YA Books with Unique Formatting

There’s nothing that makes me nerd out more than novels that have unique formats. Okay, except maybe when hardcovers have cool designs under the dust jackets. But I can’t help but get all heart-eyes over books with illustrations or different formats from the traditional paragraphs of prose. And I’m sure you’ll agree that reading over a hundred books a year makes those novels that are a little different from the rest really stand out.

So today I’m going to share some of my favourite books with unique formatting with you! If you’re looking for something that stands out from the rest, here are eight of my favourite ones to add to your enormous TBR!

Illuminae

THIS SERIES IS INCREDIBLE. Honestly, it’s not only changed the way I read sci-fi, but it’s broken down my expectations of what novels have to be and dared to do something unseen in YA before. I didn’t read sci-fi before picking up Illuminae, but the way it was made so accessible and easy to read through the documents and chat logs and surveillance footage made it something I instantly fell in love with. If you haven’t had a chance to pick up Illuminae, you won’t be able to fully comprehend just how stunning the formatting and typed illustrations are in this series just from my words. SO TRUST ME. This is a series not to be missed out on.Read More »

MEME BOOK TAG

WHAT’S UP, FRIENDS?! Ya gurl right here just created her first book tag! You’re welcome.

As most of the conversations with my friends just consist of sending each other memes – and I’ve even been known to reference memes in ACTUAL IRL CONVERSATIONS BECAUSE YES, I’M THAT PERSON – so I wanted to create a book tag based off some of the most iconic memes!

I’m sure this has been done before because there’s no such thing as an original idea with nearly eight billion people on the planet (let’s cry about that together another time), but here’s something I made just especially for you!

If you’d like to do something similar on your blog, you’re more than welcome to use the same prompts and images as I have if you thank me in your post! You’re welcome in advance, and I look forward to seeing what you come up with for each of the prompts.

ENJOY!

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OKAY. I just got SO CONFUSED by Genuine Fraud, mainly because it wasn’t told in chronological order. I just didn’t know what was happening a lot of the time, and I didn’t particularly connect with the protagonist either. I had a lot of trouble trying to connect the dots and match up the timelines, so I was pretty much the epitome of that confused woman meme.


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Anyone who knows me will know my answer before I say this (especially everyone who comes to my book club, The YA Room) — and that’s A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. At our meetings, people even take bets to see how long it takes me to mention this series in conversation. I’m not even sorry. This is such a phenomenal series and I adore Victoria with all of my heart. PLEASE READ IT.Read More »

How to Talk to Authors

I think we’re all so lucky to live in the era we do, where it’s so easy to connect with authors and other readers online. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where there are bookish events or book festivals, you’re even given opportunities to talk to your favourite writers in real life – it’s pretty cool. So today I just wanted to share some advice about talking to authors, from one awkward booknerd to another.

Over the last few years, my confidence has grown so much when it comes to interacting with authors online and speaking to authors at events. When I was just a smol teen blogger, authors favouriting my tweets made me freak out a little bit, and then if they REPLIED, I would spend LITERAL HOURS trying to compose a reply tweet. Then meeting authors at events made me a nervous wreck. My hand would shake as I handed over my books for them to sign and all I’d be able to do was mumble out an “I love your work!”.

But wow, how the times have changed. Going to numerous bookish events the past few years has made my confidence grow so much, to the point where I now run a book club and I’ve even had the opportunity to HOST A BOOK LAUNCH AND BE IN CONVERSATION WITH AWESOME AUTHORS. I never thought I would have the chance to do that in a million years, and I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given. Last year, I was lucky to have an exclusive 30-minute Skype interview with Angie FREAKING Thomas! I got to launch a book from an author I’ve admired since I was 14 last July. And next month I’m going to be in conversation with Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman at the Obsidio launch in Melbourne! I’m low-key FREAKING OUT.

But enough about me! Now I’m just going to share some of my tips for interacting with authors, and some of the things I wish someone had told me when I was starting to go to bookish events at 15. So I hope this helps you a little if you’re someone that gets anxious when speaking to people you admire!Read More »

Mini Reviews Make a Return (just kidding… they never left)

Ahh yes, the infamous mini reviews. THEY’RE BACK! Yes, it’s true that they never really left, but I’m known to include a touch of the dramatic. *throws glitter*

So today I thought I’d share some of the books I’ve read recently with you! I know we still have a bit of time left in February, but I just have SO MANY THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS about the books I’ve been reading, and I have to share them with you! WHAT’S NEW?!

So without further ado, here are some of my February reads so far!

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Ironheart

WOW. YES. A thousand times yes. I really enjoyed the first novel in this series, Valentine, when I read it — but I was absolutely blown away by the second instalment! This novel threw me back into the world where faeries are real (and can be deadly), the Seelie and Unseelie are after Finn, and Pearl is being isolated from her classmates. I’d honestly forgotten how fun these books are to read, and how much I love Pearl’s voice and the way Jodi incorporates humour into the storytelling. The pop culture references are on point, and I just adored this Aussie urban fantasy. I NEED THE NEXT BOOK IN MY HANDS RIGHT NOW. JODI, HOW COULD YOU LEAVE ME LIKE THIS.

Rating:

4 Stars

Thanks to Penguin Teen Australia for providing me a copy with this book in exchange for an honest review!Read More »

Hyped Books I’ve Enjoyed

In the book world, there are always books that get more hyped than others. Sometimes that’s because prominent members of the bookish community share their excitement about a particular upcoming release, or popular authors speak highly of the book before it’s out. In most cases, I’ve found that the majority of books are hyped for good reason — and I don’t let the hype put me off reading them for fear that I won’t enjoy them as much as other people have.

A little while ago I wrote a post about the dangers of hype, but today I want to discuss one particular hyped book that I recently read and loved, as well as some other hyped novels I adore!While it’s not uncommon for some people to not want to read hyped novels because they know they won’t love them now that everyone else has built up the novel to some unattainable standard, I usually make sure I check out reviews from bloggers who usually tend to have the same opinion about books as I do.

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The Five Types of Rereading

Recently, as I’ve picked up some of my favourite novels for the 3728th time, I’ve noticed that there’s more than one kind of rereading. I mean, sometimes I feel in the mood to just reread one of my favourite novels. Other times, I’m feeling more reminiscent and I want to read something I haven’t read since my middle school years. And, of course, there are some books that I don’t even count as rereads because there’s never not a week when I don’t pick up that particular book.

So today I wanted to share the five different types of rereading with you!


Nostalgic Reread

The Hunger Games

It’s difficult to remember which book exactly got me into YA—it may have been The Hunger Games, or it may have been Twilight, or maybe Hush, Hush. But regardless, The Hunger Games was definitely very influential in forming my love for YA. I even remember buying my copy when I was maybe 12 in my favourite bookshop, the bookshop I now work at, and starting it as soon as I got in the car. I’m still such Hunger Games trash, but this series is definitely a nostalgic reread.

Vampire Academy

Another one of my earliest adventures into YA! I started reading these books in Year 8 and I remember being thoroughly shook when the news came out about Vampire Academy being turned into a movie. And then I read Bloodlines and WOW. I still stand by my opinion that this series is phenomenal, and no one can ruin that for me. I mean, I’ve read better books now and my taste has definitely changed, but when I’m in the mood for reading about sexy vampires like Adrian and Rose, this is always the series I go to.

The Mortal Instruments

Let me just take a moment to CRY OVER JAMIE CAMPBELL BOWER AND HOW HE WAS, AND FOREVER WILL BE, THE PERFECT JACE. Ahem. Okay, now back to the books. Let me begin by saying that I cosplayed as a Shadowhunter more times than I care to remember, and I can see Past Me painting on Runes with an eyeliner pencil in the Year 9 bathrooms before going to see the premiere of the film at the cinemas. Sometimes when I can’t decide what to read and I just want to fall into a familiar world, I’ll pick up The Mortal Instruments. The only problem is that starting these books prevents me from reading anything else for two weeks. ONCE I START I JUST CAN’T STOP.Read More »

College Stories in YA

As I’m just about to go into my second year of university, I’ve never been more desperate to read more YA set in college than I am at this very moment. There’s been a lot of discussion surrounding the need for more YA books to be set after high school — and yes, I know NA is a thing, but for someone with the majority of the books I’ve been reading since I was 12 being YA, suddenly jumping into a new readership seems daunting. And plus, I still connect to so many YA stories. I’m only 19, that weird age when you’re not quite a teenager anymore but not quite an adult either, and I still see so much of my life in the protagonists from the YA books I read. And I know I’ll be reading YA for quite some time to come, even once I leave uni.

One of the main reasons I haven’t ventured out into NA and tried to read more of those books has definitely been influenced by the stereotype that NA is more about relationships and romance, and yes, sex. I’m asexual… so you might be able to understand why I wouldn’t be able to see that aspect of myself in the protagonists. I want first romances, cute handholding, and swooning. I’d definitely be happy to give some NA a go that doesn’t involve much or any romance. But another one of the reasons why I haven’t really given NA a try is because it doesn’t have the same platform as YA. YA is everywhere I look — on Twitter, Instagram, the blogs and BookTube channels I follow — and joining a whole new community seems daunting to me.

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A Discussion about Diversity

Books can be so contradictory sometimes. On the one hand, they can provide us with excellent representation for marginalised identities and allow teens to see themselves in what they read, critique our society in a way that’s accessible to the young adult audience, and provide us with exciting and engaging content. But sometimes, disappointingly, they can seem to do all the wrong things: provide harmful representations of some identities or come across as problematic.

Let me just say something for a second — books don’t intentionally try to be problematic or insensitive. It’s not like the author sets out to write something that will offend or harm as many people as possible. Additionally, it’s not just the author that should be blamed for these errors. As Danielle Binks mentioned in her panel at YA Day just last weekend, there has to be accountability from the editors and the first readers from the publishing house that allow such insensitive content to be made public. And that comes down to the need for more diverse voices in publishing to ensure problematic or triggering or harmful representation and content doesn’t harm the people who read YA, especially teens.

We need more diverse voices in publishing. We need equality and respect for everyone, and not let those who work in the industry be drowned out by the white males that are predominantly in the high positions in the companies. Another thing Danielle said on Sunday was that women in the publishing industry are ‘overworked, underpaid, and undervalued’, and this needs to change. The ingrained sexism in the industry that so many people are made to just endure because they’re ‘doing what they love’ and they’re passionate about books has to stop. But that’s a whole other conversation for another blog post.Read More »

Sports in YA

If there’s something I’ve realised in the past year of blogging, it’s that I need to read more. BUT SARAH, HOW ARE YOU PLANNING ON READING MORE WHEN YOU’RE ALREADY AIMING TO READ 200 BOOKS THIS YEAR?! Agreed. Unless I quit uni and quit my jobs and quit going outside (because who needs vitamin D when supplements are a thing?), it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to read many more books that that. Believe it or not, I try to have a life outside of reading. I tend to forget that fact quite a lot though…

BUT ANYWAY. What I meant was that I need to read MORE of different stuff! Stuff I haven’t picked up before. I’m so sick of the same clichéd contemporaries, and which I will admit that I’ve really diversified my reading in the past couple of years and I’m loving all the queer stories I’ve been devouring and all the amazing novels featuring POC leads, there’s still more books to be read out there. I’ve barely even touched historical fiction, high fantasy intimidates me, and trying to venture into the NA realm is a scary thought I’d rather save for another day. Or maybe I’ll just put that thought on pause until I’m trying to get to sleep tonight. That sounds like a good idea to me.

However, I’m not going to be talking about any of those things today. Today, I want to talk about another aspect of reading I haven’t really ventured too deep into yet — SPORTS YA. That’s right! In case you didn’t already realise, there are young adult stories about pretty much every aspect of teenage-hood out there. First love? Check. Cheesy high school proms? Correctamundo. Love triangles, and love curing mental illness, and the gay sidekick? Done and dusted! AND NOW — NOVELS FOR THAT YOUNG SPORTS PERSON IN YOUR LIFE.

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My Favourite Books About Death

BOOKS ABOUT DEATH. They’re killers, right? I mean, metaphorically speaking. But I would also argue that each time I read a book about death, a tiny piece of me dies inside because all the ones I’ve come across are SO GOOD and they break my heart in more ways than one. So today, I just wanted to share three of my favourite books about death, and in particular, Scythe!

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Scythe by Neil Shusterman

WOW. This book was absolutely mind-blowing. I’d been meaning to pick up a copy for what felt like a million years, and now that I’ve read it, I NEED THE SECOND ONE RIGHT NOW. First off, the premise of this novel was one of the most captivating synopses I’ve ever encountered. I’m fascinated by death, science-fiction / fantasy, and the future of humanity, and I was even more thrilled to find Scythe wrapped up all these things into one neat package for me to consume. And wow — I JUST DEVOURED IT. IN ONE SITTING. To me, it was the perfect blend of fantasy and earthliness; a story that was grounded in the plausible while imploring the fantastical side of your imagination to think of what our world would be like if this really WAS the future. It was just sensational.Read More »