5 Reasons Why You Must Read THE HATE U GIVE

The Hate U GiveSixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.

It’s hard to find the right words to explain how much I loved The Hate U Give and how important and powerful it is. Not only do I love this book because it’s a fantastic piece of literature, but also because it’s one that you believe everyone should read because of its messages about racism and Black Lives Matter. And because of that, writing the review for this novel has got to be one of the hardest ones I’ve ever written. This book make me laugh, catapulted me into Starr’s world, and left me sobbing from sadness and frustration by the end. I could list a million reasons why you should read The Hate U Give, but here’s my top five.Read More »

The Importance of Likeable Characters

I’m sure we’ve all read books with unlikeable characters before, and I’m not talking about the villains. I’m talking about the protagonists who are angry or troublesome and undergo character development throughout the course of the novel, or even the “bad boy with a heart of gold” trope. I do really like reading about unlikeable characters because while they frustrate me at times or I disagree with their decisions, I love reading about their growth as people and what serves as the catalyst for their changes. But have you ever read a book that takes this idea a little too far? Have you read a book where you despise the protagonist so much that it makes you want to hurl the book across the room? For me, that book was Olive in Love.

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How to Publish Your Novel

Today I have a very special post to share with you all! Two lovely authors were kind enough to take the time to answer some of my questions about their publishing journey and how they got their debut novel into the world. Both authors haven’t opted for the traditional way of publishing, so I thought it would be interesting to learn a bit more about self-publishing and how you can get your work out there!

“… understand that your story – the heart of your story – is enough to change lives.” – Sierra Abrams, author of The Color Project

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Why THE BONE SEASON should be on your TBR

Wow. THIS SERIES. It just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it? I read The Bone Season mid last year and I absolutely adored it, making me desperate to get my hands on the The Mime Order as soon as I’d finished it. I have to admit — I WAS a little cautious going into this series. I knew it was adult fantasy and I’d never really delved into that realm before, so I was hesitant about this one. But WOW. I was so impressed by the fantastic world-building and the way the story enthralled me, pulling me into this new and dangerous world. If you’re a fan of fantasy, The Bone Season is a series not to be missed. I’ve just finished reading The Song Rising and I’m already looking forward to the next instalment!

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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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Mr Romanov’s Garden in the Sky – book review

Garden in the SkyFrom the Prime Minister’s Literary Award winning author, Robert Newton comes a novel full of heart, warmth and friendship.

A violent incident sparks an unlikely and surprising friendship between a young girl and an old man, leading to an adventure that brings both drama and understanding to their lives in contemporary Melbourne.

Mr Romanov’s Garden in the Sky is a delightful and compelling tale with a strong sense of contemporary multicultural Australia and a vivid cast of characters.

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How to Disrespect YA Authors

“The morality of the book is more complicated than a lot of YA so I wanted to try doing it on my own.”

Okay, Scott. Take a seat. What you’ve written isn’t ingenious or original, and basically stating that YA is oh-so easy to write. In this interview, Scott little respect for YA fiction, and those that write it. It’s always disheartening to see some guy saunter in and claim to be writing what no one else is, especially when women have paved the path long before him. Is it really that hard to just respect other authors, and stop claiming to be some brilliant and profound author? Sorry to burst your bubble, man, but you’re nothing special, and neither is The Cruelty. I’m honestly shocked that he’s somehow gotten a six-figure deal for this trite story.

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Magic, Shadows, and Light

Question: How do you write a review for your favourite series? Answer: SHRIEK AND RUN AWAY BECAUSE IT’S TOO HARD. Ever since finishing A Conjuring of Light, I’ve wanted to write a post about my love for A Darker Shade of Magic and just V.E. Schwab in general (and how I kind of daydream about us marrying but MEETING HER would be a start), but like… WHERE TO START? What can I say except that this series enveloped me and I fell utterly in love with the characters and I was left a sobbing mess by the end? HUH? Is it even possible?

If you don’t know what A Darker Shade of Magic is… WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? THIS IS ABSURD. THIS IS MADNESS. But just because I’m kind, I’ll shed some light on it for you. This series is full of magic and different Londons and awesome coats and thieving pirates — and that’s basically all you need to know! Seriously, this is a one-of-a-kind adventure and V.E. Schwab has a special place in my heart. She’s the only author that’s made me lie on the couch for three days straight reading and rereading this series, and then three more trying to recover from the ending. THESE BOOKS WILL RUIN YOU. But, you know, in a good way. I promise.

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When LOVE Cures Mental Illness

One of the things that endlessly frustrates me about some YA novels that revolve around themes of mental health is the idea that the love interest, or romance itself, can “cure” mental illness. Don’t get me wrong — I love reading books to do with mental illness because I think they’re so important and powerful. Not only can they help those battling to see that they’re not alone in feeling how they do and that there’s always hope and someone who loves you, but also to educate other readers about the reality of living with a mental illness. It’s not sunshines and rainbows, and it’s certainly not romantic. I wrote a post about how self-harm is often glamorised or romanticised in the media and our literature, but today I’m going to be discussing how harmful it is to portray mental illness as something that can be “cured” when you fall in love, or when the “right person” comes along and saves you.

A book I was reading recently called Optimists Die First really got me thinking about the place romance has in novels that are attempting to give an accurate and raw portrayal about what it’s like to live with a mental illness. I’m not saying that there should be a ban on love in these sorts of novels, or books with these themes, but I strongly believe that love should never be written as “the thing that saves you” from your mental illness. While we didn’t see our protagonist “cured” from her social anxiety and OCD (though the OCD isn’t given a label in the narrative), the love interest had some dubious motives for why he wanted to become close with her, and as their relationship grew, Petula’s symptoms were seen to recede. All because of “love”.

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Coping with Grief in Healthy Ways

There’s no doubt that there’s an abundance of YA novels that revolve around a character’s grief, and their struggle to overcome it. These characters are often seen to fall into harmful ways of thinking or destructive patterns of behaviour, and this can show readers who might be impressionable and moulded by what they consume and that this is the “normal” way to deal with grief and hardship. Believing these things can not only be detrimental to the individual, but also highlight the need for authors to have a responsibility towards their readers. While I do believe that some “controversial” novels are valuable as they provide readers with alternate points of view and give a voice to the sides that may not be as heard in our society, it’s harmful to convey to readers that it’s “normal” to cope by means of self-harm of destructive behaviours. This is effectively what we are communicating to some readers by normalising these actions to the point that the lines between “healthy” and “unhealthy” are blurred.

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