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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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue – book review

29283884Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

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Weddings in YA

Weddings are something we rarely see in YA fiction — probably because most of the protagonists are in high school and aren’t ready for that yet, or they’re too busy saving the world from imminent destruction. But that’s not to say we don’t see them at all. Whether they be cringe-worthy or cute, I’m here to talk all about weddings in YA.

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Probably the first YA novel I read that contained a wedding was the infamous marriage between Bella and Edward in Breaking Dawn. Yeah, that one was… weird. I mean, I always preferred Edward to Jacob, but I think what followed the wedding in the rest of the book kind of tainted my memory of it. I’m sure it was meant to be really sweet, but that whole book left a sour taste in my mouth. And besides, Bella was like 18 at the time? And Edward was something like 200 years old? Talk about an age gap.

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And then I moved onto my dystopian phase, and so I think you’ll know which book I’m talking about her. Matched by Ally Condie. Set in a dystopian future where society chooses who you are to be paired with, there wasn’t really any way of writing that book without it coming off as a little unnerving. I only actually read the first book of that series, but that whole concept is something that’s still stuck with me. And it creeps me out.Read More »

Japan, Romance, and the “Exotic Backdrop”

The idea of reading YA novels set in countries different from the usual American setting, which is part of the reason why I was so excited to get a copy of Seven Days of You — a contemporary love story set in Tokyo. I’ve always wanted to go to Japan and I’ve spent some time learning a little Japanese, so the prospect of reading about characters immersed in this beautifully cultural country was very exciting. But what I quickly discovered was that the setting played little part in the narrative. This book could have honestly been set in America, or Australia, and you wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference. The whole culture of Japan was overlooked and basically whitewashed, focussing on a white romance with the country being the “exotic” background to their love story.

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What Light – book review

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Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other. 

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.Read More »

The Stand-In – book review

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When Brooks volunteered to be a stand-in for Burdette’s cousin who got stood up for Homecoming, it was with the noblest of intentions-helping a fellow human being, free of charge. But when he gets a tip of more than three hundred bucks, word spreads quickly and Brooks seizes the opportunity to offer his impeccable escort services to super-wealthy parents who want their daughters to experience those big social events of senior year.

Besides, Brooks could use the cash to hire a tutor to get admitted to Columbia University. So what if along the way he goes along with a few minor deceptions and cuts a few moral corners? What could be the harm?Read More »

Stealing Snow – book review

Stealing Snow cover

Seventeen-year-old Snow lives within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she doesn’t belong there, but she has no memory of life outside, except for the strangest dreams. And then a mysterious, handsome man, an orderly in the hospital, opens a door – and Snow knows that she has to leave.

She finds herself in icy Algid, her true home, with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change everything. Heroine or villain, queen or broken girl, frozen heart or true love, Snow must choose her fate…
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Words in Deep Blue – book review

Words in Deep Blue

This is a love story.

It’s the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets.

It’s the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea. 

Now, she’s back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal and looking for the future in the books people love, and the words they leave behind.Read More »

#ConfessionSession with Cath Crowley

Hi everyone! Wow, this is so exciting – it’s my second blog tour in less than a week! Today I have the pleasure of sharing an interview I conducted with Cath Crowley. For those of you that don’t know, Cath recently wrote a gorgeous and touching #LoveOzYA novel entitled Words in Deep Blue. This poignant tale of love, loss, family and friendship is one that will sear itself on the hearts of everyone who reads it, and it was amazing to have the opportunity to ask Cath some questions that we all want answered.Read More »

The Devil You Know – book review

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Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. 

So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it’s just the risk she’s been craving — the opportunity to escape. 

But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions.Read More »