Fist-pump book quote – ‘Red Queen’

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Considering the release of the third book in the Red Queen series was imminent (‘King’s Cage’ was released on Tuesday), I figured I ought to read the first and see what the fuss was all about. ‘Red Queen’ by Victoria Aveyard was a wildly successful debut. So how did she do it?

Maybe I’ve finally read too much dystopian YA (<gasp> is that even possible?)… or hey, maybe it’s simply the answer as to how she did it, but ‘Red Queen’ seemed to conveniently tick all the plot boxes that come up when you compare other successful dystopians. In my head I’ve got a list like this:

Dystopian YA a la ‘Hunger Games’, ‘The Selection’ and ‘Divergent’

  • Poor girl
  • Boy at home who likes her
  • Whisked into new world
  • Gets to dress up
  • Becomes famous
  • Is strong/special
  • New world boy falls in love with her
  • There’s a rebellion
  • She gets involved
  • Love triangle
  • Open ending

And now I can include ‘Red Queen’ as another bestseller with these tropes. Except it’s got a love square-ish-kind-of-thing going on rather than a plain old boring triangle.  Continue reading

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My top six Young Adult and Junior Fiction reads of 2016

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This year I committed to reading a dino-load of books and absorbing, by capillary action, every awesome aspect I could find within them. I managed to read 60 Young Adult and Junior Fiction books this year, and I’m overjoyed with that.

So, what were my favourites? In precise alphabetical order, by author (that’s the librarian in me coming out…) here they are:


‘The Things I Didn’t Say’ by Kylie Fornasier

thingsIdidn'tsay

Young Adult Contemporary

Powerful. This got into my head. Beautifully written.

See my review here.

 

‘Illuminae’ by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

illiminaeYoung Adult SciFi

Like nothing I’d ever read before. Mind-blowing.

See my review here.

 

‘Throne of Glass’ by Sarah J. Maas

YoTOG-NYT-Coverung Adult Fantasy

Hello Fantasy and welcome back into my life! This was addictive.

See my review here.

 

‘Sister Heart’ by Sally Morgan

Junisister-heartor Fiction Historical

Beyond powerful. A must-read that both broke and filled my heart.

See my review here.

‘Deltora Quest’ by Emily Rodda

deltoraquest Junior Fiction Fantasy

Love love loved this series! It reminded me of landmark books of my childhood and left me filled with joy.

I haven’t published a review yet, I want to figure out how it all worked…

‘Divergent’ by Veronica Roth

divergent Young Adult Dystopia

When a book helps define a genre, you expect fireworks and meteor-shower-spectaculars from it. I got everything I was looking for with this one. And more.

No review though, because I read it well before I started this blog… sorry you’ll just have to read it yourself… if you haven’t already!


 

So there they are, my best reads from a very good year!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Heather :o)

 

Proving, once again, that two boys are better than one – ‘The Selection’

SelectionThe latest, and last, of this super-successful series is topping the hot charts at the moment. Past time for me to read the first, ‘The Selection’ by Kiera Cass, and try to deduce the pattern that made the drop-dead-gorgeous gown what it is.

One look at the sumptuous cover and you know what to expect. Romance. And there’s a lot of that sort of thing in YA. Why is this series so deliciously popular? My guess?

  • Fairy-tale meets reality tv – two very successful enterprises
  • Two Love Interests up the stakes
  • Enough sub-plot so you can kid yourself you’re not just reading a romance.

 

Continue reading

A big cyborg-hand thumbs-up for ‘Cinder’

Cinder

Bright and funny? Kick-ass addictive characters? A world where you can feel the heat radiating off the futuristic tarmac? Welcome to one of my favourite reads – ‘Cinder‘, Book 1 in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. Yee-ha!

This got on my TBR list after a Penguin Teen Australia event. Once I got past the cover I was hooked – to both this story, and the entire series.

I still haven’t got the book-hook out of the side of my mouth. Did I mention I love this series?

I’m not alone.

So… what works so well?

  • World-building
  • Characters – strong, funny, imperfect
  • Romance – right from the start
  • Happy feel

Continue reading

Learning from the best with ‘Obernewtyn’

Obernewtyn

With the recent long-awaited release of ‘The Red Queen’ by Isobelle Carmody, I decided it was time to have a look where the Obernewtyn Chronicles began – way back in 1987 with ‘Obernewtyn’. I have friends that are human, and I also have wonderful friends that just happen to be books. ‘Obernewtyn’ is one of these.

I was a very Y YA when I first picked up this book, and it took a few years and a junk mail run before I’d scrimped enough money to buy a copy of my own. That was 1994. My copy is the one pictured above. I know. Old school. I’ve carried this much-loved book around with me for decades.

Why?

Why did it work so well? How could one amazing book create such a following that Penguin didn’t care that it took three decades and many unexpected books to conclude? Continue reading

Getting into the mind of Uglies

uglies

I know, I hear what you’re saying… How can she not have read this book yet? ‘Uglies’ by Scott Westerfeld is one of the iconic dystopian YA novels, I’ve heard a lot about it. When I saw it in my local library, it jumped off the shelf and into my book bag.

I wanted to know why ‘Uglies’ became so popular with the YA market. And if, like me, you’re coming to this book well after the rest of the world, be warned that I have spoilers in here.

What did I find? Three themes that I believe led to success:

  • World-building
  • Trouble-making
  • Friend-saving

Continue reading