Memorable Reads Around the World

“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…

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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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If My TBR Could Talk

If you’re reading my blog, chances are you have a lot of unread books sitting on your shelves. If not… I’m seriously in awe of you. Honestly. Please send me tips about how to get my life under control because the books have overflowed onto my floor and they’re closing in on me like sharks. This is not a drill.

But for those of us that have stacks upon stacks of unread books, which we consider to be on our TBR (or To Be Read) pile, there’s the chance we’ve felt guilty about that at least once in our lives. Surely I can’t be the only one who personifies the stack of books next to my bed and sees it as a judgemental being, spurting sassy comments about how I could be reading instead of rewatching Brooklyn Nine-Nine for the 382th time? Am I? Okay, I’ll just go hide in the corner of shame now.

So today I thought I’d share some of the things I think my TBR would say to me if it could speak! I mean, maybe it does speak… There have been some odd sounds when I’m trying to get to sleep at ni—did you hear that?

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Let’s Write a Book Together!

Books that are written by two authors are just so exciting to me. I mean, it’s two authors for the price of one! Some of the most amazing books I’ve read have been written by multiple authors, including the phenomenal Illuminae Files by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, and one of my most anticipated reads of this year is What if it’s Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli.

As much as I love seeing two authors’ names on the front of a book, the collaboration actually needs to work well in order for me to appreciate it and not be turned off co-written books forever. Either the authors have to have distinctive writing styles and a dual narration, allowing them to write from the point of view of a particular character, or they have to have a similar voice that makes the book feel like it could be written by only one person. If the book doesn’t flow or feels disjointed, I won’t be able to become fully enthralled in the story like I normally do.

And of course, it’s important for the authors to work well together behind the scenes, in the writing of the book, as well as on stage and at events. Take Jay and Amie for example—they’re two writers that are friends, come up with major plot ideas at a pub together, and have a great presence together in public. They’re both so funny and such incredible writers, and I’m so thrilled these two Aussie authors have been supported to the extent they have. I can’t wait to read their next co-written series!

So in this post, I want to share some of the authors I’d love to see work on a novel together, as well as the authors I hope ever write a book together. Not gonna lie, this is somewhat of a nudge-nudge to the authors I want to work together. Let’s try and make these awesome collabs happen, people!Read More »

Biannual Bookish Wrap Up

2018 has been a pretty great reading year for me so far. I started actively using Goodreads, which has been really useful in tracking my reading (despite me forgetting to update it for weeks on end), and actually made my first reading challenge goal. 2018 so far has been all about setting goals and figuring out what I can do to make those a reality, and my reading life has been no different.

Books I’ve read this year so far…

Total: 97

Goal: 200


Favourite reads of 2018 so far…

I’ve read so many incredible books this year, but these ones really stand out to me as being a step above the rest. I definitely recommend checking these out if you haven’t read them yet!

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Am I a Fussy Reader?

Unlike some readers, I consider myself to be pretty picky when it comes to buying books. Yes, even though I’m practically swimming in books at home because they’ve taken over my entire room and are scattered along the floor. But I’m a student and only work casually, so my funds are pretty limited, therefore I need to try and ensure the books I buy I’ll actually like. Well, not just like. More so… fall so deeply in love with them that I can’t help but feel like my money has been well-spent.

But in order for books to pass from the realm of being mildly interested in them to actually landing in my shopping cart, there’s six tests they have to pass first. It might seem a little excessive at first glance, but I really want to try and ensure the books I’m buying are ones that I’ll love. But I mean, in saying that… I still rarely read them within the first month of purchase. I know, I’m the worst. There’s still a lot of books that have passed these phases and are still sitting on my shelf, unread, because I haven’t had the chance to pick them up…

But anyway. Let’s get into it!

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The Cutest Contemporaries to Steal Your Heart

Sometimes you just feel like you need to read a cute contemporary, right? I don’t know about you, but I definitely like to cleanse my palate from high fantasy and the darker contemporaries with something light and fluffy. In my books, ‘fluffy’ is always a good thing. I love being entertained. I love losing myself in a narrative where the the apocalypse is not imminent, the government isn’t threatening to kill everyone, and no one’s fighting for survival in the wilderness. We all need a break sometime, right?

So here are some of my favourite cute contemporary novels of all time! The most recent of which is Morgan Matson’s Save the Date. Let’s just take a moment to appreciate her gorgeous novels.

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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

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 »