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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I Re-Discovered a Love for Middle-Grade Books, and You Should Too!

I have noticed since I started book blogging that many (dare I say most?) book bloggers read and enjoy young adult novels. Just because a book is written for teens doesn’t mean adults can’t enjoy it, we say! These books tend to have quick pacing and cool concepts that nab our attention, and the writing is rarely too dense and literary. Just because they’re YA doesn’t mean they don’t have great themes and metaphor and the ability to say something about what it means to be human. And so we uplift these books as equally worthy of anyone’s time as “adult” books.

Yet, fewer bloggers do this for middle grade books.

Why? Many of the same arguments can be made for them. Just because a book is written for kids doesn’t mean adults can’t enjoy them! They tend to have quick pacing and cool concepts that grab your attention, and the writing is never too dense and literary. Just because they’re MG doesn’t mean they don’t have great themes and metaphor and the ability to say something about what it means to be human. So why do so few book bloggers read them?

One thing I’ve heard lately is “I would if I knew about those books, but nobody talks about them.” So it sounds like people rely on other bloggers to tell them about books, and since bloggers aren’t talking about MG books nobody reads them. I don’t really believe that, if I’m being honest with you all. I think the truth, if you took the time to self-reflect and examine, is that bloggers are less interested in middle grade books.

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ReRead, ReWrite, Burn Tag

Oooo goody, a chance for me to have an unpopular opinion! Yay!!!

So I saw this tag on Modern Witch’s Bookshelf back in June, and I’ve been wanting to do it ever since. Even though I’m doing a tag every week, I’m still so backed up… Whatever not the point. The point is, I’m really excited to talk about some of the books I’ve read this year, though I doubt I would actually burn any of them. LET’S DO THIS!

Also, go follow Samantha from Modern Witch’s Bookshelf if you don’t. She’s the bestest.


  • Randomly choose 3 books
  • For each group, decide which book to burn, which one to rewrite, and which to reread (like Marry, Boff, Kill).
  • Repeat until you completed three rounds (or six) (or however many you want to do).

So I’m going with books I’ve read so far this year, and choosing them using a random number generator. Here we go! Wee!

Round One

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Carry On, The Eyre Affair

ReRead: I feel like it’s almost cheating on this one, because I’ve re-read Half-Blood Prince dozens of times, and will keep reading it for my whole life. It’s my second favorite Potter book, and I love how well Rowling balanced the light-hearted moments with the heavy themes.

ReWrite: I love Rainbow Rowell, and I love the way she writes, but for a fantasy book there really wasn’t enough adventure for my taste. I would love to re-do this one with a little more adventuring and a little fewer whiteboards.

Burn: I don’t want to burn The Eyre Affair, but it just sort of got the short end of the stick here. I want to reread it less than HP, and I definitely wouldn’t rewrite it. *shrug*

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Review: The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Genres: Middle-Grade, Novel in Verse
Maturity Level: 3+
View on Goodreads

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

This might be the most upsetting book I have ever read. If animal cruelty is a big deal to you, this book is no walk in the park. I was sobbing in the first twenty pages, and that’s before the baby orphaned elephant was even introduced. But the ending was so triumphant, so wonderful, I sobbed my eyes out some more.

Guys, what an AMAZING book.

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