Monday, January 15, 2018

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

5 Stars

32075671“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”


I am thrilled I finally got to read this. It has so much hype and it deserves every slice of it. It is such an important book. It does a fantastic job of tackling such an important and relevant topic. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone and everyone. In my review, I won't be hyper critical because I just think it's so important we finally have this highly important own voices book and I think it's important that it gets the praise it deserves. However, if you're interested in a bit more of a critical review, there's a few interesting ones on Goodreads, you might just have to sift through. 

I will just say quickly, do I think everything was perfect? No, I don't. But that's not why I'm giving it 5 stars. I'm giving it 5 stars because it's incredibly important and relevant and I think it brought up so many important things. This will definitely be one to leave you thinking. 

The thing I love about THUG so much, is that it is a YA book dealing with a huge issue. It's important for people to be talking about the big issues and this is a fantastic way to get people educated and talking, particularly young people. I would love to see more YA authors try to tackle big issues like these because I think it's incredibly important to speak out using whatever medium you feel right using. I love that Angie Thomas has done that. You can tell it's a topic she feels strongly about and she has used her voice and perspective, to talk about it. I love it, I fully support it. 

I loved Starr, I think she was really well written within her thought processes and whatnot and she felt like a really authentic character. You could tell it was an own voices author. She was strong and stubborn but still scared and had her flaws that she could acknowledge. I loved her family dynamic. I think it was so important to have such a gorgeous and supportive family. You all know by now that I adore some strong and loving families in YA. They were all really well written dimensional characters. They were really fleshy and I loved that. 

I loved that THUG shuts down and breaks down the stereotypes that we are fed through the media. It gives us a unique perspective and certainly one that particularly news outlets aren't going to let us see. Which I think is incredibly important because you can't give credit to a lot of the media. THUG encourages you to have a mind of your own and gives you this perspective as food for thought.

I think it definitely has a shock factor. I think for some people, it's going to be hard to take in the fact that this book isn't just one big hyperbole. I'm lucky enough to have a father that talks constantly about the police shootings and the unfairness and ridiculousness of it, to know that this stuff is happening. But, I know for a lot of people The Hate U Give might be hard to swallow but I think it's important you do because only then can you help make a change.

I must say I've never read anything quite like this. Which I almost feel ashamed to admit. It was so different and important and fresh. I think it was brilliant. I feel more educated and aware after reading it which I think is what Thomas was aiming for. I would love to see more books like this one. Definitely read it if for some reason you haven't already, definitely support it, show it some love. I think it was great. Once again, I would love to see more books like this. I hope this becomes a classic in the years to come.


Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

5 Stars

“Never say no when you really want to say yes.”
35247769
I was SO excited to unwrap this Christmas day, I had been dying to read it practically since it was announced. I feel like anyone who has been here with me long enough will know that I adore Lara Jean and the To All The Boys trilogy. I absolutely loved it. I think this was the perfect conclusion to Lara Jean's story. 

I love that while it still focused on relationships, it focused on a different aspect of relationships that I think is often overlooked in YA because it might not necessarily be the part everyone wants to think about. Lara Jean had to make some interesting decisions about the future and I think that's relatable for a lot of people. And, Lara Jean has a hard time when things don't go exactly to plan.

I adore that it included so many more aspects of life. It really talked about so many more things in Lara Jean's life and I appreciated that. It focused of the changes happening to Lara Jean and how that affected the relationships she has with those around her. It wasn't just about her and Peter anymore, it was about a lot more which I think is reflective of how Lara Jean has grown as a character. 

Something I loved about this was seeing how Lara Jean had grown since the first book. Yet, she was still Lara Jean. She still has her charming naivety and optimistic nature. But there was definitely still some rock solid character development which I think was great because we didn't lose who Lara Jean is and what makes her so lovable but we still got to see her grow as a character.  

It was quite different in contrast to the first two books but I loved that. I think the relationship drama had been pretty exhausted at this point and I loved to see some other stuff happening with the Song girls. But, that being said, I think this book worked so well because we had the other two and we grew attached to Lara Jean and her family and friends. I don't think this would've worked as well as a stand alone. 

I think this was the perfect conclusion to the perfect trilogy. I absolutely adored it, I think it gave a really nice closure to everything. While I'm so sad that the Lara Jean saga has come to an end, I am so thrilled that it was done so well. I won't lie, I was a little bit worried about not liking this or not getting the ending I wanted or having it feel awkward. But, it closed things off, it didn't exhaust anything, it showed growth of characters. It was pretty much everything I could've wanted. 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

December 2017 Wrap Up

Hello everyone. It's actually New Years Eve here in Australia as I write this and I can't seem to comprehend that. I think this year has gone the fastest of all of them for me. I'm excited for 2018 but disappointed for the end of what has been a fantastic year.

So, what did I read?
- The Start of You and Me by Emery Lord (I think? I'm sorry, I forgot to write down a list)
- Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
- Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
- It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

And I started Always and Forever, Lara Jean yesterday which I am LOVING. I'll probably have it done by the end of the day so maybe we'll have to edit this post a little later. Who knows. I didn't love The Start of You and Me which was disappointing and it seriously put me in a bit of a slump. I thought it was bland. I reread Anna and Lola because they're a couple of my favourites and I needed to get out of my slump. Good news, I still love them just as much as I did the first time. I adored It's Kind of  a Funny Story and I can't wait to write my review.

Blogging wise, it wasn't great even though I wanted to get back into it. I've had the weirdest month in terms of blogging. I've written so many posts that haven't gone up simply because I couldn't get them how I wanted them and it was incredibly frustrating. I think it's just a bit of a slump that I'll have to try and persevere through.

Anyway, I had a brilliant Christmas. I have so much chocolate, I swear I won't have to buy anymore until next Christmas. I got some books that I've been dying to read so I can't wait to get into those. It was a really lovely day and I hope everyone else had a day as lovely as I did. I treated myself to some more plants (someone remind me to do a plant post soon).

Oh! And I've been watching Stranger Things (finally) and oh my god, why did no one make me do this sooner. I have one more episode to go which I'll probably watch tonight. It's incredible, I'm obsessed. If you haven't already watched it, I would definitely recommend. I want to write a post dedicated to it if anyone would be interested in reading that. I can't wait to finish it tonight but I also feel very sad saying that and knowing I have to now wait until season 3.

Anyway, I think that's mostly everything I wanted to say about December. I'll see you guys in 2018 and I hope you've had not only a fantastic month but a fantastic year. I hope you all take the time to reflect on the year that has been and the year that is to come. Have a great New Years!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Romanticising in YA

This is something I've been wanting to talk about for the longest time but I've been struggling to find the words. So, basically what I'm going to be talking about today is romanticising things that shouldn't be romanticised, particularly in YA books.

I'm going to start by talking about John Green. We all know John Green, we were all a huge fan once upon a time. However, I've been thinking about him a lot with the publication of his newest book, Turtles All The Way Down which I haven't read, I'm definitely curious though but I don't think I'll go as far as to buy a copy. Because I have a lot of feelings about his books now. And, this isn't to be taken as me talking shit about John Green, I think he's an incredibly talented writer and he and his brother do fantastic crash course videos that have helped me in science on numerous occasions so I actually do owe my science related success to him. However, his books are the things I have issues with. A little over a year ago, I read The Fault in Our Stars for the second time and wrote a rave review of it. Well, that's all well and good but I think the bookish community has really helped me to see what is wrong with his books and made me think a bit more critically of everything. I think The Fault in Our Stars romanticises illnesses but I don't exactly think that is the intent there, I do think John Green purely intended for it to be a gorgeous love story between two sick kids but I think particularly the way it was advertised, just romanticises the whole thing.

But, TFIOS is not the book I have the biggest issue with, it's Looking for Alaska. Once upon a time I adored Looking for Alaska. I have a lovely 10th anniversary edition that I loved to pieces but anyone whose read it knows that Alaska is not exactly a stable person and the narrator just keeps on romanticising it, looking back it's actually gross. The obsession with Alaska is just very not healthy and not a great thing to be depicting to young people. John Green loves the manic pixie dream girl trope and he isn't the only one but it's damaging and not healthy. I remember reading Looking for Alaska when I was about 13 and something a bit scary happened, I wanted to be like Alaska so people would romanticise me and that boys would think about me because I'd be this unique individual who 'isn't like other girls' as though that's such a horrible thing to be. But, my issue with the manic pixie dream girl trope is a talk for another day.

I don't think unhealthy relationships, substance abuse, mental illnesses, the list goes on, should be romanticised. Do I think they should be written about? Absolutely, it's important to bring exposure to all of these kinds of things but it is so important to avoid romanticising it. YA readers can be young and impressionable and to be honest, I remember being that person a few years ago. Write about depression, write about drinking problem, write about illnesses, write about sad people, but don't make it out to seem like something beautiful and desirable.

So, basically, the point I'm wanting to get across is to stay aware. Keep talking but don't make it out to be something it's not. Educate. Education on these topics are so important but there is a right and wrong way to go about it. And, I think it's important, when you see a book or a film or whatever, romanticising something that should not be romanticised, speak up about it to keep yourself and others aware.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

5 Stars

“The beautiful thing about books was that anyone could open them.”

23299512This is a reread because once again, I couldn't manage to get really into it the first time I read it so I've read it again and I've actually fallen in love with it.

Okay so, the world building was fantastic. The atmosphere was perfect. Everything was great there. I've noticed from reading one of the authors other books that she has a fantastic writing style. It was really easy for me to get into the second time and I would've finished it within a couple of sittings if I'd had the time.

I adore the characters. August was so gorgeous and complex. I loved that. Kate is equally complex and I really love her as a character, I think she compliments the atmosphere perfectly. So, I was very pleased with that. They just really stood out to me. Leo and Isla were brilliantly written as well.

Also, as an irrelevant kind of side note, after about a week of staring at the cover, I've only just realised it's a violin. I have no idea why it took me this long to notice but it's made me fall even more in love with the cover and you know I made sure I didn't buy the Australian cover because it's not great.

Anyway, I could read about August forever. I really adore him. I love his love for music. It made me want to pick up my trumpet and play for the sake of it but it was also 11pm and I think my parents would possibly kill me if I did that. I love books that talk about music because it's something I can relate to. So I loved that and I loved how vividly it was described.

It was a fantastic book and I'm very excited to read Our Dark Duet which I'll actually probably get out of the library very soon so I'm looking forward to that. It was vividly written and something that definitely stands out from other fantasy novels. I liked it a lot and I'm glad I reread it.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Can You Outgrow Your Favourite Books?

This is something that's been in the back of my mind for a long time and I've only just thought to make a discussion post out of it. I'm 17, I've been reading YA heavily since I was about 13. When I was 13, the popular books were John Green and The Hunger Games and Divergent and whatnot. So, of course I read them and loved them. However, I reread most of these last year which was interesting and I discovered, I like them nowhere near as much which I struggled to admit due to all the nostalgia and feelings I associate with those books, it's almost like certain experiences I associate with what I was reading at the time.

John Green novels were filled with angst and special snowflakes and everything that made me feel special while reading. I had just turned 13 when I got into John Green books, I was in the early days of high school and I'd already had boy troubles, friendship troubles, you name it. I felt like I could relate to these books because I think everyone starts going through these kinds of things for the first time and you kind of feel like you're the only one. Which, is kind of the general theme of John Green novels. I'm not sure if this is making sense but I;m struggling to find the words to explain why I felt like I connected to John Green novels. But, when I reread them, it just wasn't the same experience for me and I almost felt like the story lines were forced to make these characters seem like the special snowflakes they are. A common trope is manic pixie dream girl which was another trope that I really loved when reading these for the first time. But, I still can't exactly let go of them because I associate so many experiences with them, basically the entire 13th year of my life, I just associate with John Green novels but I definitely feel like I've grown out of them. I'm not really in a stage of my life where these things are something I resonate with and to be completely honest, there are a lot of things in his novels I now disagree with.

What about The Hunger Games and Divergent? Well, I'm simply no longer really into dystopia as a genre where I used to adore it. I recently reread Divergent and I didn't like it at all. I didn't like the relationship between Tris and Tobias at all whereas I used to think it was absolutely gorgeous. And, it's kind of disappointing because I know how much I used to love it, so why don't I anymore? I will admit, I will always have such a soft spot for The Hunger Games since it really got me into reading and I think the movies are still great. But, I can't help but feeling like it just doesn't really fit for me anymore. I feel like I've grown past it. It's definitely a little sad.

However, there's also things like Harry Potter that I haven't grown out of and don't see myself growing out of anytime soon. I don't really know that this means that Harry Potter is the superior because it has stood the test of time for me. I think it probably comes down to a lot of factors, maybe the fact that it feels like everyone has grown up with Harry and we've watched him grow and maybe it's kind of like a community thing. Anyway, I think I might be getting off topic here. But, my point is, Harry Potter is one favourite that has stood the test of time for me.

So, I'd love to know what you think. I think it's absolutely possible and common to outgrow your favourite book. I'd love for you to tell me your thoughts and how many of your favourites have stood the test of time or which ones you've grown out of. 


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

November 2017 Wrap Up

I can't believe this is the second last wrap up of the year, it's incredible. This year has gone by offensively fast. November has been an interesting month for me. I did a lot, probably more than I've done all year. Despite the fact that I only actually finished one book, The Start of You and Me by Emery Lord, and I think I only made about three blog posts.

I had my birthday on the 2nd which was great, I already wrote a post about it. I got a new trumpet and cried about it because I told my parents they didn't have to get it, trumpets are kind of expensive and they've been wanting to renovate the house so I was saving up myself. They were ridiculously coy about the whole thing. The trumpet sounds fantastic, I got to use it for my exam which was great because it just sounds so much better than my old one and makes certain things easier.

So, I had my final exams. I have never been more stressed. I have never been more tired. I didn't feel like doing anything other than studying and any time I was doing anything that wasn't studying, I felt insanely guilty. It was intense. I had four written exams and my music practical exam. My written exams were all within the same week which was awful. But, alas, I somehow got through it. I'm not sure that I did quite as well on any of my exams that I hoped but I don't think any of them were particularly catastrophic. I'm just trying to comfort myself until the results come with the fact that I did everything I could. However, the whole exam experience did remind me how shitty the school system really is because particularly on my bio exam, they were able to catch me on some of the things I wasn't confident in when with everything I'm not comfortable with, there's quite a few things I am comfortable with so it just felt so unlucky that they caught me on the few things that I couldn't quite grasp. No one is going to understand every thing, everyone is going to have their weak spots and that's what bothers me. Most people had anywhere between 2-5 exams to study for and it's just not a great system. I don't really have any suggestions on how to improve it but I think it's important to remember that it's not exactly an ideal situation for anyone.

Anyway, after that exam rant I think I'm done. I had a bit of a blogging break this month to focus on my exams but I have some fun blog posts planned out that I'm really excited to write. I can not wait for December, I adore everything Christmas and I'm hoping to do a lot of Christmas themed posts this year since I'll be on holidays all month. So, look forward to a very active Brooklyn the next couple of months. I'm going to be on my blogging best again.