matter.

I could go on and on about my identity as a neurodivergent queer cis woman and how I see myself represented in what I read, but today I want to talk about a different part of my identity — my identity as a writer. I love reading about writers and content creators more than anything, specifically because those are the people I identify with and those are the things I want to be doing with my life: writing and creating other cool content. To me, if you hand me a book with a good writer character that I can either want to nurture or swoon over, where their writing process is realistic and relatable, there’s a 99% chance it will end up on my Favourites shelf. So today I’d like to recommend some of my favourite books with writer characters in them to you!

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10 Books I’ll Never Read

Like most readers, I’ve bought a lot of books over the years. I don’t really want to count them because I know if I saved that money I could have probably bought a planet by now, but I’d say I’ve accumulated close to 500. Thankfully a lot of those are review copies and ARCs, but I looked at my Book Depository purchase history the other day and… yeah… let’s not do that again.

But of course, because I’ve bought so many books that it’s actually physically impossible to read them all before I die at the rate I read compared to how many books I buy, there’s bound to be some that I’m never going to read. Ever. I mean, my tastes are constantly changing, some books I bought a few years ago have zero appeal to me now, and I always feel the need to read recent releases, as opposed to ones released five or more years ago.

So today I wanted to share ten books that are on my shelves and I’m never going to read! And probably cry about having -$17 in my bank account but MOVING ON.Read More »

My Top Bookish OTPs

Ahh, OTPs. If you’ve ever read a book (which I’m assuming that’s why you’re here, unless you’re really, REALLY procrastinating and have fallen deep into your laptop and don’t know how you got to my blog – which, in that case, GO AND DO THE THING YOU’RE PUTTING OFF) then it pretty much goes without saying that you’ve shipped characters, had an OTP, or have maybe even shipped YOURSELF with a few of them.

But before we continue, there are just two terms I’d like to clarify:

  1. OTP: In short, “OTP” stands for “One True Pairing.” It’s used in fandoms to describe any given participant’s favorite couple — or couples, because, perhaps contrary to the term’s very definition, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one OTP (and no, they don’t have to be canonical).
  2. Shipping: Shipping, initially derived from the word relationship, is the desire by fans for two or more people, either real-life people or fictional characters (in film, literature, television etc.) to be in a relationship, romantic or otherwise.

You’re welcome.Read More »

Boys, Books, and Biographies

AutoboyographyThree years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.

But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar–where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester–Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.

It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.

I’m honestly in awe of how phenomenal this novel was. Wow. Autoboyography is one of the best m/m books I’ve read all year, and I’m so pleased I decided to pick it up. The romance was adorable and realistic, the conversations about and implications of religion on these two boys’ relationship was heartbreaking and powerful, and the intertwining of the bittersweet and the heart-wrenching made this novel one that’s unforgettable. I’m officially in love with my two adorable queer munchkins, Sebastian and Tanner, and I love the way both their sexualities were explored against the backdrop of religion in an often small-minded community. This is the book I needed right now.Read More »

Being Internet Famous in Books

One of the trends I’ve seen in YA in the last couple of years is exploring what it means to be internet famous, and sharing the stories of those content creators who are well renowned online. What I love most about these novels are how they reflect what’s important to me at my place in life at the moment, and how they so clearly give a snapshot into this aspect of society at the present. As a blogger who considers her residential address to be the internet, you could say that social media and other platforms where people post their content takes up a large portion of my life. Because of that, I find reading about teens who write fanfic for a large audience or become a YouTube sensation overnight extremely satisfying to read about. So these are some of my favourite books about internet and the modern era!

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A List of Cages – book review

25613472When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he’s got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn’t easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can’t complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian—the foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years.

Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He’s still kindhearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what’s really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives…

A List of Cages was one of the most beautiful and heart-wrenching books of 2017, and I don’t know why I waited to long to read it. It was poignant, and heartfelt, and just so, so spectacular. A List of Cages is about so many things — abuse, disabilities, mental health, family, and love — but every aspect of this book came together to weave an unforgettable tale that’s ultimately about the friendship between two high school boys and how this literally saves one of their lives. I can’t understate how emotional this novel is, and it’s one that’s sure to stay with you for a very long time to come. I know it’s one I’m going to be recommending for many, many years in the future. Wow. Just wow.Read More »

Summery Reads

33877465The dying wish of 16-year-old Lina’s mother was for her daughter to live in Tuscany and get to know her father, whom Lina has never met.

“Howard is the best man I’ve ever known,” her mother says, “he’ll keep you safe.” Why did her mother wait so long to tell her about him? Lina has a happy life in Seattle and doesn’t want to leave. Shortly after she arrives at Howard’s home, Lina meets Sonya, who gives Lina a diary that belonged to Lina’s mother, the one she had kept while she was a photography student in Florence. While Lina is living her life and exploring Tuscany with her handsome neighbour, Ren, she follows in the footsteps of her mother and gets to know her as never before. She also finds out the truth about her father. Mostly she finds out about herself.

It’s coming into summer here in Australia, and so it’s time for me to start planning what books I’m gong to be reading to get me in the mood for days at the beach, consuming my bodyweight in gelato, and reading with the air conditioner on. I do love reading books to match the season I’m in because I find that they’re just all the more atmospheric. There’s nothing better than curling up with a wintery thriller in the colder months with a cup of steaming hot chocolate, but the same goes for summer. I adore reading about summer love, and road trips, and bucket lists while I’m lying by the pool with a soda in one hand and my book in the other.

Love & Gelato was the perfect book to get me in the mood for summer. Set in Tuscany, this novel is about a girl’s struggles to get to know her father due to her mother’s dying wish—but it’s also about secrets, and new friendships, and most importantly, gelato. It was an absolutely delightful read. Filled with all the summery goodness, it’s the first of my seasonal reads for the warmer months, and it definitely won’t be my last. I adored the romance elements in it, and it was just a fun, enjoyable read. The Italian setting sets this novel apart from so many other books out there, and it was just such a treat to read.Read More »