Posted in Books

Start ‘Em Young: YA Books to Transition Younger Teen Readers into YA Literature

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

I’ve been an avid reader from a young age. I read voraciously throughout my pre-teen years, but as I got older, I began reading “older” books—I had been introduced into the wonderful world of YA literature. But it wasn’t quite as smooth as I thought; although young adult books generally encompass a teenage experience, there can often be a wide range of content. While some YA books are lighter and more suitable for younger teens, many range into the “older” teen spectrum that often deals with heavier and more mature subject matter. For me, at least, I think it’s good to have “transition” books for younger YA readers—books that are distinctly “teen,” but aren’t quite as graphic for someone who isn’t mature enough to handle certain topics. I’m doing my best not to make generalizations about the maturity of younger teenagers here, since I was one not so long ago, but I feel like it’s not the best idea to start an 11 or 12 year old on something as dark as Six of Crows or Illuminae. So for those reasons, I’ve decided to compile some books that I think would be great to introduce younger readers to the wide world of YA literature.

Let’s begin, shall we?

📖BOOKS TO TRANSITION YOUNGER TEEN READERS INTO YA 📖

Sorcery of Thorns – Margaret Rogerson

GENRES: fantasy, high fantasy, romance

Sorcery of Thorns had the feel of a lot of middle-grade fantasy novels—not enough magical libraries in YA literature, such a shame 😤

For me, this novel had the perfect balance of whimsy and complexity, and presented a beautiful fantasy world full of magical books and demons!

The Kingdom of Back – Marie Lu

GENRES: historical fiction, fantasy, magical realism

Marie Lu’s books tend to stray on the darker side, but The Kingdom of Back is the perfect standalone for any reader to get into her books. This one is a favorite of mine—such a beautifully-crafted fairytale!

Sisters of the Wolf – Patricia Miller-Schroeder

GENRES: historical fiction

Sisters of the Wolf wasn’t my favorite book, but part of what stood out to me about it (apart from the amazing research that went into the prehistoric setting) was that it hit the perfect balance between middle grade and YA—it’s dark enough to be separated from middle grade, but still palatable for a younger reader transitioning between the age groups.

The Soul Keepers – Devon Taylor

GENRES: fantasy, paranormal, horror

Like Sisters of the Wolf, The Soul Keepers is the perfect bridge between middle grade and YA; even though most of the characters are written as older teens, the level of dark elements struck the perfect balance between younger and older teen readers.

Curses – Lish McBride

GENRES: fantasy, retellings, romance

Nothing like a good fairytale retelling to introduce a reader to YA! Lish McBride’s sense of humor never fails to make me smile, and Curses was a continuously clever and hilarious retelling of Beauty and the Beast. If there’s any Beauty and the Beast retelling to start a reader on, it’s this one.

The Tiger at Midnight – Swati Teerdhala

GENRES: fantasy, high fantasy, romance

The Tiger at Midnight has all of the elements of a classic YA fantasy book, and it’s the perfect choice for introducing a reader into the vast world of YA fantasy! I don’t know why I haven’t picked up the next few books—book 1 was a lot of fun!

Geekerella – Ashley Poston

GENRES: fiction, romance, rom-com

For a reader who wants to jump into romance, the Once Upon a Con series is a perfect starter! Plus, what’s not to love about comic cons, books, and tons of pop culture references?

Once & Future – A.R. Capetta and Cory McCarthy

GENRES: LGBTQ+, science fiction, retellings, romance

Speaking of retellings…here’s one for readers who are keen on Arthurian legends! Once & Future presents one of the most inventive Arthurian legends I’ve read in a while—space, corporations, curses, and more! It’s wonderfully queer all around as well.

The Light at the Bottom of the World – London Shah

GENRES: dystopia, science fiction, romance

There are a lot—and I mean a lot—of astoundingly mediocre and ridiculous YA dystopias that tried to jump on the Hunger Games train, so why not start off a reader with something that’s genuinely fun and inventive? The Light at the Bottom of the World is a stand-out, action-packed and creative, with a determined protagonist that you can’t help but root for!

I Love You So Mochi – Sarah Kuhn

GENRES: fiction, romance

Here’s another light and sweet romance! I Love You So Mochi is the perfect feel-good romance, and it doubles as a spectacular coming-of-age story about finding your passion and your place.

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! What are some other books that you’d recommend for younger teens who are just starting to read YA? Have you read any of these books, and if so, what did you think of them? Tell me in the comments!

Today’s song:

this is such a fun album!! not a bad song here

That’s it for this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

March 2021 Wrap-Up 🧦

Happy Wednesday my dudes bibliophiles!

I refuse to believe that it’s almost April…one year since the original quarantine, nope…

GENERAL THOUGHTS

March has been…an interesting month, I guess. Definitely had its ups and downs, and it was super cold. It’s usually a really snowy month here in Colorado, and we got dumped on in the middle of the month…not quite the #Snowmageddon that everybody was saying it was going to be, but we got about two feet at my house. A lot, but we’ve had worse…

School’s been a bit rough, but I’m at least glad that everything had time to wind down before Spring Break. I have my SAT test coming up in April and my AP exams in May, so heads up, I’ll probably be less active in the next two months.

Other than that, I’ve definitely made some great progress! Mostly with my writing; I wrote my short story for the writing contest, shared it with family and close friends, got some feedback, AND I SUBMITTED IT ON MONDAY! AAAAAAAAAAAH

Screaming Cowboy GIF by Jason Clarke - Find & Share on GIPHY

I also started on Falcon & The Winter Soldier (I didn’t like episode 1 very much, but 2 got better), watched the Snyder Cut, and drank lots of tea and hot chocolate. Here’s hoping that April will be a bit better. Not that March was awful, but I could’ve done without…y’know, precalc. I’ve been listening to the new Julien Baker a lot too, as well as more Mother Mother, thanks to a playlist my friend made for me.

Also, I rewatched Fargo in its entirety. I’ll admit to curling into the fetal position and sobbing several times.

Rabbi Milligan | Explore Tumblr Posts and Blogs | Tumgir
[aggressive tissue-blowing intensifies]

And I’m SO CLOSE to 400 followers! I LOVE YOU ALL 🥺

READING AND BLOGGING:

I managed to read 23 books this month! (24, if you count reading a certain B.P.R.D. twice.) I’ve definitely had a great reading month; I re-read a few favorites, and I discovered several awesome reads! And I had very few books that I didn’t like, so that’s a plus. Here’s everything…

2 – 2.75 stars:

The Absolute Book: A Novel: Knox, Elizabeth: 9780593296738: Amazon.com:  Books
The Absolute Book

The Absolute Book – Elizabeth Knox (⭐️⭐️)

3 – 3.75 stars:

Amazon.com: The Future Is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by  Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin: A Library of America  Special Publication (9781598535808): Yaszek, Lisa: Books
The Future is Female!

Sisters of the Wolf – Patricia Miller-Schroeder (eARC) (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Roman + Jewel – Dana L. Davis (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Girl, Serpent, Thorn – Melissa Bashardoust (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Hellboy: Oddest Jobs – Christopher Golden, Mike Mignola et. al. (anthology) (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Chlorine Sky – Mahogany L. Browne (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Good Father – Noah Hawley (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2) – Becky Chambers (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss, #1) – London Shah (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

The Future is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin – Lisa Yaszek (anthology) (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

4 – 4.75 stars:

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness: Channing  Brown, Austin: 9781524760854: Amazon.com: Books
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

A Phoenix Must First Burn – Patrice Caldwell et. al. (anthology) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

B.P.R.D., vol. 3: Plague of Frogs – Mike Mignola, Guy Davis (read twice) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Remote Control – Nnedi Okorafor (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Life and Deaths of Frankie D. – Colleen Nelson (eARC) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Desolations of Devil’s Acre (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #6) – Ransom Riggs (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Things They Carried – Tim O’Brien (read for school) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Black Flamingo – Dean Atta (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

To Be Taught, If Fortunate – Becky Chambers (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Other People’s Weddings – Noah Hawley (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Fox 8 – George Saunders (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness – Austin Channing Brown (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Once & Future – A.R. Capetta and Cori McCarthy (re-read for book club) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

5 stars:

Looks from Books: Fashion Inspired by Frankenstein - College Fashion
Frankenstein

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley (re-read) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH (not counting re-reads): Fox 8 4.5 stars

Amazon.com: Fox 8: A Story (9781984818027): Saunders, George, Cardinal,  Chelsea: Books

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

DID I ACTUALLY FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY MARCH GOALS?

You betcha - GIF on Imgur
  • Finish my short story for the writing contest (since the deadline is early April…): done! Shaking, but done.
  • ACTUALLY review Little Oblivions: done! Click here to read it.
  • Read at least 20 books: read 23!
  • Review all of the eARCs sitting on my Kindle: all done! Here are my reviews for Sisters of the Wolf and The Life and Deaths of Frankie D.

GOALS FOR APRIL:

How to Prepare for Exam Season Before It Even Starts | TalentEgg Career  Incubator
  • Read at least 20 books
  • Take some time to study for the SAT (you got this!)

So let’s hope that April won’t be so chaotic.

Today’s song:

That’s it for my March in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (3/30/21) – The Light at the Bottom of the World

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I’d had this novel on my TBR for a good two years or so, but I forgot about it until I saw it on display at my local library. I picked it up as soon as I could, and man, I’m so glad I did! I’ve started to lose faith in a lot of YA dystopian novels, but London Shah shows us all the way to do it almost exactly right.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Amazon.com: The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss, 1)  (9781368036887): Shah, London: Books

The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss, #1) – London Shah

London, 2099. The entire city has been swallowed by the rising oceans, and humankind ekes out a living, in fear of the evolved creatures of the sea and the genetically-modified Anthropoids who lurk alongside them.

Leyla McQueen makes a living as a submersible racer, and when she enters a prestigious competition, she doesn’t enter for the fame or the fortune – all she wants to do is save her father, who was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. But after the Prime Minister refuses her pleas after she wins the competition, she sets out on her own to find him, leading her through a dark, watery world of secrets and lies.

♡.∙∘❀○‿✿⁀♡Pinterest: adisyaamadea♡‿✿⁀○❀∘∙. | Finding nemo, Finding nemo  2003, Bee and puppycat

TW/CW: graphic violence, frightening situations, animal injury, incarcerated parent

This book wasn’t perfect, but man, I’d do anything to have a debut as good as this! London Shah restored my faith in dystopian literature, and The Light at the Bottom of the World is practically a guidebook on how to do dystopian YA right.

Shah’s worldbuilding is what stood out most to me. There’s rich history in every chapter, presenting a post-apocalyptic world swallowed by rising oceans, where the last pockets of humanity war with the deep and corrupt governments tighten an iron fist around the needy. I loved seeing how the inhabitants of this drowned London eked out a living, from the submersible races to the ruined architecture.

Leyla McQueen was also the perfect protagonist for this book! Besides having great #OwnVoices British-Muslim rep, she was just the kind of main character that we could root for – quick-witted, clever, sassy, determined, and fueled by a love for her father and a flaming desire to make things right. Her chemistry with Ari was great, and she was so spirited and authentic in a way that most dystopian protagonists aren’t. Plus, I may not be a dog person, but Jojo was so adorable and must be protected at all costs 🥺

The only pitfall about The Light at the Bottom of the World for me was the writing. It wasn’t bad, per se, but it just felt a bit lacking. Everything was quick and to the point, without much metaphor or dressing. Now, I’m not saying that it needed to be bright purple prose, but I feel like it could have used a bit more vivid imagery and language. The plot made up for it though; I truly felt the adrenaline of the characters for the whole book, whether it was in the breakneck submersible races or a daring prison break.

Either way, a fantastic YA dystopia with a lovable cast of characters and a fascinating world swallowed by the waves. 3.75 stars, rounded up to 4!

There's always a bigger fish - Album on Imgur

The Light at the Bottom of the World is London Shah’s debut novel, and it is the first in the Light the Abyss duology, followed by Journey to the Heart of the Abyss, which is slated for release on October 26, 2021.

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: March 22-28, 2021

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! Whew, it feels like I haven’t done an update in a while…

Luckily, this week has been fairly light school-wise, seeing as it was the last week before everything let out for Spring Break. It was one of the interim weeks where I checked out whatever feels right from the Kindle library before my physical library books came in, but everything that I read (and re-read) was great! March has been a great month for reading, for the most part. Perfect time for it, too – we’ve had a super snowy March this year, so all the better to stay inside and read.

Reading Night — Amita Sevellaraja

I’ve had more time to post stuff here too, and I’ll definitely be doing more over Break before I have to prepare more for the SAT, so that’s been a lot of fun. I have a whole bunch of book tags laying dormant in my blog sticky note, so…

AND THE AURORA’S END COVER REVEAL! AAAAAH!

Other than that, I’ve been drawing a bit, working out the kinks on my short story, watching Falcon and The Winter Soldier (alright? I guess?) and the first half of the Snyder Cut of Justice League (AAAAH), and volunteering at the library. I definitely need a break…

Tired Give Up GIF by Boomerang Official - Find & Share on GIPHY

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley (re-read) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Looks from Books: Fashion Inspired by Frankenstein - College Fashion

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness – Austin Channing Brown (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness: Channing  Brown, Austin: 9781524760854: Amazon.com: Books

Girl, Serpent, Thorn – Melissa Bashardoust (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Girl, Serpent, Thorn (9781250196149): Bashardoust, Melissa:  Books

The Light at the Bottom of the World – London Shah (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss, 1)  (9781368036887): Shah, London: Books

Chlorine Sky – Mahogany L. Browne (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Chlorine Sky by Mahogany L. Browne: 9780593176399 | PenguinRandomHouse.com:  Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Other People’s Weddings – Noah Hawley

Other People's Weddings: Noah Hawley: 8601417156438: Amazon.com: Books

Salvaged – Madeleine Roux

Salvaged by Madeleine Roux: 9780451491831 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

The Future is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin – Lisa Yaszek et. al. (anthology)

The Future Is Female, Edited by Lisa Yaszek • Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews

These Violent Delights – Chloe Gong

Amazon.com: These Violent Delights (9781534457690): Gong, Chloe: Books

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!