Hi everyone, and hello 2020! It has been a whirlwind of a holiday season for me, and I was able to finish a couple books! One of the books I finished was Throw Like a Girl by Sarah Henning, which is out this Tuesday from Little, Brown. Thank you so much to The Novl for sending me an early copy for review!

Title: Throw Like a Girl

Author: Sarah Henning

Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR

Expected release: January 7, 2020

My rating: 3/5 Goodreads stars

Friday Night Lights meets Morgan Matson’s The Unexpected Everything in this contemporary debut where swoonworthy romance meets underdog sports story.

When softball star Liv Rodinsky throws one ill-advised punch during the most important game of the year, she loses her scholarship to her fancy private school, her boyfriend, and her teammates all in one fell swoop. With no other options, Liv is forced to transfer to the nearest public school, Northland, where she’ll have to convince their coach she deserves a spot on the softball team, all while facing both her ex and the teammates of the girl she punched… Every. Single. Day.

Enter Grey, the injured star quarterback with amazing hair and a foolproof plan: if Liv joins the football team as his temporary replacement, he’ll make sure she gets a spot on the softball team in the Spring. But it will take more than the perfect spiral for Liv to find acceptance in Northland’s halls, and behind that charming smile, Grey may not be so perfect after all.

With well-drawn characters and a charming quarterback love interest who’s got brains as well as brawn, Throw Like a Girl will have readers swooning from the very first page.

I’m glad to start off my new year with a review of a book! I’ll start this by saying that I really did enjoy this book, but it took me a bit to get into it.

The first chapters detail what happened to Liv and how she got herself kicked out of her prep school. It provided a nice backstory while still getting right into the action. I like how the novel began and ended in the same spot — on the softball field. It brought things full-circle.

I loved the relationship between Liv and her best friend. They were always supportive of each other and did their best to see each other’s respective games. It could have been really easy to set them as enemies in this novel, but it was refreshing to see their relationship grow and change in a positive way throughout all the conflict in the novel.

I think a big challenge with sport romances is that they can sometimes get old, but this one does not disappoint. I was excited to see a woman playing a male-dominated sport and owning it. Liv’s confidence and abilities really shined even though she sometimes couldn’t see it.

The relationship between Liv and Grey was okay. It wasn’t my favorite part of the book, honestly. I think it was a good part of the plot, however I liked the parts that focused more on Liv over the scenes between the two of them.

All in all, this is a great book to start your new year off with! Be sure to get it from shelves on January 7, this Tuesday!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Sneak Peak Sunday: Throw Like a Girl by Sarah Henning

Hi there and happy end of January! I can’t believe the first month of the year is already over. It’s crazy to think that we’re already one step closer to the end of the year.

If you remember, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to blog 3 times a week. I’ve already sort of failed at this one, but seriously, college and blogging aren’t always compatible! I actually had wanted to post this yesterday, but it got pushed back to today because I still had a lot to do even though I had the day off yesterday.

Anyway!! Here I am again with a wrap up post for the month! In this post, I’m going to talk about the books I got to read this month (Ahh so many!!), and I will definitely link my reviews if they are live.

This month I managed to read a total of nine books. I’m pretty impressed with that! I had been struggling to read two books in the fall, and I’m even busier this semester.

Something that helped me this semester was getting back into listening to audiobooks. I absolutely adore audiobooks because they let me get other work done while still engaging with a good book. I think my favorite book to listen to was The Wicked King by Holly Black. The narrator is excellent and the book itself is incredible! I can’t wait for Queen of Nothing to come out next year!!

Here’s what I read this month:

Eleanor & Park was a re-read, and I’m so glad I did. I think that was the third or fourth time I’ve read that book. Every time I read it I remember how much I love Rainbow Rowell’s writing. I can’t wait for Wayward Son!!

Have you read any of the books I read this month? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Book Chat: January 2019 Wrap-Up

Posted in Blog Tours, Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Sneak Peek Sunday ft. Blog Tour: Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Soloman

*****EDIT*****

This tour was conducted with FFBC. Due to the doxxing and threatening/toxic behavior displayed by the tour company toward Black bloggers, I am removing any and all affiliation with them on my platforms. This is unacceptable. However, I am leaving my reviews/posts up for the benefit of the authors I supported. Thanks in advance for your understanding!

I’m so excited to be on this blog tour! Here is one of my highly anticipated reads, Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Soloman. Last year, Soloman debuted with her novel You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone, which was also featured right here! Check that out here. I was lucky enough to win an ARC in Rachel’s newsletter.

Title Our Year of Maybe

Our Year of Maybe

Author: Rachel Lynn Soloman

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Expected publication: January 15, 2019

Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult

My rating: 4/5 Goodreads stars

Aspiring choreographer Sophie Orenstein would do anything for Peter Rosenthal-Porter, who’s been on the kidney transplant list as long as she’s known him. Peter, a gifted pianist, is everything to Sophie: best friend, musical collaborator, secret crush. When she learns she’s a match, donating a kidney is an easy, obvious choice. She can’t help wondering if after the transplant, he’ll love her back the way she’s always wanted.

But Peter’s life post-transplant isn’t what either of them expected. Though he once had feelings for Sophie too, he’s now drawn to Chase, the guitarist in a band that happens to be looking for a keyboardist. And while neglected parts of Sophie’s world are calling to her—dance opportunities, new friends, a sister and niece she barely knows—she longs for a now-distant Peter more than ever, growing increasingly bitter he doesn’t seem to feel the same connection.

Peter fears he’ll forever be indebted to her. Sophie isn’t sure who she is without him. Then one blurry, heartbreaking night twists their relationship into something neither of them recognizes, leading them to question their past, their future, and whether their friendship is even worth fighting for.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | iTunes

About the Author

Rachel Lynn Solomon lives, writes, and tap dances in Seattle, Washington. Once she helped set a Guinness World Record for the most natural redheads in one place. She’s the author of You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone (out now from Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse), Our Year of Maybe (1/15/19), and Today Tonight Tomorrow (2020). A short story of hers will appear in the anthology It’s a Whole Spiel (Penguin Random House/Knopf, fall 2019).

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook| Pinterest

Review

This was such a fun read!! I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I absolutely loved Rachel’s debut, You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone and I had high hopes for this one. One of the main characters and I even share a name!

I love the dual POV in the book. I felt that Rachel really got into their heads, and it was well written. Sometimes I felt more connected to Sophie, but other times I felt more connected to Peter. I wish I could meet them IRL! I especially liked the new dance friends that Sophie makes. They reminded me a little of Bebe and Denice from Eleanor & Park.

There are a lot of different elements in this book, from religion to sexuality, Soloman writes in a respectful but real way. I’m always captivated by her writing. Each piece is woven in with skill that I admire greatly.

I really like her realistic portrayal of sexual health and masturbation in this book. This is also done in You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone, and it needs to be done much more often in YA. This fights against the stigma, especially for women, in a positive way, and this definitely won points in my book.

Religion is another theme embedded within this novel. I like how Peter wants to find his and what it means to him while Sophie doesn’t really practice. It provides a good picture of how people approach this topic. I related to Peter when he talked about being caught between worlds, how he didn’t feel like he was enough of something to really claim the label. I often feel this way toward my race (Asian) because there is such a stigma and discussion about what makes someone “truly” something.

For the sake of keeping this from getting too long (seriously, I could wax poetically about this book all day), I’m going to wrap it up here. I really hope you guys read this amazing book!

Playlist

Here’s a playlist I created for the book! Unfortunately, I don’t know much Rufus Wainwright, much to Peter’s chagrin. I did include a lot of angsty songs (this book is so angsty and I love it), and one BTS song that I felt really fit the book!

Favorite Quotes

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the books!

He is the earth, and I am the moon.

I have never been enough, and he has always been too much.



There’s something else, though, something that takes me a few moments to identify—a pang of missing. Like I miss Sophie even though she’s right here, gliding along the ice in her gray beanie, fiery hair peeking out from beneath it.

Giveaway

Prize: One (1) SIGNED copy of Our Year of Maybe.

Terms & Conditions: US only, please read the terms on the rafflecopter

Run time: January 9-20th

Link: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d9681b86336/

Tour Schedule

January 9th

The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club – Welcome Post

January 10th

Charis Rae – Review | It Starts at Midnight – Review + Favourite Quotes | The Clever Reader – Review + Dream Cast + Favourite Quotes

January 11th

Read.Sleep.Repeat.org – Interview | A Court of Coffee and Books – Review + Favourite Quotes | Kait Plus Books – Review + Favourite Quotes

January 12th

Literary Meanderings – Guest Post | Sinfully Wicked Book Reviews – Review | Morgan Vega – Review + Playlist + Dream Cast

January 13th

The Mind of a Book Dragon – Review + Playlist + Favourite Quotes | Blunt Book Blog – Review | Amy’s Booket List – Review + Favourite Quotes

January 14th

Utopia State of Mind – Guest Post | Camillea Reads – Review | We Live and Breathe Books – Review

January 15th

The Heart of a Book Blogger – Interview | Blossoms and Bullet Journals – Review | Moonlight Rendezvous – Review + Playlist | The Layaway Dragon – Review

Book Birthday: Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson (+ Giveaway!!)

“An intricately plotted, compulsively readable novel that explores not only fascinating crimes
but also the mysteries of anxiety, the creative process, contemporary fame, and so much else.”
— John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars and Turtles All the Way Down

Happy new book Tuesday! There are so many amazing releases today (Once a King by Erin Summerill, Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare, Fire and Heist by Sarah Beth Durst, to name a *few*). I wanted to take a moment to highlight the release of the amazing book Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson.  This book came out this past January, and it was absolutely incredible. I even posted a review on it.

This book is coming out in paperback today, and I highly encourage you all to go get yourself a copy if you haven’t already! It’s perfect for that last minute holiday gift 🙂

Here’s a little more info on the book:

New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson weaves a delicate tale of murder and mystery in the first book of a striking new series, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and E. Lockhart.
Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.” Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.
True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

Truly Devious returns in The Vanishing Stair

Did you know that the sequel to Truly Devious is coming out in January 2019? You definitely will want to snatch up this follow up novel. I just finished this book on Sunday, and YOU GUYS IT WAS EPIC!!! I’m dying to read book three already!!! Here is the link to the Goodreads page. (I would include the description, but it includes spoilers for Truly Devious!)

Giveaway

Thanks to the publisher I’m giving away a copy of Truly Devious! The giveaway will end on December 11, so make sure to enter by then! U.S. and Canada only please.

Be sure to follow the link to the Rafflecopter! 

Happy reading, Sophie 🙂

Posted in Blog Tours, Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Blog Tour: Carry Me Home by Jessica Therrien Review & Giveaway

Hey guys! I hope you’ve had a good week so far! Tomorrow is Friday, so hang in there 🙂

About the Book

Carry Me HomeCarry Me Home

by Jessica Therrien
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: September 26th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Thriller, Young Adult

Synopsis:

“A riveting page-turner… Jessica Therrien broke my heart into a million pieces — and then put it back together again. This book will haunt and uplift readers long after they turn the last page.”
-KAT ROSS, best-selling author of The Midnight Sea

CARRY ME HOME is a fictional novel inspired by the true story of a teenage girl’s involvement in several Mexican gangs in San Jose and Los Angeles. The members of her crew call her, Guera, Spanish for “white girl” and it doesn’t take long for her to get lost in their world of guns and drugs.

* * *

Lucy and Ruth are country girls from a broken home. When they move to the city with their mother, leaving behind their family ranch and dead-beat father, Lucy unravels.

They run to their grandparents’ place, a trailer park mobile home in the barrio of San Jose. Lucy’s barrio friends have changed since her last visit. They’ve joined a gang called VC. They teach her to fight, to shank, to beat a person unconscious and play with guns. When things get too heavy, and lives are at stake, the three girls head for LA seeking a better life.

But trouble always follows Lucy. She befriends the wrong people, members of another gang, and every bad choice she makes drags the family into her dangerous world.

Told from three points of view, the story follows Lucy down the rabbit hole, along with her mother and sister as they sacrifice dreams and happiness, friendships and futures. Love is waiting for all of them in LA, but pursuing a life without Lucy could mean losing her forever.

Ultimately it’s their bond with each other that holds them together, in a true test of love, loss and survival.

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35290299-carry-me-home?ac=1&from_search=true

Purchase: 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Carry-Me-Home-Jessica-Therrien/dp/0998309885/

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/carry-me-home-jessica-therrien/1126630272?ean=9780998309880

About the Author

Jessica Therrien is the author of the young adult series Children of the Gods. Book one inJessica the series, Oppression, became a Barnes & Noble best-seller shortly after its release. Her trilogy has been translated and sold through major publishers around the world, such as Editions AdA (Canada), EditionsMilan (France), and SharpPoint Press (China).

Aside from her Children of the Gods series, Jessica is the author of a kid’s picture book called, The Loneliest Whale. Her award-winning stories can also be found in a published anthology of flash fiction.

Jessica currently lives in Irvine with her husband and two young sons. She is working on an a YA suspense thriller series and a middle grade fantasy series.

Author links:

http://jessica-therrien.blogspot.ca/

https://twitter.com/JessicaTherrien

https://www.facebook.com/jessicatherrienauthor/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5406182.Jessica_Therrien

Review

I’m not sure how to feel about this book still, but I will give you some thoughts I have on it thus far.

Ruth was probably my favorite of all the characters. She starts off shy and sheds it throughout the book to become someone new. I wasn’t a big fan of Lucy. She made terrible decisions, and I couldn’t relate to her well.

The plot is a slow burn. It has some action, but not a lot of it.

Overall, this was a decent read.

Follow the Tour

October 23rd
Let Me Be Fictional

Read Review Blog Repeat

the bibliophagist

Lustful Literature

Folded Corners and Smudged Screens

October 24th
Texan Girl Reads

Escape into a Booksite

Kendra Loves Books

June Reads Books

October 25th
Reading With Wrin

As Told By Tina

October 26th
Jemms Reads

Amanda Gernentz Hanson

Here’s to Happy Endings

The Mind of a Book Dragon

October 27th
Cindy’s Love of Books

swoonworthybooks

Book Butterfly in Dreamland

I Love Books Club

Blushing babes are up all night

YA & NA Bookshelf

October 28th
a small girl,her man and her books

Inside The Mind of an Avid Reader

Book Reviews by a Little Bookworm

The Avid Reader

Giveaway

Tour-wide giveaway (INTL)

  • Signed copy of Oppression (Children of the Gods #1)
  • Signed copy of Carry Me Home
  • $10 Amazon Gift Card

Here’s the link!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Hi everyone! It’s Beth over at The Books Are Everywhere, and I’m here to talk about one of my new favourites! Here’s my review for the incredible Caraval, which don’t worry – I have begged Sophie to read 🙂

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Goodreads | Amazon

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.
But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

Oh. My. Gosh. Where do I even start with this book? Well, let’s just say it took me only 2 days to finish this 407 page novel – and I wouldn’t say I’m a quick reader!

“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality.

This book is poetry. It is a spell, cast over every single reader. It is majestic, enchanting and truly mind-boggling. Stephanie has created such an amazing world in my head, and it has completely taken over my brain for the past couple of days.

It’s more than just a game or performance.

For a book with so many twists and turns, I also managed to follow every word. That is truly impressive for me. And for a fantasy book to capture my attention for that long, for so many hours when I should have been doing work, to inspire me to make both a playlist and a mood board (coming Thursday!), this book is just simply awesome.

Also, the romance isn’t cheesy! I’m going to try and do this spoiler-free, but OHMIGOD SHIPPING. SERIOUSLY. I SHIP THOSE TWO SO DAMN HARD. It wasn’t insta love. I didn’t know what was going to happen at any time. All of the reveals in this book came as a surprise – everything was so incredibly original!

Okay, so as you know I don’t usually fangirl over a novel, or characters. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so invested in a fantasy world as I do now. I feel like this book has twisted my mind into loving circuses and carousels and beautiful, twisted cities with rivers for roads.

It’s the closest you’ll ever find yourself magic in this world.”

As you can probably gather, I also adored this world. Yes, it was dark and creepy. It was full of secrets and lies. It was twisty, and twisted. But at the same time, it was intriguing and captivating and just truly magical.

Stephanie Garber, I don’t know how I’m going to even attempt explain to you how grateful I am for your novel. This has to be the first fantasy I have truly fallen in love with, and is definitely the best fantasy I’ve ever read…and my favourite of the year so far. To put it simply – I LOVE YOU.

Oh, and to back up my claims about this book, it’s been out for only 21 days and it already has over 6000 Goodreads ratings. If that’s since the release, over 285 people have rated this book a day. And it has an overall rating of 4.14 stars. That means it has a higher rating than The Night Circus and Red Queen – two of the most famous, most hyped fantasy novels in YA fiction. No wonder everyone is talking about this novel.

So, without a doubt this book simply has to be given 5/5 moons from me. Gods teeth, it gets more than that. I’d give it 100 if I could!

P.S. UM. THIS BOOK IS GOING TO BE A MOVIE. FOX HAVE OFFICIALLY PURCHASED THE RIGHTS. I’M SO EXCITED!!

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

| Goodreads | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | YouTube |

Beth: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Hi everyone! Today’s post is hopefully a fitting post not just for me but for the world right now. Naturally, I know a lot of sh*t has been going on worldwide with Trump and lots of other things, and we probably all need to escape sometimes. So in this post, we’re going to be talking about 5 books to help us escape the modern world!

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Goodreads | Amazon

Seed is one of the most amazing fantasy contemporaries that I’ve read – and it distracted me completely from life for a couple of days!

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Goodreads | Amazon

Another example of fantasy/paranormal/horror with a hint of contemporary. I love this book!

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Goodreads | Amazon

And along to sci-fi now! I don’t read much sci-fi usually but I absolutely adored this book. It’s incredible and a must read for any YA fans looking for something unique!

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Goodreads | Amazon

Some people may be surprised at the last two books – how can you escape with contemporary? Well, this book is purely for the road trip! It’s one of my favourite YA contemporaries of all time and I’d recommend it to anyone who loves road trip books or a good romance.

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Goodreads | Amazon

I was completely absorbed in this series. I cried at the end of Isla as I simply didn’t want to escape the magical world Stephanie Perkins created!

Thanks for reading (and again putting up with my hiatus!).

Which books help you escape?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

| Goodreads | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | YouTube |

Looking for a Valentine’s Day gift? Take a look at the Wordery sale here!

Book Chat: 5 Books To Help You Escape

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Goodreads | Amazon

Seed loves you. Seed will never let you go. 

Fifteen-year-old Pearl has lived her whole life protected within the small community at Seed, where they worship Nature and idolise their leader, Papa S. When some outsiders arrive, everything changes. Pearl experiences feelings that she never knew existed and begins to realise that there is darkness at the heart of Seed.  A darkness from which she must escape, before it’s too late.

Hi everyone! It’s Beth, and I’m back with my latest review which you can also find on my blog and Goodreads.

I don’t even know where to start with this one. It’s one of those you have to digest after reading…just like all the best books force you to do.

To put it simply – this book is good. It’s really good. It’s 300+ pages, and I read it in 2 days. That would normally take me a week or more! I literally couldn’t put it down. I’ve been reading for hours, putting off schoolwork and doing my gaming blog and everything else just to read. When I wasn’t reading it, I was in a kind of Seed trance. Have you ever read a book so good you end up in a trance just thinking about it?

“It feels like I am underwater at the lake,”

The easiest way to describe Seed was that it turns the pages for you. It’s definitely a thriller, but not in a way like Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train. It definitely has dark undertones, and it’s definitely thrilling….but above all, it is strange. I mean this book is really messed up – but that’s what makes you want to read on. I just wanted to know what would happen.

“yet floating through the sky.”

I loved the characters in this book. I loved the setting. Both were complicated and confusing but also related highly to the ‘Outside’, or the real world. There were constant reminders that this was about people, even if they didn’t live conventionally.

“There a thousand butterflies dancing on my skin”

The plot was definitely fast paced, and I felt the constant twists and turns, wanting to follow the winding road to the end of the story. I did enjoy the first half of this book more than the second, though. I’m not sure why…but I have to say I thought the ending was a bit rushed. I found I blundered into it without even knowing where I was going. It all just felt a little hazy.

There was also a very big, unexpected event at the end of the book which I felt kind of eliminated some of the point of the book. It all built up to what would happen with a certain person and then another event means we’ll never even know.

But otherwise, the only other complaint I could possibly have is that I want more. I want to know about Pearl now. I want to know about her adventures and how she moves on from everything that happened in those last few pages.

I’m still giving this book top marks, though. I couldn’t possibly mark such a captivating page turner with any less.

 ☽ ☽ ☽ ☽ ☽
5 out of 5 moons

 -Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

| Goodreads | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | YouTube |

Review: Seed by Lisa Heathfield

Hi guys! I’m Beth from The Books Are Everywhere and Tea Pusheen. Today I’m going to be listing 5 of my favourite books published in 2016!

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Goodreads | Amazon

I can’t believe I read this book nearly a year ago now, but it still sticks very strongly in my memory!

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You Were Here was my favourite book of 2016. Yes, it came out on top! I adored this book so much!

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I read this book with Sophie early last year and we both loved it! Such a unique read.

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I read this book in a couple of days while I was in Wales last summer and I absolutely loved it! Such an emotional ride but one of my favourite of the year.

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This book was very close to getting my top stop! I loved this book so much, but it’s definitely a strong second.

Thanks for reading!

Which 2016 books did you love?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

| Goodreads | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | YouTube |


Book Chat: 5 Favourite Books Published in 2016

Hi everyone! Today’s post is going to be a discussion about mental health in YA. I’ve chosen to post about this today as Monday was World Mental Health Day! Not only that, it’s also Mental Health Awareness week this week. Personally, I think mental health needs to be talked about no matter what day it is, but I love that we have a day for it!

Young Adult literature is a big influence on many teens day-to-day lives. It’s one of the places we turn to when we feel alone or just need some time out. With one in four teenagers in the U.K. experiencing suicidal thoughts and one in ten suffering with anxiety or depression, it’s more important than ever that difficult topics are discussed in Young Adult literature.

However, we still face many issues, not only with the lack of this but also with diversity. Unfortunately, many YA books are more likely to feature main characters with little to no knowledge or experience of mental health issues. One of the other main issues is disability in YA. There are very few books welcoming the subject, especially when the protagonist has a disability. One great example of going against the norm is Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom, which features a blind main character.

But things are finally changing. With campaigns and programs like We Need Diverse Books (find out more at www.weneeddiversebooks.tumblr.com), fans and bookworms are demanding authors tackle difficult topics within their writing. With popular authors like Sophie Kinsella (author of Finding Audrey) and John Green (author of Looking For Alaska) openly writing about depression, grief and social anxiety, tackling these issues is becoming slowly more common and acceptable.

Over time, diversity in YA is definitely starting to change, and hopefully will continue to in the coming months and years. But why is this likely to help YA readers?

In the media, we have a very skewed view of mental health. Suicide, self harm and substance abuse is hardly ever reported nationally or internationally, unless it involves a celebrity or public figure. This is changing, with more people sharing their experiences through blogs, articles and social media, but  is still likely to be a slow process.

As YA is becoming more and more popular, so are events like conventions. The Young Adult Literature Convention (YALC) is the UK’s biggest YA event, and it takes place every summer at London Film and Comic Convention. I had the privilege this year to attend, and take part in Ask YALC, an agony aunt type panel with Juno Dawson (author of Mind Your Head), Holly Bourne (author of Am I Normal Yet?) and Rosalind Jana (author of Notes On Being Teenage). The panel was hosted by Gemma Cairney, presenter of The Surgery on BBC Radio 1 and soon to be author of Open: A Toolkit for How Magic and Messed Up Life Can Be. This shows that difficult subjects are being openly talked about within the YA community, and not just online.

But we do still face problems within YA – authors may be starting to recognise mental health issues, but it’s still very unclear how to relate characters stories to real life. A common example of this is that many mental health issues are solved by the protagonist finding a love interest or partner. In some instances, this is almost displayed as a long-term fix for their problems, which would not usually help in a real life situation. Many of us suffer with mental health problems alone, and are lucky if we’re surrounded by people we feel completely comfortable to talk to our issues about. Finding Audrey and When We Collided are both good examples of the love interest theory – for example, in Finding Audrey her new boyfriend manages to help Audrey come out of her shell.

Another idea is that our main characters can overcome their problems and stop taking their medication on their own. Yes, this does work for some people, but many need long term help and support through this, and for some it could even be dangerous to come off without it. Books such as When We Collided and Mosquitoland could even encourage people to attempt this.

So, what’s the next step? All in all, I’m hoping we continue on the right path. But one thing I’d love to see more of is how to deal with mental illness in real life – maybe with books showing trips to counselling and/or support groups. We still have a very long way to go, but YA is making progress all the time.

Would you like to hear more about this subject? What do you think of it?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

Book Chat: Mental Health in YA