Who should read YA?

The answer is anyone who wants to, No matter what age! What led me to blog about this is, I came across an article on Slate about ‘Against YA: Why adults should be embarrassed to read children’s books.’ I might only be 17 (until next week) but is a child and a young adult the same thing? Is YA literature the same as a children’s book? The post begins with “Read whatever you want. But you should feel embarrassed when what you’re reading was written for children.”

I found this statement extremely patronising towards teenagers, the whole article is implying that adults should feel embarrassed and ashamed to read YA, to have the same tastes as we do. It makes it seem like YA should not be taken seriously as literature. YA isn’t written for children, the genre isn’t called Young Adult for no reason- It is aimed at a younger audience but why should that mean that older audiences can’t read it? Everyone should read what they want to read and not feel any shame about it.

The YA genre often deal with serious subjects such as life and death, gender issues, race, sexuality. Examples of some best sellers revolving around these subjects are:

. The Fault in our Stars by John Green – deals with Cancer and death
. I’ll Give you The Sun by Jandy Nelson – deals with sexuality and death
. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven – deals with suicide and mental illnesses

There is nothing childish about these subjects. Yes, it is educational in the sense that it helps young people to understand different issues in life but it raises awareness to adults too.

This isn’t a new subject to me because ever since I started reading YA, my dad has tried to steer me away from the genre. He doesn’t do this to patronise me, he has always encouraged me to “broaden my horizons” to try out different genre’s and I completely agree, everyone should venture out and try different reading material because you might just discover your new favourite book. I explained to my dad that I am willing to try new genres but I will probably always read YA too and my dad said he doesn’t care what I read, he is just happy that I do read. That is how it should be, read and be happy (don’t listen to other people’s judgements!)

Basically what I’m trying to say is when it comes to reading, age is just a number. Books are supposed to open minds, there should be no borders around what you should and shouldn’t read. No two reading experiences are the same.

Does anyone agree or disagree with what I’ve talked about? Leave a comment!

image

Review: Girls by Savannah Avery

Girls

Author: Savannah Avery
Publisher: CreateSpace
Released: May 5th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 144 (paperback)
Buy: Girls on Amazon

five-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-stars

Seventeen year old Coco meets a group of girls who have everything she ever wanted- friendship, independence, beauty and attention from boys. But being one of the girls isn’t easy. The group’s leader M has strict rules and requires all of her girls to use their bodies to make her money. What is Coco willing to give up to become one of the girls?

Girls was original and unique, I haven’t read anything like it.
The book is a harsh reminder that trafficking does happen in real life. It also shows how naive and easily- influenced young girls are, and how vulnerable. This isn’t one of those YA novels that young teens should read because sex and violence is featured in the book. That being said, it isn’t just limited to a Young Adult audience, I think people of all ages (over 15) would be interested in this book.

Coco starts off as a quiet, insecure girl that goes on a date with a boy in her class and when she turns him down for sex he tells the whole school that she is a ‘tease’. When M defends her one day in class, Coco becomes infatuated with her instantly and she isn’t the only one. M’s girls worship her. Coco soon finds out that they have sex with boy for money but they don’t just do it for the cash, they like having power and control over them. M likes the attention. After watching Katherine perform with a college boy who she calls a ‘repeat’ Coco is intrigued and wants to know how it would feel to be that wanted and desired by a guy. She wants nothing more than to be a part of the group, and above all, for M to like her. So will she agree to do what they do? Will she give away her body for money, just to be like them?
I can’t tell you much more about the plot without spoiling it but the only criticism I have about the story is, it was mostly Coco’s thoughts and not much action. However, I absolutely loved the writing style, it was poetic and elegant.

I love how Savannah built the character’s, I could imagine what they are like clearly in my head. We get to know their personalities a little bit but not much, just like Coco doesn’t really know anything about them. They remain a mystery, especially Kitty. She doesn’t talk much but we know she is sad or she seems it to Coco, and she is very reliant on M.

Katharine was Coco’s least expected friend but she turned out to be the one she got closest to. She talked more than the other 2, even though M always tells her “Talking too much makes the words become meaningless.” Or something along those lines (I can’t find it)

I hated M, she was manipulative, controlling, exploitive and a bully. She is mean to the girls and then later she is trying to be comforting to them, stroking their hair or holding their hands. The worst part is that even though she is all these things to the Girls, they still adore her.

I found it all very sad and I felt sorry for every one of these girls (yes, even M).

I can’t spoil the ending but I have so many questions! Let’s just say I feel as clueless as Coco does at the end. Overall, I really enjoyed the book. It was what contemporary fiction is all about, it gives us a window into a corner of everyday life (in this case, trafficking) We experience how it would feel to walk in Coco’s shoes and it was dark and miserable even if she thought she was happy with the Girls for a short time. I hope this book raises awareness of human trafficking because it definitely opened my eyes.

Thank you to Savannah Avery for providing me with this lovely read (in no way did this influence my review or rating)

Creative blogger nomination

Thank you so much to https://abicxx.wordpress.com/ for nominating me for creative blogger award! I love your blog 🙂

Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog
•Share 5 facts about yourself
•Nominate some bloggers and add their links
•Notify the bloggers you included
•Keep the rules in your post to make it easy for everyone to know what to do

Here are 5 facts about me:

1. I am joining 6 other book lovers on http://www.thebookishblog.com and it will launch on 1st June.

2. I have a twin sister who was born 2 minutes before me and we are not identical (unfortunately for me)

3. I have a boyfriend called Ben who I have been with for 3 years and I can’t imagine life without him.

4. I have 2 adorable Labrador retrievers, called Leo and Oscar
5. I had an 8 hour operation on my back in 2010 and I’m a stronger person for it today The surgery is the reason my parents got the dogs (made them soft haha)

My nominee’s:

https://beccaandbooks.wordpress.com/

https://errka220.wordpress.com/

http://bookguyreview.com/

https://smalltowncitygirls.wordpress.com/

Interview with YA Author of ‘Girls’ Savannah Avery

Girls
Savannah Avery is the author of the edgy young adult novel “Girls”. She is twenty years old and lives in Virginia with her wife Kendra. When she is not writing she likes to garden and read. She also loves anything related to home making. “Girls” is her first published novel. Savannah was kind enough to share about her experience as a first-time author and what’s she learned in the process. Here’s a bit more about her book.
Seventeen year old Coco meets a group of girls who have everything she ever wanted- friendship, independence, beauty and attention from boys. But being one of the girls isn’t easy. The group’s leader M has strict rules and requires all of her girls to use their bodies to make her money. What is Coco willing to give up to become one of the girls?

Are experiences in the book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I think that in all of my books I have to have some familiarity with my characters. Although I may not have any experience with the “main” issue Coco deals within “Girls” I can definitely understand her need for having friends and trying to figure out right from wrong.



Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I want to shed some light on human trafficking, because it’s not always the typical “girl runs away from her abusive parents and an older guy forces her to sleep with people for money.” Human trafficking can take place anywhere, even at a high school. Human trafficking can affect anyone, even someone whose parents love them. We all need to be aware, and I hope this book will help people think twice about their view of human trafficking.


What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
I read mostly young adult novels, even though I’m twenty and married I can’t get away from them! Kody Keplinger (author of the Duff) is a huge inspiration to me, she has had so much success at such a young age!


How long have you known that you wanted to be a writer? Did you have any inkling as a child?

I have wanted to be every profession under the sun- seriously! I never thought about being an author as my career though. I thought maybe I would just write for fun, or at the most publish a few novels but still have a full-time job. But once I got married I became a stay at home wife, and that gave me the time to write full-time. Now, I can’t imagine doing anything else!


What was the time frame for writing this book?

I get stressed out if I put a time frame on my writing. I will feel rushed and then the work won’t come out the way I want it too. I try to write every day though, and since I do that I am able to finish a rough draft in a few weeks and a finished novel in 4-5 months.



Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
I do have a writing routine, but I’m not sure it’s the most organized! First I write an outline, it has everything in it and it helps me stay concentrated on the story. I will write quotes or details about the characters. Then I’ll start the story and I use the outline as a guide. But, that’s all it is, a guide. My story can go anywhere while I’m writing it! (For example, the ending for “Girls” was supposed to be something completely different! I changed my mind at the last minute!) I want my story to feel real, and when I’m writing if it feels staged or unrealistic then I’ll change it. That real-ness that I strive for is why I also do research. When I came up with the idea of this book I originally just wanted a story about teen girls who do something wrong. I started to think and look up what that “something wrong” could be. That’s when I came across human trafficking, and I was shocked to find out that it happens to a lot of teenage girls. I knew then that I had to write a story about it!


What encouragement helped you along the way?

Absolutely my wife! She is my main inspiration, she is always there encouraging me.


What advice do you have for beginning writers?

Write every day! Read every day! These two things are the most important. Take an hour for each every day.


The characters in the book are very vivid and complex. How did you come up with their personalities?
I connect with my characters before I even come up with the story. I can’t tell you how I came up with their personalities, I think they came to me overtime. I knew I wanted all the girls to have different personalities, because like I said human trafficking can affect anyone. I worked hard thinking about how each girl would react to a certain situation.

What’s next for you? Can we expect more YA books, or is there something else in the works?
I am currently working on another novel now! I am hoping for it to be released around September (but no promises!) I will probably always write YA books, but I would one day love to write a non-fiction book on homemaking!


What do you do outside your writing life?

I’m a stay at home wife, and I take a lot of pleasure in homemaking. I love to cook (plant-based vegetarian food), clean and garden. I also love to spend time in nature, I love going to the park or the beach!

Excerpt from Girls:

    I wondered if it was them, if they were so special and so compatible with me that we were all supposed to be close, or if it was all timing. If they happened to be there when I needed someone. If I would have met them before Mark would I be intrigued by their lifestyle or repulsed? I didn’t know the answers to those questions and I wasn’t even sure that it mattered.

    “Are you awake?” Katherine spoke softly from the bed across the room, she couldn’t see me in the dark but I turned towards her anyways out of habit. “Yeah..just thinking” I said “About what?” she asked me. “A lot” I answered. She didn’t say anything for a few moments. “I think you would be good” she said and at first I wasn’t sure what she meant but then she went on “you’re pretty, but it takes more than that. It’s about having that need, and I can see you need something.” I think she was right.
 Buy Girls: 

Review: I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

ill give you the sunAuthor: Jandy Nelson
Publisher:
Walker Books
Released:
16th September 2014
Genres:
Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Gay/ Lesbian Fiction
Pages:
371 (hardback)
Buy: I’ll Give You the Sun

five-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-stars

Jude and her brother, Noah, are incredibly close twins. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude surfs and cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and divisive ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as an unpredictable new mentor. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

I can now see what everyone’s been raving about. I’ll Give You the Sun is one of those books that sticks with you for a very long time. There’s very little I can say about this stunning novel that hasn’t already been said but here are a number of things I loved about the book..

The relationship between Noah and Jude was magical and you could feel how close the twins were. It was heart-wrenching to see them drift apart because twins have the strongest bond possible. They were always jealous and kept competing with each other, They both crave their mother’s attention. They’re both applying to the same art school etc etc.. It was what started their problems. So when tragedy strikes, they deal with their grief in different ways and they start to act like strangers when they need each other most. Even through their hardship they will always love each other unconditionally. It seems like one minute they are inseparable and the next they act like they hate each other. The reason I loved their relationship is because I could relate to their love/ hate relationship from experience with my own twin (although ours isn’t quite as extreme).

The writing style of the author. At first, I didn’t quite get it but as I continued reading, I found it amazing! Jandy Nelson is a writing goddess. I’ll be sure to read another of her books!

I loved the POV’s/ narratives. Noah and Jude each alternates telling a chapter of the story. Noah’s chapters take place when the twins are 13, when they are still share their incredible bond as twins and he is figuring out his attraction to his neighbor, Brian. Noah tells of his art and how he’s trying to submit his application to California School for the Arts (CSA) for high school and the emotions of first romance. Jude’s chapters take place when the twins are both 16 and no longer close. Something happened years ago that damaged their bond. We find out that Jude is a student at CSA and Noah is not, that their mother has died, and that Noah has changed. Noah’s chapters reveal the details of the past, while Jude’s chapters focus on the long-term aftermath of multiple events. Jandy managed to write beautifully and uniquely in two very distinct narrations.

 I love love love the prose in this book, it’s beautiful and so well thought-through and I was sucked into it. Noah’s chapters in particular shine, as he falls in love with a boy. Jude’s romance wasn’t quite as believable, but still heart-achingly poignant.

My only problem when I was reading it is, I’m not a big fan of all the superstitions, it all just seemed slightly pretentious and a bit over the top to add to Jude’s ‘quirkiness’.

Overall, I give it 4.5 stars. If you are wondering if you should read this book, the answer is YES! 

Spring Cleaning (de-cluttering books)

Getting rid of books, whether we’ve read them or not, is a tough task for most of us. It definitely was for my family, who all love to read and get too attached to them. However, in our book room (extremely small library) it represented the state of a hoarders room. The floor couldn’t be seen. It was actually quite embarrassing, so we had to do something about it.

 

Before

bookshelf

book pile

(Sorry for the bad quality)

This is all of our books after we documented them all in an A – Z  notebook so it would be easier to look at what we’ve read and haven’t, what we still want or don’t. (Thank you to my best friend Olivia for doing this task!)

books

bookish

After

SHELFIE

These are all in author order but don’t think they’re in alphabetical order, still it is a lot easier to find a book! We weren’t successful in getting rid of all the books we’ve already read but we have definitely cut it down to ones we cherish most and obviously the books we are yet to read. “Too many books, too little time.”

book box

This is just one of many boxes, these happen to be just my books. Most of my books consisted of YA books if you haven’t already guessed.

What to do with unwanted books:

1. Donate to a charity shop
2. Sell; online or at a car boot sale/ garage sale
3. See if a friend or family member wants any
4. Donate to hospital, especially children’s ward (children’s books of course)
5. Again for children’s books, pass them on to a pre- school or day care
6. For bloggers or ‘bookstagrams’, host a giveaway

I do plan to host a giveaway very soon so watch this space! 

If anyone has any other suggestions for what to do with unwanted books leave a comment and i’ll add it to the list!

Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic_HC_JKT_des4.inddAuthor: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Hodder Paperback
Released: 14th August 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, thriller
Pages: 368 (paperback)
Buy: Panic

five-starsfive-starsfive-stars

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.
Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

Summary from Goodreads 

 

Sorry I haven’t posted for 2 weeks! I’ve been so busy but i’m going to try and post more!

My-Review
To start with, I worried it would be copying The Hunger Games because I got the shorter version of the synopsis on my book. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find it was completely different. It wasn’t even Dystopian, which for some reason I assumed it would be (maybe this is a sign I’ve read too many similar books?)  This book didn’t really wow me but it was entertaining enough.

All the way through the book I was asking questions. Why do they need 60 grand to get out of this town? and what is so bad about this town anyway? sounds completely ordinary with the cinemas, shopping, bowling, mcdonald’s and so on.. they seem to be pretty normal teens in a pretty normal setting. And like all teens, they are bored with their lives so they start this life threatening game.. I found it a strange concept to say the least. Also, how have they got away with Panic for so long without the adults of the town noticing and stopping it? I want to know how they explain away all the accidents and deaths — how the winner explains the fact that they’re suddenly rich beyond their years. You get my point? rant over.

Chars

New rant..  the characters were so annoying!

Heather-  joins the game on a whim after seeing Matt (ex) with another girl, after she’s been droning on about how dangerous and life threatening the game can be. So yeah, she’s sad and desperate. She had her moments of jealousy and depression and that’s fine but she was just so whiny and ‘woe is me’.

Dodge-  love sick with Nat, yet at the same time is violent and hell-bent on getting revenge on someone who rigged his sister’s car in the last Panic, causing her paralysis from the waist down. All he does is complain and complain about how that dude ruined his life and that he wants to kill him. He’s basically like a childish school boy with a crush and a bad temper.

Nat- She’s a backstabbing friend to Heather, plus she’s terrible at panic.
“She was deathly afraid of dogs, she had told him. Also: ladders, heights, darkness, and the feeling you get in the middle of the night when you check your phone and see no one has texted.”   I literally can’t think of anyone worse to join a game like Panic, I mean that last one is just ridiculous.

Bishop- The only bearable character is Heather’s best friend Bishop. He’s the only one with any sense and hates Panic. He seems like your pretty average nice guy, but without giving any spoilers, there’s a bit more to him.

Obviously, since I gave it 3 stars instead of none it definitely wasn’t the worst book and there were things I appreciated about it. The challenges were suspenseful and gripping despite not being entirely unique. Also, this may come as a shock to you after all the complaining about the character’s but I thought she built their personality’s (even though I didn’t like them) well and their background stories were interesting. I realise as I am writing this that the pro’s are a minority to the cons, sorry to fans of Lauren Oliver!

the office animated GIF