For a bookworm, it may come as a surprise to you that I haven’t jumped on the YA bandwagon. The last time I read a YA book and/or YA book series was in high school. Yes, it’s been that long and yes, it was the Harry Potter series. There are so many of them these days that have been adapted into major movies. Think Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Giver, The Hunger Games series, The Book Thief, and John Green’s books.
P.S. Check out this comprehensive list of YA novels that are made and being made into movies. Super awesome.
But for some reason, I’ve just never picked one up … until recently.
These are the two voices that had me fully infused into their worlds right now:
13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad
Why the impulse buy: The Penguin logo on the cover and how strikingly honest the title is.
When it was released: February 23, 2016
What’s it about: Growing up in this image-obsessed culture, each chapter follows a small-town girl who struggles to conform and never came to be, progressively identifying herself with nothing but her large curves.
How I enjoyed it so far: I’ve read halfway through the book in one sitting on the night I bought it. I’m surprised it’s the author’s debut – it’s only a 224-page paperback, but covers every common theme all women and all girls (and I mean ALL – large, small, normal, not normal, extraordinary) will find super relatable: focus on appearances, pressure to look good, dealing with double standards, toxic friendships, abusive relationships, identity crisis, and more. The best part? Our main girl Lizzie tells it all in a voice you’ll find so familiar, you almost thought it’s your own at least a hundred times. The only thing I recommend you not doing is to read the critic’s reviews – you won’t find the book as hilarious as they say. I mean, it is in a few paragraphs here and there, but at large, it’s the sad kind of funny you know oh-so-well.
Paired with: 2015 Raw Pu-erh tea, 6th-9th infusions
A little excerpt: (pages 6-7)
“People call Mel a slut at our school too. Because of what she wears on days when we don’t wear our uniforms, but also because of what she wears on regular days, which is nylon thigh highs instead of the itchy wool tights we’re supposed to wear. And she rolls her kilt all the way up so you can see where the thigh highs end. My mother thinks this is why people call Mel a slut. But I don’t think so. Not to sound like an old woman, but you should see girls these days. Some girls roll their kilts all the way up to their crotches. I wear mine down to my knees, but sometimes I’ll roll it up just a little on the way to school. But then it always rolls back down by itself. It’s fine. Later on I’m going to be really f**king beautiful. I’m going to grow into that nose and develop an eating disorder. I’ll be hungry and angry all my life but I’ll also have a hell of a time.”
Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Why the impulse by: The New York Times Bestseller label on the cover and mainly, the one-page intro that had be grabbing the book the second I’ve reached its last word:
* * * * * * * * * *
I was taken to see an educational consultant that autumn and the woman did an evaluation. She sent my parents a letter.
I read it.
It said I was “highly gifted.”
Are people “lowly gifted?”
Or “medium gifted?”
Or just “gifted”? It’s because that all labels are curses. Unless they are on cleaning products.
Because in my opinion, it’s not really a great idea to see people as one thing.
Every person has lots of ingredients to make them into what is always a one-of-a-kind creation.
We are all imperfect genetic stews.
According to the consultant, Mrs. Grace V. Mirman, the challenge for the parents of someone “highly gifted” was to find ways to keep the child engaged and stimulated.
But I think she was wrong.
Almost everything interests me.
* * * * * * * * * *
When it was released: September 16, 2014
What’s it about: A gifted child’s coming-of-age story who coped through the loss of her loving, adoptive parents.
How I enjoyed it so far: This was more of a children’s book than it is a young-adult’s. Nevertheless, it’s another voice I can so relate with just by glancing over my in-depth, nobody-would-read-them-all-but-I’ll-just-insert-this-research-and-that-research-to-back-up-this-claim Ingredients 101 section. Also written in first person, you fellow solitary weirdos would find Willow Chance cool. Deep down you know you’re intelligent gifted, but the whole world thinks you’re weird, so you identify those who decidedly conform as the “normalized”. She’s brave that way. And later becomes equally above-average in maturity and strength in how she eventually not just think about her own hobbies and interests, but also in the ways she consider other people’s emotions like no other 12-year-old girls would.
Paired with: Oolong tea – Tieguanyin
Excerpt: I think I’ve given more than enough excerpt of the book (what with the whole intro), haven’t I? :p But here’s one of my favorite monologues of Willow from page 355:
“I am worried about Quang-ha.
I know that he has lots of homework this week. I hope that he at least attempts to do some of it.
And then there is Dell. Will he go back to putting things in closets? Will he return to staring out the window and waiting for his life to begin?
Will Pattie keep working so hard? I know for a fact that those fumes from the nail polish are bad for her.
I realize now that I’m worrying about all of them.
It’s better than worrying about myself.
This is one of the secrets that I have learned in the last few months.
When you care about other people, it takes the spotlight off your own drama.”
What about you? Have any YA book I haven’t read that you think everyone must (and absolutely must!) read?