YA Fantasy 101 Syllabus | Top Ten Tuesday

YA Fantasy 101 Syllabus | Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. I’m not totally sure I would be qualified to teach this course, but I’d love to take it.

  1. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
    Ideally I’d prefer to study The Lord of The Rings, but we’d never finished ten books if we did that.
  2. Sabriel by Garth Nix
    This is a few years old now, and provides a nice bridge between Tolkien and more recent works.
  3. Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
    Obviously this had a massive impact on YA Fantasy. I prefer some of the later books, but there’s a (very small) chance that some students haven’t read this series before.
  4. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
    I’d be tempted to study Stardust, which is my favourite Gaiman, but this is a great introduction to urban fantasy.
  5. Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett
    At this point I think it’s time to look at someone playing with the tropes of fantasy, and no one does that better than Pratchett. Any Discworld novel would work for this, but if I have to cover something in depth I may as well pick one of my favourites.
  6. Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice
    This would be our first foray into some darker fantasy, and has the added bonus of demonstrating everything that’s wrong with Twilight.
  7. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
    Partly I’d want to talk about constructing fantasy worlds and integrating back story in a non-clunky way, but mostly I just love this book.
  8. The Owl Service by Alan Garner
    This is a nice eerie atmospheric one, bordering on magical realism.
  9. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
    More beautiful world building, but in a totally different style. This would also be a good point to compare the magic systems of the books we’d studied.
  10. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
    This isn’t itself a fantasy book, but it’s a great look at the impact YA fantasy has on people, particularly actual those who are actually young adults, and it also looks at how the internet is changing the relationship between authors and readers, which seems like a good thing to think about at the end of the course.

Please forgive me if this post is gobbledegook, I’ve worked 8.5 hours today.

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OTP Tag!

OTP Tag!

I was tagged by the lovely Mari over at Story and Somnancy. So! The rules are as follows:

Choose 5 OTPs without looking at the questions first, answer the questions, then tag five people.

The Couples

  1. Valek and Yelena (The Study series by Maria V. Snyder)
  2. Arabella and Jonathan Strange (Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
  3. Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler (A Scandal in Bohemia by Arthur Conan Doyle)
  4. Tristan and Yvaine (Stardust by Neil Gaiman)
  5. Cath and Levi (Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell)

The Questions
Do you remember the episode/scene/chapter that you first started shipping #5?
That would be when Cath read to Levi for freaking HOURS. The first time she did that, I mean.

Have you ever read fanfiction about #2?
No, but I feel like I have because whoever scripted the BBC adaptation wrote them a load of extra scenes.

Has a picture of #4 ever been your screen saver/profile picture/tumblr ID?
No, but that seems like it would be a cool desktop background. I want it now.

If #3 were to suddenly break up today, what would your reaction be?
Does that mean at some point prior to today they were actually together? Awesome!

Why is #1 so important?
Because he carved her a freaking butterfly. I can’t even.

Is #4 a funny ship or a serious ship?
Adorably awkward, mostly.

Out of all your ships listed, which ship has the most chemistry?
Cath and Levi maybe?

Of all the ships, which ship has the strongest bond?
Valek and Yelena. I love how Snyder doesn’t construct petty arguments between them for the sake of plot twists. All kind of other shit might be going down, but they’re good.

How many times have you read/watched #2’s fandom?
Twice. I read the book, then I watched the BBC show. I’d like to read it again one day, but not too soon. It’s a long ass book.

Which ship lasted the longest?
Jonathan and Arabella, I guess, since the book spans so many years.

How many times, if ever, has #5 broken up?
Once, sort of. Ish.

If the world was suddenly thrust into a zombie apocalypse, which would make it out alive, #1 or #3?
Definitely Valek and Yelena. They would actually work together, and they’re both pretty deadly. With Sherlock and Irene Adler, the question is more which of them would leave the other to the zombies first and save themselves.

Did #4 ever have to hide their relationship for any reason?
Briefly, for amusement purposes.

Is #5 still together?
5evah.

Is #1 canon?
Very.

If all five ships were put into a couple’s Hunger Games, which couple would win?
Valek and Yelena. Did I mention how they’re deadly? Unless Yvaine did that thing I can’t tell you about because it’s a massive spoiler. Cath and Levi would be the deadest the fastest, though, I can tell you that.

Has anyone ever tried to sabotage #5’s ship?
Not intentionally, but Reagan got in the way a lot.

Which ship(s) would you defend to the death and beyond?
I feel like Cath and Levi are the only ones who can’t adequately defend themselves.

Have you ever spent hours a day going through #3’s tumblr page?
What I do in the privacy of my own Tumblr is none of your concern :p.

If an evil witch descended from the sky and told you that you had to pick one of the five ships to break up forever, which ship would you sink?
I might as well break up Sherlock and Irene before they do it for me.

The Tagees

  • Short Story Long
  • CK’s Reading Corner
  • Caught Read Handed
  • Books & Cleverness
  • A Cup of Coffee & A Book
  • Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds | Top Ten Tuesday

    Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds | Top Ten Tuesday

    toptentuesday

    Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s list took me hours. I wanted to include the quotes where the characters talk about books, and I kept getting distracted and reading past them and then to the end of the chapter before I noticed.

    Mattie Gokey in A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly

    My head felt giddy and light, like the time Minnie and I filched brand from her father’s cupboard. Only this time it wasn’t alcohol I’d had too much of. It was books. I should have stopped after Zola and Hardy, but I hadn’t. I’d gone right on like a greedy pig to Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, Songs of Innocence by William Blake, and A Distant Music by Emily Baxter.

    Cath Avery in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

    “How many people do this?”

    “Write Simon-slash-Baz? Or write Simon Snow fanfiction?”

    “Write fanfiction.”

    “God, I don’t know. Thousands and thousands.”

    “So, if you didn’t want the books to be over, you could just keep reading Simon Snow stories online forever…”

    “Exactly,” said Cath earnestly. She’d thought Levi must be judging her, but he got it. “If you fall in love with  the World of Mages, you can just keep living there.”

    “I wouldn’t call that living,” Regan said.

    “It was a metaphor,” Levi said gently.

    Tessa Gray in Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

    “One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”

    “I’m not sure a book has ever changed me,” said Will. “Well there is one volume that promises to teach one how to turn oneself into an entire flock of sheep-”

    “Only the very weak minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry,” said Tessa, determined not to let him run wildly off with the conversation.

    “Of course, why one would want to be an entire flock of sheep is another matter entirely,” Will finished. “Is there something you want to read here, Miss Gray, or is there not? Name it, and I shall attempt to free it from its prison for you.”

    “Do you think the library has The Wide, Wide World? Or Little Women?”

    “Never heard of either of them,” said Will. “We haven’t many novels.”

    “Well, I want novels,” said Tessa. “Or poetry. Books are for reading, not for turning oneself into livestock.”

    Juliette Ferrars in Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

    I spent my life folded between the pages of books.

    In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.

    Meggie Folchart in Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

    He was probably right, but there was another reason why Meggie took her books whenever they went away. They were her home when she was somewhere strange. They were familiar voices, friends that never quarrelled with her, clever, powerful friends — daring and knowledgeable, tried and tested adventurers who had travelled far and wide. Her books cheered her up when she was sad and kept her from being bored while Mo cut leather and fabric to the right size, and re-stitched old pages that over countless years had grown fragile from the many fingers leafing through them.

    Marie-Laure LeBlanc in All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

    Marie-Laure reads Jules Verne in the key pound, on the toilet, in the corridors; she reads on the benches of the Grand Gallery and out along the hundred gravel paths of the gardens. She reads the first half of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea so many times, she practically memorizes it.

    The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the globe . . . The sea is only a receptacle for all the prodigious, supernatural things that exist inside it. It is only movement and love; it is the living infinite.

    At night, in her bed, she rides in the belly of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus, below the gales, while canopies of coral drift overhead.

    Rose Casson in Forever Rose by Hilary McKay

    I cannot read Morte D’Arthur and never could: the bits I knew about had been read to me by Indigo. Still, I had to do something to pass the long long stretch of morning before it was time to go Christmas tree shopping. So I picked up The Once and Future King and found the first page.

    Kay was there, and Arthur and Sir Ector. They were talking and I could hear. It was like walking into a strange room and finding it unexpectedly full of your friends.

    It was hours later when I put that book down again, and the drumming had stopped and the telephone was ringing and my brain had the sort of dazed feeling you get when you wake from a very vivid dream.

    So that’s what they were talking about, Saffy and Sarah, and Kiran and Molly and Miss Farley and Daddy and Indigo and Sarah’s parents and even the Unloveable Mr Spencer.

    Reading!

    Gilbert Norrell in Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

    “I have his book here.” Mr Norrell stood up and fetched it from the shelves. But he did not give it to Strange straightaway.

    After a short silence Strange said, “You advise me to read this book?”

    “Yes, indeed. I think you should read it,” said Mr Norrell.

    Strange waited, but Norrell continued to gaze at the book in his hand as though he were entirely at a loss as to how to proceed. “Then you must give it to me, sir,” said Strange gently.

    “Yes, indeed,” said Mr Norrell. He approached Strange cautiously and held the book out for several moments, before suddenly tipping it up and off into Strangc’s hand with an odd gesture, as though it was not a book at all, but a small bird which clung to him and would on no account go to any one else, so that he was obliged to trick it into leaving his hand. He was so intent upon this manoeuvre that fortunately he did not look up at Strange who was trying not to laugh.

    Mr Norrell remained a moment, looking wistfully at his book in another magician’s hand.

    But once he had parted with one book the painful part of his ordeal seemed to be over. Half an hour later he recommended another book to Strange and went and got it with scarcely any fuss. By midday he was pointing out books on the shelves to Strange and allowing him to fetch them down for himself. By the end of the day Mr Norrell had given Strange a quite extraordinary number of books to read, and said that he expected him to have read them by the end of the week.

    Samwell Tarly in A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

    Samwell Tarly sat hunched over a table in a niche carved into the stone of the wall. The glow came from the lamp hung over his head. He looked up at the sound of Jon’s steps.

    “Have you been here all night?”

    “Have I?” Sam looked startled.

    “You didn’t break your fast with us, and your bed hadn’t been slept in.” Rast suggested that maybe Sam had deserted, but Jon never believed it. Desertion required its own sort of courage, and Sam had little enough of that.

    “Is it morning? Down here there’s no way to know.”

    “Sam, you’re a sweet fool,” Jon said. “You’ll miss that bed when we’re sleeping on the cold hard ground, I promise you.”

    Sam yawned. “Maester Aemon sent me to find maps for the Lord Commander. I never thought . . . Jon, the books, have you ever seen their like? There are thousands!”

    Henry DeTamble in The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (There’s another quote I wanted to put here, but it was far too spoilery, so I chose this one instead, although it’s not as good.)

    I find coffee in the fridge, and find the coffee maker, and start the coffee. While I wait for it to brew, I peruse Henry’s bookshelves. 

    Here is the Henry I know. Donne’s Elegies and Songs and SonnetsDoctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe. Naked Lunch. Anne Bradstreet, Immanuel Kant. Barthes, Foucault, Derrida. Blake’s Songs of Innocence and ExperienceWinnie the Pooh. The Annotated Alice. Heidigger. Rilke. Tristram Shandy. Wisconsin Death Trip. Aristotle. Bishop Berkeley. Andrew Marvell. Hypothermia, Frostbite and Other Cold Injuries.

    I hope that wasn’t too many long quotes. I don’t like cutting people off when they’re talking about books!

    Top Ten Tuesday: All Time Favourite Authors

    Top Ten Tuesday: All Time Favourite Authors

    This is my first time participating in Top Ten Tuesday, which is a weekly (duh) meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. I’m not going to give explanations for each author individually because my feelings about all of them are more or less the same – they write excellent words in an excellent order and I recommend you read anything they have ever written. I have, however, included pictures of my favourite book by each of them. They are also not in any particular order, because… I can’t. Incidentally, by total coincidence, I have five men and five women, which pleases me.


    Terry Pratchett
    Mort
    J. R. R. Tolkien
    fellowship
    C. S. Lewis
    Dawntreader
    Hilary McKay
    Indigo
    Rainbow Rowell
    fangirl
    Neil Gaiman
    stardust
    John Green
    katherines
    L. M. Montgomery
    houseofdreams
    Laura Ingalls Wilder
    happygoldenyears
    Kate Atkinson
    behindthescenes

    March Wrap-Up

    March Wrap-Up

    This month I’ve been super busy writing my dissertation and working on my (last ever pieces of) coursework, so I didn’t have much time for reading. So naturally, I read 13 books. I don’t understand how that happened at all. Although I’m ten pages behind with the dissertation, so maybe that goes some way to explaining it. When life gets stressful, I retreat into other people’s lives. It’s sort of reassuring how much bigger their problems are than mine. So, let’s get started with this monster wrap-up! Click the covers for Goodreads links.

    therosieeffect
    3/5 stars

    I wasn’t expecting to read anything before the #ayearathon started on 2nd March, but I picked this up in Sainsbury’s on the first and read it that afternoon. And… hm. I’m not sure what to make of this. I loved The Rosie Project and I was excited for this one, but it was kind of disappointing. On the positive side, it did make me laugh, and I enjoyed the side characters a lot, hence the three stars. On the not-so-positive side, I’m kind of furious with Rosie, and I don’t think that was the author’s intention.

    It’s hard to explain why without spoiling the first book, but I’ll see what I can do. Don Tillman probably has Asperger’s Syndrome, although the book never explicitly says so. He struggles to read other people’s emotions, and he figures out which behaviour is socially appropriate by memorising norms. I don’t want to say exactly what Rosie’s relationship with Don is, but they’re close. Now it seems to me that if you’re close to someone who struggles to read people, it’s at best thoughtless and at worst cruel to never ever tell them what you’re feeling and then get upset and offended when they fail to figure out what you wanted from them. Rosie did this for the entire book, as well as deliberately deceiving Don, which was what kick-started the plot. I was supposed to be rooting for them, and by the end I just wasn’t.

    On the whole, I highly recommend the first book, but I sort of wish I hadn’t read this one. I preferred my own ideas about what happened next.

    dracula thequantumthief

                                            4/5 stars                                             4/5 stars

    The are the books I finished during the #ayearathon. I talked about them in my wrap-up of that over here, so I won’t repeat myself. I also started The Silmarillion during that week, but I still haven’t finished it. I’m working on it, slowly.

    fangirl
    5/5 stars

    I LOVE THIS BOOK, I LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT! ACK! If you would like some (slightly) more coherent thoughts on Fangirl, I wrote a long review (with well-marked spoilery section) just here.

    clockworkangel clockworkprince clockworkprincess

                                         4/5 stars              4/5 stars              5/5 stars

    I flew through this trilogy and loved it, but when I try to write about it, I find that I have very few coherent thoughts. I just… angels and demons and hot guys and Victorians and a love triangle that broke my heart and so many things designed to mess with my feels. Clockwork Princess in particular gave me quite the book hangover because I just couldn’t drag my head out of the world. I really want to get to The Mortal Instruments soon, but I’m also kind of scared of what it might do to me…

    scarlet
    4/5 stars

    In February I read Cinder and adored it. (I talk about it a bit in this post, if you’d like to get some idea of the premise of this series.) I rated it 5/5 stars and immediately set about convincing everyone I know to read it, like that quote in The Fault in Our Stars about weird evangelical zeal. In comparison, Scarlet was slightly disappointing, but only slightly. It didn’t blow me away in the same way as Cinder did, and I liked Scarlet less as a main character, but I still enjoyed the book a lot. My favourite chapters, predictably, were the ones that continued Cinder’s story, especially because they also included Captain Thorn. Ah, Captain Thorn… I want one all my own. I think he’s going to feature a lot in Cress as well, and I can’t wait. I also have a vague feeling that I’ve picked up from reviews and such that Cress is going to back at the same standard as Cinder. I hope I’m right.

    yesplease
    5/5 stars

    I listened to the audiobook of Yes Please because I had a vague idea that listening to people read their own autobiographies would be a really good use of the audiobook format. I was right. I’m listening to Tina Fey’s Bossypants now. Yes Please is very, very funny, but also honest and thoughtful. Poehler says she has two phrases she uses in response to ideas. For positive ideas, “Yes please”, which is enthusiastic and also polite. For negative ideas, “Good for you, not for me”, which allows you to decline something firmly without causing offense. Seems legit to me.

    theshadowcabinet
    4/5 stars

    This is the third book in the Shades of London series, which I fell head over heels in love with about ten pages into the first book, The Name of the Star. Of the three that are out so far, that one is probably my favourite, but I love them all very much. Rory is a great protagonist. She’s clever and easy to empathise with, but she also makes impulsive and sometimes kind of stupid decisions which keep the plot moving along. In this book in particular, if she did what she was told then we’d have missed all the action. Almost everything that happens in this book is heavily based on things you don’t find out until at least half way though The Name of the Star, so I can’t really say anything else except that I loved it, and I can’t believe how long I have to wait for the (probably) epic conclusion. Oh, and I love the title. I don’t know how familiar people who aren’t English are with our political system and I don’t feel inclined to explain what The Shadow Cabinet is when wikipedia could tell you better than me, but.. yeah. It’s clever.

    holdmecloser
    3/5 stars

    The thing about this book is that I’m not really sure what the point was. I was really excited to read it, because I loved Will Grayson, Will Grayson and I thought this book would let me see more of that world. And it just didn’t really. It didn’t add anything much that wasn’t in the original book. I think I was looking for the wrong thing. I wanted more of the story and I got the same story again, in slightly dodgy rhyme. I wanted to love it, but I ended up feeling like it was only okay. 3/5 stars because I do love these characters a lot, but this felt unnecessary to me.

    oneday
    2/5 stars

    One Day was definitely my least favourite read this month. What’s the point of a romance book where everyone is consistently miserable (and not even for interesting reasons) for about three-quarters of the book, and then happy for a couple of chapters (but still with a creeping negativity), and then just when you think you’re finally being rewarded for struggling through all the shitty times to get to the good ones, you suddenly hit a clunky plot twist that smacks you around the face, and then everyone’s miserable again until the book ends? I just… no. Not for me. 2 stars instead of 1 because I really liked Emma, although Nicholls didn’t seem to.

    Also, this cover makes me angry. I picked this book up from a charity shop for 20p, so I ended up with the film cover. I always post pictures of the version of a book that I own if I can find them, but I wanted to break that rule for this one. This cover is blatantly not as good as the orange one I’ve always seen around before, and just to make that more annoying, there’s a little picture of the good cover in the corner. Why?

    thelightningthief
    5/5 stars

    I was in kind of a bad mood after those last couple of books, and I wanted to pick up something light that I knew I’d enjoy. I’ve been meaning to start this series since I saw the film of this first book about five years ago, and I finally got around to it. I loved it. It wasn’t deep or meaningful or intense, it was just a lot of fun. Likable kids running around being rude to gods and exploding things? I can get behind that. I expected to find Percy difficult to empathise with, since I’m ten years older than him, but that didn’t turn out to be a problem. He’s definitely still a kid, but he’s a smart kid. I fully intend to stick around and watch him grow up.

    And… that’s it. The end of the book haul. If you made it this far, you’re amazing. Have a biscuit. Have ten. You’re American? Have a cookie. Whatever. I love you.

    REVIEW | Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

    REVIEW | Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

    fangirl

    This book. This. Freaking. Book. I promise I’m going to get more articulate in a minute, it’s just… this book, bro/ladybro.

    Ahem.

    So if you haven’t gathered from the above, I adored Fangirl. This review is basically going to be a list of all the things I loved about it and why, and if you didn’t like it then you should probably leave now, because my fangirling (see what I did there?) is probably going to get on your nerves.

    If you haven’t read this book then you should. I’ll try to explain why before I get into spoilers and politely ask you to leave. Cath and Wren are twin sisters from Omaha who are starting college. Wren is an extrovert who wants to meet new people and get drunk and spend some time being Wren, not Wren-and-Cath. Cath… not so much. She doesn’t really know how to deal with the fact that Wren doesn’t want to be her room mate, and as the book begins she’s feeling pretty rejected. She doesn’t especially feel like she needs new people in her life, and she doesn’t want to try to make friends.

    Cath is also, as the title indicates, a massive fangirl. If there weren’t copyright issues involved, then she would be a Harry/Draco shipper. Since Rowell doesn’t want to get sued, Cath loves Simon and Baz from fantasy series Simon Snow, which details the adventures of Simon trying to defeat the big bad Humdrum while attending a boarding school for wizards. She’s one of the most popular writers on the site FanFixx.net, and she’s desperately trying to finish writing her version of the story’s conclusion before the last book comes out.

    Here is a brief non-spoilery list of awesome things about this book:

    • The characterisation is so perfect that I genuinely struggle to believe that these people don’t actually exist.
    • The depiction of parent/teenager relationships is also perfect.
    • The pop culture referencing is some of the best and least clunky that I’ve ever seen.
    • The romance is made of adorableness.
    • At no point are fangirls or fandoms judged or looked down upon. At no point is it suggested that Cath has to stop writing fanfiction before she can have other experiences, or that her love of a fantasy world needs to be reduced before she can love things and people in the real world.

    Okay, now if you haven’t read the book, you need to leave now. Please close the door behind you, I wouldn’t want to disturb the neighbours with my uncontrollable squeeing.

    SPOILERS AHEAD, PROCEED WITH CAUTION!

    Okay, now I’m going to run through the points I made above again, but with detail this time. So first up, the characterisation. These people are all so human! They all have issues and things they struggle with (off the top of my head, Cath and interaction with strangers, Wren and alcohol, Art and manic depression, Laura and motherhood, Levi and reading, Reagan and romantic relationships, Nick and not being a selfish asshole), but they also care about each other, they want to figure things out. This is what people do. They come with a load of baggage and they accidentally smack other people with it and then they’re sorry because they hurt someone but also defensive because they didn’t mean to. This is also true in Rowell’s other YA book, Eleanor and Park, which I also highly recommend, but I think it’s even better in this one. There are so many characters and so many relationships going on, and never once did I forget who felt what about who and why. Every voice is distinct, every moral position makes some kind of sense (even the moral position of being an asshole), every relationship is the way it is for a reason, and every action has a cause and an effect.

    Speaking of realistic relationships, let’s talk about Art and Laura. Art could have been written so differently. He could have been a perfect father figure, the one who stuck around when his wife took off, who brought up his daughters all on his own and fulfilled all possible parental roles so well that Cath and Wren never even thought to wish that their mom was around. Or he could have been written as a crazy person, unable to function without his daughters holding him up, selfishly insisting that his artistic personality requires that everyone forgive him for failing to take adequate care of his children. Instead, Rowell writes him with nuance and understanding. He loves his girls very much, and he’s done his best for them, but his mental illness is not under his control, and sometimes he needs them to take care of him. Cath and Wren do not begrudge him this, but they are not always sure how to deal with the situation. Cath worries, and isn’t sure that she should be away from home at all, even though that’s what Art wants for her. Wren is sure that he will be fine, as he always has been before, and hates being dragged away from college for a situation that seems to her not worth getting anxious over.

    And then there’s Laura. She’s harder to empathise with, because Cath doesn’t want to empathise with her, but she still feels very human. She didn’t intend to be a mother, and she prioritises her own needs above those of her daughters, and Cath can’t forgive her for it. I think my favourite aspect of this arc is that Cath is allowed to just not want a relationship with her mother. She’s allowed to say no, and to walk away. Laura walked away first, and Cath is not obliged to want to heal the relationship that someone else broke just because that relationship happens to be with her mother.

    To explain what I love about the pop culture referencing, I’m just going to point out the perfection that is this exchange:

    Regan was sitting at Cath’s desk when Cath woke up.
    “Are you awake?”
    “Have you been watching me sleep?”
    “Yes, Bella. Are you awake?”
    “No.”

    Now, allow me to rewrite it worse, and less like how people actually talk, but the way I would have expected to find it in a book:

    Regan was sitting at Cath’s desk when Cath woke up.
    “Are you awake?”
    “Have you been watching me sleep?”
    “Yes, Bella,” said Regan, referencing the creepy scene in the
    Twilight Saga when Edward does just that. “Are you awake?”
    “No. I hate
    Twilight.”

    You feel me? ‘Nuff said.

    Cath and Levi are incredibly adorable, and their romance is beautifully crafted and developed. I don’t really feel the need to talk in detail about the way it’s built up, or the intensity of the feels it gave me. You’ve read the book. You know. What I do want to say is that towards the end, after they got together, I got really anxious. There were, I thought, too many pages left for them to be allowed to just continue to be happy together, but not enough for a proper conflict and resolution that would leave me satisfied. I didn’t need to be worried. This book wasn’t supposed to end with the couple finally getting together and kisses as the curtain closed. This book was about (amongst other things) Cath developing relationships with new people, and her relationship with Levi was not just about them getting together. It was also about her learning to deal with intimacy and figuring out how to be in a relationship. So Rowell lets us watch her figure it out. And it’s So. Freaking. Cute.

    I don’t think I have anything to add to my bullet point about the treatment of fangirls, except for the brief point that Wren, the extrovert, the party animal, did not leave Simon Snow behind forever. She didn’t even leave writing fanfiction behind forever. The cliché that all fangirls are shut ins was destroyed and trampled on in this book, and that made me very, very happy.

    Let’s be honest, the whole book made me very, very happy. 5/5 stars and all the love.

    February Book Haul!

    February Book Haul!

    feb2015bookhaul

    I’ve never really understood the point of introductory posts, so I’m going to dive straight into this blogging thing with this gorgeous stack of books I acquired in February. They’re so preeeetty! I’ve already read a couple, but don’t worry – there are no spoilers ahead. I’m just going to try to give a brief idea of why I bought them, and also show off the covers, which are pretty much universally gorgeous.

    thebookthief

    Goodreads ~ Book Depository

    I recently powered through all of the videos on the Little Book Owl YouTube channel. Catriona has a pretty similar taste in books to me, and I trust her recommendations, so quite a few of the books in this haul are ones that she recommended or reviewed. This one is her favourite book ever, and (I know now since I’ve already read it) with good reason.

    Liesel Meminger is a German girl living with foster parents in the midst of WWII. And… I’m not going to tell you much else about her, actually. Knowing about her isn’t what convinced me to read this book. Here is what convinced me to read this book: it is narrated by Death. Death doesn’t want to care about humans, but the story of the little girl who steals books fascinates him, and if a story can fascinate Death, I was pretty sure I’d be captivated too.

    cinder

    Goodreads ~ Book Depository

    Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella, set a few hundred years in the future. Cinder is the best mechanic in New Beijing. She is also a cyborg. Meanwhile, the people of Earth are dying of an incurable plague, and the humans who colonised the moon years ago threaten war. And then one day, Prince Kai appears at Cinder’s market stall with a broken android. And… yeah. Obviously I bought it.

    theshadowcabinet

    Goodreads ~ Book Depository

    This is the third book in the Shades of London series and I know almost nothing about it. The series is about a girl from Louisiana who arrives at a boarding school in London ready for anything England has to offer, but not expecting the strange and terrifying things that start to happen after she has a near-death experience. I absolutely loved the first two books, and the second one ended on a heartbreaking cliffhanger, so I intend to go into this one with no foreknowledge of how that’s going to be resolved. So far, I’ve successfully avoided all spoilers.

    fangirl

    Goodreads ~ Book Depository

    I don’t really know anything much about this book either, except that it’s about a girl who writes fanfiction, which is enough to make me excited to read it already. I mostly bought it because I read another book by Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor and Park, in January and fell head over heels in love with the story and the writing and the characters and… yes. You should read it You should probably read this too. I’ll let you know.

    wonder

    Goodreads ~ Book Depository

    I picked this up on a whim. I vaguely remember hearing good things about it, and the cover is cool. I believe it’s about a boy who freaks other children out because he looks different, but just wants to be seen as he is inside. I feel like it’s probably going to make me cry.

    hollowcity

    Goodreads ~ Book Depository

    Ack, so excited for this book! I read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children at the beginning of February, and it was just so beautiful. So beautiful. Ack, again. I’ll avoid telling you what I know about this book, because that would be spoilers for the first. So I’ll talk about some of the stuff in this book other than the story. The cover and the insides are just So. Pretty. Riggs collects old photographs, and his story is woven around strange, unearthly pictures that he’s collected over the years. Mostly, pictures of children who can do peculiar things. I would love to know how these pictures came to be taken in the real world, but then again… Maybe not. Maybe I like the book’s version better. Either way, I’ve never read anything like the first book, and I can’t wait to dive into the second.

    magicstudy

    Goodreads ~ Book Depository

    Have you read Poison Study? Go read it, then we’ll talk. If you’ve already read it, then you know why this was the first book I ordered this month, and why I was angry when it took ages to arrive. Yelena studies magic? Yes, please. Another book with Valek in it? YES, PLEASE.

    adarkershadeofmagic

    Goodreads ~ Book Depository

    I first heard of Victoria Schwab maybe a month ago, and pretty much every book she’s ever written sounds incredible. So, naturally, I was paralysed by indecision. Do I pick up The Archived, or The Near Witch? Vicious or A Darker Shade of Magic? I decided to go for this one because it just came out this week, so I feel like I’m in a big club of people buying and reading this book. Except that I haven’t read it yet. But I will.

    So that’s everything! Any and all recommendations are welcome, as well as requests for reviews of any of these books.

    Meda xoxo