I am quite critical about some books, because if I’m going to read it, it has to be entertaining. Or at the very least I should have some form of motivation to finish it. That can be because I think it’s funny or smart or that I can learn something from it, but that last one pretty much only applies to non-fiction. Lately, I’ve been DNF’ing (iow: not finishing) quite a few books and I wanted to talk a little about why I DNF books and why specifically these ones.
One of the things I love most about reading, is how it can literally change someone’s life. Books have the power to change things, even if they’re minor things. They can. In this (hopefully) monthly series on my blog I am going to talk to you about the impact and the power YA books have. I’m going to include not just my own thoughts but also other people’s opinions and if I can find them, stats and figures.
This first post will be about Simon Spier (Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli), who has quickly become one of the most iconic LGBT+ YA characters and will probably only gain popularity once the movie (Love, Simon) is released over the world. I have sadly not been able to see Love, Simon yet because it’s not released where I live, but I have seen the impact it has had on many others.
This post does not include any spoilers about neither the book nor the movie it is simply a discussion of the effects Simon’s story has.
Do you ever read one of those books that when you’re only a few pages in you already know you are going to love it? Because I do. Sometimes I start a book and I just insta-crush on it. SO BAD.
This post was inspired by my current read, which is The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven. I just started reading it today and I’ve just started it and couldn’t stop. I love it so much (as I’m writing this, I’ve actually put it down, but I’ve read a third of it in about half an afternoon.) Anyway, I wanted to talk about what made me fall in love with these books (and authors) instantly and why!
I’ve actually written part of this post a while ago and then abandoned it because I wasn’t happy with how it turned out so I’m going to try again. I don’t know if it’s just me being more aware of what’s going on in the bookish community or whether things are actually changing. Only weeks ago I talked about how things were going with the international reviewers and now it seems we’ve got more to talk about.
As an introduction, there are some incidents that triggered this discussion. And I initially wanted to discuss them in more detail, but I don’t want to make this a negative post, so I won’t. I’ve heard quite a few stories of authors attacking reviewers over negative reviews they’ve written. Over the years, I haven’t heard much about these kinds of incidents, but I’m well-aware that I haven’t been as attentive to them before.
I’ve been wanting to write about this for a while now, and with the recent developments with Netgalley and Goodreads, I think it is the perfect time to talk about this. I won’t be going into depth about the developments on Netgalley and Goodreads because it has been talked about a lot already, and I don’t want to repeat the same things.
As you probably know, I’m not from the US. In fact, I’m from the Netherlands (you know that small country in Europe with clogs and cheese? except that there are barely any clogs to be found in the entire country). Since our native language is Dutch, there are already a couple of disadvantages to reading English books. But more about that later. This post is in no way supposed to come across as if I’m ungrateful for anything, or that I would be entitled to things other bloggers do get, or anything like that. I just wanted to talk about how for internationals, it can be a bit harder to get access to the same things others get easy access to.
I am back from my week-long hiatus, in which I went to Berlin, fell in love with the city and then sadly had to return to my home where it’s very boring and I have to go to school and let me just cry a little. I was so busy sightseeing that I didn’t even have the time to miss blogging! I’m very glad to be back at blogging though! It was strangely hard to come up with a topic to talk about today but I found something.
Today I wanted to talk about what makes me want to read a book. And I will not go into covers and titles, even though those play a very important role. Each topic will include examples of books I read and loved and books I want to read! So basically, this is a recommendation/tbr post 😛
#1 Dark fantasy
I totally blame V.E. Schwab for this because her books are so wonderfully dark, it makes every other book feel light! It’s kind of weird, but I love it when books have a lot of dark themes, such as death, destruction, murder, assassins. Anything that’s inherently bad, I love it.
#2 Con-artists & illusionists
I love it when characters are not who everyone thinks they are, when they have to fake to be someone else or something else. Illusions and cons are so much fun! There’s the complexity of coming across as genuine while there is the constant tension of not being caught.
#3 Complex characters
Any character that’s morally grey, has many flaws and is not the hero by design will catch my attention. I love it when characters are flawed and not really the nicest people. Characters like Kaz from Six of Crows with skewed morals are the best kind of characters to read about.
Give me all the female strong characters that fight for feminism (or male characters? But those are rarer)! If a story is about feminism or has feminist aspects to it, I am immediately drawn to it!
#5 LGBT+ rep
For obvious reasons, I’m not a huge fan of romance, but when the romance is between LGBT+ characters or when the characters are just on the LGBT+ spectrum, I will immediately like it 147% more (I made that number up don’t worry).
#6 A diverse group of teens
LGBT+ aside, I love it when there’s a group of teens that are of different cultures, backgrounds, etc. I always like it when a book changes POVs, it always gives an extra dimension to the story because you get to see things in different perspectives!
If it’s a story about growing up, gaining confidence and about that phase in life where you have to start making the big decisions, I will want to read it. I love stories in which the characters have to grow out of their small comfort zone and go out in the world, discover themselves. For this reason, I love it when books are set in the last year of high school.
I can’t think of any at this moment!
#8 When it’s written by one of my favourite authors
This is a very obvious one, but there are some authors that have become instant favourites, and I will read whatever they come up with. EVERYTHING. Especially when it comes to V.E. Schwab, Leigh Bardugo, Laini Taylor, Holly Bourne, Maggie Stiefvater and Marissa Meyer.
What makes you want to pick up a book? Are any of our interests the same? You got any recommendations for me perhaps?
Just today, I was sitting on a bench in front of my university and I was just looking at people and there was this guy. And he was beautiful. And I really just wanted to stare at him, but I felt so weird about it. You don’t just stare at random people you see, at least not if you don’t want to be creepy or flirty (or both). But I just want to stare at things I that are aesthetically pleasing, okay?!
It’s the same with book covers, I cannot not stare at a cover if it’s pretty. I’d love to just hang them on my walls so I could just stare at the magnificent cover art the artists and designers came up with all day. (good thing I’d not be creepy if I stared at my book covers, right? Only a little weird :P)
This post is inspired by Swetlana, who generously shared her post ideas with me so I could write a post today! Thank you!
I cannot not mention these amazing covers of This Savage Song and Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab. I just adore the coloring and the calligraphy! It looks even better up close and I am so glad to own both of them in these gorgeous editions. I would frame them if I could.
You have no idea how many times I’ve stood in the library or bookstore and thought, “wow” whenever I saw the cover of The Loneliness of Distant Beings by Kate Ling. The cover of the second book, The Glow of Fallen Stars, is also so pretty! I should just buy them, just for the sake of being able to look at them all day. (it has such mediocre reviews though! I’m sad 😦 )
This Tiny Perfect World by Lauren Gibaldi has the cutest cover! The colors are so pretty and pastel and I normally don’t like people on covers, but I do love illustrations and I adore this one. (Also, there’s a unicorn, and who can say no to a unicorn? Or is that a horse? I can’t see.)
Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman is obviously on this list, I adore all things space and I also adore the illustrations on it! When I first saw the cover, I thought it would be sci-fi but it’s completely not!
A Million Junes by Emily Henry has one of my favourite color combinations: blue and yellow. I love how the background is a bit vague, like, you don’t really see immediately what it is and it just looks really cool!
The cover of We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson is so simple but so pretty. Again, that color combination, but also the sunset vibe, the lines. I just love it! I also love the star-tracing or whatever it’s called when you take a long exposure picture of the night sky.
Whoever designed the cover of The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon deserves a medal. It’s so pretty and bright and colourful! I wish I owned a copy so I could stare at it. Or just remake the whole thing on my wall. That would be so cool (so much work though)
Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West has been on my TBR for so long and just because it’s so pretty! I adore the illustration and the shadow thing is just gorgeous. I wish I had this on my shelves or on my walls. I’d frame it.
Spellslinger and Shadowblack I only discovered recently but I’ve fallen head over heels for these covers. I adore the concept and the two people on the Spellslinger cover kind of remind me of a slightly younger version of Kell and Lila from the Shades of Magic series? I just want these on my shelves, please.
Which of these is your favourite? And which covers would you like to frame and put on your walls? Do you have a cover you’re so in love with you’d buy the book for no other reason than to have it on your shelf to stare at?