Sunday, January 31, 2016

ALA Midwinter Book Haul Day 2 (Megan)

As promised, here is my haul from day 2 on the exhibit floor at ALA Midwinter 2016!

When I first heard about this book I squealed with excitement because these two writing a book together is essentially the dream team. Originally we were only going to ALAMW on Saturday, but when we heard David Levithan was signing copies of this book in-booth on Sunday morning we knew we had to go back. He's one of my all-time favorite authors and I was so excited when I met him that I barely even spoke! My awkwardness aside, I now have a really pretty signed ARC of this that I can't wait to read! 

My mom actually showed me this book and I thought that the description sounded so interesting! I mean all you had to say to me was Jane Austen meets the X-men and I was totally sold! Usually historical fiction is a shaky genre for me, but with that kind of magical element thrown in I can't refuse.

Amy Zhang certainly knows how to write stories that will rip your heart out. Just from reading the description of this book I know that my heart is going to break for these characters and also that I will probably be very frustrated with the way all of Janie's fellow classmates treat her. I'm interested to see how well Amy Zhang tackles such a difficult issue.

I love a good road trip book and a book about backpacking through Europe is even better! Since I'm going to be studying abroad in Europe this time next year, I was really excited to pick this book up. Since the three travelers are coping with the loss of one of their friends, this book should have more substance and heart than the light, fun road trips that I'm used to reading. I'm interested to see how this addition to the story works out!

The opening lines of this book's description talk about how spending a summer in Italy turns into a road trip across Tuscany. I have always wanted to visit Italy! Hopefully next year I will finally get the chance to, but until then this book seems like a cute read that will hopefully transport me to one of my dream destinations!

And that's all the books that I got at ALA Midwinter! For my first time attending the conference, this was a ton of fun! It was interesting comparing this to BEA, which is definitely much more hectic. I'll put up a post detailing more of my experience soon!

Are any of these reads on your TBR? Let me know below!

Monday, January 25, 2016

ALA Midwinter Book Haul Day 1 (Megan)

Image found here
This year I was lucky enough to attend ALA Midwinter! I went to the conference with my Mom and Rachel the day before I moved back into college in Boston. The timing of the event couldn't have been better because I got to spend the day with both of them before going back to school. I'll do another post detailing more of my experience at the conference later on, but for now here's a book haul from day 1!

Day 1
The picture above is my haul from day 1. Below I'll post the cover of the book and talk about why I'm excited to have picked it up!

When I stopped by the Disney- Hyperion booth I was immediately drawn in by the description of this book. I've been craving more psychological thriller type novels lately and this debut about a serial killer that may or may not exist was irresistible. 

The idea of a sleepy town with dark secrets has always been an interesting story to me as someone who grew up in a small town. The creepy and mysterious sound of the description and the beautiful cover art sold me on needing to pick up a copy of this book!

Towards the end of the day Rachel and I saw on Twitter that they were dropping ARCs of Kiersten White's newest book we immediately ran over to the Random House booth. I've been excited about this book for awhile and can't wait to see what Kiersten White does with a high fantasy story. 

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love New York City and the 1980's. As soon as I saw that this book was about the art scene in 1980's SoHo I was totally sold. 

Rachel first told me about this book and when I looked up the description I was drawn in by how interesting it sounded. With a main character who gets in trouble for activism and investigating a local mine, this book sounds like a great story of a teenager trying to make change. I was also lucky enough to meet the author at an in-booth signing and she was so nice! 

Towards the end of the first day, Penguin had a cute event with hot chocolate and cookies where they gave out copies of this. I was so excited to get my hands on a copy of John Corey Whaley's newest book. The cover is beautiful and the story seems like a unique and interesting read.

I met Elizabeth Briggs when she did an in-booth signing with Amy Allgeyer and Dana Elmendorf. I was inspired by all three of these authors talking about how they are friends who are debuting books from the same publisher. This story sounds different from things that I usually read but also interesting and fun.  I can't wait to pick it up!

Recently I've been trying to diversify my reading. I've been trying to pick up more nonfiction, adult, graphic novels, and short story collections. What caught my attention was initially the beauty of the cover. Once I read the description I was intrigued by the variety in these stories and I can't wait to check them out. 

Dana Elmendorf was the third author that I met at a triple in-booth signing. She was really nice and South of Sunshine interested me because it is a rare romance between two girls in Young Adult. While YA is definitely a progressive genre, it is much more common to see romances involving two boys than two girls so it'll be cool to see how this one is handled.

This was another book that I picked up because of my desire to find good psychological thrillers. It centers around famous teenagers who are a part of the music industry. One disappears and the other one is the suspect. Alternating between three points of view, this book will hopefully have all the twists and turns that I want in a thriller!

Any time there is a book about writing I'm always interested immediately. This debut is written as if the reader is the agent that Reshma, the main character, is sending her story to. After flipping through the first few pages of this and reading the description, I'm curious to see how this style will work for me when reading the whole thing.

I can't even lie and say that I picked this book up for any reason other than the title made me laugh really hard. I then read the description and it just sounds like a fun, light read that will be just ridiculous enough to keep me laughing the whole time. 

This book has been described as being like We Were Liars and The Girl on the Train. I absolutely loved We Were Liars and have made it a new mission of mine to make everyone I know read it and Rachel has told me great things about The Girl on the Train. As soon as I saw that, I knew I had to get a copy of this book!

I'm really into political thriller shows like House of Cards so as soon as I saw this book I was excited to give it a try. I don't often see politics incorporated into Young Adult books so I can't wait to give this one a try!

I picked this book up because when I was in the Random House booth one of their publishing people (who's name I didn't catch) did a really awesome job of pitching it. She talked about this book being hysterically funny and the pitch reminded me of Anatomy of a Boyfriend and Anatomy of a Single Girl both of which were reviewed on this blog (here). Originally published in the UK, I'm glad this book is coming to the US so that I can read it!

I don't read that much historical fiction, but I can always get into stories written around and during World War II. This story takes place in Krakow, Poland in 1939. It involves a young girl named Anna who stumbles upon the Swallowman after her father is taken away by the Nazis. The mystery surrounding the Swallowman sounds interesting and this looks like the type of book that will melt away in my hands.

Another way I'm trying to mix up what I read is by throwing in some graphic novels. I haven't read many of them in my lifetime but have always found them to be unique ways of telling stories. This ARC may be in black and white, but I couldn't think of a more perfect story to make one of my first graphic novels. 

This book was being given out by the publisher if you went to their booth and gave them a coupon for it out of a booklet. It's a mix of poetry, prose, and comic book panels. When I saw that I was so interested in the unique format that I had to go pick it up! The story sounds interesting as well with Kaycee recreating the crazy stunts that her daredevil brother used to pull before his death. All of this, combined with a pretty cover are what put this book on my radar. 

Getting not only an ARC of this book, but also a hardcover finished copy of it was definitely one of the highlights of the conference for me. I read Meg Cabot's Mediator Series when I was in 8th grade and have loved them ever since. When I heard that not only was there a Kindle Edition novella coming out January 19th, but a brand new adult book I almost cried with joy. Suze is still one of my favorite characters and the fact that I can keep reading stories about her as an adult makes me very thankful for awesome authors like Meg Cabot!

Like most stereotypical English majors, I love Shakespeare. One of my roommates also loves The Merchant of Venice so I picked this up for the two of us to enjoy together. I love the idea of having established, well-known authors do modern day interpretations of Shakespeare works! I'll definitely be checking out the adaptations of some of my favorite plays.

This is one of the adult books that I picked up at the conference. When we were in the HarperCollins booth, a librarian told us that she had already read this book and that it was incredible. I picked it up to read the description and upon seeing what sounded like a winding, twist filled thriller I was sold. Since it focuses on a mother looking for her missing son, I'm looking forward to reading this book and experiencing the emotional roller coaster it is probably going to send me on.

And that was my day one haul! In order to keep this post from being overwhelming, I'm going to break my books from day 2 into a second post. My haul that day was significantly smaller so that post won't be as long and rambling as this one. There is a super special signed ARC in there though, so keep an eye out for that one!

Are you excited for any of these books? Which ones should I read first? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Megan Rambles About Binge

Binge by Tyler Oakley
From GoodreadsPop culture phenomenon, social rights advocate, and the most prominent LGBTQ+ voice on YouTube, Tyler Oakley brings you his first collection of witty, personal, and hilarious essays written in the voice that’s earned him more than 10 million followers across social media.

I've watched Tyler Oakley's videos on Youtube for a long time. I've always found his videos to be fun, usually hysterical, easy entertainment. Tyler's unabashed expressions of love for any and everything that he's passionate about have also always been something I could relate to. Clearly I am also a fan of expressing myself to people on the internet in a manner that can usually only be classified as fangirling.

I got this book for a birthday present and was really excited about it! The latest in the growing trends of Youtuber creators writing books that fit their interests, I was excited to see what stories Tyler Oakley might share in a collection of essays. As a person who has a reputation for sharing (and some argue, over-sharing) his life on the internet, I was curious to see if Binge would have any new information. I can assure you, even if you are the biggest Tyler Oakley super-fan on the planet, there will be things in this book that you have never heard before.

Tyler covers everything from growing up, to that whole Twitter incident with Liam Payne from One Direction which is infamous to almost all fans of Tyler's channel, to his recent red carpet jobs. One of the things that I was happiest with was that the book genuinely sounds like one of Tyler's videos. I could hear his voice while I was reading the words  which made it really easy to picture him telling me these stories himself. This book is just as personal as you would expect a book written by Tyler Oakley to be.

My favorite part about Binge was when Tyler talked about his experiences with his growing Youtube fame. I think that horror stories about conventions and how he was overworking himself are all things that the ordinary viewer might never think of. Binge definitely allowed for Tyler to let people into his world a bit more and talk about the positives and negatives of his life. This book does a great job of expressing not only that Tyler is happy in his life, but also that he struggles with the fame and keeping track of himself the same way any other celebrity might.

This book is definitely geared more towards people that are already fans of Tyler Oakley's Youtube channel, but I think people who don't know who he is will still enjoy it. Overall, this book gives an entertaining and informative insight into the life of a Youtube personality who is beloved by millions world-wide and reminds us that even the most famous people still have struggles in life. 

Are you a Tyler Oakley fan? Did you enjoy reading Binge? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Megan Rambles About We Were Liars

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
From GoodreadsA beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

This is a review that I wrote for a blog that is a part of Emerson College's Publishing Club. There are a ton of cool book related articles you can check out here! You'll even see some of my stuff! 

We Were Liars is an artfully crafted thrill ride of a novel that cannot be put down. This is the kind of novel that a reader sits down with and finishes in a single sitting. After its release in 2014, I actually put off reading this book. Once I finally took the plunge and jumped into this novel it was completely impossible to stop.

We Were Liars is an ambiguous story filled with beautiful, incredibly well written prose. Cadence, the main character, is a member of the rich and prestigious Sinclair family. This title comes with extravagant summers spent hopping gleefully between the family beach houses off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard with her two cousins and a close family friend. Together, they form The Liars and engage in the hijinks filled summers that every reader wishes they had growing up, but then everything goes wrong. Suddenly, Cadence has a mysterious accident in her fifteenth summer that leaves her isolated from all of the other Liars and away from the beach houses for two years.

As Cadence returns to the island and tries to piece together the events of that fateful summer, the reader is as lost as she is. E. Lockhart does a wonderful job of giving the reader enough information to slowly click together the pieces, but this books is like a 1,000 piece puzzle. Through a careful attention to all the characters and slowly developing each of their personalities, the story begins to take shape. Lockhart’s artful prose, which at times borders on poetry, only provides individual pieces and it is not until the very end that the whole image is finally crystal clear.

I have read more Young Adult novels than I can possibly count in my years, including several by E. Lockhart, but I have never read anything like We Were Liars. The ending had the most shocking plot twist I have ever read and the heartbreak I experienced immediately skyrocketed this book to the top of my favorites list. We Were Liars is strange, abstract, and beautifully written. This is the type of book that makes readers sit up and listen to and the type of book that stays in a reader’s mind forever once it’s over. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Random Ramble: Why ABC Family is Going to Ruin Shadowhunters (Megan)

This post can originally be found on the Emerson Pub Club Blog along with other great posts from really cool people! 

In 2013, I eagerly anticipated The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones along with millions of other fans around the world. An adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s first novel of the same title, the movie seemed destined to launch the next Young Adult movie franchise. The books series has six books in total, is constantly on a best seller’s list somewhere and has been a fan favorite since 2007 when the first book was released. With such a massive cult following, why did the movie completely flop?

The answer is quite simple. The movie was terrible. Despite a promising looking cast and teaser trailer, the film was nothing like the books whatsoever. Sitting in a theater watching the movie in full cosplay with some of my closest friends, I was heartbroken at what I was seeing. The movie lacked all of the character development that Cassandra Clare is so famous for in her novels. Some elements of the mythology were changed for no reason and other changes, like the location of the final battle in the book, served no purpose.

I understand that when making an adaptation of a book, some things have to change. While it might be interesting to read an entire novel where the narrator speculates and monologues in their own head, it can be difficult to translate that to the big screen. My problem with the film was not that they chose to add in more action sequences to make it more interesting, it was how they chose to make these changes. The directors, producers, and other decision-makers made changes that would affect not only the way the mythology of Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters functioned, but also contradicted events that occurred in later books.

For example, Clary, the main character, is supposed to be a girl who learns that her mother was a Shadowhunter. They are demon hunters who are half angel and half human. They keep the peace in Downworld, which is the side of New York City ordinary people never see where faeries, werewolves, vampires, warlocks, and demons all roam free. In the first book, Clary has to come to terms not only with the fact that she is a part of this ancient race, but also that her mom hid it from her for her entire life. She’s understandably confused and scared, but none of this was effectively portrayed. Lily Collins played Clary as if she were confident, self-assured, and already aware of powers that she did not discover until the second book of the series.

After the cheesy, cheap disaster that was The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, I was horribly upset and praying that the studio wouldn’t pull a Percy Jackson and try to keep making the movies despite fans hating them. So when it was announced that the rights had been sold to make a TV series, I was worried. The books could benefit from being transformed into a TV series instead of a movie. They’re long, all around 400 pages, so if each season could be the equivalent of one book, then more of the original content could be translated to screen. Unfortunately, all of my hopes for a good adaptation of one of my favorite childhood book series were dashed when I read that the rights had been picked up by ABC Family.

ABC Family has a reputation for having overdramatic TV Shows with poor acting and writing that barely makes sense. Think The Secret Life of an American Teenager or Pretty Little Liars (another series which has completely deviated from the books). City of Bones deserves much better than this kind of treatment. The show is set to air in January and several different clips and trailers have been released so far. If it wasn’t irritating enough that the show has been named Shadowhunters, the trailers are completely cringe-worthy.

Check out one of the trailers below so you can see for yourself! 

Any fan of the books will say that the beauty of what Cassandra Clare has done with the world in her books is make it relatable. While the teenage main characters may be demon hunters with some angel blood mixed into their genetics, they are not superheroes by any means. They train hard to have the combat skills that they possess, to learn to use the different weapons like seraph blades, and to learn to draw the magical runes which they draw power from. Essentially, they are humans who are made stronger by their angel blood, but they are still human. In the trailer for the show, characters like Alec and Jace are seen jumping to ridiculous heights and seemingly flying into the air. This simple change may seem insignificant, but it demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of the values and themes that lie at the core of Cassandra Clare’s book series.

When the show airs in January, I will probably watch one episode to give it a chance, but I am already heavily anticipating my disgust with the series. Small changes are fine, but huge changes to the timeline, the age of the characters, their appearances, personalities, and terrible acting are all things that I cannot tolerate together. ABC Family’s Shadowhunters show may turn out to be successful in its own way, but it will definitely not be successful with fans of the book series. As much as I would love to see my favorite characters on the screen, I want to see their story done authentically, with at least some resemblance to the books that I love so much. Since it seems that is impossible, I say it’s time to let City of Bones stay a brilliant book and not continue to sully it with poorly executed adaptations. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Megan Rambles About My True Love Gave to Me

My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins & Friends
From GoodreadsIf you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year's there's something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.

My True Love Gave to Me was my holiday read this year and it's also become one of my favorites of  2015! If you're wondering why the cover looks different from the one you're used to seeing, it's from a special UK Valentine's Day edition. Rachel gave it to me as a birthday present and I couldn't resist letting you all see how beautiful it is!

Okay, so on to the actual stories. I'm going to talk about each of them in the order that they were printed, giving a short summary of my thoughts for all twelve of them. 

1. Midnights by Rainbow Rowell:  4.5/5 stars 
This was one of my favorite stories in the collection. It was a cute story that revolved around New Year's Eve parties across several years. I thought that Mags was a character that people could relate to and overall the story was just very cute and fun! 

2. The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link:  3/5 stars 
This story was definitely one of the more strange ones in the collection. I also hadn't read anything by Kelly Link before so I wasn't sure what to expect. There is a bit of a strange magical element involved in this story and it took me a bit to realize that it wasn't realistic fiction. Once I figured that out I was less confused and thought that the story was interesting. While it wasn't my favorite, it was still a cool read.

3. Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Peña: 5/5 stars
This story is in a three-way tie for my favorite of the collection. I had never read anything by Matt de la Peña before and I'm definitely going to have to look up the rest of his work now! This story was so cute and is one of the only times that I haven't felt slightly out of place reading from the perspective of a male character. Both Shy and Haley were characters that I felt comfortable with and by the end of the story I felt like I knew them.

4. Polaris is Where You'll Find Me by Jenny Han: 2.5/3 stars 
This story was cute, but I felt like maturity level wise it was a bit lower than the others. While I don't necessarily have a problem reading a cute story about the North Pole, Santa, and elves, I thought that this story was too short. I was just starting to enjoy the characters and become interested in where the plot was going when it abruptly cut off. If this story was longer I probably would have liked it much more, as it is it was just okay.

5. It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins: 5/5 stars
It should come as no surprise that another story in the three-way tie for my favorite was written by Stephanie Perkins. I'm convinced that I will always love everything that she writes and this story was no exception! Marigold and North are both just as lovable as any of Stephanie Perkins other characters. I could have kept reading this story and if she decided to expand it into...I don't know...a full length novel? I definitely wouldn't argue! *cough* pleasedoitStephanie *cough*

6. Your Temporary Santa by David Leviathan: 3.5/5 stars
This story was just as cute as I expected a David Leviathan story to be. The characters were well written and the relationship between Connor and the narrator was sweet. It takes some dedication to agree to dress-up as Santa Claus to convince your boyfriend's little sister that Santa is real. Overall the story was cute and a good read, but didn't leave as much of an impression as some of the others.

7. Krampuslauf by Holly Black: 3.5/5 stars 
Only Holly Black would write a story about a Krampus for a cute collection of holiday related romances. Like Kelly Link's this story was on the weird side. I love Holly Black's writing style and I had heard some of the Krampus myths before so I was able to get into this story after the first few pages. This story was interesting and any fan of Holly Black's work will enjoy it!

8. What the hell have you done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman: 5/5 stars
Gayle Forman is not only one of my favorite authors, she's also one of my writing idols so it shouldn't come as a surprise that I loved this story! This is the third story in the three-way tie for my favorite in the collection. I really felt like I could relate to Sophie since she's a freshman in college and trying to find her place on campus. While I might be going to college in a city and not in the middle of nowhere, I could relate to what Sophie was going through and I thought her entire interaction with Russell was super cute! This story is definitely worth the read!

9.  Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire: 3/5 stars
I hadn't ever read anything by Myra McEntire before this story and after this short story I'm not totally sure that her writing style is my thing. The main character was nice enough and he was pretty funny at times. I liked the idea of a prankster boy and the preacher's daughter, but the actual execution of the story was just okay.

10. Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White: 4/5 stars
For a short story, I thought that Kiersten White was able to create a great cast of characters! Since this really was a character driven story it was so important that the characters be engaging. I cared about them from the beginning and I thought that the romance was really cute.

11. Star of Betthlehem by Ally Carter: 4/5 stars
I loved the concept of this short story! From the second that it started I was really interested to see where it was going. It was super cute and I loved Lydia as a main character. The only thing that kept this story from getting 5 stars was that I felt like it needed to be a bit longer in order to fill in a few more details. Besides that, it was a well-written story that sounded like Ally Carter's writing while still being unique from other things that she's written.

12. The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor: 3.5/5 stars
Just like Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke & Bone, this short story was set in a unique world all its own. While it wasn't entirely my cup of tea, there were definitely some really good elements to the story. The world that Laini Taylor was able to create in such a short story was really interesting and had a lot of depth. I could picture everything throughout the story and if you are into high fantasy stories this would definitely be the one in the collection for you!

Overall, this collection was really enjoyable and I can see myself re-reading this around Christmas every year! Have you read My True Love Gave to Me? If so, what did you think? And are you as excited for the summer collection coming out that's also edited by Stephanie Perkins as I am?? Because June 2016 can't come fast enough!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Top Books of 2015 (Megan)

Happy New Year everyone! As we approach 2016, I wanted to take the time to make a post about the top books that I've read in 2015! Like I mentioned in my post about coming back to the blog, I've been really busy this year and haven't read much that wasn't for class. Because of that, this list is a mix of YA novels and books that I read for my first semester of college. Without further ado, here they are in no particular order:

18298225We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
This is one of the best books I have ever read! I'll be posting a review that I wrote of it soon. Until then just know that everyone needs to read this book at some point in their life!

On the Fence by Kasie West
One of my favorite things about a book is when I can relate to the main character. I absolutely loved The Distance Between Us so when Rachel told me that I needed to read On the Fence I had high expectations. This book did not disappoint! Growing up I was always the girl who hung out with the boys and played sports so while I may not have protective older brothers, I could totally relate to Charlie and her experiences. This book left me wanting a Braden of my own and a copy of Fill-In Boyfriend.

9969571Ready Player One by Ernest Cline 
I read this book because it is one of my good friend Karla's favorite books! (If you want to see what Karla has been reading/up to lately check out her Youtube channel here) I'm so glad that she convinced me to read Ready Player One because I couldn't put it down! If you are at all interested in the 80's and you haven't read this book yet, you are missing out! Even if you don't understand all of the pop culture references, this book is still great fun and worth the read.

My True Love Gave to Me by Various Authors
20309175Rachel was nice enough to give me the pretty UK version of this book for my birthday and I just finally got around to reading it. It's the perfect holiday read and I'm definitely going to be re-reading this one around Christmas every year. This book had a great mix of stories that I highly recommend to everyone! My full review of each of the stories should be going up on the blog soon!

The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead
After some peer pressure from Rachel and Katherine I finally picked up this series (are you detecting a pattern in my reading habits yet?). I'm so glad that I did read these because it was the most fun I've had reading a series in awhile. I absolutely loved Rose, Dimitri, and all the other characters that made these books so memorable! I was so sad that this series was over, even if it did have the perfect ending. Hopefully I'll have time to start reading the Bloodlines series soon!

28676American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
This is the first of the books on this list that I had to read for class. I read this book for my Literature of Extreme Situations class and enjoyed it much more than I thought that I would. I'll preface this by saying that this book is horribly violent and contains very explicit sex scenes. It definitely isn't for everyone, but I enjoyed the discussions that we had about it in class so much that I didn't mind the violence of the book as much. In my class we used existentialist theories to talk about Patrick Bateman's behavior and the motivations for his actions. If you can get past the gore and find other bookish people to discuss this with, it's well worth the read!

6149Beloved by Toni Morrison
This was another read for my Literature of Extreme Situations class and was the second Toni Morrison book that I read this year. She is a phenomenal writer and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Beloved is a heartbreaking story that deals with the way a former slave and her family are still affected by slavery even after it has ended. It is a story about how far people had to go to survive in the time period and the effects that their actions had on them later. This might not be a YA novel,  but it is 100% worth the read!

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
20613761I read this poetry collection for my Literature Studies class and fell in love with it. Claudia Rankine uses the poetry genre in a unique way with a mix of prose, poetry, and powerful pictures. The poetry deals with the nature of micro-aggressions against the black community in America. From the smallest of assumptions to large acts of aggression, this collection explores what is wrong with race relations in this country. The ultimate goal of the collection is to make everyone who reads it aware of the fact that while blatant racism might not be as prevalent as it once was, the often unintentional micro-aggressions that are still widespread can be just as damaging to society and the people they affect.

Overall, this year was an interesting year for me, reading wise. Hopefully I will have more free time to get some more YA reading in during my next semester. What were your top books of 2015? Have you read any of my top books? Let me know down in the comments below!