Mid-Semester Reading Mania

It’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon and, as a severely over-committed college student, I’m finally getting the chance to do something for myself. And I can’t think of anything more perfect than sitting outside writing about books I love!

Sadly, I haven’t read a book for pleasure in probably over two months, but taking four English classes in one semester leaves lots of room for discovering novels you wouldn’t otherwise (and yes, I am taking other non-English classes, in case you were concerned)! I thought I’d share a few of the great books I’ve come across thus far in the semester, because I really have found a lot!

My university requires that I take a freshman writing seminar, but they provide really interesting topics so that all the non-English obsessed students (which is mostly everyone but me) will actually enjoy it. So the one I’m taking is Golden Age of Children’s Literature, and I have loved it! I’ve actually already read all the books on the syllabus, but in case you haven’t, I thought I’d suggest to you:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

I think I’ve said this before, but Alice in Wonderland is one of my all-time favorites for some unknown reason. It’s so non-sensical and imaginative and post-modern and just so good! And I forgot how much I love Anne of Green Gables–it’s a classic feel-good story for anyone wanting to read a light classic.

I’m also in an English class that serves as one of the basic requirements for English majors, but my professor is so phenomenal and has already helped change my perspective of literature. We’re only just now getting into reading novels (we’re reading Jane Austen’s Emma, so you could say I’m just a teensy bit happy), but we’ve covered about six plays already as well as a huge chunk of Robert Frost poems. So I’m going to suggest to you a play I think is well-known but seriously underrated by society, and that is:

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

Much Ado is hands-down my favorite play from this semester, and I don’t know why more people don’t love it! It’s humorous, romantic, ironic, satiric, and best of all, not a stressful tragedy. If you’re ever looking for a great, entertaining Shakespearean play, I highly recommend this one!

Lastly (my fourth English course is all short stories, so I won’t talk about that one), I’m in an English class that covers contemporary novels which reveal society’s underlying cultural conflicts. Since they’re all contemporary adult novels, I’ve so far read some really good ones:

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

The Lowlands by Jhumpa Lahiri

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

All great, insightful novels that I highly recommend!

I know this post was brief, but I’ll make sure to update you on some more good books as soon as I have more time–which, unfortunately, probably won’t be until Thanksgiving. But here’s to hoping! Happy reading!

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Liebster Award Nomination!

College life is beckoning (which is also why I haven’t posted in awhile), so I’ll have to keep this post short and sweet, but I’m so honored and excited to have been nominated for a Liebster Award by the lovely Heir of Ravenclaw (thank you so much!). Be sure to check out his blog!

Essentially, now that I’ve been tagged, I’ll be answering 11 questions and then writing 11 of my own for those I choose to nominate. So here we go!

1. What is your favorite book that you’ve read for school?

I’ve actually read some of my all-time favorite books through school. 8th grade introduced me to Rebecca by Daphne DuMurier, which is an incredibly mysterious gothic romance. School also gave me Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card and The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald. But I have to say that two of my forever favorite books, which I also happened to read for the first time at school, would absolutely be Beloved by Toni Morrison (which I know I wouldn’t have appreciated nearly as much if it weren’t for the incredible teachers who taught it to me) and, of course, The Book Thief by Markus ZusakIt’s the most amazing and poignant and creative book ever, so if you haven’t read it, please, please, please do.

2. Which book would you recommend that I read?

I don’t remember seeing you blog about either of these series, so I’ll give you:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (seriously an amazing series–it’s not girly at all, very sci/fi)

Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien (if you haven’t read it already)

3. If you could go on a date with any one literary character, who would it be and why?

Ohh, this is hard! I think my go-to would be Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, but I recently finished The Selection series and am so in love with Maxon. I’d also date Percy Jackson, Quentin from Paper Towns, Peeta, Kai from Cinder or Four from Divergent, so it’s a hard choice!

4. What is your favorite opening line?

“First the colors. Then the humans. That’s usually how I see things. Or at least, how I try.” –The Book Thief

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” –1984

“It was a pleasure to burn.” –Fahrenheit 451

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of Number 4, Privet Drive were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” –Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

5. Where do you like best to read?

I love sitting in my hammock or in a comfy chair outside during any kind of weather! But I’ll sit, stand, or lay anywhere as long as I get to read.

6. What is your favorite book that you’ve read this year?

Such a hard question…I had to deliberate through this for my Mid-Year Book Update, but I finally decided on We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. It was mind-blowingly incredible!

7. What is your favorite genre to read and why?

Another tricky question…it really sort of depends on my mood. I honestly read anything that sounds interesting to me, regardless of genre, so I don’t have a preference. But I guess if I just want an easy, light book that I know I’m going to love, I’d probably reach for any kind of YA first.

8. Favorite book-to-movie adaptation?

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. I didn’t love the book, but the movie was amazing (though anything with Jack Nicholson is bound to be, right?). 

9. If you could live in any fictional world, which one would you choose and why?

Easily Harry Potter’s world. I’ve been waiting on my Hogwarts letter since I was five!

10. Which Harry Potter house would you want to be in, and which house do you think you’d be in (if they’re not the same)?

I’d definitely want to be a Ravenclaw, though I wouldn’t mind Gryffindor, either. I took the Pottermore quiz twice and got Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. So really, as long as I’m not a Slytherin, I’m happy!

11. What is your favorite book with a red cover?

Hmm I don’t have all my bookshelves, so I can only answer this based on my memory of books with red covers. I have a red copy of Rebecca, so I’ll go with that!

 

That’s my post! Thank you again to RJ at Heir of Ravenclaw for nominating me!

Since I’m pressed for time, I’m going to ask that my nominees use the same list of questions as I did. And speaking of which, I’ll nominate:

Words We Heart

Journey Through Pages

Books, the Final Frontier

If you’ve already been nominated, then no worries–just know that your blog is that good. 🙂 I’m sorry I don’t have time to be thorough in my nominations…there are so many deserving bloggers out there!

 

 

Mid-Year Book Update

Since it’s halfway through the year (well, maybe a little over halfway), I thought I’d try this post I saw done by NutFreeNerd because it just looked like fun! So here we go:

1. What’s the best book you’ve read so far in 2014?

This is tricky because it’s hard to differentiate between a book that I thought was overall just an amazing novel and one that I most enjoyed. On one hand, there’s Eleanor & Park/Fangirl and the Cinder series by Marissa Meyerboth of which I enjoyed immensely, but then there’s also Sold by Patricia McCormick and The Handmaid’s Tale, which are both books by which I was utterly moved. So I guess I’ll have to just choose the one book that I both enjoyed and was incredulous over, and that would have to be We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. It’s so amazing, and you can read my review here.

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2. The best sequel you’ve read so far in 2014?

I haven’t read a lot of sequels this year (which is probably related to my bad habit of only reading the first book in a series), but I will say that Cress by Marissa Meyerthe third installment of the Lunar Chronicles series, was absolutely incredible. I finished that huge book in one day because it was so addictingly good. Read my review of the first book in the series, Cinder, here!

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3. What’s a new release you haven’t read yet but want to?

I’ve heard so many wonderful things about All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I believe it’s a World War II story about two children, but I actually don’t know much more about it. I really want to read it, but usually try to wait until those thick adult fiction books come out in paperback since they’re just so expensive…so maybe for Christmas!

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4. What new release for the second half of the year are you most anticipating?

The last Pretty Little Liars book, Vicious by Sara Shepard, finally comes out in December…I seriously cannot wait to find out A’s identity at last! This series has droned on for agesand just when you think it’s over, it’s not, so I have to admit that part of my excitement about this book is stemmed from my desire for it to just be over already. It seems like it really is wrapping up this time, though, so here’s to hoping!

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5. Your biggest book disappointment so far?

People everywhere have been raving about Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Bejamin Såenz, so going into it, I thought for sure I’d be finding some new book love. It even won a Printz award, and a friend of mine said that it was one of the most amazing, feel-good books she’d ever read. But I actually really didn’t like it at all. It was too mopey and I just couldn’t click with it on any level. I think I just went into it expecting one thing and came out realizing it wasn’t at all what I thought or had wanted it to be.

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6. Your biggest surprise?

Even though I do like John Green, I had a hard time connecting with any of his books except for The Fault in Our Stars, which I did really enjoy, but didn’t rave over the way it seems everyone else has. Looking for Alaska was good, but I didn’t love it, and I didn’t like Will Grayson, Will Grayson very much (it felt mopey to me). So when my friend insisted that I borrow and read Paper Towns, I figured I’d just do it so I could get her off my case about it. But I was amazed to find that I loved it! It was so fun, eccentric and adventurous, and I have the strangest crush on Quentin (he’s much cuter and sweeter than Augustus Waters, everyone! I swear!). So that was a happy surprise!

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7. Favorite new author (debut or just new to you)?

Hands-down, Rainbow Rowell. There are only a few authors whose work I am consistently obsessed with. Even some of my all-time favorite authors, like J.K. Rowling, can’t always hold my interest with every single book they write (I tried to get into The Casual Vacancy, and I appreciated it on a surface level, but I couldn’t rave about it overall). But I recently discovered Fangirl and Eleanor & Park, and now I can’t stop obsessing over all Rowell’s books. I just ordered Landline and am ecstatic at the thought of getting to read another of her books!

8. A book that made you cry this year?

I’ve had quite a few of those this year…Sold by Patricia McCormick made me sob for hours (it was utterly shattering and completely eye-opening. Check out my Rated Reads review of it here), Eleanor & Park left me heartbroken, and Allegiant just took all the emotion right out of me. But one book this year actually made me cry in public, so I think that ought to be the focus of my answer. I was on a trip with my friends and as we were driving, something about this book just got me and I totally started crying, but I was trying so hard to be quiet and not let them notice. When did I started shaking with sobs, though, it got pretty hard to hide, so they realized what was happening and immediately started making fun of me. It was such a sad, moving story, though, and it was The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson. I should have known better than to try reading Laurie Halse Anderson in public, I suppose!

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9. Favorite book-t0-film adaptation you saw this year?

Book-to-film adaptations are hard for me because I just can’t ever fully appreciate the movie. Some I can handle, like The Fault in Our Stars (because you just can’t not be a literature buff and not see it), but books that rank in my favorites, like The Book Thief, Ender’s Game, and The Giver, I just can’t bear to watch because they’ll ruin the imagination and emotion I have for the books. I know I should probably be more supportive of YA books becoming films, so I do try to go to them when I don’t have a strong attachment to the novel. Anyway, to answer the question, I saw Divergent in the theater and thought it was actually very well done. Shailene Woodley was better than I expected, and, of course, I loved Theo James!

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10. What book do you need to read by the end of the year?

need Winter by Marissa Meyer, but I have to wait until next year for that, unfortunately. So I’ll say that I need to read The Selection by Kiera Cass before the year is over so I can see what all the hype is about! I have it on my shelf and I’m excited to read it. It sounds like it’s a dystopian version of Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, which I loved as a kid, so I must read it by the end of the year!

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And there is my mid-year book update! Try it for yourself and let me know what your answers would be. Happy reading!

Seven Deadly Sins Tag

Time for another BookTube tag! I saw this one posted by All the Books! and thought it was really fun, so I wanted to try it! The tag contains questions about books that are loosely related to each of the seven deadly sins. Let’s get started!

GREED

What is the most expensive book you own and what is the least expensive?

My most expensive book is one that I’d guess is probably the same for most people, and that is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. It probably cost around $30, but I bought it at the midnight premiere and it was worth every single penny!

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My least expensive is sort of hard because I get a lot of free books through my position as a book reviewer, and then there are always those books that you just have from family members or friends. But I did find a copy of Little Bee by Chris Cleave for only 10 cents at a used bookstore in Nashville, so I’ll go with that!

Honestly, though, I’ve done a lot of research over the years and I know how to get the cheapest prices possible on books. I’ve found that book sales (especially at libraries or schools) can save heaps of money, as well as used bookstores and, occasionally, Amazon. And I have to say, if there’s a best-seller you’re desperate to buy, forget Barnes & Noble and go to Target…their book prices are amazingly good! I save my B&N purchases for when I have coupons or gift cards or just really want to support an author because otherwise it’s so outrageously expensive.

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GLUTTONY

What book or books have you shamelessly devoured many times?

Again, I have a feeling my answer will be similar to that of many others: the Harry Potter series! I’m not exaggerating, I’ve probably re-read the series at least 30 times in my life. I tended to do a lot of re-reading during my childhood, but I don’t do it as much anymore because I have such a long TBR list!

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SLOTH

What book or series have you neglected simply out of laziness?

Lately, I’ve had this bad habit of starting the first book in a series, enjoying it, but then not following through with the remaining books. And it’s not because I don’t want to read the rest of the series, because I always totally do! I’ve just been too lazy to buy and read them, so I’m stuck in a cycle where I only read the first book in a series. So the series that I’ve neglected out of laziness would be…

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

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I love Ransom Riggs, so when I went to a book signing and heard him talk about his wife and fellow author Tahereh Mafi, I knew I wanted to check out her books. After I did some research, I couldn’t believe I’d never heard of her before! I bought Shatter Me and had it on my shelf for awhile before getting to it, but when I did, I felt conflicted. One part of me wanted to absolutely gush over Tahereh Mafi’s writing style, and the other part of me wanted to throw the book down in annoyance over it. I’m a sucker for pretty, metaphorical writing, so at first, I was so enchanted by Mafi’s style. But after awhile, the metaphors became so excessive and completely, for lack of a better word, stupid. Same goes for the whole cross-out thing. I could not find any way to make sense of a majority of the symbolism Mafi tried to use, and I think she really is a good writer, but her talent was wasted on that book. I didn’t like Juliette, either, and I thought most of the characters except Warner were superficial and one-dimensional. That all probably came out way more harsh than I intended, though, because something about it did draw me in (I gave it a 3.5/5 stars on Goodreads) and I made a mental note to continue reading the series when I could, if only to find out how it ended. But, obviously, I haven’t yet. Let me know if you think it’s worth finishing because I’d be interested to know if it gets better!

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

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I loved this book (it totally gave me a We Were Liars vibe) and I thought it was so unique and well-written and mysterious. So of course I would continue reading the rest of the series, right? Nope, too lazy. I really do want to finish them, though, especially because I think the last book came out or will come out recently.

PRIDE 

What book or books do you bring up when you want to sound like an intellectual reader?

I think any classic is an obvious choice for this, so I’m going to change the question a little bit to allow for some diversity.

If you were in a job interview and were asked what you’d been reading recently, what book or books would you mention?

For this, I think I would bring up Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.

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I like talking about this one because I was genuinely so moved by it, and I think it’s one of the most incredible stories on the market. I read non-fiction sparingly, so I was amazed by how much I loved this book. Laura Hillenbrand is good at presenting non-fiction stories in a more fiction-esque way, and even though sports books are not normally my cup of tea, I was blown away by Seabiscuit, as well.

LUST

Attractive male character attributes?

It sort of depends on the character! But I will say that my all-time fictional crushes are Kai from Cinder, Peeta from The Hunger Games, Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, Four from Divergent , Percy Jackson from The Lightning Thiefand Quentin from Paper Towns. 

ENVY

What book or books would you most want to receive as a gift?

This is hard, because even though I do have a long Amazon wishlist, if there’s a book I really and truly want, I’ll buy it without hesitation. So I think I’d have to say the new collection of Harry Potter books would be the ones I want to receive most! I already have a set of the books and an extra copy of The Deathly Hallows, but the new editions are so cool and I love the feel of the pages. At the moment, though, I’m not planning on buying them for myself because they’re so expensive and I already own copies of the novels, anyway. But I would love, love, love to get them as a gift!

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And those are my seven deadly book sins! Comment below or try the tag yourself–I’d love to see what your answers would be. Happy reading!

Top 10 Adult Books for YA Readers

I saw this tag done by Lipsyy Lost and Found and, because I’ve actually kept a list of adult novels perfect for YA readers on my phone for awhile now, knew I had to do it, too! So here is my “Top Ten Tuesday” post: Top 10 Adult Books for YA Readers. I think this is a great post because even though I love YA, I do think it’s good for readers to have a diverse palate of genres. There are some really great adult books out there that I think can get passed up sometimes just because they aren’t a YA reader’s typical genre, and that’s a shame! So here are some books that are perfect for YA readers wanting to dip their toe into the waters of adult fiction (and other genres).

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Since it’s hard for me to gauge which books would be better suited for YA readers than others (everyone has their own opinion on what book is the best, as we all know), I’ll just rank these in accordance with my own personal preference. I have a hard time choosing favorites, but I’ll try my best to make a definitive list! I’ll also try to match each adult book with a YA book similar to it so that you’ll know what you’re getting yourself into. And if you’re interested in more YA-to-adult book comparisons, I did a post sort of like this awhile back called What to Read After Your Favorite YA, so you can check that out!

And now, without further ado, here is my list for YA readers wanting to ease into adult books:

10. My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

This book is, essentially, a hybrid of Twilight by Stephanie Meyer and The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger

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I said the magic word, didn’t I? I’ll say it again: Twilight! Yes, My Name is Memory contains all the romance of Edward and Bella with a time travel-ish twist, sure to enthrall all you Twi-hards out there. The story is about a young man with the gift of remembrance; he can actually retain all his memories from past lives and apply them in his current life. But his gift is also a curse, for he cannot forget his true love, Sophia, with whom he is reunited in every life then tragically torn away forever. Now, in present day, the boy finds Sophia again…but can he find a way to keep their love together?

While this book wasn’t my favorite, I did think it was cute and creative, and it really is the perfect segue into adult fiction for any YA reader. That probably stems from the fact that Ann Brashares is originally a YA writer (Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, anyone?), so her style is easily adaptable to either genre. Don’t expect to be blown away by the plot, necessarily, but do try this book if you’re a Twi-hard who wants to branch out. This book will give you all the cutesy romance you need and more!

9. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Mysterious, eerie and haunting: a perfect match for any fan of E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars!

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Even if you aren’t an adult fiction reader, I’m sure you’ve at least heard of Gone Girl. Dominating the New York Times best-sellers list for months, this novel is a full-on thriller packed with mysteriousness and chilling writing, perfect for any fan of We Were Liars. Just like with We Were Liars, I’ll give you only a brief plot summary of Gone Girl and tell you not to learn anything else about it before reading: A few days after his wedding anniversary, Nick’s wife goes missing, leaving him the prime suspect in her murder. As the days drag on and the plot gets muddled, we see the dark and twisted roots of Nick’s marriage’s past, and we begin to question what really happened to his wife.

I truly enjoyed Gone Girl, even though it is a dark and complex read, and think that its innate intrigue and the unreliability of the narration makes it a perfect compliment to We Were Liars. Flynn is a wonderfully unique and somewhat grotesque writer, and like We Were Liars, her novel is not a light read and requires full attention. But I do think it’s worth reading, and a great stepping stone for YA readers heading into adult fiction!

8. The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley

This story could probably be the brainchild of Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult, both of whom I believe can cross into YA fiction at times: Sparks for The Last Song and Picoult for My Sister’s Keeper. You can see my YA-to-adult comparisons of both of those novels here, which is why I decided not to put either of them on this list. But this novel, because it combines them both, is a perfect YA match

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I absolutely loved this book! And I think the simplicity of the writing paired with the tragic complexity of the plot makes it a perfect book for those wanting to cross into adult fiction after YA. As I said before, I think that Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult are two authors who would also be perfect for crossing into the adult genre, as I sometimes feel that their books could be YA, but since I did already blog about them, I don’t want to do it again. But this novel is basically the two of them combined, so it works out perfectly!

The story is about a man, Matt, whose wife, Elle, has always dreamed of having a baby but has suffered from various infertility issues. One day, Elle falls and hits her head, leaving her in a vegetative coma from which she may never awaken. Matt knows that Elle would want him to pull the plug, so he prepares to say goodbye…but then the doctor informs him that Elle is pregnant. Faced with the difficulty of deciding between Elle’s two greatest desires, Matt is thrown into a lawsuit that will change his world–and Elle’s–forever. The story flashes back between the present and through Matt and Elle’s love story, making it both a serious and adorable read. The love story aspect will definitely appeal to YA readers, as it has pieces of YA contemporaries in it, and the struggle with the lawsuit will be the perfect stepping stone into adult fiction. Either way, it’s a beautiful story that is so worth reading!

7. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

I couldn’t think of a YA novel to which I could compare this story because I honestly feel that despite its categorization as adult fiction, this book could really stand on its own as YA

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If you’re looking for a unique, quirky, YA-style adult book, look no further than Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. This is such an amazing story about a boy who is chasing after clues left behind by his father, who was killed in the 9/11. As the boy struggles to deal with the death of his father, his quest to hunt down the clues allows him to make peace with what happened during the attack on the Twin Towers.

I highly recommend this book if you’re a fervent YA reader looking for an “in-between” book. This story is incredibly written and though it will take you on an emotional roller coaster, it’s such an impeccable read. And it has the rare ability to appeal to readers of almost any age, which I think is a very special quality.

6. Wicked by Gregory Maguire

Fans of Danielle Paige’s YA novel Dorothy Must Die will love this book

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Though it is slightly darker and more serious than the hit Broadway musical, Wicked is an amazing and gorgeously written twist on Frank Baum’s original Wizard of Oz. I paralleled Wicked and Dorothy Must Die for obvious reasons: each take characters from Baum’s story and cast them in a new or different light. Though Wicked is much more adult-like than the somewhat playful and fantastical Dorothy Must Die, I think that if you appreciated the cleverness of Paige’s plot development, you would definitely enjoy Maguire’s rendition.

Wicked, in case you didn’t know, is a sort of unofficial prequel to The Wizard of Oz, in which we learn about the Wicked Witch of the West’s past and how she came to be who she is. And though the writing is definitely geared toward adult readers, I think YA fans would absolutely be able to appreciate Maguire’s weaving of the stories in a fantasy setting. It reminds me, in some ways, of Cinder by Marissa Meyer, mostly because I think both Maguire and Meyer are so clever in taking tiny pieces of the original tale and shaping them into bigger plot movements. I have to digress for a second because I totally have been wanting to point this out to someone–did anyone else notice how in Cress, when Thorne lost his vision, it was a total reference to the original “Rapunzel” story? I was so nerdily excited when I realized this…in the actual story by the Grimm Brothers (which is super dark and creepy, not at all how they tell the story in Tangled) the prince is blinded by the witch and Rapunzel has to guide him and keep him safe…just like Cress and Thorne! Ah, sorry, just had to bring it up because I don’t think it’s something most people would notice, but since I did a whole study on fairy tales last semester, I caught it and was really excited about it. Anyway, Wicked is another novel that I wouldn’t necessarily call adult fiction, but also wouldn’t label as YA, either, so I think it could appeal to both genres (though you should be prepared for some mature content and language if you’re coming from the YA spectrum).

5. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Fans of The Luxe by Anna Godbersen or A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray will especially love this classic

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Okay, I know what you’re thinking…but please, hear me out on this! Yes, I know Gone With the Wind is a tome in and of itself, but seriously, guys, it’s so amazingly good. I read it when I was 12 years old and devoured it in three days, and even now it remains one of my all-time favorite books. I went through a huge classics phase in middle school, so naturally, I picked up Gone With the Wind. I was so shocked when not only was it incredibly easy to read, but more than that, it was so enjoyable! I remember risking my computer privileges staying up past my bedtime reading under the covers with a flashlight because I just could not put it down. I absolutely fell in love with it, and even today, when I can barely remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, I can vividly recall the story of Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler and all the other unforgettable characters.

So yes, I know it’s a massive book and you’ll be thinking that you don’t want to spend too long on just one book. But I actually read this book faster than some 300-page novels, mostly because it’s so good and you won’t want to put it down. If you’re really trying to branch out from YA and want to try a classic, I promise you will love Gone With the Wind. It’s the kind of classic you can truly enjoy; you won’t suffer through it like some classics (those are the ones I call wine-and-cheese classics, because you only ever force yourself through them so that you can tell your classy and intellectual friends that you read it). In a lot of ways, I think Gone With the Wind is a longer but better version of The Luxe series, so I know that if you like those or even A Great and Terrible Beauty, you will love it! Please check it out. Really, please do!

4. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

For all you fans of Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

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This might be a bit of a stretch comparison, but I honestly think that any YA fan at all would love Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It’s a sort of dark fairy tale set in modern day, and I personally got a strong Lightning Thief vibe from it. The protagonist is a young boy who learns that his world contains much more magic than he ever could have imagined, and he seeks counsel with his mysterious next door neighbor/sort-of-girlfriend in order to defeat the wickedness inside his home. That summary probably didn’t do the story much justice, but it’s a short novel that will draw you in immediately and won’t let you go until you’ve finished every word. Neil Gaiman is an incredible fantasy author, and though this is an adult book, I absolutely believe that it could be YA depending on your viewpoint.

It’s also so beautifully written, and though it lacks the easy-going tone of the Percy Jackson books, there are so many similarities between the two books. The Ocean at the End of the Lane would be another perfect segue into adult fiction for any YA reader!

3. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

All fans of John Green’s Paper Towns must check this book out

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Where’d You Go, Bernadette is definitely an adult novel, but it’s so eccentric and quirky and great. I saw this book on the New York Times best-sellers list a long time ago and thought the description sounded interesting, so on a whim, I ordered it. When I picked it up, I had no idea how completely enamored I would be with the story! It’s about a girl named Bea with an astoundingly high IQ in junior high whose crazy but lovable mother, a world-renowned architect turned agoraphobic, disappears after Bea suggests that they take a family cruise to Antarctica. Bea doesn’t understand why her mother would just leave, or where she would go, so she taps into her emails and phone calls, tracing back all the clues to find out just where Bernadette has gone.

This book is basically the adult version of Paper Towns, in my opinion. I absolutely loved both books, and even though Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a little quirkier and more adult-like, I think any YA reader would love it, too. It also reminds me a little of Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Wiengarten, but that’s a more obscure book, which is why I didn’t mention it in the header. Plus, it was kind of weird, and not nearly as good as Paper Towns!

Maybe I adored Bernadette so much because I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with it–I don’t know. But whatever the reason, I gave this book a full 5/5 stars (which I rarely do) and I hope you’ll try it and love it, as well!

2. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

If you’re a fan of the YA classic (I always thought this was a YA classic, but maybe I’m wrong? I don’t know) Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, this book is for you! Or if you’re a fan of The Big Bang Theory television show, I think you’d really enjoy this book

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Okay, this book is just so cute and great and a perfect light read if you’re at the beach or in a book slump or just want a book that you won’t be able to put down (was that enough of a run-on sentence?). I just loved it! The Rosie Project is about a man named Don with Asperger’s (who doesn’t realize that he has Asperger’s, even as he lectures about them in his classes as a professor) on the hunt for the perfect woman. Don, basically Sheldon Cooper in literary narrative form, has created a questionairre that he believes will formulate his perfect match…but all his findings are shaken when he meets Rosie, a woman who seems to be different from Don in all the critical ways. He and Rosie become friends after he learns of her desire to find her father, and together they initiate a project that will bring them together in ways they never expected.

The way this story is written reminds me so much of Flowers for Algernon, or even The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, if you’re familiar with that novel by Mark Haddon. It’s just a cute, feel-good novel that I think is perfect for any YA reader trying to branch out into adult fiction. Really, I think anyone would like it!

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I know there’s some YA book to which I could probably compare this novel, but I’m blanking on it right now…and anyway, this book is so extraordinary that you shouldn’t need to be motivated to read it just because it’s like some YA novel!

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Last, but certainly not least, is an incredible novel that is so magical and beautiful, and I really do think it could be classified as YA as well as adult fiction. The appeal is so great for any reader, and I firmly believe that this novel can bridge the chasm between YA and adult literature. I can’t think of any other way to gush about it more, but please read this enchanting book–you won’t regret it!

And that’s my top 10 list! Let me know what you think in the comments section below–I’d love to hear your thoughts about any of these books if you have or want to read them!

The Goodreads Tag

Yay for more BookTube tags! I found this one and, because I love Goodreads so much, had to oblige. Here’s my go at it:

What was the last book you marked as “read”?

For me, that would be Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn.

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I can’t remember exactly why I bought it–I liked Gone Girl and I think Flynn is a truly amazing writer, but I wasn’t as enthralled by it as the rest of the world seems to be. I think the concepts behind Flynn’s novels are always intriguing, so maybe I just bought Sharp Objects because I was interested and wanted to give Gillian Flynn another try.

I don’t regret buying it, either. I gave Sharp Objects a 4/5 stars on Goodreads, and I still hold firm to my belief that Gillian Flynn is a wonderful, unique writer. Here is a brief synopsis of the plot (via Amazon):

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

So I really enjoyed this book. It had enough intrigue that I wanted to keep reading, even though I wouldn’t say I just couldn’t put it down. My one problem with it was that it was so incredibly dark (which, to be fair, I should have expected from Gillian Flynn). Even though I was caught up in the mystery of it all, there was something sort of depressing about it, and I found myself having to set it down every now and then to get a breath of fresh air. So though I would definitely not read Gillian Flynn on a daily–or monthly, even–basis, I was glad to have read a book of that nature, because I think it is good to experience a wide range of emotions while reading. Just make sure you have a happy YA contemporary to act as a buffer when you’re done!

The next question on the tag: What are you “currently reading”?
Okay, well, I’m sort of cheating on this one. Goodreads says that I’m currently reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, and I actually did try to start it, I promise. But I realized that I have two weeks of summer left, so I don’t really want to dig into heavy classics right now. I’ll get enough of that in college. Soo, in real life, I’m currently re-reading Michael Scott’s The Alchemyst series. No, not the charming fable by Paolo Coehlo–that’s The Alchemist. This is the Nicholas Flamel (eek yes, like from Harry Potter!) mythology series. You guys, they are AMAZINGLY good! It kills me that they aren’t more popular because really, they are so well written with an incredible plot. I think I’d call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. I can’t really think of a good way to describe the plot, so I’ll just tell you that it’s a fast-paced story full of twists, while also being very informative about ancient mythology. PLEASE check these books out and I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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Next question! What book did you last mark as to-read?

That would be Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

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I don’t know much about it, but a teacher whose opinion I trust told me it was amazing, so I’m excited to check it out!

Next question: What book do you plan on reading next?
I actually just ordered three YAs: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, The Selection by Kiera Cass, and Slammed by Colleen Hoover. Comment below and help me decide which one to choose first!

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Another question: Have you done a reading challenge?

No, and I don’t plan to! I read because I love it, not because I feel the need to monitor how much I do so. I can totally understand the appeal of a reading challenge, but for me, I just read when and what I can. I definitely read more than your average person, so I figure that’s good enough for me!

Last question! Have you joined any Goodreads groups?

Yes, actually, I have! I’m a part of the Booksplosion group. It’s led by a group of BookTubers and each month they sponsor a book and have a live discussion about it. They’ve chosen some really good ones, and this month’s book is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, which is a book that I absolutely love. So I’m excited to see what they think of it!

That’s the Goodreads tag! I hope you enjoyed it and will try it out yourself–I’d love to see what’s on your list! Happy reading!

Book Review: What Happens to Men When They Move to Manhattan?

I’ll be honest: of all genres, chick-lit/romance is one of my least favorite. And that’s not because I don’t enjoy chick-lit (give me a Nicholas Sparks novel and I won’t speak until I’ve devoured it entirely), but it’s more because I don’t feel like I gain anything from reading it except for an enjoyable experience. But Jill Knapp’s What Happens to Men When They Move to Manhattan was refreshingly grounded for a novel of the chick-lit genre, and when I finished it, I actually felt as if I’d learned something.

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What Happens to Men When They Move to Manhattan?
by Jill Knapp

Rating: 4/5 Stars

I was given a free ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

The story is about an NYU graduate student named Amalia who is slowly learning how to face the trials of living in the Big Apple. Between her moody-yet-lovable boyfriend and the charming-but-taken guy in her seminar class, Amalia begins to see that Manhattan has a way of changing people, and not for the better. If she wants to maintain her identity and follow her dreams, Amalia must cling to what she knows is right.

The plot itself is fun and easy to follow, and I enjoyed every moment of it. That’s typically all I can say about a chick-lit novel…but Knapp’s main character projects a strong feminist voice that I absolutely loved. Amalia is so relatable in that she’s a young woman truly experiencing the world for the first time, and she’s trapped between the decision to give love a chance and the choice to follow her heart. She’s a strong, empowering example of how women can lead a life of fulfillment, and I think that’s a rarity amongst a lot of chick-lit and romance novels. Amalia’s trepidation within her own strength is what makes her the perfect lead; she embodies the internal struggle of many women today, and I hope that she will be an example for women in similar situations.

Plus, I love New York City (and I actually read this book while in Manhattan), so I had fun following Amalia’s trek around the Big Apple. I gave this book 4/5 stars because I thoroughly enjoyed it; so much so that I was able to look beyond a few moments of awkwardness and superficial dialogue to see the good in it.

But really, I cannot stress enough how much I appreciated the feminist undertones of the story. I had unfairly guessed from the title that it would be all about how Amalia could “get her man,” so I was pleasantly surprised when it wasn’t, really. I’m not even a feminist, myself, but I found it so refreshing to read a chick-lit novel that was focused more on how the female lead could develop herself through her relationships as opposed to how she could change to make her relationships work. I’ll definitely be recommending this to a few friends I have who are moving to the city alone for the fist time, and I think any woman who has ever feared exploring life or her identity should definitely give What Happens to Men When They Move to Manhattan a try.

Books for Gossip Girl Fans

Gossip Girl is one of the most popular television programs to hit the air–or Netflix–today, and it is one that has enthralled viewers of all kinds. So why not take advantage of all that world-wide enthusiasm and channel it toward books? These books are all amazing and will captivate fans of Gossip Girl, whether you love to read or not.

First up–and this is kind of obvious–is the Gossip Girl book series. Yes, it’s true, the phenomenal TV show was actually a collection of novels first! I personally haven’t read them, but I think it suffices to say that if you loved the television show, you’d probably devour the book series.

Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar

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Like I said, I haven’t read these, but the vibe I get from them is similar to that of the Private series, The CliqueThe Ashleys, ect.

Next up is a book series that I absolutely love, and I think it can appeal to readers of all kinds even though it’s categorized as YA. I’ve given these books to lots of friends who claim to hate reading, and even they have devoured this series. I’m not sure why they aren’t more popular, really, but I have no doubt that fans of Gossip Girl would love The Luxe by Anna Godbersen.

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This quartet follows a similar Gossip Girl-style society in Manhattan, but is set in 1899. The parties, the lies, the extravagance, the relationships…it’s all there. The characters and their speech may be a little unrealistic for the time setting, but still, the story is addictingly good, and more than that, it is a match made in heaven for any Gossip Girl fan.

Next are two classics, but don’t let that scare you off. Both of these classics are phenomenal on their own, and for Gossip Girl fans, they’ll be that much more exciting. The first is The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton.

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Here we have the similar type of Gossip Girl story–a tale of a young woman with riches living in the Upper East Side who falls in love with a poor man, but who is supposed to marry the wealthy man of her parents’ choosing. Essentially, it’s all about the conflict between money and love in the wealthy New York society in the early 1800s.

The other classic geared perfectly for Gossip Girl fans is, in plot, maybe not as obvious, but has characters that mirror those in Gossip Girl. And that classic is Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. 

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Heathcliff and Cathy are basically the 1800s version of Chuck and Blair. That’s basically all the motivation you should need.

My last suggestion for Gossip Girl fans would be anything by Sara Shepard. Pretty Little Liars is her most popular series, and those are maybe my favorites of hers, but I think The Heiresses by Sara Shepard is probably the one that’s most compatible to Gossip Girl.

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The Heiresses is technically an adult novel, but I think it could easily drift into YA for older, more mature readers. It’s about four young women (heiresses to a multi-million dollar fortune, living in obscene wealth on the Upper East Side) whose lives are shattered when their seemingly perfect cousin allegedly commits suicide. But after a threatening note appears on their doorsteps, the heiresses realize that the only thing money can’t buy is their lives. The mystery, the intrigue, the lies, and the wealth all perfectly channel Gossip Girl.

So those are my suggestions for fans of Gossip Girl! Pass them along to any fan you know–I’ve found that comparing books to people’s favorite TV shows or series goes a long way in turning them into readers! 🙂 Please comment below and let me know what you think. And, as always, happy reading!

Sneak Peek Book Review: The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard

Calling all Pretty Little Liars fans! Sara Shepard has a new series, to be released October 7th, and for anyone craving more PLL twists and turns, The Perfectionists will be your perfect satisfaction. Even though the book isn’t set to be sold for a few more months, I thought I’d share my review so you can get the inside scoop and get excited for it. So here we go!

The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard

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My publisher’s copy!

Rating: 4/5 stars, 85%

So I love the Pretty Little Liars series, even though I will admit that I’m so ready to finally just learn who A is and be done with it. The Perfectionists, which is currently slated as a two-book series, though knowing Sara Shepard, I have a feeling it will expand immensely, is about a group of five girls who have all been burned by the same guy: Nolan Hotchkiss. The girls, all carrying on different lives, are grouped for a discussion in class one day and are talking about murder, when all of a sudden they plot a theoretical plan to kill Nolan. The girls laugh it off until a week later, when Nolan is found dead…in exactly the way that they planned. Except that they weren’t the ones who did it. With their futures on the line, the girls must discover the real killer to prove their own innocence. The series is so much like PLL; that’s both a good thing and a bad thing, and here’s why:

The good thing is that, like PLL, it’s so heavily driven by mystery, and it’s so innately intriguing that it will propel you through the novel quickly. And it’s a unique take on YA lit; the novel’s entire concept is so interesting and compelling.

The bad aspect of their similarities is just that: they’re too similar. And because of that, I found myself continually comparing it to PLL, and it’s just not as good. I didn’t like the girls or the plot as much, and I actually started getting all the characters mixed up because they were a little bland. And, since I’ve read PLL, I’m used to Shepard’s writing style, so it was easy for me to predict what was going to happen and who would be “revealed,” so to speak.

Overall, I did enjoy the novel. I’d love to go into more detail…but you’ll just have to wait until it’s released! Comment below and let me know what you thought of PLL and if you’re planning to read The Perfectionists! Happy reading!

Book Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

First of all, if you only pick up one YA contemporary this summer, you have to choose We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. It’s truly a book like no other; it was one of those that just really made me think, and I couldn’t get it off my mind even days after finishing it. And I’m sure all you writers out there can relate–it was the sort of book that reminded me of my passion for writing, and how much I want to write a book as incredible and impactful as it one day (The Book Thief is the last book that made me feel that way, so it’s been awhile since I’ve had that sort of experience). I gave it an easy 5/5 stars on Goodreads and a 100% rating.

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I won’t tell you much more about the plot than this: the Sinclairs live on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts every summer. The Sinclairs are obscenely wealthy and, more importantly, they are liars.

Please, please take my word on this and don’t look up any more information about the book than what I just told you. We Were Liars is the kind of novel whose reading experience is amplified by going into it knowing nothing. But if you have read it and loved it the way I did, comment below so we can talk about it with spoilers! I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone who hasn’t read it, but I do want to talk about it further. Let me know what you think, and truly, read We Were Liars if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it!