YA: A Genre on its Own?

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Recently here on Zoie’s Bookshelf I wrote a post about my reading resolutions for 2016, and how my number one goal for the year was to be more diverse in my book selections- more specifically, widen my genre horizons. (Do ‘genre horizons’ even exist? Let’s just go with it, okay?)

In 2015, I was introduced into the wonderful world of Young Adult Fiction, discovering some of my new favourite books, and of course authors, such as Rainbow Rowell and Sarah Dessen. But if you recognize these authors, you’d know that they write for YA Contemporary, or realistic if you will, for the exception of Rowell’s Carry On, which was a fantasy. And it wasn’t that I didn’t love all these stories, but I felt like as a true reader, I couldn’t limit myself to only one genre.

Which brings me to my bigger point: can YA be considered a genre on its own?

There are multiple types of Young Adult Fiction- Realistic, Dystopian, Fantasy, Paranormal… you name it, they’re all there. And I am under the strong belief that YA Literature is a genre on its own; that all of these side ones are more sub-genres than anything.

So it wouldn’t be cheating if I continued to read YA, because these sub-genres would make up for diversity among my bookshelf. One sub-genre I’m particularily excited to get back into would be of fantasy, as I used to be a big reader of it, immersing myself in the newly-constructed worlds authors has mastermindfully created. Because while realistic fiction is relatable, in fantasy there are these whole other rules to live by, complete different ways of life that can have magical realism in them. I can read worlds that I could only hope to one day write. It’s incredible.

Some YA books that I am looking forward to reading this year (that are not contemporary) include Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, A Court of Thorns and Roses and the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman, and of course Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard. Also, I am currently reading Lost Stars by Claudia Gray, a YA Star Wars novel.

If this list doesn’t prove how I’m trying to be the type of reader that will read any type of genre (or, fine, sub-genre), I don’t know what will. Because even though there are multiple sub-genres out there, I will slowly make (or READ) my way across them all.

a court of thorns and roses Cinder Lost-Stars Vengeance-Road sixofcrows    glass-sword the5thwave throne-of-glass-cover

So fellow bookworms, what do you say? Want to expand your genre horizons along with me? 😉

Keep on reading!

Zoie 🙂

 

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Blogging: Why I Love It

As it’s the beginning of a new year, I’ve decided to write a quick post again just about why I love to blog! Because when I started Zoie’s Bookshelf more than a year ago, I didn’t expect there to be this whole blogging community out there, full of supportive people who simply love to blog. Their energy is so contagious too- if I read a post of someone’s that seems so full of passion and excitement, it just makes me want to write a post of the same enthusiasm!

But besides that, I love blogging because it’s a chance for me to chat to all my readers about my latest reads, share my thoughts with a book review, and yes, even fangirl over other YA novels *insert me raising my hand guility here* 😉

Zoie’s Bookshelf is not just a base I use to do all these things, but a place where I can also connect with other readers, or just people interested in what I have to say.

Blogging gives me a chance to do this, to connect with all these people, all the while writing about something I love.

It’s truly an amazing thing.

Thank you to everyone who continues to support and check out Zoie’s Bookshelf. You are all the people I am here to write for! ❤

And, just because this is a book blog, I’ll sign out with a book quote, one that is definitely true:

Between the pages of a book is a wonderful place to be.

My Top Five

Today I decided that it was time to post my top five Sarah Dessen books! While I love all of her books, there has to be ones that I exceptionally love. To me, these five were the standouts out of Sarah Dessen’s twelve published books:

5. Keeping the Moon

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This book is ultimately about friendship, and what it means to be a friend. The third published out of Sarah Dessen’s collection, Keeping the Moon is one that you seek out to read when you are in need of some cheering-up. In this book, you can truly feel what the narrator, Colie, is trying to say. She had been mistreated by her peers in past years, and when she comes to visit her eccentric aunt Mira one summer, she lands herself a job as a waitress in a local café. It is there that she meets two best friends, Morgan and Isabel. They teach her to believe in herself, and keep a high self-esteem. With such a powerful and valuable message, this book was a delight to read, and one I certainly would recommend to Sarah Dessen fans.

4. Along for the Ride

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For me, this book was such a pleasure to read. I finished it in a flat four days, because once I got to the bottom of a page, I was tempted to turn it, and so on, and so on. It was one of those books that had a smooth plot line, and was easy to follow, but also had a story that was worth reading. It’s a book set in the time that anything can happen- summer, and is why I urge those who don’t know what to read this summer to check it out! It’s definitely sure to put a smile on your face 😉

3. Saint Anything

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Dessen’s newest release is a bit different from her others, if only because it’s a bit darker from the rest. It is a story about a girl who is “searching for her place in her family and the world.” This was an engaging read, and I really, really loved it. There were new people to fall in love with, such as Layla, Mac, and the protagonist, Sydney. It was insightful; really bringing me into the world of someone who feels excluded from her parent’s care, as well as someone who discovers that she can find acceptance in others, and feel truly welcome after all. For those who have not yet read her latest book, I guarantee that it will not disappoint!

2. The Truth About Forever

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It was a difficult decision for me not to make this number one, but it was This Lullaby that eventually won the race. Still, there is so much to enjoy about this book. The thing that I especially loved about it was that it started off with this prospect of a long and boring summer, but ended up, of course, with it being much more than that. It goes on to show what can go on in those 374 pages that can change the course of someone’s summer, and how a great story can come out of it. There were characters (*cough, cough, Monica!*) that really stuck with me, and the message that things can get better. So much happened in this book, but I guess you have to read it to believe it. If you want to find out more, check out my review on it here!

1. This Lullaby

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There obviously has to be a reason that out of twelve published books, this is the one that I chose to rank first. It was one that you never wanted to put down, one that made you laugh out loud, and one that made you smile… a lot. And really, there are lots of reasons why I love this novel, but my main point has to be the engaging characters. There’s Dexter, who, because of this novel, became my favourite character created by Sarah Dessen. He’s the type of person that, when in his company, will never bore you. Besides that is the protagonist, Remy, who is quite the opposite of Dexter. Where he is easy-going, she can be cold and indifferent, someone who is sure of everything. The plot for this novel progressed very smoothly, each chapter significant to the book. The writing in this one just seemed so perfect, full of witty jokes and clever words. The author herself even said that “Writing it was like going to a party every day,” and that it is “The only book that I would ever consider writing a sequel to.” (Source, her website!) Fortunately, Remy and Dexter make a cameo appearance in her seventh book, Just Listen. 

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What are your favourite Sarah Dessen books? Let me know in the comments below!

Your fellow bookworm,

Zoie 🙂

Reading and Blogging

Why do I do what I do?

By that, I mean, why do I bother having this blog, when I could be using those precious moments it takes to write and upload a post for other things… reading, per se? Well, it’s not as simple as that.

I love to blog. I love how maybe somewhere in the world, someone is reading an entry I have written, and is taking something away from that. Perhaps they read a review and thought “Hmmm, maybe I should check that book out.” Maybe it’s just that they like the idea that there are readers out there, in a place where technology is rapidly advancing and all people seem to be attached to one device or another. I mean, the thought is quite astonishing, actually, when you think about all the technology we have offered to us, and still some choose to snuggle up with a paperback book instead.

I blog because I like to inform people about the wonders that are out there, even if they are hidden away in the back shelves of old bookstores. More often than not, though, you’ll find me reviewing a very popular YA novel, which I assume would not be found on the back shelves. But it’s needless to say, it’s fun to blog about something I enjoy doing, and that’s reading. If I am able to get one of my readers to pick up a book that I have recommended, I have done my job as an advisor, as well as a blogger. Becuase really, that’s what it’s all about. If I am able to impact you in any way, I have succeeded as a book enthusiast.

And why should one even want to love books? Well, here’s my reasoning:

It’s a little escape, if only for a couple hundred of pages. You get to live the life of another character, follow their story, and watch them as they progress and grow as a character. Because here’s something lots of people don’t seem to understand- books are not movies. These characters have problems just like us, some that we can even relate to. It’s relieving to find that you’re not alone on that point, that you can see the book out to the end to find out how they deal with their problems. Books aren’t just ‘she did this and he said that, and they lived happily ever after’. If that were the case, the story would take you no time at all to read! No, there’s a reason there are so many pages between the beginning and the end. There’s conflict, and drama, and everything that comes with it. And if you find yourself becoming immersed with the story, well, that’s okay too. It’s the reason they’re there for- to take you on a journey, word by word, until it has intrigued you enough that you can’t seem to ever put it down.

So yes, that’s why I do what I do.

A book is a dream that you hold in your hands

-Neil Gaiman

Thanks for all those who continue to read and support this blog! You are the ones I hope to inspire ❤

Your bookworm blogger,

Zoie 😉