Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Romanticising in YA

This is something I've been wanting to talk about for the longest time but I've been struggling to find the words. So, basically what I'm going to be talking about today is romanticising things that shouldn't be romanticised, particularly in YA books.

I'm going to start by talking about John Green. We all know John Green, we were all a huge fan once upon a time. However, I've been thinking about him a lot with the publication of his newest book, Turtles All The Way Down which I haven't read, I'm definitely curious though but I don't think I'll go as far as to buy a copy. Because I have a lot of feelings about his books now. And, this isn't to be taken as me talking shit about John Green, I think he's an incredibly talented writer and he and his brother do fantastic crash course videos that have helped me in science on numerous occasions so I actually do owe my science related success to him. However, his books are the things I have issues with. A little over a year ago, I read The Fault in Our Stars for the second time and wrote a rave review of it. Well, that's all well and good but I think the bookish community has really helped me to see what is wrong with his books and made me think a bit more critically of everything. I think The Fault in Our Stars romanticises illnesses but I don't exactly think that is the intent there, I do think John Green purely intended for it to be a gorgeous love story between two sick kids but I think particularly the way it was advertised, just romanticises the whole thing.

But, TFIOS is not the book I have the biggest issue with, it's Looking for Alaska. Once upon a time I adored Looking for Alaska. I have a lovely 10th anniversary edition that I loved to pieces but anyone whose read it knows that Alaska is not exactly a stable person and the narrator just keeps on romanticising it, looking back it's actually gross. The obsession with Alaska is just very not healthy and not a great thing to be depicting to young people. John Green loves the manic pixie dream girl trope and he isn't the only one but it's damaging and not healthy. I remember reading Looking for Alaska when I was about 13 and something a bit scary happened, I wanted to be like Alaska so people would romanticise me and that boys would think about me because I'd be this unique individual who 'isn't like other girls' as though that's such a horrible thing to be. But, my issue with the manic pixie dream girl trope is a talk for another day.

I don't think unhealthy relationships, substance abuse, mental illnesses, the list goes on, should be romanticised. Do I think they should be written about? Absolutely, it's important to bring exposure to all of these kinds of things but it is so important to avoid romanticising it. YA readers can be young and impressionable and to be honest, I remember being that person a few years ago. Write about depression, write about drinking problem, write about illnesses, write about sad people, but don't make it out to seem like something beautiful and desirable.

So, basically, the point I'm wanting to get across is to stay aware. Keep talking but don't make it out to be something it's not. Educate. Education on these topics are so important but there is a right and wrong way to go about it. And, I think it's important, when you see a book or a film or whatever, romanticising something that should not be romanticised, speak up about it to keep yourself and others aware.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

5 Stars

“The beautiful thing about books was that anyone could open them.”

23299512This is a reread because once again, I couldn't manage to get really into it the first time I read it so I've read it again and I've actually fallen in love with it.

Okay so, the world building was fantastic. The atmosphere was perfect. Everything was great there. I've noticed from reading one of the authors other books that she has a fantastic writing style. It was really easy for me to get into the second time and I would've finished it within a couple of sittings if I'd had the time.

I adore the characters. August was so gorgeous and complex. I loved that. Kate is equally complex and I really love her as a character, I think she compliments the atmosphere perfectly. So, I was very pleased with that. They just really stood out to me. Leo and Isla were brilliantly written as well.

Also, as an irrelevant kind of side note, after about a week of staring at the cover, I've only just realised it's a violin. I have no idea why it took me this long to notice but it's made me fall even more in love with the cover and you know I made sure I didn't buy the Australian cover because it's not great.

Anyway, I could read about August forever. I really adore him. I love his love for music. It made me want to pick up my trumpet and play for the sake of it but it was also 11pm and I think my parents would possibly kill me if I did that. I love books that talk about music because it's something I can relate to. So I loved that and I loved how vividly it was described.

It was a fantastic book and I'm very excited to read Our Dark Duet which I'll actually probably get out of the library very soon so I'm looking forward to that. It was vividly written and something that definitely stands out from other fantasy novels. I liked it a lot and I'm glad I reread it.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Can You Outgrow Your Favourite Books?

This is something that's been in the back of my mind for a long time and I've only just thought to make a discussion post out of it. I'm 17, I've been reading YA heavily since I was about 13. When I was 13, the popular books were John Green and The Hunger Games and Divergent and whatnot. So, of course I read them and loved them. However, I reread most of these last year which was interesting and I discovered, I like them nowhere near as much which I struggled to admit due to all the nostalgia and feelings I associate with those books, it's almost like certain experiences I associate with what I was reading at the time.

John Green novels were filled with angst and special snowflakes and everything that made me feel special while reading. I had just turned 13 when I got into John Green books, I was in the early days of high school and I'd already had boy troubles, friendship troubles, you name it. I felt like I could relate to these books because I think everyone starts going through these kinds of things for the first time and you kind of feel like you're the only one. Which, is kind of the general theme of John Green novels. I'm not sure if this is making sense but I;m struggling to find the words to explain why I felt like I connected to John Green novels. But, when I reread them, it just wasn't the same experience for me and I almost felt like the story lines were forced to make these characters seem like the special snowflakes they are. A common trope is manic pixie dream girl which was another trope that I really loved when reading these for the first time. But, I still can't exactly let go of them because I associate so many experiences with them, basically the entire 13th year of my life, I just associate with John Green novels but I definitely feel like I've grown out of them. I'm not really in a stage of my life where these things are something I resonate with and to be completely honest, there are a lot of things in his novels I now disagree with.

What about The Hunger Games and Divergent? Well, I'm simply no longer really into dystopia as a genre where I used to adore it. I recently reread Divergent and I didn't like it at all. I didn't like the relationship between Tris and Tobias at all whereas I used to think it was absolutely gorgeous. And, it's kind of disappointing because I know how much I used to love it, so why don't I anymore? I will admit, I will always have such a soft spot for The Hunger Games since it really got me into reading and I think the movies are still great. But, I can't help but feeling like it just doesn't really fit for me anymore. I feel like I've grown past it. It's definitely a little sad.

However, there's also things like Harry Potter that I haven't grown out of and don't see myself growing out of anytime soon. I don't really know that this means that Harry Potter is the superior because it has stood the test of time for me. I think it probably comes down to a lot of factors, maybe the fact that it feels like everyone has grown up with Harry and we've watched him grow and maybe it's kind of like a community thing. Anyway, I think I might be getting off topic here. But, my point is, Harry Potter is one favourite that has stood the test of time for me.

So, I'd love to know what you think. I think it's absolutely possible and common to outgrow your favourite book. I'd love for you to tell me your thoughts and how many of your favourites have stood the test of time or which ones you've grown out of. 


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

November 2017 Wrap Up

I can't believe this is the second last wrap up of the year, it's incredible. This year has gone by offensively fast. November has been an interesting month for me. I did a lot, probably more than I've done all year. Despite the fact that I only actually finished one book, The Start of You and Me by Emery Lord, and I think I only made about three blog posts.

I had my birthday on the 2nd which was great, I already wrote a post about it. I got a new trumpet and cried about it because I told my parents they didn't have to get it, trumpets are kind of expensive and they've been wanting to renovate the house so I was saving up myself. They were ridiculously coy about the whole thing. The trumpet sounds fantastic, I got to use it for my exam which was great because it just sounds so much better than my old one and makes certain things easier.

So, I had my final exams. I have never been more stressed. I have never been more tired. I didn't feel like doing anything other than studying and any time I was doing anything that wasn't studying, I felt insanely guilty. It was intense. I had four written exams and my music practical exam. My written exams were all within the same week which was awful. But, alas, I somehow got through it. I'm not sure that I did quite as well on any of my exams that I hoped but I don't think any of them were particularly catastrophic. I'm just trying to comfort myself until the results come with the fact that I did everything I could. However, the whole exam experience did remind me how shitty the school system really is because particularly on my bio exam, they were able to catch me on some of the things I wasn't confident in when with everything I'm not comfortable with, there's quite a few things I am comfortable with so it just felt so unlucky that they caught me on the few things that I couldn't quite grasp. No one is going to understand every thing, everyone is going to have their weak spots and that's what bothers me. Most people had anywhere between 2-5 exams to study for and it's just not a great system. I don't really have any suggestions on how to improve it but I think it's important to remember that it's not exactly an ideal situation for anyone.

Anyway, after that exam rant I think I'm done. I had a bit of a blogging break this month to focus on my exams but I have some fun blog posts planned out that I'm really excited to write. I can not wait for December, I adore everything Christmas and I'm hoping to do a lot of Christmas themed posts this year since I'll be on holidays all month. So, look forward to a very active Brooklyn the next couple of months. I'm going to be on my blogging best again.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

See You In A Couple Of Weeks: A Teeny Tiny Break

You may notice, I've been not very active recently. I've been studying hard for my final exams. But, I just wanted to share a quick post to let you all officially know, I'll probably be a bit MIA the next couple of weeks during the exam period.

I had my very first exam today which was my music practical exam and I was shaking the entire time but it wasn't offensively bad. There were quite a few mistakes but sound and everything was perfect and I managed to catch myself on pretty much all my mistakes which is something that you've got to get good at when performing. So, anyway, I only have 4 written exams left and I'm done until next school year. I'm lighting my load next year because I went pretty heavy this year so next year will hopefully be a bit more about having some fun with my classes. Written exams officially start on Monday, I have my first one on Tuesday (I think? I should probably check on that) and then another one every couple of days. I'm feeling very thankful that I don't have two in one day though, this time around. However, I'm going to be very busily studying and trying to limit any outside distractions such as reading and blogging so I can do my absolute best because I'd really like to smash these exams.

I'm going to schedule a few reviews because, why not? I've got that many reviews stock piled that I may as well use a few of them while I have the chance. So, there'll be that. I should be back and running in just a couple short weeks and hopefully I'll have some really good posts and I'll have the time to get back into the swing of blogging. So, I hope everyone has the time of their lives while I'm out for a while and please keep me in your thoughts, I'll need it. I look forward to coming back!

Saturday, November 04, 2017

17 Thoughts for 17 Years

It was my 17th birthday the other day so, I'm writing a post in honour of it today. I had a great day, I didn't do much. I went to school, luckily, my birthday fell on a Thursday which is the day I only have a half day of classes. So, that was great. My parents got me the brand new trumpet I've been saving up for and talking about all year and I couldn't even begin to express how much I loved it. It's a Christmas/birthday present but they wanted to give it to me for my birthday before I have my music exam and before band breaks up for the holidays. Anyway, I should probably get into my post now. I'm writing 17 thoughts for 17 years.

1. If someone is a negative presence in your life then you need to do something about it.

2. If it makes you smile, then it's probably worth it.

3. It doesn't matter what you think of what someone is wearing, if they're wearing it, it probably makes them happy and that's what matters.

4. Sometimes it's good to get out of your comfort zone.

5. Tell people how you feel because soon enough it'll hardly matter if so and so didn't feel the same way or so and so didn't agree with this.

6. Take opportunities when they come to you, they may not come again.

7. You've got to learn to not let other's opinions of you affect you.

8. It's worth being kind to everyone you meet.

9. Sometimes the smallest things can be the loveliest.

10. Read what you want to read. It doesn't matter what others think. Same goes for music, clothes, anything. If you like it, then what on earth does it matter.

11. Putting effort into every thing can be exhausting but the results can be brilliant.

12. Flat stomachs aren't the world! People store fat in different ways.

13. You should embrace your little quirks. Own them and make them yours.

14. Failure is bound to happen sometimes and it's going to suck but you've got to suck it up and try again. You can't let yourself miss out on experiences because you're scared of failure or rejection or disappointment or whatnot.

15. One day, you're going to get your heart broken and maybe that won't be by a romantic partner but maybe a family member or a friend, maybe a beloved pet will pass away. It'll happen but it doesn't mean you shouldn't love anything.

16. Just because others have it worse doesn't make your problems invalid.

17. It's important to remember not to take the things you have for granted and to remind those around you that you appreciate them.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October 2017 Wrap Up

Happy November or if you're still in October, then happy almost November. I've had a fantastic month but I'm really looking forward to November. Mostly because it'll be my birthday tomorrow and my birthday is one of my favourite days of the year. I also finish school which is great and have a significantly longer holiday than I did in high school but I also have my exams, so it's all happening.

I did a lot of rereading in October because I just wasn't too keen on actually reading anything new. So, I read:
Love Letters To The Dead by Ava Dellaria
The Yearbook Committee by Sarah Ayoub
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

And that was it, I'm in a bit of a slump at the moment. I don't know if anyone else can relate but I find it really hard to focus on reading when there's too many exciting things going on in my life. I've been really out of my shell this month, I've finally been building friendships with people who I've been wanting to build friendships with this whole year. The only problem is we've only got a couple more weeks of the school year to go so I'm hoping I'll keep talking to these people even when school is over. I always get really excited about talking to new people, it really gets my adrenaline going. So, I'm struggling to read too much at the moment with so much going on, not to mention exam study, but I think this is a good reason to be in a slump.

I did receive The Start of You and Me by Emery Lord in the mail so I'm super excited about that, I'm already a couple chapters in but I was really excited to receive it since an Emery Lord book got me into blogging. So, shes an author dear to my heart and this is the second book of hers I've been sent. That's the only book I've gotten this month, I was planning on going to the library since I haven't been in a long time but I just haven't gotten the chance. Despite the fact it is literally a couple of blocks down from my campus.

I'm in a great mood today since I got one of my re-tests back for maths with an A which is two marks higher than my first test and on the hardest unit. It's my first A, I was painfully close on one of the other tests we've done but I finally got my first A and I'm just really pleased because I've been working so hard to do well in maths. It's definitely a bit of encouragement especially considering I was feeling pretty down about it on the day of. Hopefully I'll be able to smash out another one on the exam. I also did a practice music practical exam and I passed after struggling the entire year to pull together a suitable program and that's great news to me because the practice exam was a bit of a mess and I definitely think I could do a little better so with that in mind, I should be able to pass the real thing easy. I'm glad I'm going to be able to pass the course because it really was up in the air for a while and that sucked since my music theory is really my strong point. I've had a crappy past couple of weeks because I was stressed about school and I was trying so hard but I feel like I'm finally getting some results.

I'm hoping to treat myself to a couple new books for my birthday so I'll have to wait and see what tickles my fancy then. I'm also hoping to take a trip to the library finally and get some books out. I'd ideally like to finish the Lunar Chronicles and The Raven Cycle but I don't know if that'll happen. I'm also reading a Beatles biography at the moment so I'm hoping to finish that in November. But otherwise I guess we'll see what I feel like.

Anyway, I should probably leave my very chatty wrap up there for now. Expect a post in the next couple of days for my birthday. I'm also hoping to get back onto regular posting when school finishes so you can look forward to that if you'd like. I'd love to hear what everyone read this October and what they got up to so you can let me know in the comments.