Bookish Highlights of 2018 So Far

We’re so lucky to have a plethora of bookish events in Melbourne, with everything from group movie viewings, to launches, to full-blown book festivals. It really is the place to be for Aussie booknerds. Even though we’re only halfway through 2018, there have been some absolutely incredible, unforgettable events that I’m so grateful to have been able to attend.

So today I’m going to share my top five bookish events of 2018 so far with you, and then tell you my five most anticipated events for the rest of 2018! It’s going to be hard to narrow it down to just five, because I think I’ve been to about ten book launches in the past six months alone, but I’ll give it my best shot. Let’s do this!

Top five bookish events of 2018 so far…


YA Day

If you didn’t already know, my friend Alexandra and I co-created a Melbourne book club called The YA Room. We meet up once a month at Dymocks to discuss our Book of the Month, but occasionally we also do some special events—like YA Day! YA Day was a day of YA goodness in January, where we were joined by 13 guest panelists to discuss everything from the importance of teen voices in the community, to how to make a successful booktube channel, and even some tips about how to break into the publishing industry! We were joined by over 80 attendees for four panels, and we honestly couldn’t have wished for a more exciting day. We can’t wait to host another YA Day in early 2019!Read More »

Open Letters to My Favourite Authors

What authors have made the biggest impact on your life? Inspired by From Twinkle, With Love, I’ve written three open letters to three of the authors that have made the most impact on my life in recent years. Like Twinkle in Sandy Menon’s latest YA novel, I wanted to share how important the works of these writers are to me. I could pinpoint approximately 57 authors that have written books I love, but these three are particularly special to me. So I hope you enjoy!

Dear Victoria Schwab,

When I first picked up This Savage Song, the first book I ever read by you, I never expected to fall in love with your characters and your worlds as much as I did. But not only that, they affected me in ways that I never expected. Your books aren’t just escapism for me. This Savage Song reflected the struggles of relapse. A Darker Shade of Magic taught me the importance of being adventurous and taking risks. Vicious told me that surviving your struggles make you powerful. Your books mean the world to me, and I’m just so thankful I found your words when I did. You’ve honestly changed my life, and I’ll be forever grateful for that.

Love, SarahRead More »

Books to Inspire Travel

There’s nothing I love more than travelling. I love exploring new places, learning about new cultures, and trying new things. As much as I love Melbourne and adore spending days in my favourite cafes around the city, there’s always that desire to hop in the TARDIS and go and see new sights. Which is why I’m about to head off on a tour of Eastern Europe!

I haven’t been to Europe before, and I’m really excited to go to places like Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy. So to get in the mood, I’ve decided to share some of my favourite YA books that make me feel like jumping on a plane with nothing more than a backpack of clothes and my passport and heading off to see the world!

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A Thousand Perfect Notes | Review

A Thousand Perfect Notes

36389267An emotionally charged story of music, abuse and, ultimately, hope.

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?

I honestly can’t even begin to express how much I loved A Thousand Perfect Notes. I knew Cait was going to rip out my heart before I even turned the first page, but I severely underestimated just how painful that would be. This book had me sobbing, smiling through my tears, and then staring blankly at a wall for 43 minutes afterwards because the thought of having to go back to my life after reading something like that was too difficult to fathom. A Thousand Perfect Notes was one of my most anticipated books of 2018, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. Cait has warned us many a time that she is planning for world domination, and she’s gotten there—evidenced by the fact that I’m not sure how I’m going to get through the next year waiting for her second release. She owns my soul now. I’m not even mad about that.Read More »

Being Lost in the Wilderness With Your Bookish Crush

If you were to be stranded in the middle of nowhere with only one person, who would you want to have with you? Would you want someone with wilderness survival knowledge? Someone who knows how to hunt, or use maps, or survive without having a mental breakdown when they go to tweet about being in this situation and find there’s no phone reception?

Would you want someone who’s going to entertain you, given you’re probably going to die anyway and might as well go down with a smile on your face? Or maybe someone who you’ve always had a crush on to be forced into close proximity with you, giving you the perfect opportunity to finally make a move, or for them to profess their undying love for you. Might as well get one last snog in before you kick the bucket, right?

But what many people don’t consider is who they would least like to be stranded in the wilderness with. I’m sure the person that pops into most of your heads first is some bookish villain or evil mastermind. However, I’m not entirely convinced they’d be all that bad to spend time with. Look at it this way—they probably want to get back to destroying the rest of the world and will find a way back to civilisation ASAP. Worst case scenario, they’ll kill you on the spot. Would that really be as bad as forcing yourself to eat leaves for the thirteenth day in a row? I’d argue not.

For me, the worst person to be stranded with would be someone who I had history with. Someone who had unresolved tension between us. So I think Jenn Bennett got it completely right with Starry Eyes—frenemies stranded in the wilderness together? That definitely sounds like my version of The Bad Place. Hard pass. But that’s exactly what makes Starry Eyes an unputdownable read.

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Is There Too Much Romance in YA?

As much as I love books with adorable, swoon-worthy romances in them, I’ve really come to appreciate reading YA that has little or no love included in the narrative. I feel like during my teen years, I was told that my experiences weren’t as valid unless I had a significant other. Like I needed to be in a relationship to feel validated, or like I deserved to be loved. And that’s a really dangerous mindset. I’m only 19, but I feel as though my opinions about romance in YA has dramatically shifted over the past couple of years—so much so that I actively look for books without romance in them.

Some of the books that got me into YA included Hush, Hush, City of Bones, The Hunger Games, and Shatter Me. To say those relationships were a little unrealistic and even toxic at times would be an understatement. And then I became obsessed with The Fault in Our Stars, which I’m sure will live on to be the “sick-lit” book of our generation. That book 100% gave me false expectations about weekends in Amsterdam and confessions of love over risotto. And Ansel Elgort… someone hold me.

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Which Stereotypical YA Character Are You?

YA can be so full of tropes, right? I could probably list more books that have love triangles in them or series with hate-to-love than the birthdays of my closest friends. Oops.

But have you ever wondered which stereotypical YA character you’d be? I’ve listed five of the most common YA character tropes below, and I’m sure you’ll be able to see a bit of yourself in at least one of them. It’s time for YA fiction to be #exposed.

There’s also a quiz to determine which type of character you really are!


Damsel in Distress

You’re a little helpless sometimes, but only in the Elizabeth Schuyler sense. While people might feel the need to save you from setting your house on fire when you attempt to cook pasta or when you’re putting your health at risk by buying another coffee, you’re an independent person who don’t need no man to protect you. You’re tougher than you look and while you’re not confrontational, you won’t hesitate to stand up for yourself and those closest to you. You might be underestimated, but you’ll go on to rule the world. Just you wait.Read More »

The Shock Value of Stories

The line between shock value and portraying the often unsettling or shocking in a raw yet sensitive way is often hard to distinguish. In the past year or so especially, I’ve read more books and watched more shows that dance between addressing the tougher topics candidly and emotively, and portraying things graphically for shock value. But what I’ve come to start questioning is where that line actually lies, and whether portraying potentially triggering content, such as self-harm, sexual assault, and suicide, should always be portrayed in such graphic detail.

The most common example of this occurrence is in 13 Reasons Why, which received a lot of backlash after it aired about the way it showed the suicide of a character in the way that it did. Not only did mental health professionals write about how being exposed to such graphic portrayals of suicide and self-harm is harmful for people, there was also a drastic rise in numbers of Google searches relating to suicide and suicide hotlines according to this article in CNN. Given that there was a deliberate change by the filmmakers of this show to the method of suicide of the character to one that was potentially only used for shock value (even though suicide of any kind is triggering for some), it raises the question of whether portraying such tough issues much always be shown in such a confronting way or whether creators have a duty to protect their audience from possible triggers.Read More »

How to Name Your Characters

Naming characters is probably the most difficult and most important part of writing a book. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but once I spent three hours trying to find the right name for a bird. I’m not even kidding. But to me, a character’s name is what makes a person. It can give you insight into who they are before they even open their mouth, or draw their sword. A name has power.

So that’s why I often feel like there’s so much pressure to find the right name for your character before you start writing a novel. I know some authors don’t feel the need to have the right name for their character from the get-go and aren’t attached to the name when they eventually change it. But I’m just not one of those people. If I don’t have an instant connection to the name I’m going to use, I can’t start. It just won’t be the same.

If that means going through page after page of baby name searches online, looking up their definitions and trying to find something that hasn’t been used abundantly before and something that fits the personality of the character, so be it. If I have to sit at a cafe for six hours straight with far too much coffee in my system until I think of the perfect name, I’ll do it. Because a name is never just a name to me—it’s so much more than just a string of letters. Just like a book is so much more than a bunch of words on a page.

So in today’s post, I’m going to write a bit about the various ways you can find the perfect name for your character…

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The Best and the Worst Series Endings

Have you ever been so invested in a series, but then felt let down by the way it ended? Have you ever felt personally victimised by the characters killed off by your favourite authors? Do you ever feel like there’s no happy medium between endings that are TOO PERFECT or where EVERYONE DIES? Well, I certainly have. And I’m angry.

Today I’m going to discuss some of the different types of endings I’ve come across, and why I don’t like them! It’s rare that series end EXACTLY THE WAY I WANT THEM TO, but some ‘classic endings’ infuriate me more than others. And then I’m going to tell you all about the most memorable endings to series in my reading history! TIME TO RELIVE ALL THE FEELS.

Everybody Dies

I’m not talking about, like, one main character and a few minor characters. I’m talking about LITERALLY EVERYONE. Especially the characters you loved most. It’s like the author was undecided on how to end the series, so they just killed EVERYONE. And that’s not okay, especially when it feels more like a cop-out and less like a planned decision. I’m a fan of death and destruction, but only in small doses. I’m not COMPLETELY evil.

Overly Happy

Maybe I’m just a soulless Slytherin, but I just HATE it when epic series have overly happy endings. Like, there might be scenes and scenes of battles and deaths, civilians dropping like flies, but the main characters will remain untouched. I know it’s always hard to see your favourite characters die, but it also feels like I’ve been robbed when I’ve been taken on such an emotional journey. Give me death! Give me suffering! Give me heartbreak! Make me hate the author but love them at the same time, leaving me with an ending I’ll never forget.Read More »