Boston Teen Author Festival 2017 Recap

Last month while I was on hiatus I went to the Boston Teen Author Festival (which is actually in Cambridge, but we won’t be too picky) and it was SUPER FUN!! It was my first bookish event that I’ve ever actually gone to, and so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I knew this one wasn’t exactly “huge” so it seemed like a good place to start, and overall it was a positive experience.

The day was supposed to start at 9:30, but I had basketball practice so I got there late (ugh) and wasn’t able to make the first two panels of the day.  It also meant that I didn’t get a goodie bag of free stuff *sob* since by 1:00 they had already run out of everything (or else I was just looking in the wrong spot, who knows).

Anyways, at 1:15 I went to my very first panel.  I only got lost twice on the way there, which wasn’t bad for me, and I managed to show up 5 minutes early, also impressive for me.  My first panel was Their Dark Materials, which featured dark fantasy authors Traci Chee, Rin Chupeco, Amanda Foody, and Lindsey Miller.  It was all about writing “dark” fantasy and what that’s like/why you do it/what their books are about and all their inspo.

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The main reason I went to this panel was to see Rin Chupeco in person because The Bone Witch was SO AMAZING (see review) that I felt like it would be bad not to go see her while I had the chance. Plus, because I read an eARC of TBW, I don’t own a physical copy for her to sign, and I would have felt badly just asking for a photo when I’d never bought the book, so it was my only chance.

I have to say, though, that the other authors completely won me over during the panel, and I plan on reading all of their books ASAP.  I follow Amanda Foody on Twitter and really liked her, but I’d never heard of Traci or Lindsey before.  They were all so funny and down to earth and just generally super cool people and I wanted to be friends with all of them.

The panel as a whole was really interesting– FUN FACT, Amanda makes spreadsheets of darkness levels in her books and I’m honestly really geeking out about that, I want to see them SO BADLY.  The biggest thing that I took away from the panel was that you have to make sure you balance out the darkness with light parts/romance/humor, or else you’ll scare everyone away.  Also, authors don’t get to pick their own titles.  Why? because publishers know better clearly (LOL)

After that, I had a 10 minute break to find my way to my 2nd, and last, panel of the day.  This one was called Lens Crafters, and had Victoria Aveyard, Cinda Williams Chima, Tara Sim, and Lisa Maxwell.

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I’m super mad at myself because I knew Kourtni was going to be there (which is 1/4 of the reason I went to that particular panel) and I think I saw her there but I was too nervous that it wasn’t actually her and so I didn’t say anything and asdfghjkl I’m so dumb I regret it so much.

But anyways…. Lens Crafters was essentially all about POV and how it affects your storyline, how to choose POVs and multiple POVs, and everything remotely related to that.  My reason for going? Victoria Aveyard was there and her Twitter is super cool.  Also it was a 3 way tie for panels and this one was probably going to be most useful to my own writing, so I went to this one. (also the 1/4 factor that Kourtni was there).

Honestly, I’m not sure if any of these authors introduced themselves because I don’t remember who is who besides Victoria, but I really liked them all!!!! They had some great advice about working with alternating POVs, and honestly I just loved hearing how they chose because I’m thinking about making one of my novels multiple POV and I’m not sure how I choose which chapter to do each person.

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The Lens Crafters Panel

I’m still fangirling so hard about the fact that I actually met all of these authors and sat there listening to them talk on a Saturday afternoon.  I know for half of y’all this is an everyday occurrence and big authors just flock to your blogs, but I’m super in shock.

After that panel, it was time for book signing!!! Since I got there late, I hadn’t actually bought any book yet, so I had to go wait in line to get them.  I was super torn between:

  1. The Bone Witch
  2. Daughter of the Burning City
  3. Mask of Shadows
  4. Red Queen
  5. The Girl with the Red Balloon
  6. When Dimple Met Rishi

(I really wanted all of them, and then more, but I’m on a budget here and was determined to stick to it)

I ended up with just two, WDMR and Red Queen, which I chose both because I wanted to talk to the authors and because I reallllyyyy want to read them.  Like really badly.

After I bought them, I had to wait in yet another line to get them signed.  Once again, I was super awkward, recognized a blogger from Twitter but couldn’t place her name (still can’t) and so didn’t say anything at all.  Ugh I’m disgusting.

When I got to meet Sandhya Menon (author of WDMR) I was the most awkward person ever because I was fangirling so hard.  Legit I don’t know if I said anything because I was so excited to finally meet her.  She’s one of the few authors who has responded to me via Twitter and so that made it extra awesome.  Of course, I didn’t tell her that, because I was a mess.  But I now have a signed copy!!!!!!

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Me with Sandhya Menon

Next was the line for Victoria.  I actually had a normal human interaction with a couple of people while I waited, which was awesome because I’ve always known that I’m human, and so to have it proven was a big deal.  When it was my turn to get my book signed, I had sort of a conversation which ended up causing me to sound more stupid than normal… let me relate:

Victoria: “I feel so short right now”

Me: “I’m sorry… *weird pause*… I always feel way too tall”

Victoria: “No, you want to be tall, trust me”

Me: “I don’t know about that! I’ll give you a few inches” *thanks her and quickly ends interaction*

like… I don’t even know what just happened but bottom line is I’m a mess of a person.

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Victoria and Leigh Bardugo Signing Autographs

I’m super hype to read both of these books, but since I haven’t read anything in approximately 3 months it might be a while.

After the signing, I left because I had a 1.5 mile walk home and homework to do, which meant that I couldn’t stick around for any longer than absolutely necessary.

My first book fest ever was amazing, and now I’m really super looking forward to another one.

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Did you go to BTAF17? Which authors would you have gotten to sign your books? Do you think I’m incredibly awkward also?

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Review: The Hate U Give (I’m fangirling so hard right now)

By Angie Thomas

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Goodreads Rating: 4.62

Genre: YA Issues Contemporary

Publication Date: February 28th 2017

Format Read: Audiobook

Goodreads Summary: Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life. 

Continue reading “Review: The Hate U Give (I’m fangirling so hard right now)”

Summary of Summer (aka a Summer-y)

Hey guys!! I’m supposed to be back from my hiatus today, but to be honest I don’t think it’s actually going to be possible to get back into blogging full time.  I’m really upset about that (like really really upset) but I don’t know how I would manage to balance school and blogging.  At all. I am so impressed by all of you that do it, and maybe someday I’ll be able to manage, but that day is not today.  Continue reading “Summary of Summer (aka a Summer-y)”

Hiatus Announcement

hi everyone! This is a really hard post for me to write….

As most of you know, I just got to college for my freshman year.  Right now, I’m going through orientation stuff and life is crazy, and I’m not sure when it’s going to get any easier to balance.

Because of that, I’m taking a hiatus from blogging.  I’m not sure when I’ll be back.  I REALLY want to spend more time here, and I love blogging and all of you, but as of right now it’s impossible to find the time.

I hope to be back soon (and by the end of September at the latest) but when I do I’ll probably only post 2x/week from now on, since the 3 has obviously been a struggle for a while now.  I’m so so sorry guys!

Best of luck with all of your blogging and see you in a month or so!!

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Discussion: Why Are YA Characters So Young

I just read Strange The Dreamer (or rather, listened, but that’s not the point) and I was so shocked by the fact that Lazlo was 20 YEARS OLD.  He wasn’t a teenager, even though it was a YA book.  And it made me so freakin happy.  I mean, I’m so used to reading books about 14-16 year olds saving the world, so it was a nice change to have someone that was older than me as the protagonist.  When you’re working on your fictional crush list and realize most of the guys are years younger than you, it’s a bit disappointing.  That’s why today I wanted to talk about a problem that I only just recently realized was a problem: young characters in YA.

Obviously, young adult books are meant for teens, so it makes sense that the protagonists are teenagers themselves.  But I don’t understand why there aren’t many upper teens, or 17-21, which is still of an age that teenagers would be able to relate, but is perhaps more realistic to, say VENTURING OFF ALONE TO SAVE THE WORLD.

At 14, I wouldn’t have been able to cook myself dinner, never mind run away (I can’t even drive a car?) in order to spend weeks with the love of my life saving the world.  Speaking of, the romance is also WAY TOO SERIOUS.  Nobody Not many people finds the love of their lives in high school.  So why do all fictional characters find theirs? It also sets up unrealistic expectations for what you will find in high school.  Very unrealistic.  And I think that’s probably bad for kids 11-15 who are reading this and expecting their life to be that grand when they get just a little bit older.

Also, isn’t college still sort of YA? I mean people aren’t a real adult when they’re in college, I know I’m certainly not.  So there should either be more college characters in YA, or a new “fake adult” genre should be started, asap.  Because it’s not fair for those of us who are faking adulthood by going to college to be forced to read about young high schoolers or old adults.  (I’m planning a protest, who’s in?!)

Obviously, the books wouldn’t be as interesting if they weren’t so unrealistically exciting, so maybe there isn’t a problem at all.  I don’t know. I’m having trouble putting this into words, so I apologize for the super short post.

Basically, I just wanted to write about how excited I was to have a fictional boyfriend that’s older than me, and I turned it into a fancy shmancy discussion post to hopefully get more replies and find out about other people’s opinions!!!

so

Edit: I’ve heard that Strange is actually an adult fantasy novel, so oops for mentioning it in the content of YA.  It read a lot like  a YA novel in general, so I assumed.  Also, I realize “YA” is supposed to be 13-19, but there’s no market for 19-25 year olds at all, and since they are still young adults I thought that they should be contained in the YA genre

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Do you think YA should have older characters? Did books give you unrealistic expectations for what your high school experience would hold? Are all of your fictional boyfriends (or girlfriends) wayyy younger than you?

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The New Disney Princess Tag

I got tagged in the Disney Princess Tag by Tavleen @ Travelling Through Words!!!! I love Disney, and princesses, and so I could not be more excited to do this and get to relive all of my childhood memories.  Thank you so much to Tavleen for tagging me, it means a lot!!!!!

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  • Mention where you saw the tag/thank whoever tagged you because that’s always good fun
  • Tag Book Princess Reviews and Zuky with our posts so we can check out the wonderful Princess fun throughout the blog world (Mine is this link and Zuky’s is here)
  • Play a game of tag at the end!

Snow White

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This book (like the movie) started it all

Favorite Debut Book From an Author

I’m going with Girl out of Water for this one because I adore Laura Silverman and I feel like she deserves it SO MUCH especially because she’s been such a wonderful online presence throughout all of the shit that’s been going down in our country over the past few months (and probably earlier but I just started following her).  Also, Girl Out of Water is amazing and although she hasn’t published anything more yet, I know it’s going to be the start of something great.

Cinderella

A diamond in the rough

Just Like Cinderella, You Either Didn’t Expect Much Out of This Character in the Beginning But Turned Out to Be a Total Jem

hmmmm this one is really hard… I have a tendency to have very high expectations for all books and they always meet them… I’m going to go with Smugglers and Scones, because I got this book from the author and I knew it was indie, so I wasn’t expecting a ton, but it was SO FREAKIN CUTE I fell in love with the characters and story instantly.

Aurora

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Sleeping beauty

A Book That Makes You Sleepy or Just Could Not Hold Your Attention

This is so easy because I JUST DNFed IT BECAUSE I COULDN’T ANYMORE.  Not The Only Sky was filled with quirky cool characters but the plot made me want to dieeeee and I nearly completely stopped reading because it made me so extraordinarily bored, so I’m glad I set it aside.

Ariel

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Under the sea

A Book With a Water/Ocean Setting

what? That’s the description that they’re using for Ariel?? They could have done so much better TBH but oh well we’ll roll with it and go with…. In the Heart of the Sea!!  This was nonfiction but a really good story at the same time, and so I would recommend.

Belle

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Beauty and the beast

Name a Book With the Best Bookworm/Book Lover

ahhhhhhhh it’s time for me to FANGIRL ASDFGHJKL I CAN’T WAIT!!!!!!!! Strange the Dreamer was just so so so so so so so so sos sos so sososososoosoooo good!!!! Lazlo Strange was GREAT and the most adorable creature that I’ve ever met, not to mention the fact that he’s a total book lover, and I have such a big fictional crush on him.  Like SO BIG.  AAAAAHHHH (also I love the fact that he’s 20 instead of the usual fantasy 15, because it makes me feel way better about being in love with him)

Jasmine

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The thief and the princess

Name Book with an Unlikely Love Story (Either in Terms of Romance or a Book You Didn’t Expect to Love So Much)

I’m not going to say much about The Bone Witch, because there are possible spoilers, but I didn’t see this at all? Like why was it a thing? No.  Just no.

Pocahontas

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The real life princess

Name a Book that is Based on a Real Life Person You Want to Read/Have Read

Anna Kendrick is basically my idol.  She is so incredible and her acting is great and I love all of her movies, and reading her nonfiction memoir just amplified that.  She’s great. Just great.  plus the book was super funny, which is always a bonus.

Mulan

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The princess that saved her country

Name the Fiercest Heroine You Know

LOLA!! I just read that book and she was the most badass gang member that I’ve ever met (oops I don’t mean met).  I loved how she totally just overrode all these giant men to get her way, and became one of the most respected women in her whole neighborhood.  Not only was she strong, but she stood up to a lot of men who were used to being in charge, so in her particular situation it made her strength even more important.

Tiana

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The princess with the coolest and  most diverse crew

Name a diverse book whether it is a diverse set of characters (like Tiana’s group of Naveen, Louis, Ray, and more) or just diverse in general

I have to go with THUG on this one because I’m reading it right now and it is ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE.  I cannot rave enough about amazing the characters are in this book, how real they are, and what an important message this shares with everyone.  It should be on all schools required reading lists.

Rapunzel

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Let your longggg hair down

Name the Longest Book You’ve Ever Read

Hmmmm….. *heads over to goodreads to check*

I think the longest ASOIAF book was A Storm of Swords at 973 pages!

Merida

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I determine my own fate

A Book Where There is No Love Story/Interest or Isn’t Needed

The Clan of the Cave Bear.  I hear that later in the series there might be some romance, but as far as this first book goes, Ayla doesn’t need any men to survive, she’s badass and can take over the world without them, just like Merida.

Anna/Elsa

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Frozen hearts

A Book in a Winter/Cold Setting

I actually don’t have one for this, surprisingly.  I feel like most books where I know the seasons are always summertime, or there’s just no description of seasons at all that I register.

Moana

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How far I’ll go

A Character That Goes on a Journey

Literally every dystopian/fantasy/YA book ever?? I suppose if I have to narrow it down I’ll go with The Bone Witch, since I haven’t mentioned that yet I don’t think (although tbh I could be wrong, I have a VERY short term memory)… EDIT: I DID ALREADY MENTION THIS OMG OOPS I’M SO DUMB

Tags

I’m going to tag some of my new followers/people I’ve interacted with recently that I think deserve to be mentioned!!

The Girl with Ironwings

RedheadedBookLover

Ravishing Tales

Two Book Thieves

Writing Penguin Blog

Share your links once you write the post because I’d love to hear your recommendations!

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Review: The Glass Castle (A Powerful Memoir NOW IN THEATERS)

The Glass Castle

By Jeannette Walls

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Goodreads Rating: 4.24

Genre: Memoir

Publication Date: January 17th 2006

Format Read: Paperback

Goodreads Summary: The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family.

The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.

The Glass Castle is truly astonishing–a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.

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THIS CAME OUT AS A MOVIE LAST WEEK!!! IT’S OFFICIALLY IN THEATERS!!! TALK ABOUT GOOD TIMING, JOCE!!! (please excuse me as I give myself a pat on the back for being amazing)

In all seriousness, I planned reading this book so that I’d be able to watch the movie when it came out, and I could not be more happy that I did.  It’s been on my mom’s display shelf for years, and I was a little reluctant because it felt like it could be super boring (I mean, it’s NONFICTION).  But there was nothing not to like about this book.  It was SUPER GOOD, SUPER INTERESTING.  Jeannette’s story is so inspirational and beautiful, and the way it was written kept my interest the entire time.  Even if you’re not normally into nonfiction, I would recommend this one.

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I know there’s really no such thing as “characters” in this book, because they are all real people, but I’m going to do this section anyways.  You felt for every single person in this book, especially Jeannette, and I think they were fantastically well developed so that you could see each side of them– the one she saw as a little kid, and how that perspective developed as she got older.  I felt like not only did I know the characters, I WAS Jeannette the entire time I read it, and I understood exactly WHY she felt the way she did towards her father and mother.  It was powerfully done and I think made the story.

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This was non-fiction!?!?!?!

I keep asking myself this question over and over again because it seems too painful to be true, and yet the details are too precise and heart wrenching for it to be anything but.

The Glass Castle takes you through Jeannette’s entire life up to this point, starting from her first memory.  Her life is absolutely insane, because her parents were essentially impoverished nomads who were poor simply because they chose not to do anything about it.  This led to a very unique perspective on life for all of the Walls children, and that comes through in her writing.

I’m really reluctant to say anything more because I’m afraid of spoiling the “shock factor” which made this book so powerful to me.  But it’s incredible.  Genuinely emotionally shockingly beautifully powerful.  Read it and you’ll understand.

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I mean, this is really sort of hard.  It’s sort of told in terms of short stories, because obviously the author is writing over a really long period of time, and so she has to skip the “less important” parts in order to fit it all into the fairly skinny little book.  Her writing style was detailed and yet informative, and extremely emotion-evoking.  Like it left me sobbing multiple times.

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I LOVED THE CASTING FOR THIS MOVIE!!! I mean, Brie and Woody were both PERFECT in their roles, and the other girls that played Jeannette were equally as incredible, I couldn’t believe that they were CHILDREN because they were so impressive.

Although the movie didn’t follow the true events exactly, or show all of the parts of the book, it did a really good job and I thought it captured the true essence of the story.  I would 10/10 recommend.

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This book was SO SO SO GOOD PLEASE READ IT.  I am so overwhelmed by this entire story, the beautifulness of it, and the way it was written.  I think it deserves to be read just because it makes you appreciate your own life so much more, and gives you such a great appreciation for what other people go through.  Plus, honestly it’s a true pleasure read, you can really enjoy it and feel like it’s a novel. So what are you waiting for! Buy it already!

View on Goodreads

Buy on Amazon

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Have you read Glass Castle? Watched it? Are you looking forward to it? What did you think!!?!?!


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