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10 LGBTQ+ YA/Childrens’ Picks For Pride Month 2021

Happy Pride Month to everyone, especially to my LGBTQIA+ readers! It’s great that we actually get a month to celebrate ourselves and our past. If only it was more of an everyday thing and not more of a commercial thing like Christmas. One day all the homophobes, transphobes and biphobes will get the idea and learn how to be decent human beings.

Until that day, June will always be our pride month! As I love themes when it comes to reading, I knew I had to pick out some of my favourite LGBTQIA+ books to share with you all! It’s my main genre when it comes to checking out what has been released!

Some of these are older choices, others are obvious ones and others are on my TBR (to-be-read) list for this month!

Pride Month

Rick by Alex Gino

Rick’s never questioned much. He’s gone along with his best friend Jeff even when Jeff’s acted like a bully and a jerk. He’s let his father joke with him about which hot girls he might want to date even though that kind of talk always makes him uncomfortable. And he hasn’t given his own identity much thought, because everyone else around him seemed to have figured it out. But now Rick’s gotten to middle school, and new doors are opening. One of them leads to the school’s Rainbow Spectrum club, where kids of many genders and identities congregate, including Melissa, the girl who sits in front of Rick in class and seems to have her life together. Rick wants his own life to be that . . . understood. Even if it means breaking some old friendships and making some new ones.

I love that primary-school/middle grade books are tackling LGBTQ+ topics! I hear from teacher friends that children are so much understanding and accepting. I can only imagine what some children have to go through when they realise they might be gay and have to deal with a homophobic family.

It makes me all warm inside that a school has a Rainbow Spectrum club. I wish more schools could have clubs like this! This is one of the books on my TBR list so I’ll let you know

Heartbreak Boys by Simon James Green

At the start of summer, Jack and Nate find themselves dumped as their respective exes, Dylan and Tariq, start up a new relationship together. Not only that, their exes start posting pics on social media, showing the whole world how fabulous their new life together is!

Jack and Nate are reeling. Not to be outdone, they decide to create their own ‘highlights reel’ and show their exes that they’re having an even better time.

But between the depressing motorway service station motels, damp campsites, and an ultimate showdown with the exes, something epic really is happening: Jack and Nate are learning to get over their heartache and open themselves up to new possibilities for love.

Who else has seen relationships all over social media? I know I have. I love seeing friends taking the next step in their relationships. Social media really has us seeing every stage of a relationship from start to middle and sometimes to bitter end. Whether it’s us or celebrities, we seem to see it all!

The types of relationships I love to see are the LGBTQIA+ ones! They’re just more loving in my eyes. I feel sorry for Jack and Nate since they have to see their exes showing the bitter side of social media. I’ve read a couple more of Simon James Green’s books Alex in Wonderland and Noah Can’t Even and really enjoyed them!

If you loved those books, then you’ll definitely love this!

The Paper and Hearts Society: Read with Pride by Lucy Powrie

Olivia Santos is excited for her last year at secondary school. But when a parent complains about LGBTQ+ content in one of the books, the library implements a new policy for withdrawing books. Olivia is distraught – she’s demisexual and knows how important it is for all readers to see themselves represented.

Luckily, she’s the mastermind behind The Paper & Hearts Society book club, and she knows exactly what to do: start a new club, find ways of evading the system, and change the policy for good!

With two book clubs to run, exams to prepare for, and a girlfriend, just how long will it be before Olivia burns out? After all, creating a book club and trying to get the #ReadWithPride hashtag to get noticed is going to take a lot of energy.

I’ve read the first two books in the Paper and Hearts Society series and just about to read the last book Bookishly Ever After! I’ll be popping up the review to that early next week (super excited to read it!) but thought the sequel was fitting share during Pride Month!

Check out my review right here!

Loveless by Alice Oseman

Georgia has never been in love, never kissed anyone, never even had a crush –  but as a fanfic-obsessed romantic she’s sure she’ll find her person one day.

As she starts university with her best friends, Pip and Jason, in a whole new town far from home, Georgia’s ready to find romance, and with her outgoing roommate on her side and a place in the Shakespeare Society, her ‘teenage dream’ is in sight.

But when her romance plan wreaks havoc amongst her friends, Georgia ends up in her own comedy of errors, and she starts to question why love seems so easy for other people but not for her. With new terms thrown at her – asexual, aromantic –  Georgia is more uncertain about her feelings than ever.

Is she destined to remain loveless? Or has she been looking for the wrong thing all along?

I could easily talk about how incredible Alice Oseman is at writing and I have in a bunch of posts. This book, however, is very close to my heart. As someone who is asexual and aromantic, Loveless really spoke to me. There aren’t as many books out there with an Ace character so it was amazing to see one written by my favourite author!

It also helps that Alice is also ace and aromantic!!

It recently won the YA Book Prize so, if that doesn’t tell you how great it, then you’ll just have to read it yourself!

The Times I Knew I Was Gay by Eleanor Crewes

Ellie always knew she was different. Contrary and creative, she wore black, obsessed over Willow in Buffy and somehow never really liked boys. As she grew, so did her fears and a deep sense of unbelonging. From her first communion to her first girlfriend via a swathe of self-denial, awkward encounters and everyday courage, Ellie’s journey is told through tender and funny illustrations – a self-portrait sketched out from the heart.

Ooo! One of the few graphic novels that I’ve chosen to recommend on this list!! I had the honour of actually chatting a teeny bit with Eleanor and she is so nice! I don’t read to mention memoirs because I’ll be honest with you…they tend to bore me a lot of the time. When the writing or drawing is done well, then I’ll love them! The Times I Knew I Was Gay is one of those I loved!

If you’re questioning your own sexuality or even work in a library, read this! It’s such an interesting way to show her life and all the thoughts she went through.

Coming Out Stories (edited by Emma Goswell and Sam Walker)

Based on the hugely popular Coming Out Stories podcast, this empowering, humorous and deeply honest book invites you to share one of the most important moments in many LGBTQ+ people’s lives.

From JP coming out to his reflection in the mirror, to Jacob coming out to their Mum over email, from Christine knowing she was trans as a young child, to Kerry coming out as a lesbian in her late thirties, all of the real life stories in this book show you there is no right or wrong way to come out, whatever your age and whatever your background.

Look at this! I’ve actually included some fiction books on my list! That’s different for me! You can’t not have a Pride Month without hearing some true stories from people who are LGBTQ+. There are so many kinds on the spectrum and this book really does hear from everyone.

It makes you feel normal when you see that someone else has gone through what you have.

Have Pride by Stella Cauldwell

This inspirational history of the international LGBTQ+ movement will teach readers to accept and have pride in themselves and others, whatever their sexuality. It details the struggles and successes of LGBTQ+ movements around the world, looking at decriminalisation, the Stonewall riots and their legacy, global Pride movements, the HIV/AIDS crisis and equal marriage. It also includes profiles of significant LGBTQ+ figures from history and messages from young, modern-day members of the LGBTQ+ community, explaining why they have pride in themselves – and why you should, too.

When you think of LGBTQ+, you obviously think about everything that has happened in recent years. Well, recent can include the 80s too!

However, you never realise just how far back the LGBTQ+ movement goes until you read a book like this! I love reading stories about lesbian couples in the early 1900s and did you know that the first transgender woman to undergo ressignment surgery was as far back in 1951?! Her name was Roberta Cowell!

This particular book should be used in any kind of social studies class. LGBTQ+ is a part of our history and deserves to be recognised!

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

Charlie and Nick are at the same school, but they’ve never met … until one day when they’re made to sit together. They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance.

But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is more interested in Charlie than either of them realised.

Heartstopper is about love, friendship, loyalty and mental illness. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie’s lives that together make up something larger, which speaks to all of us.

Another book that deserves to be used in schools is Heartstopper.

The fact that it’s based around teenagers discovering their sexualities and doesn’t just look at LGBTQ+ makes it very special. I’m actually proud that I’ve managed to review nearly all of the last four volumes with Volume 4 having been released last month! We even have a Netflix show coming out next year!

Wain by Rachel Plummer and Helene Boppert

Wain is a collection of LGBT themed poetry for teens based on retellings of Scottish myths. The collection contains stories about kelpies, selkies, and the Loch Ness Monster, alongside perhaps lesser-known mythical people and creatures, such as wulvers, Ghillie Dhu, and the Cat Sìth. These poems immerse readers in an enriching, diverse and enchanting vision of contemporary life.

I’d never heard of this book before until I was doing some research for this post. I don’t read too much poetry (something I’m trying to change) and loved the sound of this small collection. I do love folklores and there is something mystical about Scottish myths so hearing some LGBTQ+ themed poetry based on those stories sounds brilliant!

I’ve read a few of the poems and my favourites have to be Nessie and Selkie!

Love Frankie by Jacqueline Wilson

Frankie is nearly fourteen and teenage life certainly comes with its ups and downs. Her mum is seriously ill with MS and Frankie can feel herself growing up quickly, no thanks to Sally and her gang of bullies at school.

When Sally turns out to be not-so-mean after all, they strike up a friendship and are suddenly spending all of their time together. But soon Frankie starts to wonder about the feelings she has for Sally. She doesn’t want Sally to just be her friend. She wants her to be her girlfriend. But does Sally feel the same?

When Jacqueline came out last year as gay, I was so proud of her!! She has influenced so many young minds through her books and it was amazing that she was finally showing us her true self. I reckon there are some authors out there that should learn from her…*cough*.

Love Frankie is such a gorgeous book looking at Frankie and her friendship with Sally. Being a teenager is super complicated so adding on discovering that she likes girls and is a young carer makes Frankie brilliant on page. Being a carer is not an easy life to go through when you’re young (believe me, I know!) but I can only imagine what Frankie must go through with everything.

If you’ve ever loved any of Jacqueline’s books, give this a chance!

What books will you be reading during Pride Month?

Pride Month

 

Books

Why Heartstopper by Alice Oseman Should Be On Your School’s Reading List?

Another day, another post about Heartstopper and Alice Oseman in general. Don’t worry…I’m not going to fangirl the book series again. I’m wanting to put forward an idea for why I think Heartstopper should be put on school reading lists.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has the odd couple of books stuck in my head. For me I have Of Mice and Men and Pig Heart Boy renting space in my brain. Though these books have decades in between them, both have a powerful message to share with students. I believe that Alice Oseman’s books carry the same power to shape the lives of the teenagers who read them.

*cracks knuckles* Okay, let me show you my reasons!

school reading list

1. The series is based mostly in a school

There are so many YA books out there that are set in a school environment such as Harry Potter, Malory Towers and even Twilight. Obviously the characters are stuck there. You see their home life, their free time and life away from school. Heartstopper does exactly this! It starts at Truham Grammar School for Boys with Charlie starting Year 10 and Nick starting Year 11.

Alice is super clever with how she brings the school to life through her drawings. She shows the odd lesson like English or P.E, includes glimpses of timetables and revision notes. You definitely don’t get such an indepth glimpse into a fictional world in other YA books.

I reckon any secondary school kid will see similarities to their own school life and connect to the series.

2. It has a variety of LGBTQIA+ characters

One of the key elements to this series is that it has so many characters who are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. You have a few who are gay, transgender and bisexual. This is a topic that needs to be spoken more openly in schools. For years it has carried a taboo. Whether it’s because the students are too young or could ‘have their minds altered’, it’s been kept behind closed doors.

It’s 2021, people!

This should not be happening!

Teenagers are discovering their identity/sexuality regardless and Heartstopper gives them that freedom. Charlie and Nick’s journey provides a safe space for them to explore.

3. The series explores difficult situations

Any book that has a character go through challenging yet relatable situations is a winner for me. There are a handful of moments where you feel super uncomfortable and have to watch the character live through it. While it might make teenagers cringe, it’s vital they experience this. You have no idea what a student could be going through at home and they could see their home life in the series.

  • Homophobia
  • Bullying
  • Mental Health
  • Eating Disorders
  • Divorce

Alice doesn’t sugar-coat these moments to make it easier for the reader. She puts them right in the moment, slurs and all. While there might be some parents who don’t want to expose their kids to this, it’s necessary. How else will they learn that actions have consequences? Words provide the lesson without the danger!

4. Graphic novels caters for any reading level

Hands up who struggled to read lengthy paragraphs in English?

As much as I adore reading, even I struggled to take in a never-ending chapter. If a student has difficulties in concentration (ADHD), pictures with words can really help in keeping their focus! It’s such a unique reading experience!

Not only do you get the story through the eyes of different characters, it also makes the experience more enjoyable for reluctant readers! It helps that some of the drawings show social media such as Instagram and everyone knows how obsessed teens can be when it comes to that.

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I would love for any readers who are teachers to share their thoughts on this, especially if you teach English or Social Studies. Have any of you used graphic adaptations of popular books in your lessons to help students engage with the story?

Do you think the Heartstopper series should be put on school reading lists?

Books

Review | Heartstopper: Volume 4 by Alice Oseman

It’s been a long time since I adored a book series but, over the last couple of years, Heartstopper has taken over my fangirl mind! If you’ve never read Heartstopper or any of Alice Oseman’s books, it’s never too late!! This particular series is all about two teenagers called Charlie Spring and Nick Nelson.

They’re not only trying to get through their GCSEs and school, but also understanding themselves. These two are so special to me! They chat about their sexuality, their mental health and more. Alice doesn’t just focus on Nick and Charlie. She has a cast of characters that are going through their own problems:

  • Abuse
  • Homophobia
  • Depression
  • Family troubles

You name it, Alice has given it a platform to discuss!

I’ve been reading her Heartstopper comics on Tumblr for a few years now and was so happy when she had them published into books! It’s even going to have its own Netflix series in 2022! I’m chatting about Volume 4 because it’s out today and I’ve been sitting on this book for a week to chat about it with you!

Heartstopper

This is going to be a spoiler-free review because the best part of reading is discovering all the surprises yourself! I will be fangirling though so good luck! I’d recommend starting with Volume 1 to get you into the lives of Nick and Charlie but I reckon you could read this alone too!

Plot

Charlie didn’t think Nick could ever like him back, but now they’re officially boyfriends. Charlie’s beginning to feel ready to say those three little words:I love you.

Nick’s been feeling the same, but he’s got a lot on his mind – not least coming out to his dad, and the fact that Charlie might have an (SPOILER).

As summer turns to autumn and a new school year begins, Charlie and Nick are about to learn a lot about what love means.

Heartstopper is about love, friendship, loyalty and mental illness. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie’s lives that together make up something larger, which speaks to all of us.

Review

Where can I even start with Volume 4?!

I guess I want to thank Alice Oseman for not only an incredible volume but also for the trigger warnings at the start. So little books contain warnings for what they will discuss and every time I’m triggered. Thankfully we got one here and I’m really glad. One of the topics a character goes through hits very close for me and, even knowing what might be discussed, I still had to put it down for a night.

If you want to know what it is, it’s pretty easy to find out! Haha!

Volume 4 starts with a handy overview of Volume 3 in the form of a diary entry! It’s always adorable to see the different writing styles of the boys! Charlie has a dilemma: is it too early in their relationship to tell Nick that he loves him? It might seem a little thing but don’t forget that Charlie is 15 so this is as big as it gets!

I think more characters should write diary entries! They make scenes even more powerful and really help you connect with whatever that person is going through. Thought that might be just me and my love for visual cues! If Adrien Mole could do it, so can Charlie and Nick!

Just when I thought my heart couldn’t break for these boys more, it shatters! They really go through so much and literally have no idea how to talk it through with anyone. You have one trying to understand something they’ve never thought about before and another battling with themselves. Let’s just say that I’m super glad that they have each other and their friends.

The problems are just linked to the main characters. You also see difficulties with Darcy and Tori too. That’s one of the many things I love about Alice’s universe and her style of writing. None of the characters are perfect and feel both real and very relatable. It doesn’t matter what you’ve gone through. There will be something that you relate to one way or another.

You tend to forget that you’re reading a book and feel as if you’re peeking over the shoulder of different people.

I adore Alice’s art style too! You get so many little details adding to each scene that you always find something new every time you re-read a page. Whether it’s in what a character wears, the texts or even what they’re holding. There is always something new! I’m one of those weird people who love seeing what exam results a character gets or what their Instagram picture is like!

If you’ve never read a graphic novel before, then the Heartstopper series is the perfect set of books to start on! You won’t be disappointed!!

Have you read any of the Heartstopper books before? If not, have you read a graphic novel?

 

Books

Review | All Cats Are On The Autism Spectrum by Kathy Hoopmann

To send off Autism Awareness Week for another year, I finally decided to share one of the birthday presents I received back in January. My friend Kate so kindly saw this on my Amazon wishlist and treated it to me. I have a big love for all things cats and it just helps that I’m on the autism spectrum too! Haha!

Ali and Kate had to put up with me being a nursery teacher and reading it to them and showing the pictures. I’ve watched too many teacher vlogs so it’s no surprise that I did that. There are so many adorable cat and kitten pictures in here so I thought I’d share a few in this review.

Autism

Review

This book is the perfect introduction to anyone who has recently being diagnosed on the autism spectrum or have a child who has been diagnosed. It explains in basic terms what it’s like to be autistic.

What I love is that it corresponds a fact with a picture of a cat showing that info/behaviour. I couldn’t help but instantly smile at the first picture of a little kitten in a bobble hat! I mean…look at it! It’s so cute! A paws-itively purr-fect little model. I’ll let myself out…

As well as having all of the cute cats, I genuinely felt like Kathy Hoopmann really connected with me personally. Not all the facts but a few where I was nodding in agreement.

After seeing how unaware some people can be about the autism spectrum or actively speaking for autistic people when they’re not autistic themselves, I feel like simple books like this can help. It’s not your educational book where pages and pages of information is thrown at you. I know what it’s like to try my best to read long blocks of writing and lose interest part way through.

It doesn’t matter if the reader is young or grown-up, anyone can enjoy a fun book like this!

It has the perfect amount of info and entertaining imagery. Why can’t there be more books like this on the market or showcased in bookshop windows? It would be amazing for not just autistic people but anyone with a disability or condition.

Autism affects all ages so let’s hope 2021 carries on educating people about the spectrum and the people in it.

What are your thoughts on this kind of book? Find it fun or a little baby-ish?

Books Fandom

Review | RWBY Fairy Tales of Remnant by E.C Myers

Happy Volume 8 release day, fellow RWBY fans! I’ve mentioned this particular show a fair few times on my blog and I’ve been sitting on this review for a few weeks! I wanted to make sure that I posted it when I thought people might be interested. When better to chat about the most recent book than today!

Right now I’m a jumble of nervous excitement!

To try and distract myself for the next hour or so, I’ve been re-reading RWBY Fairy Tales of Remnant. It’s been written by E.C Myers and illustrated by Violet Tobacco. The franchise is based loosely on the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales so it isn’t a surprise that we finally have this book!

The main character, Ruby Rose, is even based on the tale of Little Red Riding Hood!

RWBY Fairy Tales of Remnant

RWBY Fairy Tales of Remnant was released back in September but can be picked up at any time! You don’t even have to have watched the show first. It helps though. I’ll let the creators Rooster Teeth explain what the book is all about.

Synopsis

Fans of Rooster Teeth’s hit animated series RWBY will want to pore over every page of this gorgeously illustrated collection of twelve short fairy tales. In addition to classic tales from the show, such as “The Story of the Seasons” and “The Tale of the Two Brothers,” readers can immerse themselves in eight never-before-told stories from RWBY’s show writers. Vibrant artwork throughout completes the collection, offering new insights into the strange, beautiful, and dangerous world of Remnant.

This deluxe edition also happens to be the personal copy of Professor Ozpin, complete with a foreword from the former Beacon headmaster himself. Fans won’t want to miss this must-have collection, sure to reveal more secrets about RWBY and the stunning world of the show!

Review

The book is exactly as it is described! It has 12 fairy tales from within the World of Remnant. Some the fans have heard of and others that are completely new to us. What I have discovered from being a fan is that there are always hidden meanings within these tales. Something that might seem small could end up being vital to a future plot. Rooster Teeth really likes to keep us on our toes.

  • The Warrior in the Woods
  • The Man Who Stared at the Sun
  • The Shallow Sea
  • The Hunter’s Children
  • The Indecisive King (a.k.a. The King, the Crown, and the Widow)
  • The Grimm Child
  • The Judgment of Faunus
  • The Infinite Man
  • The Two Brothers
  • The Story of the Seasons
  • The Girl in the Tower
  • The Gift of the Moon

If you’re a fan of Harry Potter then you might be getting Tales of Beedle the Bard vibes. Both books are similar in that they are stories from within their respective world. However I feel like there is more depth within this book! You can feel how ancient they are and it helps that you get some additional wisdom from Professor Ozpin. He’s one of my favourite characters so I may be a little bias! Haha!

RWBY Fairy Tales of Remnant

RWBY Fairy Tales of Remnant

My favourite fairy tales from the book have to be ‘The Warrior in the Woods’, ‘The Hunter’s Children, ‘The Judgment of Faunus’ and ‘The Infinite Man’. They are just so well written and, if you’re a fan of the show, then you may be able to make connections with characters.

The Warrior seems to really lean towards Ruby and the past silver-eyed warriors! The line at the end of the tale is just beautiful: ‘I fell in love with her the moment I saw her silver eyes’. Now I’m going to pop on my shipping hat for a second but AHHH! The first thing Oscar Pine said to Ruby when he saw her was that she has silver eyes. It’s probably wishful thinking from a fan but he seems to have a crush on her!

Could this be happening in the future?

I literally could go on forever chatting about this book and might do this on my Tumblr! If you’re a fan of alternative stories, check out RWBY Fairy Tales of Remnant! You won’t regret it!

What is your favourite fairy tale?

Books

What I’ve Been Reading In September

September has felt like such a long month for some reason. I’m not sure why but it has just dragged along. To try and pass the time (and ignore the new lockdown measures), I’ve been reading some new books. If you hadn’t guessed, the majority of my reading in September has come from the library.

The librarians (like most people) have been struggling with cuts and lack of a job for months. Even though I could buy all of these, I wanted to support my local library in the best way I knew. I was shocked to see so many new books there but I guess there was a backlog that they needed to go through.

No complaints from me!

Reading in September

Sword Art Online: Progressive

Yuuki Asuna was a top student who spent her days studying at cram school and preparing for her high school entrance exams–but that was before she borrowed her brother’s virtual reality game system and wound up trapped in Sword Art Online with ten thousand other frightened players. As time passes, Asuna fears what will become of her life outside the fantasy realm–the failure she might be seen as in the eyes of her peers and parents.

Let me introduce you to one of my favourite animes of all time: Sword Art Online!

I’ve been a fan of this series ever since 2012! It’s stunning, heart-breaking and makes me wish I could play the game…without getting stuck there for 2 years. I’ve slowly been making my way through the mangas and was so excited to discover that Reki Kawahara had written a POV for Asuna! I always wanted to know what she’d been like before entering the game since she was a mystery at the start.

I’ve gotten Vol 2 and 3 ordered and just heard that they’re turning this into an anime!!

Good Girl, Bad Blood (Holly Jackson)

Pip Fitz-Amobi is not a detective anymore. With the help of Ravi Singh, she released a true-crime podcast about the murder case they solved together last year. The podcast has gone viral, yet Pip insists her investigating days are behind her. But she will have to break that promise when someone she knows goes missing.

Jamie Reynolds has disappeared but the police won’t do anything about it. And if they won’t look for Jamie then Pip will, uncovering more of her town’s dark secrets along the way… and this time everyone is listening. But will she find him before it’s too late?

If you haven’t read the first book to the Good Girl series, then you don’t necessarily need to but it would help! I adored The Good Girl’s Guide to Murder which is a surprise! I don’t usually love crime YA but this and its sequel were just so well-written! Holly has an incredible way with words! I have a bunch of review for most of these books coming soon so I’ll go into more detail then!

The best way to read Good Girl, Bad Blood? Listen to a true crime podcast while you read! It adds an extra chill!

Clap When You Land (Elizabeth Acevedo)

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash. Separated by distance – and Papi’s secrets – the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

I vowed to myself that I would read more books by black authors and this was one that had been on my list since last year! I’ve heard so many amazing things about it and know that it won the Carnegie Medal. After reading The Black Flamingo last month, I really gained an interest in reading other novels in verse form. It’s such an interesting concept and surprised me by adding an element.

I’ll be honest and admit that poetry/verse tends to bore me, but Elizabeth Acevedo made it less of a chore! I loved Camino and Yahaira as characters and it broke my heart reading the plane crash chapter. You don’t read many YA novels dealing with mass grief like this but this was perfect!

Wonderland (Juno Dawson)

Alice lives in a world of stifling privilege and luxury – but none of it means anything when your own head plays tricks on your reality. When her troubled friend Bunny goes missing, Alice becomes obsessed with finding her. On the trail of her last movements, Alice discovers a mysterious invitation to ‘Wonderland’: the party to end all parties – three days of hedonistic excess to which only the elite are welcome.

Will she find Bunny there? Or is this really a case of finding herself? Because Alice has secrets of her own, and ruthless socialite queen Paisley Hart is determined to uncover them, whatever it takes.

Alice is all alone, miles from home and without her essential medication. She can trust no-one, least of all herself, and now she has a new enemy who wants her head…

I first heard of Juno Dawson after reading a Doctor Who novel she wrote called The Good Doctor. Her writing style caught my interest so I checked out Margot & Me, Torchwood: The Doll House (audiobook) and What’s The T. She seems to really have a great knowledge of how teenagers with struggles work. If you hadn’t guessed, Wonderland is a unique twist on Alice in Wonderland and focuses on very difficult subjects such as mental health, drug use and more.

Don’t let that put you off though!

You may have to read this in multiple sittings due to some graphic elements, but it really makes you think. I was triggered a few times and thought I wouldn’t be able to finish but I’m really glad I did! I love that Juno wrote Alice as a trans character to look at the way that the trans community can be treated. It ripped my heart a few times to read and made me to hug all of my friends!

Where The Crawdads Sing (Delia Owens)

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say.

Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.

I’ll be honest: Where The Crawdads Sing wasn’t my favourite book to read. I know that it has incredible reviews from readers such as Reese Witherspoon but I wanted to give it a go. The main character Kya has such a difficult time growing up from her mother abandoning her and her siblings, dealing with her drunk father and is left to look after herself. Things turn from back to worse when she is blamed for the death of a man due to the prejudices of her being both poor, a little different and female.

Delia brings to life what Kya goes through and you do really feel for her. I just wish it could have clicked with me more.

RWBY: Fairy Tales of Remnant (E.C Myers)

Fans of Rooster Teeth’s hit animated series RWBY will want to pore over every page of this gorgeously illustrated collection of twelve short fairy tales! In addition to classic tales from the show, such as The Story of the Seasons and The Tale of the Two Brothers, readers can immerse themselves in eight never-before-told stories from RWBY’s show writers.

It will be no surprise that I have the latest book based on RWBY on this list!

What can I say? I’m a fangirl to the franchise!!

This book is a must-have for any fan of the show. As mentioned above, it contains a bunch of short fairytales from the World of Remnant. It looks at two stories that we already know such as one about The Maidens and the Two Brothers. It also looks at stories that are completely new to us with helpful little mentions from Professor Ozpin.

My review for this is coming tomorrow so stay tuned!!

What books have you been reading in September?

Books

The ‘Educate Yourself’ Reading List (inspired by ChaptersofMay)

One of my guilty pleasures on Youtube is watching teacher vlogs. It’s super interesting seeing how teachers in other countries educate their students, especially the young ones. You get to see them set up their classrooms, watch how they do distance learning and lots of hauls.

I’ve got so much respect for teachers and what they’ve been trying to do over recent month. Helping kids stay on track in their education and keeping things fun is vital. One of the ways they’ve been doing that for the younger years is through reading books. As always, the talented Anika has inspired this post with her own ‘Educate Yourself’ Stack.

Books seem to be slowly fading out of our lives and onto technology. I have so many great memories of storytime at nursery and primary school where we would subtly learn important things. Elmer taught me not to be mean to someone who looked different than me and there were so many more. No matter what generation, books help educate us all!

educatePhoto by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Rosa Parks (Little People, Big Dreams)

I might be in my 30s but I love this little book series! If I had a kid I would totally buy all of these books for them. I’m even tempted to get some for myself. If you haven’t heard of this particular series, they’re all based on the incredible lives of inspirational figures. You have Marie Curie, Stephen Hawking, Anne Frank and Josephine Baker.

They’re such a fun yet informative way to educate kids on the important things these people did.

I picked Rosa Parks because she shows how one powerful moment in times can snowball into a strong movement for change. It’s a shame that the world still isn’t getting it but we will one day!

While We Can’t Hug (Eoin McLaughlin & Polly Dunbar)

Living through this pandemic is something that none of us expected this time last year. we had only heard about things like this in movies and in other countries. I certainly didn’t expect the world to be fighting such a terrible virus. If grown-ups are finding all this confusing, imagine what it’s like for the little ones.

I heard a little girl the other day chatting to a friend over their fence and not understanding why she can’t go and hug that friend. Part of me was tempted to buy this book for them to help. It’s such an adorable way to teach children other ways to show that they care. They can write letters, blow kisses and sing songs!

The Proudest Blue (Ibtihaj Muhammad)

Having come from Birmingham and been brought up with friends from different backgrounds, I saw people from other religions. I had a Jewish friend at nursery school and others who were Muslim so it never bothered me. However I know that so many kids have to face adversity because they look different to others. Whether they wear a hijab or a kippah, kids can be very cruel.

Books like The Proudest Blue are perfect for teaching them a little of Islam, the importance of siblings and being yourself. I had a glance of the book in Waterstones and the illustrations are gorgeous!

Quiet Power: Growing Up In A World That Can’t Stop Talking (Susan Cain)

If only this book had existed when I was still at school!

These last couple of decades have made the world very, very loud. With social media, technology booming and news hitting you from every side, it can sometimes be extremely difficult to be heard. While some people genuinely don’t want to talk, there are others that actually really struggle with self-doubt and insecurity.

This book may be for teenagers but I reckon it could help adults too! Let the introverts thrive please and turn the volume down a notch!

Related Post: How I Felt Being Diagnosed with ASD

educate

All Cats Are On The Autism Spectrum (Kathy Hoopmann)

Look for any books about autism and you’ll find the same thing. They’re boring, very scientific and literally have no personality. They’re informative but too medical! I’m always looking for ways to explain to my family about being autistic in my own kind of way and this book looks perfect!!

It has cats explaining about the spectrum!!

THIS BOOK IS ME!!

I really wish people understood the challenges of autism and didn’t keep repeating that we’re ‘all a little autistic’. Believe me…if we all were, the world would not be able to cope!

This doesn’t come out until late October but check it out anyway!!

Phoenix Goes To School (Michelle & Phoenix Finch)

During my research for books to recommend, I kept being drawn to the little picture book about gender identity. I’ve got a few friends who are transgender and non-binary. When I was doing a work placement in a primary school, I started to notice how vital it was to educate children about how others identify.

There was a little girl who had two daddies and she was so shy. I literally wanted to hug her! I’ve also watched videos of children who are trying to understand the world and their identity. This book seems adorable and is actually a memoir of Pheonix’s experiences of transitioning. She was scared that her school friends would still see her as a boy and not a girl.

This Kid Can Fly: It’s About Ability (Not Disability) (Aaron Philip)

The final book on my ‘educate yourself’ reading list is this one by Aaron Philip! I hadn’t heard of him before this post but, after checking out his story, he is freaking amazing!! Not only does he chat about his experiences with cerebal palsy BUT he is also the first black, transgender and physically disabled model to be represented by an elite modelling agency!!

He’s only 19, people!

This guy is the best person to give all of us a kick up the backside whenever we see we can’t do it. I say this so often and I haven’t experienced an inkling of anything he has gone through.

What books would you recommend to educate people?

Books Lifestyle

10 Bookish Etsy Items To Buy Yourself This Month


Photo by fotografierende on Unsplash

It’s never too early to start thinking of gift posts, right? Don’t worry…I’m not going to start throwing Christmas at you (yet). I’ve just been on Etsy a fair bit and it inspired me to share some bookish items you could buy! This could be as a treat for yourself or friend who loves books too.

You wouldn’t believe how creative people can be on Etsy! All I had to do was type ‘bookish’ into the search bar and everything appeared. You have candles, booksleeves, t-shirts, bookmarks and more! This post could have been super long, but I just chose 3 kinds of gifts that I thought you might be interested in.

Let me know if you buy anything or have recommendations!

Enamel Pins

Pins are such incredible items!! Forget stamps and coins…pins are this generation’s collectible! You only have to look at how highly sort-after Disney pins are to know. Since all fandoms seem to love pins, you can bet that the bookish community love this too!

What better way to show your love for books (without throwing a book at someone) than by wearing a pin! There’s so many gorgeous ones out there!

The ones I’ve chosen down below are some of my favourites. I’ve actually ordered the Narnia pin because it’s just so pretty! Plus Narnia!! I’m hoping to get some more over the next few months…maybe for Christmas. Have you collected any book-related pins?

T-Shirts

If we’re going hardcore for showing others book love, then a t-shirt is a great thing to have! You can’t go wrong with nerdy t-shirts like this, especially on Etsy. They come in such gorgeous colours and have great designs! I don’t own any book clothes yet, but I’m definitely thinking about it.

I’ve got some personal favourites such as the Lord of the Rings one and the ‘Reality’ t-shirt. You’ve got to admit that we tend to read to escape the crazy world we’re living in. You know it’s bad when a fictional world is better than the real one.

Booksleeves

We’ve looked after ourselves, but we can’t forget to look after our books! I only found out in the last few years that booksleeves exist. Got to love booktubers for giving me a heads-up! A booksleeve is exactly as it sounds: a sleeve/pocket to slip your book into. It just gives it some extra protection if you want to take a book on commutes.

Keep your favourite book all nice and cosy!

Have you got any bookish items that you’ve bought?

bookish

Books

Review | The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life by Dani Jansen

I received The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Rating: 3 Stars

Publication Date: 22nd September 2020

Synopsis

Alison Green, desperate valedictorian-wannabe, agrees to produce her school’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. That’s her first big mistake. The second is accidentally saying Yes to a date with her oldest friend, Jack, even though she’s crushing on Charlotte. Alison manages to stay positive, even when her best friend starts referring to the play as “Ye Olde Shakespearean Disaster.”

Alison must cope with the misadventures that befall the play if she’s going to survive the year. She’ll also have to grapple with what it means to be “out” and what she might be willing to give up for love.

Review

I was so excited to read ‘The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life‘ early for a few different reasons. I was a theatre kid at school and then university and studied Shakespeare! I even had a terrible second year due to my Shakespeare module but still love that genuis bard! I love reading YA books that have kids who love acting or get involved with their school play. This synopsis really caught my eye, as did the book cover!

Alison is that typical Hermione-kind of character that is solely focused on high grades and wanting to get the highest school acolade: Valedictorian. She’s even drooling over the trophy case at the beginning of the book! In order to get a little closer to her dream, she agrees to help one of her teachers co-produce the school play. That doesn’t end up working out for her as the same teacher leaves her high-and-dry with the work.

She does have some great friends in Becca and Jack and a quirky sister in Annie too! She even has a crush on the cool girl at school Charlotte.

All the theatre terminology and warm-ups were great to read because they brought back some fond memories, but unfortunately things started to go a little down-hill after the start.

One of the things that annoyed me about the plot was that it ended up being a little stereotypical. Good girl falls for cool girl, gets pushed into doing extra work for kudo points, falls out with best friend and everyone around her. A great example of this plot done perfectly has to be ‘The Paper and Hearts Society: Read with Pride‘. It was brilliant! This book, however, fell short.

It kept going from Alison to Annie and back, leaving me super confused who was talking each chapter. While I loved the focus of an LGBTQ+ relationship (*motions to all the books I love*), it just felt flat.

There were moments where I was left looking for more explanation. Everyone gets super annoyed at her for everything (setting up her friends on a date) and the bully who is sexist to girls but ends up having a reason. There’s even a point towards the end of the book where Alison and her girlfriend break up because she’s not ‘out’ properly and wants to focus more on her school work.

First thought in my head: Erm…what? No.

It had some promising moments such as the anxiety attack she has in the canteen. I thought that more would be written about this but nope. It came and went. There was even a ‘theatre mafia’ threatening her not to ask local businesses for funding because it was ‘their patch’. That also came and went with no conclusion. I don’t know whether the author forgot about it but not sure.

I’d been so excited for a F/F romance! Alison was gay and Charlotte was pansexual. There was also a side character called Zach who was gay too! This too fell through. We had Charlotte whose dad was not accepting of her sexuality (we never went into depth about this), Zach ended up secretly being in a relationship with Ben (the sexist guy) and everything was just left unfinished.

By the end I was just frustrated. I really wanted to love this book but I’m sad that it didn’t work out.

What book did you have high hopes for and ended up disappointed with?

Books

The Books I Loved Reading (July 2020)

July

July has actually been one of my best reading months this year.

For the first 6 months, I just couldn’t get myself to pick up many books. I was lucky if I could finish one at that point so this made me super happy! Some of the books I’ve read this July were a mix of new that much or a few months old. I had catching up to do!

Another thing I loved about last month was that I also wrote more reviews! People seem to really enjoy them and the book blogger community have been super welcoming. I love them!

Loveless (Alice Oseman – 9th July)

Georgia has never been in love, never kissed anyone, never even had a crush – but as a fanfic-obsessed romantic she’s sure she’ll find her person one day.

As she starts university with her best friends, Pip and Jason, in a whole new town far from home, Georgia’s ready to find romance, and with her outgoing roommate on her side and a place in the Shakespeare Society, her ‘teenage dream’ is in sight.

But when her romance plan wreaks havoc amongst her friends, Georgia ends up in her own comedy of errors, and she starts to question why love seems so easy for other people but not for her. With new terms thrown at her – asexual, aromantic – Georgia is more uncertain about her feelings than ever.

Is she destined to remain loveless? Or has she been looking for the wrong thing all along?

The first book that I picked up in July was Loveless and I’d pre-ordered in advance!! I absolutely adore Alice Oseman as both an author and an illustrator. She has a way of bringing her characters to life with both flaws and achievements! You can’t help but feel connected with them instantly. As someone who is ace, this book was something I really needed right then!

The book follows Georgia and her friend Jason during their first year at Durham University. Ever since she was at school Georgia had loved love. She had loved the romance in the Disney films and read slash fanfictions like Draco/Harry and Korra/Asami. The idea of loving someone and dating them seemed amazing to her, but the reality of it was that it grossed her out.

Full review is here!

Solitaire (Alice Oseman)

In case you’re wondering, this is not a love story.

My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now.

Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden.

I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael Holden.
I really don’t.

This was Alice’s debut novel and it was where I fell in love with Tori as a character! If you’re familiar with Heartstopper, then you will have seen both her and her brother Charlie! She’s sassy but clearly cares for her little brother a lot.

I do remember picking this book up from my library back in 2014 but I couldn’t remember all the details. I figured that since I was already having an Alice year that I may as well pick this up! Actually, someone bought this off my Amazon wishlist! Remember when we were all doing this at the start of lockdown? I bought something for other people and they were gracious enough to return!

I’m slowly going to collect the rest of these books including the printed version of ‘Nick and Charlie’ which came out yesterday!! Hurry up, payday!

What I loved about Solitaire is that it showed the reality of growing up and how quickly things changed. One minute you could have a bunch of friends and the next you don’t. You develop crushes on the most unlikeliest of people and have to navigate both school and being a teenager. This was such a rollercoaster of a book and I loved every second of it!

Alice Oseman

The Strangeworlds Travel Agency (L.D Lapinski)

When 12-year-old Flick Hudson accidentally ends up in the Strangeworlds Travel Agency, she uncovers a fantastic secret: there are hundreds of other worlds just steps away from ours. All you have to do to visit them is jump into the right suitcase. Then Flick gets the invitation of a lifetime: join Strangeworlds’ magical travel society and explore other worlds.

But, unknown to Flick, the world at the very centre of it all, a city called Five Lights, is in danger. Buildings and even streets are mysteriously disappearing. Once Flick realizes what’s happening she must race against time, travelling through unchartered worlds, seeking a way to fix Five Lights before it collapses into nothingness – and takes our world with it.

Remember how I mentioned earlier that I had books I wanted to read but didn’t have the motivation?

This was one of the books that I had ordered back in April and had been sitting on my TBR pile. It was one of the bunch I had that I didn’t want to touch until my mood let me. Too much was going on and, while reading about traveling to other worlds was convinient, it wasn’t the best timing. That said, I’m so glad that I waited!

I’ve been following L.D Lapinski for a little while before her book came out as she was a localish author! She’s a Nottinghamshire lass and I’m a Derbyshire one! We’re practically neighbours!

It’s no surprise that I’m addicted to other worlds. Whether it be Narnia, Gallifrey or even Camelot, I will go there! When I first read Flick, she reminded me of a little Doctor Who meets Newt Scamander! She got to visit a lot of different worlds by using a suitcase! Two of my favourite loves bundled into one!

Something that I loved was how Flick came from such a normal background. So many fantasy books started somewhere just as magical and this didn’t. It was more relatable to me! I adored learning about all the different characters especially Jonathan! He was such a sarcastic kid but still a great friend to Flick! I cannot wait to read the sequel coming out in April next year!!

RWBY: Before the Dawn (E.C Myers – 21st July)

A storm is coming…

After their strange mission in the desert, Coco, Fox, Velvet and Yatsuhashi are back at Shade Academy, doing some “extracurricular” work to track down The Crown, a mysterious force that’s snatching up people with powerful semblances. The job should be easier with Team SSSN by their side, but The Crown continues to evade them. Out of options and worried that a bigger plot is in motion, CFVY and SSSN notify Theodore, the Headmaster of Shade Academy, but Theodore has problems of his own.

Troubled by the disasters at Beacon and Haven Academies and struggling to support the flood of refugee students, Theodore declares a new initiation – including the formation of new teams to better unite the student body. Amid mounting tension at the school, CFVY and SSSN must contend with unfamiliar teammates and uneasy rivalries, all while The Crown plots their next move.

The eagle-eyed of you who liked RWBY too may have noticed the little RWBY reference in my blog header! I had to find a way to include the series somehow! I have a late review coming out soon for this, but I’ll give you some thoughts anyway!

This book continues after the events that occured in RWBY: After the Fall. We’re still following Team CFVY who have been attending Shade Academy with some other Beacon students while still trying to get information. There is so much I could say about this book but they would either not make sense or spoilers!

If you love modern fantasy mixing with fairytales, then you will love this! I’d advise watching the show before reading so you can get an idea! You watch them either on Youtube, Amazon Prime or the Rooster Teeth website!

The Times I Knew I Was Gay (Eleanor Crewes – 16th July)

Ellie always knew she was different. Contrary and creative, she wore black, obsessed over Willow in Buffy and somehow never really liked boys. As she grew, so did her fears and a deep sense of unbelonging. From her first communion to her first girlfriend via a swathe of self-denial, awkward encounters and everyday courage, Ellie’s journey is told through tender and funny illustrations – a self-portrait sketched out from the heart.

The Times I Knew I Was Gay reminds us that sexuality is not often determined by falling in love with others, but by coming to terms with oneself; that people must come out not just once but again and again. Full of vitality and love, it will ring true for anyone who took time to discover who they truly are.

Where do I start with this amazing book?

I guess the first thing that I immediately loved was Ellie’s illustrations. They reminded me a little of Nick Sharratt (the guy who illustrates a lot of Jacqueline Wilson’s covers) and I loved that so much! The amount of detail that she put into her drawings is so cool!

I really adore reading LGBTQ+ books! They’re one of my favourite genres to read in YA but I also love reading them in fiction too! You get more of an idea of a person’s situation if you read about it. Though I kind of love seeing them illustrated with text along with it. It kept my brain engaged instead of trying to decipher a lot of text.

Just because I love books doesn’t mean my brain always wants to!

Full review is here!

The Paper & Hearts Society: Read with Pride (Lucy Powrie)

Olivia Santos is excited for her last year at secondary school. But when a parent complains about LGBTQ+ content in one of the books, the library implements a new policy for withdrawing books. Olivia is distraught – she’s demisexual and knows how important it is for all readers to see themselves represented.

Luckily, she’s the mastermind behind The Paper & Hearts Society book club, and she knows exactly what to do: start a new club, find ways of evading the system, and change the policy for good!

With two book clubs to run, exams to prepare for, and a girlfriend, just how long will it be before Olivia burns out? After all, creating a book club and trying to get the #ReadWithPride hashtag to get noticed is going to take a lot of energy.

Sometimes, when you’re in too deep, it’s up to your friends to look out for you

When I said that I love reading LGBTQ+, I wasn’t lying! Haha!

Now I could go into a bunch of detail here about what I thought about this! This was another late review but the review for this was my last post so, if you;ve got time, I’d love for you to check it out! You won’t be disappointed I swear!

Or at least I hope you won’t be!

Full review is here!

What books did you read in July?