Classic Remarks: Contemporary Classic

This week Krysta and Briana at Pages Unbound are hosting the discussion: What is a contemporary book you think might become a classic?  Or should become a classic? This is a difficult question for me because I don’t read a lot of literary fiction which is, in my experience, what is most likely to be taken seriously. Even within genre fiction I’m not super likely to read the critically acclaimed literature as much as I am to read the fun literature.

But perhaps I have a bit firmer of a grasp on what is going to be remembered in children’s literature and YA. While kids lit has a firm set of books that are by and large considerd “classics”, YA is so new that other than The Outsiders it doesn’t. But since there is so much content written for teens now, I think it’s inevitable that these lists start coming out.

When thinking about what would be included in a list of YA classics, it’s impossible to believe that the list would not include something by John Green. He has been consistently producing work that has received critical acclaim for long enough to be, well, influential. The only question would be, which book? Looking for Alaska is the most widely used in schools, while The Fault in Our Stars is easily the most popular of his books. In my opinion Paper Towns has the most to say about what it means to be human. I think ultimately Looking for Alaska’s consistent use by teachers and frequent bannings (which keep it on the librarians’ radar) will land this book in the YA cannon as that begins to develop.

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Discussion: Does your mood affect your ratings?

So as I’m writing this I’m reading Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, which I was really excited to read and is objectively AMAZING. I mean, the writing is so readable but so intense. Would definitely compare to Gabrielle Zevin in that’s is “chick-lit” or “women’s fiction” that can easily be taken seriously as “literary”.

But.

I’m not enjoying it. In fact, it’s stressing me out. Not because it isn’t amazing, but because I’m currently SOOOO stressed at work. We are attempting in-person school in the middle of a pandemic, and we’re not letting kids browse the books so I have to pull a hold (or two) for EVERY KID IN THE SCHOOL. Plus we’re going to try start giving books to distance kids, so that’s a lot to plan! Plus I’m finishing grad school this semester. I just have a lot going on, and I’m having stress dreams literally every night. So reading Queenie, who has anxiety and panic attacks, is really activating my own stressed, anxious feelings.

I think if I had read this book this summer, which was very laid back, I would have been much more appreciative of what Carty-Williams has very successfully achieved with this book. I really can’t downplay how GOOD this book is. If I wasn’t so stressed right now, would I feel differently?

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Middle Grade Review: Rocket to the Moon!

Rocket to the Moon! by Don Brown

Series: Big Ideas that Changed the World
Genres: Middle Grade, Non-fiction, Graphic Novel
Maturity Level: 1
View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆⋆

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong took “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” when the Apollo 11 landed on the moon. But it wasn’t just one man who got us to the moon. Rocket to the Moon! explores the people and technology that made the moon landing possible. Instead of examining one person’s life, it focuses on the moon landing itself, showing the events leading up to it and how it changed the world. The book takes readers through the history of rocket building: from ancient Chinese rockets, to “bombs bursting in air” during the War of 1812, to Russia’s Sputnik program, to the moon landing.


For kids who enjoyed learning about science from The Magic School Bus, learning about history from Big Ideas might be a great fit. But ultimately I found that graphic novel was maybe not the best medium for a non-fiction title.

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Review: The Angel of the Crows

The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison

Genre: Fantasy
Maturity Level: 4- (non-graphic disembowelment)
View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

In an alternate 1880s London, angels inhabit every public building, and vampires and werewolves walk the streets with human beings under a well-regulated truce. A fantastic utopia, except for a few things: Angels can Fall, and that Fall is like a nuclear bomb in both the physical and metaphysical worlds. And human beings remain human, with all their kindness and greed and passions and murderous intent.

Jack the Ripper stalks the streets of this London too. But this London has an Angel. The Angel of the Crows.


I loved this book! Sherlock fan-fiction set in a London with every supernatural creature you’ve ever thought of (and some you haven’t) and a vaugly steampunk vibe, plus Jack the Ripper. What’s not to love?

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folklore Book Tag

Star at Star is All Book Up created this tag waaaay back when the folklore album first came out, and I saw her posting about it all over her Instagram but I was catching up on the tags that I was tagged in literally a year ago. So I’m only just now getting to it!

Full disclosure, I’m still not 100% sure how I feel about folklore. All of Taylor Swift’s albums sound so different, but post-rock isn’t my favorite style. Still, I said the same thing about both Reputation and Lover, so I’m sure I’ll come around. 🙂


the 1

a book you grew out of

I don’t usually grow out of books, I’m usually capable of reading a book from my past self’s perspective, especially my kids’ books. But I definitely don’t care for Eragon and the rest of the Inheritance Cycle as much as I did in my teen years. Part of it is because the last two books were so lackluster, but also I think because I’ve discovered SO MANY great books since then. Don’t get me wrong, I still like Eragon, just not as much as I used to.

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Classic Remarks – The Ending of The Giver

This week Krysta and Briana at Pages Unbound are hosting the discussion: How did you interpret the ending of Lois Lowry’s The Giver? I think it’s only fair to say before I start that I read this book as a novel study with my fifth grade (?) class, and we discussed this at length with the teacher, so my answer might be her answer…

I should also state that I have not read ANY of the sequels, and I have no idea what happens in them or what they are about or who the characters are, and it’s definitely possible that reading those books would change my interpretation.

In case you’ve forgotten, at the end of The Giver the protagonist, Jonas, kidnaps his adopted brother, Gabe, in order to prevent him from being “released”. They travel for days and days, and eventually the weather gets cold. They go on into the snow until Jonas finds a sled at the top of the hill, and they sled into a Christmas village where someone is waiting for them.

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Discussion: What makes you anticipate a new release?

At the beginning of the month or at the beginning of a new season I tend to see a lot of “Anticipated New Releases” posts. A lot of the time I’m not particularly anticipating the same books as everyone else (probably because I anticipate so few new books and don’t really keep up with book news). So at the beginning of this month looking at all these posts got me thinking, What DOES make me anticipate a new book?

If it’s written by an author I love?

Mmmmm, maybe. I won’t lie, that whenever I hear Naomi Novik has something new coming out I get pretty excited, but I don’t really do the auto-buy-author thing. If I love the author I’m more likely to be excited about a book, but I still have to be interested in the concept or story.

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Review: Caterpillar Summer

Caterpillar Summer by Gillian McDunn

Genre: Middle Grade
Maturity Level: 2
View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

Cat and her brother Chicken have always had a very special bond–Cat is one of the few people who can keep Chicken happy. When he has a “meltdown” she’s the one who scratches his back and reads his favorite story. She’s the one who knows what Chicken needs. Since their mom has had to work double-hard to keep their family afloat after their father passed away, Cat has been the glue holding her family together.

But even the strongest glue sometimes struggles to hold. When a summer trip doesn’t go according to plan, Cat and Chicken end up spending three weeks with grandparents they never knew. For the first time in years, Cat has the opportunity to be a kid again, and the journey she takes shows that even the most broken or strained relationships can be healed if people take the time to walk in one another’s shoes.


This book hit me right in the feels. As a daughter, as a mother, as a sister, I related to this book in so many ways and on so many levels. It was gut wrenching but heart warming.

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Review: I’ll Be the One

I’ll be the One by Lyla Lee

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction
Maturity Level: 3
View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

Skye Shin has heard it all. Fat girls shouldn’t dance. Wear bright colors. Shouldn’t call attention to themselves. But Skye dreams of joining the glittering world of K-Pop, and to do that, she’s about to break all the rules that society, the media, and even her own mother, have set for girls like her.

She’ll challenge thousands of other performers in an internationally televised competition looking for the next K-pop star, and she’ll do it better than anyone else.

When Skye nails her audition, she’s immediately swept into a whirlwind of countless practices, shocking performances, and the drama that comes with reality TV. What she doesn’t count on are the highly fat-phobic beauty standards of the Korean pop entertainment industry, her sudden media fame and scrutiny, or the sparks that soon fly with her fellow competitor, Henry Cho.

But Skye has her sights on becoming the world’s first plus-sized K-pop star, and that means winning the competition—without losing herself.


This book was so fun! I wish it had been available back in June when I was really craving light, feel-good books because it would have really hit the spot. It’s exactly what you would expect based on the cover and blurb.

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6 British Historical Fantasy Recommendations

I don’t know about anyone else, but historical fantasy is one of my very favorite sub-genres. I love when authors can play with alternate histories, and imagine how things might be different if there were dragons, or magic. While I prefer when it’s England proper, many authors create English-inspired nations and worlds. I especially love when authors are able to capture the tone of literature from that era, but update it to be fun for the modern reader.

Because, in my opinion, fantasy should be fun in the end.

So for you’re pleasure I’ve created a list of recommendations for historical fantasy based on the different eras of British history.

Tudor Era

The Tudor era is one of my favorite time periods to read about, but it’s not often adapted for fantasy. I don’t know why as it’s the perfect era for it. Sword-fighting, knights, dragons, they would fit in well here.

However, the second book of the All Souls Trilogy, titled Shadow of Night, involves time traveling to this very era! We even get to meet some of the giants of the time, including Kit Marlowe and Queen Elizabeth herself. I loved how it really submerged the reader into the culture and time period, and the details were so accurate. I’m also a huge sucker for time travel. While this wasn’t my favorite series (nice vampires again, snooze), I did really enjoy this book, and I think it’s worth reading if for no other reason than some good ol’ Tudor witches.

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