The slant on YA books

Category Archives: YA Books

Bolddiscussions

Welcome to BOLD discussions. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. It’s never too late to participate; whether it be an old discussion or a new one, tell me what you think.

Let’s talk about cover changes this week. Or rather, let’s talk about a specific kind of cover change: the one where publishers are trying to reach “a broader audience/new readers”.

I understand that this is the reason for practically every single cover change ever, but I think that publishers should be straight forward when they mean to say, “We are changing these covers because we don’t want boys to feel embarrassed reading them.”

Let’s face it: it seems like more and more covers these days are getting a makeover to try and reach out to a male audience.

On the one hand, I think this is great. I love the idea of getting more people to read YA.

But on the other hand, I get pretty upset. Here’s why: when covers are changed to “reach a new audience” *cough, cough, boys* they are reinforcing the idea that boys should be embarrassed to be caught reading books with girls on the cover.

Why don’t girls deserve books with thought out covers instead of the sometimes sickeningly cliché ones that are produced? And, more importantly, why is it more acceptable for a girl to be reading a book with a boy on a cover than a boy reading about a girl?

I am far from being the first one to ask these things. In fact, Maureen Johnson made a  somewhat similar point pretty effectively with her Coverflip idea.

Let’s take a look at some examples of cover changes.

universe suns

universe2 suns2 earth

 Here the covers change from sci-fi covers with romance to stone cold sci-fi. I really love the first set of covers, though the second set isn’t that bad. But, I have the distinct feeling that the covers on these books were changed so that boys would feel inspired to give this series a shot. Again, I am all for boys, or anyone, reading YA, but it reinforces those earlier problems I mentioned earlier.

Another example.

blood magic 

Again, we see the cover going from one featuring a girl to a more gender neutral cover. (I have to say, I do like this cover change because that first book just looks like so many other covers.)

Those are just two quick examples of cover changes that came to mind. I really like both series, but I feel like there cover changes carry some extra baggage.

I guess another one of my biggest questions is why aren’t these covers re-evaluated from the start? By releasing a first feminine cover and then later a more masculine one, it seems to be telling me that publishers are trying to appeal to two different audiences at the same time. If this wasn’t the case, why wouldn’t they just release a gender neutral cover from the start? By doing the changes, I get the feeling that boys aren’t going to read girl books, so instead of working to change this idea they are simply reinforcing it. 

Congrats for making it to the bottom of this discussion! What do you think? Is there any truth to my words or am I just talking nonsense? Are there any other cover changes you think reinforce my point? Let me know!

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It has been one wonderfully crazy year for me. Let’s take a look back, month by month. 

January 

At this time, making a book blog was high on my New Year’s Resolution, but it would still be a few more months before In Italics was born.

There were so many great books that released in January, but one stood out above the rest.

archived

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Honarable Mentions

Shades of Earth by Beth Revis/ The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

February 

 Some of my favorite books of the year came out in February.

  Mind Games by Kiersten White

mindgames

Honorable Mentions

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys/ Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi/Pivot Point by Kasie West 

March 

I am cheating a bit here, but I can’t think of a book that released in March, so instead I am choosing a book that I read in March. 

How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller

HowtoLeadaLifeofCrime

April 

Another slow month, but there were still some great books that came out. 

Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2)

triumph 

Honarable MentionThis Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

May 

Narrowing down my favorite May book was pretty tough.

Reboot by Amy Tintera

Reboot 

Honorable MentionsThe Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston/ Dare You To by Katie McGarry/ The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey 

June 

This was the month that I started to really consider making a book blog. I was selected to be an Ambuzzador on Random Buzzers, and that was the push I needed to finally make a book blog.

The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton 

sun

Honorable MentionSiege and Storm (The Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo 

July 

And finally In Italics is born! After years and years of wondering if I should start my book blog, I finally did. Although, truth be told, I didn’t actually publish my first post for another month. 

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West 

The Distance Between Us

August 

August 10th: My review and giveaway of The Lost Sun goes live. Much anxiety and excitement follow. I am going to cheat again and put down a series that I read in August, but was released previously. 

White Cat (Curse Workers #1) by Holly Black 

whitecat

September 

It felt like ALL the books came out in September. 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

ColdestGirl 

Honorable Mentions: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater/ All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill,/Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis/Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller 

October

 I finally started to talk and chat with other bloggers and figured out the addiction that is Twitter. 

How to Love by Katie Cotugno

howtolove 

Honorable MentionsPremeditated by Josin L. McQuein/Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano 

November

I published my first review from an ARC I had acquired myself. 

The F-It List by Julie Halpern

TheFItList 

Honorable MentionsCrash Into You by Katie McGarry/World After by Susan Ee 

December 

Duh, duh, duh, duuuuhhhhh. It’s the last month of the year. I am so grateful to all of the wonderful people I have met and talked books with. So, instead of featuring some of my favorite releases, I will share with y’all some of the blogs I constantly read.

The Novel Hermit by the lovely and font-obssessed Cee

Andi’s ABCs by the very stylish Andi

The Daily Prophecy by the magical Mel

Little Book Star by fellow teen Leigh

Lit Up Review by not one, but four teens, Willa, Erin, Meredith, and Emily

Books and Cake by the witty Lillian

Tea Between Books by the humorous Sandra 

Chapteriosity by the friendly Kezia 

Really, there are so many more blogs, but I think that is plenty to get started. I will get a blog roll up next year!

 What about you guys? What were your highlights or favorite books of the year?


Hello!

Are you all getting ready for the holidays? In the spirit of Christmas, I have decided to do something new on the blog today. Below, you will find seven wrapped books with descriptions on them. My goal here is to recommend books to you all without you knowing the title or author. Hopefully, you all will find new books to enjoy that you may have overlooked before.

To find out the title and author, you will have to scroll down to the bottom of the post where I have matched up the book with its own bow. Treat this just like Christmas! No peaking! I would love it if you guys would only read the descriptions, choose your favorites, and then look up which book it is.

(I got the inspiration for this post based on others’ interpretations of this same concept.)

Let the unwrapping begin!

WP_20131221_015  WP_20131221_016  WP_20131221_018 WP_20131221_026  WP_20131221_028  WP_20131221_030 WP_20131221_031

Which ones have caught your eye? Do you have a feeling you know what any of the wrapped books are?

Keep scrolling to reveal the books. 

… 

… 

… 

Dark Green Bow –  Gemma Doyle Series by Libba Bray

Red Striped Bow – Wake by Lisa McMann

White Bow – The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Light Green Bow – The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta

Red Bow – Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

Polk-A-Dot Bow – Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Green Striped Bow – The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot

Which books did you end up “unwrapping”? Let me know!


Unthinkable by Nancy Werlin 

unthinkable Synopsis from Goodreads:

This much anticipated sequel to the New York Times BestsellerImpossible a fantasy full of suspense, mystery, and romance will appeal to fans of Beautiful Creatures, Raven Boys, and Wicked Lovely. 

Fenella was the first Scarborough girl to be cursed, hundreds of years ago, and she has been trapped in the faerie realm ever since, forced to watch generations of daughters try to break this same faerie curse that has enslaved them all. But now Fenella’s descendant, Lucy, has accomplished the impossible and broken the curse, so why is Fenella still trapped in Faerie?

 In her desperation, Fenella makes a deal with the faerie queen: If she can accomplish three acts of destruction, she will be free, at last, to die.  What she doesn’t realize is that these acts must be aimed at her own family and if she fails, the consequences will be dire, for all of the Scarborough girls. 

How can she possibly choose to hurt her own cherished family not to mention the new man whom she’s surprised to find herself falling in love with? But if she doesn’t go through with the tasks, how will she manage to save her dear ones?

Bear with me as I go on a rant over this interesting novel. I will divide it into two parts: non- spoiler-y and definitely spoiler-y.

I read Impossible, the sort of prequel/sequel to this one and, while it was a strange novel, I enjoyed reading it however many years ago. I opened up Unthinkable knowing I should keep in mind that it would probably be a little weird too.

I had no idea how right I was.

It was tough to read about Fenella doing cruel things to her family, made especially more difficult due to the fact that I was already attached to them from Impossible. I had no idea who Fenella was before she started unleashing her poorly thought out destruction tactics. I could sympathize with Fenella, I really could, but she wouldn’t think over her actions at all. For claiming to hate having to hurt her beloved family so much, she sure went right for their throats as soon as the moment presented itself.

There were just little incongruities and annoyances with Fenella that all added up to frustrate me. She has been out of touch with most of the human world for hundreds of years and is being mentally tortured during most of that time. However, she comes out of the faerie world practically unscarred. She is absolutely brilliant at everything she does, even though the new technology should have bewildered her. This is explained away by her love for reading and knowledge. I understand you can certainly learn from books, but no amount of reading is going to make you a flawless driver the first time you try and operate a stick shift. 

Here there be spoilers. 

Truth be told, I could have handled all of that and still finished the book.

But then Fenella decided to kill the family dog.

WHAT? I am sorry, but no. Nononononononononono. 

no

Was it not bad enough you blew up your family’s house as your first destruction task? Now you have to go after the dog? It is just so wrong on so many different levels. There is really no way I can read a novel with a protagonist who wants to murder the family dog. I can’t remember with total clarity, but I think she even suggests recording it, or doing something equally horrific. 

That was the point where I started skimming the rest of the novel. Fenella tries to run over the dog, but unfortunately, the father jumps in the way and is hit instead.

And that was the point where I was pretty much done with this book. I didn’t even want to stick around to see what her grand finale was. 

*This rant is based off an ARC of the novel, so I have no idea what changes they made in the final copy.


I figured since it was Black Friday and all it would be the perfect time to share some e-book deals going on.

I love finding these sales because I end up trying books that I normally wouldn’t. It’s definitely one of the reasons I love having an e-reader.

Let the deals begin! 

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi – $2.99 for Kindle and Nook

unravel

I would recommend this one if you read Shatter Me because I ended up liking the series much better after reading it.

Burned by Ellen Hopkins – $1.99 for Kindle and Nook

burned

 Never tried any of Ellen Hopkins’ writing because stories told in verse aren’t my cup of tea, but if you’ve read any of her work, what do you think? 

The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan – $2.99 for Kindle and Nook 

tragedy

Haven’t read this one either. Have any of you? What did you think? 

A Long, Long, Sleep by Anna Sheehan –  $2.99 for Kindle

sleep 

I finished this one about a week ago, and it was … interesting. Might be good if you are looking for a fairy tale retelling since it is a futuristic Sleeping Beauty. 

Everneath by Brodi Ashton – $1.99 for Kindle and Nook

everneath 

This is a pretty standard paranormal romance. I know I read it, but I have to confess that I don’t really remember too much of it. 

Divergent ($3.99) and Allegiant ($3.49 – Kindle) by Veronica Roth 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – $2.99 for Kindle 

Legend by Marie Lu – $2.49 for Kindle 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak  – $2.49 for Kindle

 I will update the list if I find anymore. Remember, you can also give e-books as gifts. Are there any book deals going on that I missed? Let me know! Also, have a safe Black Friday.

P.S. Please ignore the fact that the first two books are not centered. They are refusing to cooperate.

 


Howdy!

My hiatus was a bit longer than anticipated, but much needed. I am back and ready to blog. I hope everyone is getting in the holiday spirit because I sure am.

On an unrelated note, can we all talk about Catching Fire? Has anyone else seen the movie? I really loved it, and think it was just as good, if not better, than the first. It seemed to stay very true to the book, although there were a few things I noticed were missing. The main criticism I can think of is that the characters in the arena could have used some more development, especially Finnick. catchingfire

I am interested to know what everyone else has thought of the movie. Feel free to discuss it in the comments because I really want to talk about it. I can’t promise that it won’t get spoiler-y so you have been warned.


Hello!

I am back with another “how do you read” question. Last time, I asked how many books do you read at once. Today, I want to know if you reread books. IMG_0560 

I constantly reread my books, some even twice or three times a year. If I love a book, I am going to read it over and over again.

Do you read books more than once? If so, which books are your most read? If not, why?


I’m back!

School has been keeping me extra busy, so I’m finding it very hard to find the time to keep up with my studies and the blog. I would like to say that I don’t foresee any other unexpected hiatuses in the future, but unfortunately, I can’t. I am going to try and do my best to have posts scheduled in advance, but please be patient as I return comments.

Okay, now let’s move on to the fun part of this post!

Review-a-thon

Leigh, over at Little Book Star, is hosting a review-a-thon that sounds like it will be a lot of fun. Hopefully, it will give me the push to get some reviews written. I’m a bit late to the party, since the review-a-thon has already started, but the deadline to sign up is November 5th.

Basically this challenge’s goal is for you to write as many reviews as you can in 2 weeks (Nov.1-14). Get those reviews you procrastinated on or write reviews for your future blog post (if you don’t post reviews every day.. I sure don’t) ! If you don’t have a blog, that’s okay! You can join if you have Goodreads or BookLikes. If you don’t post reviews everyday on your blog, what I would do is write all the reviews on Goodreads or BookLikes then just schedule the review post on your blog, then on your updates AND at the rafflecopter just link your Goodreads or BookLikes review. You have a max of 8 reviews to enter in the rafflecopter per day. The reviews MUST be written inside the time frame of Nov. 1-14.

Rules:
1. Sign up ends on November 5.
2. You MUST have a blog OR a Goodreads OR BookLikes account in order to participate.
3. To sign up, make a blog post telling about the Review-A-Thon (just copy & paste the rules and the blurb up there where it says “Basically this challenge’s goal…”) + your updates/progress/goals. If you’re signing up via Goodreads, tweet it on twitter saying you’re participating in the Review-A-Thon (#ReviewAThon) & include a link to this post so others will know. Then, enter your Name, Sign Up Post/Tweet Link, and Email in the linky (click the blue frog).
4. There will also be 3 mini-challenges along the way so make sure to check back here.
5. HAVE FUN :)

So, expect some more reviews around the blog. If you are participating, be sure to let me know! We can cheer each other on.


I had so much fun finding out whether or not you are a bookmark kind of person, I couldn’t resist asking you some more “how do you read” type questions.

This time, I want to know if you take the dust jackets off of books.

Dust JacketsA dust jacket is the paper “shell” that surrounds hard cover books and has the cover design on it.

I used to be a dust jacket remover, but I love the feel of them, and they don’t bother me one bit. I leave them on my books and hardly ever take them off.

I know there are others out there who have to take the dust jacket off the book when they are reading. I can understand this, but I am too worried that I will lose/damage my dust jacket if I take them off.

Bottom line: Do you leave dust jackets on while reading or do you take them off? Do you just read paperbacks, thus making this a nonissue? Please share your opinions!

If you haven’t already stopped by and discussed your bookmark use, feel free to do so here.


TeenReadWeek

Happy Teen Read Week! Celebrated the third week of each October, Teen Read Week is designed to get teens reading and encourage literacy. The overall theme is always Read For the Fun of It, but there is also a sub-theme unique to each year. This year’s theme, Seek the Unknown, really encourages the promotion of fantasy, sci-fi, mystery books, and any other genre that gets your imagination going. Anyone and everyone is welcome to participate and help spread the word.

Here are a few books I think sought out the unknown.

GracelingWithout a doubt one of my favorite fantasy novels, Graceling by Kristin Cashore features a brilliant cast of characters and a truly unique world.

TerribleBeauty

 A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray has mystery and magic in spades. Seriously, if you like your historical fiction with a dose of spookiness and suspense, get your hands on this book immediately.

Finnikin

When will I stop recommending Melina Marchetta’s novels? NEVER! Read Finnikin of the Rock if you want a deep, complex, and gorgeous fantasy.

UnwindIf you want to be creeped out all week, then try Unwind by Neal Shusterman. Not only is it perfect to put you in the Halloween spirit, it is also great to read whenever you need a sci-fi fix. 

What books have you read that seek the unknown? Do you have any special plans for Teen Read Week?

For more information on Teen Reed Week, visit their website.



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