5 Things I Learned During #NaNoWriMo

So… I participated in #NaNoWriMo this month! If you don’t know what that weird mash of letters means, it stands for National Novel Writing Month – a month where writers across the globe get together (well, online, but the feeling of unity is real) and aim to write 50k during the month! It’s fun and hectic and we all need approximately 328 gallons of coffee to make it to December alive, but it’s totally worth it.

While I didn’t get to the full 50k this month (why do they plan this during the busiest month of the year, I demand to speak to the manager), I did make a really good start on a new WIP and I had a lot of fun doing so! I’ve been working on a crime / sci-fi YA novel for the past month, and yes, it’s as weird as that mashup of genres sounds. It has sociopaths and vigilantes and monsters and stabbing and scones! What more could anyone want in a novel?!

This is the third time I’ve participated in #NaNoWriMo, and still I learned new things from taking part again. So whether or not you were involved this year, I think these tips are applicable to all writing experiences. I hope you can take something away from this post!

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8 of the Best Queer YA Novels of 2018

2018 has been an incredible year in terms of new releases featuring queer characters! I say this every year, but I honestly think there have been more new books featuring LGBTQIAP+ characters during 2018 than any year previously. It’s amazing! More queer novels, please!

I’m just so happy that this year, the majority of the books I’ve read have included explicitly queer characters, if these characters aren’t the protagonist. Five years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined being able to pick off more than a handful of these books off the shelves at stores – and look where we are now! My glittery rainbow soul is singing.

I’m already looking forward to all the glorious queer releases of 2019, but before then, I’d like to share my top 8 queer reads of 2018! I utterly adored all of these and I could have put 100 more on this list, but I had to narrow it down to my absolute favourites. I hope you loved these ones too!

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YA Books for People Who Love These 9 Musicals

Something I don’t get to talk enough about on my blog is just how much I adore musicals! I’ve been a fan of them ever since my mum used to take me to them when I was a kid, my first memorable experience being seeing The Lion King. From there, I craved all that I could get. I saw Wicked and Hairspray and Matilda, and most recently, The Book of Mormon. But alas, because most of the well-known musicals haven’t crossed the ocean to Australia yet, I have to settle for listening to the soundtracks and dreaming about the day I get to see them live.

So today I thought I’d blend my love of musicals and books and recommend some YA books for fans of these particular musicals! If you need a little nudge to listen to some of these and enjoyed the books I’ve paired with them, I definitely recommend going and finding a soundtrack – or even seeing it live if you can! Let’s flail about all the best musicals together.

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Hang on… Didn’t That Series End?

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.

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Why I’m Obsessed with Trashy Novels

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.

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Why Anthologies are Awesome

There’s something I underappreciated for years and seriously regret overlooking for so long now — anthologies. I mean, they’re basically a book full of epic short stories by authors you already know and love, authors who are rumoured to actually be gods, and authors who you haven’t heard of but quickly become people you want to read more from. Anthologies are perfect in so many ways, and so this is just a little appreciation post for the books I so naively neglected for the majority of my life. Anthologies are awesome, y’all!


Anthologies introduce you to new authors.

Without question, all the anthologies I’ve read so far have introduced me to new authors — authors who I’m now desperate to read more from. And that’s probably my favourite thing about anthologies. We all have our favourite authors and our auto-buy authors, but anthologies are often the things that give me the extra nudge to give another author the go and seek out their previous work. I just have so much love for anthologies.Read More »

How to Make a Good Adaptation

If there’s one thing I’m passionate about aside from books, it’s movies. I work at a cinema part time, watch at least three films a week, and have probably consumed more popcorn in my lifetime than would be considered healthy. But as a bookworm who loves watching movies, there’s nothing better than seeing your favourite novel turned into a film or a show.

Although having your favourite books transformed into a thing you can watch, and not just read, is also a little terrifying. Film writers and directors have the ability to change so much of what you love about a book, cast people you can’t imagine as the characters, or even threaten to erase the whole sentiment of the book in something they think is more “sellable”.

So what exactly makes a good adaptation? Find out my top points on how to make an excellent adaptation, as well as reviews for three of my most recent viewings!

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Mental Illness in YA: Eating Disorders

I’ve been thinking about books that feature protagonists who live with a mental illness or novels that talk about mental health a lot recently, and so I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my recommendations with all of you! This is going to be an ongoing series where I’ll pick a certain aspect of mental health representation and share some of your favourite reads with you.

I’m going to start this little series by bringing you my top recommendations for YA novels with eating disorder representation. As this post discusses books dealing with eating disorders and other mental illnesses, there are trigger warnings for ED and suicide, so please proceed with caution. While I personally connected to all of these books and felt as though they accurately represented what it’s like to live with an eating disorder, please be aware that everyone experiences mental illness differently and your opinion on their realistic nature may differ from mine.

So here are five of my top recommendations for anyone looking to add more YA novels with eating disorder representation to their TBRs!

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LGBTQ+ Middle Grade Recs

As much as I’m an avid reader of YA novels featuring queer protagonists, I haven’t actually read that many middle grade books / younger YA novels with LGBTQIAP+ characters. Well, I don’t usually get to read that many middle grade novels, period. But I’ve been wanting to read more of these books recently so that I can recommend them to the younger readers in my life and the tweens that come into the bookstore I work at asking for recommendations. I’m sick of talking about the same hyped middle grade series, and I want to give these people novels that they might see themselves in.

The first book I ever read with a queer protagonist was The Flywheel when I was about 15, and that book holds so much emotional significance to me. It was the first book I saw my feelings represented in. It was the first time I recognised that having feelings for other girls was valid and didn’t make me unnatural or unlovable. If I’d have read more middle grade novels with queer protagonists in my early teen years, perhaps I would have been able to come to terms with my identity as a biromantic asexual sooner.

Although there are undoubtedly a lot more middle grade and YA novels now than there were five years ago, I would still love to hear more buzz about middle grade novels with queer protagonists—and there’s always room for more! So if you have any recommendations for books I should check out, specifically featuring LGBTQIAP+ characters under 14, I would love to check them out. In the meantime, here are three novels featuring younger teens who happen to be queer!

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