Top Ten YA Summer Reads

Today, it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday! For those of you who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where book bloggers from all over the world make a list of 10 things that fit that week’s topic. This week’s topic is “Summer” so I’ll be sharing my summer must-reads for 2017.

  1. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: Diversity. Arranged marriage trope. Romance COMEDY. What more do you want? This seems like the perfect book to read on a beautiful summer day.
  2. Cold Summer by Gwen Cole: This one is not as light-hearted, but it sounds really interesting. Here’s the tag line: “Today, he’s a high school dropout with no future.
    Tomorrow, he’s a soldier in World War II.” Yes, this is a timetravel book!
  3. Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley: “Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.” A romance between two book lovers? Yes, pleeease!!
  4. Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee: Natasha’s amateur web series, Unhappy Families, goes viral and she has to deal with the expectations that come from being internet famous. Also, she has a crush and she’s trying to figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual. Yay for asexual rep! And Tolstoy!
  5. The Color Project by Sierra Abrams: I’ve talked about this one in my most recent Waiting on Wednesday. There’s a bit of a mystery in this one which I like.
  6. It Started with Goodbye by Christina June: “Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost.” I’m hooked.
  7. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus: “One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.” This reminds me of Pretty Little Liars in a good way.
  8. A Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor: Two sisters have an accident and wash up on shore…along with “a troubled boy agonizing over his own secrets“. I love books about strong sibling relationships, and I love a good mystery.
  9. Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett: I heard a lot of great things about this one. From what I can tell from the blurb, it’s about a girl who has to choose between two boys–one who’s perfect but only exists online, and an annoying, imperfect one she’s met in real life. I kind of suspect they’re actually the same person (and she doesn’t know it) but I hope I’m wrong and there’s another, less predictable twist.
  10. Wing Jones by Katherine Webber: This book is described as “Jandy Nelson meets Friday Night Lights” and that’s all I need to know.
Which books do you want to read this summer?  

Top Ten Things That Will Instantly Make Me Want to Read A Book

First off, I hope everyone had a great Easter (for those of you that celebrate it) and / or an amazing weekend!

Second, it’s Tuesday and you know what that means… It’s Top Ten Tuesday! For those of you who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and book bloggers from all over the world make a list of 10 things that fit that week’s topic.

This week’s topic is “Things That Will Instantly Make Me Want to Read a Book.” This is an absolutely fabulous topic to discuss, so let’s get straight into it.

Content-wise, I’ll read anything that features:

1. A cute romance

I’m a sucker for a cute romance, especially when it’s first love. There’s nothing like reading someone about two people falling in love for the first time and all the joys (and troubles) that come with it. Who wants a tortured romance with a lot of drama when you can read about awkward first dates and kisses and figuring things out? I hate it when the romance is perfect like they were “meant to be”. No, no. Give me awkward first love any day!

Example: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

2. Forbidden love

Having said that, forbidden love is my guilty pleasure. There’s just something about rooting for two people whom you know can’t / shouldn’t be together. It’s frustrating, sure, and you might want to throw that book out the window when your OTP comes this close to making things work, but it’s all worth it.

Example: Robbie & Cecilia (Atonement by Ian McEwan)

3. The friends to lovers trope

Are you noticing a theme here? You probably think I’m a die-hard romance fan that’ll read anything with romance in it, but that’s not actually true. I don’t even read romance books where the romance is the main plot. I just love it as a side plot. Anyway… the friends to lovers trope is one of my favourites. Bonus points if said friends are childhood friends.

Example: Lexi & Aiden (Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt)

4. Humour / Funny situations

In general, I prefer books that deal with “serious” topics (racism, grief, sexuality, etc.) but sometimes I need to take a break and I’ll choose something that’s a bit lighter. Lighter meaning my heart is not in danger of being crushed into a thousands pieces and I don’t spiral into an existential crisis.

Example: Paper Towns by John Green

5. Strong, non-romantic relationships

Caring and supportive parents? A female protagonist who’s got a female BFF? A bromance that makes you smile like an idiot? Yes, please! I love my romance, but I also think it’s really important there’s a bit of balance.

Example: Simons vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Things that are not related to the actual content of the book:

6. Blurb / Summary

For me, this is make-or-break. If the blurb and / or summary doesn’t appeal to me, I probably won’t be reading it. That sounds harsh but there are SO MANY books that you’ve got to pick and choose.

7. First paragraph or page

If the book passed the blurb / summary test, I’ll have a look at the first page. I know some people just look at the first line, but that’s not such a deal breaker for me. If I don’t like the first line, I’ll still read at least the first paragraph. If I like it, I’ll read the first page. If the first page has me wanting more, I’ll buy the book.

8. Favourite authors

When it comes to my favourite authors, I’ll skip any and all tests. I don’t care what they’ve come out with. If they’ve published something new, I’ll read it. At the moment, I only have two favourite authors though: John Green and Adam Silvera.

9. Hype

I’m definitely not immune to hype. If everyone is talking about a particular book I’ll check it out on Goodreads and see if it’s something that I’d enjoy. This is key. If I genuinely don’t care about the book (i.e. it’s not my preferred genre, I don’t like the summary or the first page, etc.) I won’t read it. BUT if it does seem like something I’d enjoy, I’ll boost it to the top of my TBR list.

Example: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

10. Recommendations

If someone I know (friends, family members, bloggers, etc.) recommends a book to me, I’ll always have a look at it. I’ve found many great and all-time favourite books I probably would’ve never read if they hadn’t been recommended to me.

***

What about you? What are some things that will instantly make you want to read a book?

Top Ten Of The Most Unique Books I’ve Read / Am Going to Read

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday, a feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Of The Most Unique Books I’ve Read. I’ll be doing a variation by splitting up the list into two sections: five unique books I’ve read and five books that are on my TBR right now.

But first, what makes a book unique? If you’re a writer like me, you hope and pray that someday the words ‘unique’ and ‘original’ will apply to your work. We all want to write (and read) something that’s never been done before and is completely new. But it’s a lot harder than it sounds. Why? Because EVERYTHING HAS BEEN DONE BEFORE. Or so it seems. I’m still not sure if I believe in truly unique books.

So what makes a book unique IMO? To me, a book is unique if I haven’t read anything like it before. You might’ve read hundreds of books with the same theme, plot, similar characters, etc. and that’s fine, but if I haven’t read anything like it before, I’ll consider that book to be unique TO ME.

Having said that, let’s get straight into it.

Five Unique Books I’ve read

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This book tells the story of WWII through the eyes of two kids on both sides, German and Allied. I’d never read a book where 1) one of the protagonists is blind and 2) the path of two children from opposite sides in WWII cross. Anthony Doerr handled both so well and writes such beautiful prose that this book became an instant favourite of mine.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Perks is the first book I read where the author didn’t shy away from mental illness. He ignored the stigma and made talking / writing about mental illness more accessible.

I truly think that without the success of his book, we wouldn’t be seeing so many good (and extremely valuable) representations of mental illness which I imagine have helped a lot of readers around the world.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

This book plays with the idea that not everyone is a hero who slays dragons or saves the world. Most teenagers just want to graduate school and figure out what to do with their life, which is exactly what Mike is doing. I thought it was really interesting and unique to read about main characters who would’ve been minor characters in other books.

Just think about Harry Potter for example. What did Seamus’s life look like? Dean’s? These characters are all connected but Seamus and Dean were no main characters. Most of the time, “minor characters” are simply struggling with everyday problems and I love how Patrick Ness developed that idea into a book.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I’m kind of cheating with this one because I haven’t actually read it yet. But I’m halfway through and I can already say with certainty that this book deserves to be on this list. It’s an important book – capital I – inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.

I’ve never read a book that’s so true to life, so contemporary and real without being non-fiction.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Before Harry Potter, I hadn’t read any fantasy (and I still don’t). The whole concept of magic schools, dark wizards trying to rule the world, and wise headmasters serving as the hero’s mentor were completely new to me. I think that’s partly why I found it so fascinating. It was like a whole different universe had revealed itself to ten-year-old me.

Five Unique Books on My TBR

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

I’m so excited for this one because 1) I’ve never read a book with Indian protagonists before and 2) it’s a romantic comedy about an arranged marriage, which is usually a theme that doesn’t include comedy.

City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

A book about the struggles of a refugee from Congo. “After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. When her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.”

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I watched the first episode of the Netflix show just yesterday and I’m completely hooked. I knew about the book of course but somehow I’d never found the time to read it. But I’ve always thought it to be an interesting concept. For those of you who don’t know…

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a box with 13 cassette tapes on his porch. The tapes are recorded by Hannah Baker, who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah Baker has thirteen reasons why she committed suicide and she’s revealing them all to Clay Jensen.

Forgive me, Leanord Peacock by Matthew Quick

In a way, this book is similar to Thirteen Reasons Why. But instead of having Hannah revealing her reasons after the incident, we have Leonard Peacock who reveals his reasons before the incident. “Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol. But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.”

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Another book with a very contemporary feel. The story focuses on “Frances, who meets Aled, the genius behind her favourite podcast. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.” If I’m not wrong, this book features a bisexual (Frances) and an asexual (Aled) protagonist who have a completely PLATONIC relationship. Hallelujah.

What are some of the most unique books you’ve read? Are you doing Top Ten Tuesday? Feel free to share your thoughts and links in the commen section!

See you soon,

Lauren

Top Ten Authors I’m Dying to Meet / Wish I’d Met

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature created by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is “Authors You’re Dying to Meet / Have Met”. Since I (sadly) haven’t met any authors yet, I’m going to stick to the ones I really want to meet someday. But I’m also going to be a little different and name five authors I wish I’d met but are now (again, sadly) dead.

Here goes.

1. John Green

This is my number one author I’m dying to meet. I’ve been a John Green fan for a couple years now. It’s kind of a funny story because I hated The Fault in Our Stars, which is the first book of his I ever read. I remember wanting to give it a shot because it was such a hyped book, but I didn’t even finish it. I thought it was trying too hard to be profound and was just plain unrealistic. In reality, though, I think I was going into the book with the wrong mindset. I’d heard so much about all these teen girls swooning over Gus I thought it was “just another stereotypical teenagfastco15_GREEN-023_largee romance” and didn’t give it a fair chance.
But there must’ve been something in his writing I liked because I picked up Paper Towns a couple of months later. Now this book I liked. It still had those “profound” moments but it was also funny and silly and the characters felt more realistic.

And then I read Looking for Alaska and I was completely sold. In a matter of two books, John Green had become my favourite YA author and, naturally, I read all of his books (some of them several times). I even gave The Fault in Our Stars another chance. I don’t think it’s his best work (IMO Looking for Alaska is) but I definitely don’t hate it anymore. It’s kind of grown on me.

The obsession became real when I found Vlogbrothers and Dear Hank and John, which is one of the funniest and most absurd podcasts I’ve ever listened to. Both brothers are intelligent, kind, thoughtful, and sometimes just plain weird and silly, and I love them for it. I’d love to meet them both, but I would still pick John Green over Hank of course.

Sorry, Hank.

2. J.K. Rowling

I don’t think this choice needs much oUK_JK_Rowling_Harry_Potterf an explanation. Her personal story is one of the best I’ve ever heard. She was a single mom, she was poor, she battled depression, and grieving her own mother, but she still found the time and the energy to write down and pursue a story she believed in with all her heart.

And thank God she did.

If she’d given up, we would’ve never known about the wonderful and magical Potter universe and I dare say the childhoods of millions and millions of children would’ve looked a lot different. So if I ever get so lucky to meet her I’d just want to say thank you. Thank you for not giving up.

3. Rainbow Rowell

I don’t know why, but she just seems like a very sweet person. The kind of person you can drink tea with and with whom you can talk endlessly about your fandom and who’ll totally get it.

4. Adam Silvera

I’d love to know more about his creative process. I’d like to know how he puts so much emotion into his stories and how he manages to tie the reader to his characters. I’d want to know if someone or something inspires his stories or if he’s just writing from his own heart (since his books seem to deal with the same themes such as grief and mental illness, I suspect he’s writing from own experience).

5. Ian McEwan

He’s the odd one out of all the other YA authors but Atonement is one of my absolute all-time favourite novels and I’d love to get to know the man behind it.

6. Emily Brontë

Emily-Bronte

I wonder what it was like to write in that time, under a pseudonym, and what it was like to belong to a family of (female) writers. I’m curious what her relationship was like with her sisters when it came down to writing. Anne was her best friend, but were they secretly jealous of each other’s work? Competitive? What about Charlotte? How did she fit in?

Also, why didn’t she write another novel before or after Wuthering Heights?

7. Jane Austen

A pioneer of her time and an extremely strong and intelligent woman. I think she would be an excellent conversationalist.

8. Harper Lee

Another pioneer. She wrote about the irrationality of racism in a time when it was still very much a part of “normal” society.

9. William Shakespeare

How could you not want to meet him?

10. J.R.R. Tolkien

I would love to pick the brain of someone with such a vast imagination.

***

What about you? Which authors are you dying to meet?

See you soon,
Lauren

Top Ten Books I Couldn’t Put Down

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature created by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is “Top Ten Books Read in One Sitting”. Since I’ve only read one book in one sitting, I adapted this week’s theme to Top Ten Books I Couldn’t Put Down (but had to because of school, sleep, work … you get the point)

1. Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt

Smart, hardworking girl with a big heart? Check.
An adorable love interest who’s also a famous writer? Check.
Fandom? Check.
Convention setting? Check.
Supportive friends and parents? Check.

What else do you need?

2. A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

I’ve read this one just last week and my full review is coming soon so I won’t spill too much information but… this was such a fun and adorable read!

It’s about Steffi, who has trouble speaking (selective mute, social anxiety … ), and Rhys, who’s deaf and how they understand each other perfectly and fall in love. I love how it’s not just about dealing with their disability / disorder / mental health but there’s plenty of room for them to be teenagers with “normal” problems. Like falling in love for the first time, standing up to your parents, finding your identity, etc.

Also, can I just say that Rhys is one of the sweetest and cutest and most adorable love interests ever? Yes, I can because it’s true and I want one.

Just read this:

stefstef: are you doing anything next saturday?
rhysespieces: i hope so
stefstef: oh, ok. Have you already made plans or something?
rhysespieces: what? no, i mean i hope that i’ll be doing something with you
rhysespieces: like seeing you, not DOING something
rhysespieces: oh fuck
stefstef: 🙂
rhysespieces: i am so much smoother in my head
stefstef: i hope for your sake that’s true

Ugh. They’re so cute.

3. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell captures what it’s like to be a teenager and fall in love for the first time. It was a pleasure reading her story and fall in love with the characters and the story.

4. Looking for Alaska by John Green

I love John Green’s mixture of weird, funny, and serious. His characters are complex, their motives and actions completely realistic. Alaska is one of the most interesting female characters in YA fiction simply because she’s not perfect or (falsely) modest and she’s not pretending to be. She’s not even likable sometimes and that’s okay.

5. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

This book is a perfect combo of the two authors. John’s characters were quirky and eccentric and made me laugh out loud many times (shout-out to Tiny!) while Levithan’s words hit me on a deeper level. Also a great representation of depression.

6. All the Light You Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This book is about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide during WWII. And, no, it’s not a romance. I like how Doerr shows that both sides of the war had their victims. It’s easy to hate all Germans but Doerr shows us it’s not that black-and-white. I also really admire his prose (especially when in the POV of Marie-Laure) which is full of physicals details that don’t rely on sight.

7. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

One of my all-time favourite classics. It’s hard to use so many POV and make readers relate and sympathize with all of them but Faulkner definitely pulls it off. His prose is one of the best I’ve ever read. It comes out so naturally and effortless.

8. History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

It broke my heart page after page after page but I couldn’t put it down.

9. We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

I absolutely love Henry. He’s funny, sarcastic, a real skeptic and incredibly nihilistic but he’s got a big heart. I’d love to have him as a friend.

10. All the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling

I don’t think this needs an explanation. From the day every book was released, I was lost in J.K Rowling’s magic world and I didn’t stop until I finished.