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 »

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!

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

“In Pieces” is How You Left Me // HIAYLM Review

hiaylm-book

OCD-afflicted seventeen-year-old, Griffin, has just lost his first love – his best friend, ex-boyfriend and the boy he believed to be his ultimate life partner – in a drowning accident. In a desperate attempt to hold onto every last piece of the past, a broken Griffin forges a friendship with Theo’s new college boyfriend, Jackson. And Griffin will stop at nothing to learn every detail of Theo’s new college life, and ultimate death. But as the grieving pair grows closer, readers will question Griffin’s own version of the truth – both in terms of what he’s willing to hide, and what true love ultimately means…

Read More »

Magical-Realism in YA

I didn’t realise I’d been missing a whole genre in my life until I finally decided to pick up my first magical-realism novel, Bone Gap, and was swept away by the beauty of the world Laura Ruby had created and the way magical elements were seamlessly worked into the narrative to create a truly mesmerising read. It was only after reading this gorgeous book that I realised I’d read hardly any books with magical-realism in them. As a lover of contemporaries and someone who does like fantasy – but is rather picky about what fantasy novels I’ll read because high fantasy confuses the heck out of me – I found that magical-realism was the perfect solution. You’ll definitely be seeing me reading more magical-realism in future!

(For those of you that aren’t completely sure what magical-realism is, it’s basically the term used to refer to fiction where magic or the supernatural is presented in an otherwise real-world or mundane setting.)

Read More »

Kill Your Darlings (not the dog)

It’s long been said amongst writers that we must “kill our darlings”. For those that are unaware, this seemingly psychopathic phrase isn’t about killing your babies or your favourite characters (although it is fun to make readers cry); it’s about cutting out elements from your novel that serve no purpose to the work as a whole, even if it’s something we adore. This was one piece of writing advice I got from my writing teacher and inspiration in middle school. The other was this:

“Whatever you do, don’t kill the dog. Killing people in fiction is mostly fine, but touch the animals and readers will hate you.”

And I mean, who hasn’t read a book or watched a movie that involves the death of a dog and cried your eyes out? If you haven’t, you’re clearly not human. Some of us still tear-up at the mention of Marley & Me — “some” including me. But when people die, especially when they go as quickly as on Game of Thrones, I find that I have to be really connected to them in order to shed a tear. But an animal? I don’t even have to know its name to cry my eyes out.

Exhibit A of this post is a new book called The Edge of Everything (if you haven’t heard of it, there’s more information down below). What’s worse than a dog dying in a book? A dog being killed in a book. And what’s even worse than that? Animal abuse. I can’t even think about it without feeling absolutely sick to my stomach. But that was what I found myself reading when I picked up The Edge of Everything. The blatant abuse of animals.

Read More »

Bisexuality in YA Fiction

Although I’ve read what feels like an abundance of YA novels featuring gay male protagonists, I’ve only read maybe three books featuring bisexual female protagonists. And I’ve read all three of them in the past three months. I’m pleased that books are finally being released with bisexual main characters, but it feels like it’s been a long time coming. Thankfully there’s been a push for diversity by avid readers and passionate writers, and I believe that’s influencing the bookish community in the best possible ways. It’s opened my eyes to see how much of what I was reading was featuring cishet protagonists, and it’s time to change that.

As someone who identifies as bisexual – which you can hear more about in this post – there’s nothing I want more than to see myself in more of what I read. But it’s not just about what I want. People who are still trying to figure out who they are need YA fiction to show them that being any and every sexuality is valid, and just because our world is heteronormative and can be cruel and invalidate who you are, it doesn’t mean you’re any less important or any less loved. How you choose to define yourself, whether that be with a label or with who you choose to love, matters. You matter.Read More »