YA is often famous for particular tropes or subject matter taking over our shelves in a rotating fashion. When I first started reading YA, dystopia was all the rage – think The Hunger Games and Divergent and The Maze Runner. We also had a pretty good run of vampires for a while, with Twilight and Vampire Academy and House of Night. You get the idea. We love a good theme.
I don’t know about you, but 2018 definitely felt like the Year of the Water Creatures / Mermaids. We had Sea Witch and To Kill a Kingdom, and it felt like those books were everywhere. But today I want to talk about some particular things I think are making a comeback in 2019 / 2020 that I’m excited about! Ahh! Books!
“I’D TAKE A BULLET FOR THEM”. It’s something most of us have said about a fictional character at one point or another (or even someone IRL, let’s be real). But how could you not want to protect someone with your life? Well, even if you’re like, look, I’m selfish, and I kinda like how my life is going, TRUST ME, I’VE BEEN THERE. But even this cold Slytherin heart couldn’t help but step into the path of a speeding car if it meant saving one of these cinnamon rolls.
So today I’m going to share with you some queer characters I’d risk my life for! I JUST HAVE A SOFT SPOT FOR THE QUEER CHARACTERS IN MY LIFE AND I WOULD PROTECT THEM AT ALL COSTS. Don’t mind me, I’ll just be over there weeping in the corner because of how much I love them. I’m totally fine. Nothing to see here.
I don’t really get to talk about movies a lot on my blog, with it being a book blog and all, but I thought now’s the perfect opportunity to swoon over some of my favourite 2018 film releases and match them with a YA novel! Because I work part time at a cinema, I’m lucky enough to get to see all the movies we’re showing for free – often multiple times. My record is seeing Thor: Ragnarok eight times at the cinema, closely followed by Love, Simon which I saw seven times. No, I’m not sick of either of them yet. And yes, I’m 95% made of popcorn.
2018 has been another incredible year of cinematic releases. Not only have we had some absolutely incredible YA adaptations released, like Love, Simon and The Hate U Give, but we’ve also had some truely excellent and worthy contenders for the Oscars. I’m channeling my inner Moira from Schitt’s Creek when I confess that my favourite season is, in fact, awards season. If you haven’t seen that amazing show yet, I give you permission to binge it on Netflix.
But without further ado, here are the incredible film releases of 2018 that I’ve matched with equally excellent YA novels!
There’s nothing I love seeing in books more than accurate representation of people from marginalised communities and those who are neurodiverse or live with a mental illness. Books with depression representation have a particularly special place in my heart. As someone who’s lived with depression since Year 10, I found a lot of solace in these YA novels when I was feeling at my most alone and to see myself in the books I was reading.
What I love about YA, especially what’s being written and released recently, is how so many people are able to see themselves in what they read. There’s still so much room for improvement, but in my case, seeing depression represented in teen characters honestly made such a big difference to my life in high school. Books help us feel less alone.
So today I want to share some of my favourite YA books with depression representation with you! I’ve chosen five that have impacted me the most and that I’ve seen the most of myself in – and it’s important to note that not everyone’s experience with depression and other mental illnesses are exactly the same. These books just have such a special place in my heart, and I hope you like these ones too.
We all know the books that everyone’s been recommending this Halloween season – books like City of Ghosts and The Diviners and Toil and Trouble. And yes, I’ve been guilty of recommending the same books over and over again. I mean, do I ever shut up about my love for Victoria Schwab? No, I don’t.
But today I wanted to do something a little bit different and recommend four books you probably didn’t realise are perfect for Halloween! I went into all these novels not expecting something creepy or haunting, but they ended up really being perfect for the spooky season. And I just love books that have an unexpected twist like that! So I hope you enjoy my unexpected Halloween recommendations.
It’s happened a lot in the past year — previously “completed” series getting additions or spin-offs. And I don’t know how I feel about this. On the one hand, it’s exciting to get new content from authors we’ve loved for years surrounding the same characters or settings we already feel so attached to. But on another hand, it’s hard not to feel like it’s a cheap marketing trick from either the authors, or the publishers, who think stories with existing fanbases will sell better. Maybe they do; I don’t work in publishing so I don’t know. Sadly.
But releasing additions to a series is undeniably a source of massive amounts of hype. Twitter collectively lost it’s mind when books like the latest Shatter Me was announced, and the same with the Mara Dyer book from Noah’s perspective (if I’m correct). I loved those series when I read them back in the day — that golden age of 2014 YA where everything was simpler — but for some reason, the thought of reading an addition that wasn’t originally planned feels wrong somehow. I just can’t wrap my head around it.
Sometimes you just need to read a feel-good book, right? There’s nothing I love more than curling up with something that’s going to make me smile at night after a long day of work or uni. I’m someone who can’t read anything too complex or emotional at night after enduring 18 waking hours, so I’m always on the lookout for fun, uplifting, and heartwarming YA novels.
Today I’m going to be sharing three of them that deserve to be on your TBR! These are all recent releases and they’re perfect to read as the weather starts to warm up (sorry, anyone in the Northern Hemisphere. I absolutely love losing myself in a swoon-worthy contemporary in the summer months as I sit on the beach or eat ice cream in the park, so these novels definitely got me in the mood for that! Bring on those endless summer days.
A lot of the time, fluffy YA novels that contain fun storylines where the reader doesn’t have to think too much are labelled as ‘trashy’. Like these books are lesser than everything else that’s being published because they’re being consumed for sheer entertainment value. But I don’t think these books should be looked down upon in the way they have in recent years. Of course there’s no disputing that it’s necessary to have YA novels that make people think and allow people to become aware of issues they might not experience in their own insular lives, but that doesn’t make ‘trashy’ novels any less valid.
Looking back on the first few books that got me into YA, most of them would be considered ‘trashy’. There’s not much serious content in books like Hush, Hush or Twilight or Anna and the French Kiss, but that doesn’t make them bad novels. So how come these are the types of books that are so obviously ridiculed by adult fiction readers who sneer at anyone reading anything that’s targeted at a young adult audience? It’s almost as if they’d rather everyone be condemned to reading nothing but Hamlet and The Great Gatsby and Heart of Darkness, the likes of which have been shown to turn young people off reading over and over again if they’re forced to read books they’re not interested in.
I’ve read some #LoveOzYA books recently – what a surprise! I’ve been so pleased with the amount of YA that’s been published by local Aussie authors this year and how many I’ve been able to get through so far this year. Not only have I read the most recent releases from some of my favourite #LoveOzYA authors, but I’ve also read some really unique ones and will definitely be picking up more books by these authors in future.
As usual, click on the book title for the Goodreads synopsis and to add it to your Want-To-Read list! And without further ado, let’s get into my thoughts on the six #LoveOzYA books I’ve read recently…
“I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.” — Emily Dickinson
I didn’t realise it at first, but the title for one of the #LoveOzYA books I read recently—I Am Out With Lanterns—is in fact an Emily Dickinson quote which sums up the story (and teenage life) pretty accurately. I Am Out With Lanterns is a beautifully-written, honest portrayal of teenage life and the struggles and the triumphs of high schoolers. Being a teen is a time where so many of us are searching for who we really are and what meaning our lives hold. And so many of us are still out there with a lantern, looking for ourselves. Maybe that’s a lifelong process.
So in celebration of the release of I Am Out With Lanterns and the conversations about searching for yourself that have arisen, I thought I’d share five novels I’ve read that have tied me to different places and different times in my life. I think there’s something so magical about reading a book and having those feelings and the atmosphere in which you read the book stay with you long after you’ve read the final page. Here are my most memorable ones…