Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Review: Red Queen

There's something interesting about book recommendations. There's no way of exactly telling what another person might enjoy...  

Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard, chronicles the caste clashes between the lower Reds, menial laborers and crafters of the poverty-stricken Stilts, and the higher Silvers, gifted with lavish upbringings and special powers, who reside in the Silver Palace. Following 17-year-old Mare Barrow, whose Red lifestyle is left behind after the revelation of her own spectacular abilities -  in a very public fashion - it seems that the Silvers might not be as in control as they'd like... and they're willing to use Mare to remedy that.

So, about the book lending: my new friend/boss Callie lent me her copy, and immediately struck terror into my heart with a couple of comparisons, "I mean, it's okay. It's very much like The Selection, or The Hunger Games..."

Here's the problem: I've got unpopular bookish opinions when it comes to most popular YA, including not a very high estimation of either of those franchises. So, while I was incredibly grateful to be lent Red Queen, it also came wrapped up in quite a bit of leery red tape. 

That's why, at first, comparisons were all that I could focus on. The beginning of my reading notes are littered  with lots of sighs of "Ugh, this is so The Selection," and berating our lead, Mave, for the fact that she supports her family through stealing, as "very Katniss-worthy." However, it wasn't too long before those comparisons started branching out significantly: "getting a definite Queen Levana vibe from this one... do all evil YA queens attend the same evil YA finishing school?" and, inevitably, I brought Throne of Glass into it (like I need an excuse).

So, there's a competition to be crowned Princess. There's a very evil Queen. There's intense training practice sessions where teens try to kill each other. There's hunky princes who only want what's best for their kingdom, and there's a scrubby outsider girl who's managed to capture their attention. In other words, yes, Red Queen includes a lot of familiar elements for fans of YA fantasy and dystopian genres. But when you mix all of these delicious formats and familiarities into one narrative together, it makes a happy fruit salad of awesome.

At the same time as I was chopping the story piecemeal into portions I could easily sort, I felt overconfident in pigeonholing some of the characters. To save a little face, I will come straight out with this: every single one of the things I had predicted in my notes at the early part of the novel ended up being wrong. It was like being lulled into a false sense of security... I thought that because I was so familiar with the conventions of the genre, I knew what would be tied up in the narrative... which made a couple of disconcerting, surprise plot twists all the more spectacular.

And then, of course, there's this beauty among all the rebellion dialogue: "You want me to pin my entire operation, the entire revolution, on some teenaged love story?" In case you want to look it up, it's on page 316. Aveyard obviously knew what she was doing in bringing into play so many familiar elements... that's practically commentary on the entire YA fantasy-action-dystopian genre drama in one line.

On the flip side of characterization and plot elements, let's talk about how, once again, Aveyard surprises with comprehensive and complete world-building. It would be easy to rely on the narrative itself, or, like I said, previously conceived notions of the genre, but instead, Aveyard forms a fantasy realm that makes the multitude of story elements feel right at home.

I think the mark of truly effective fantasy construction, is that you are still left with questions at the end, not because you felt like they weren't answered, but because you're genuinely curious to learn more about what goes into the foundation of such a compelling narrative. For instance, what's the deal with dominant-recessive traits in this world? How can two princes both have similar powers when having separate moms, but others are accepting of the idea that two parents' powers can combine into something wholly different in another character?

Additionally, you wouldn't think that the intermixing of fantasy and urban and dystopian elements wouldn't mesh so well, but the world-building is, for the most part, pretty damn solid.

Final Verdict: My own new darling of the YA fantasy genre whose strength comes from how it plays on the familiarities of its readers, Red Queen excels with complete world-building and active self-awareness, which leads to some pretty tremendous plot twists. You under-sold it, Callie!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Funny Female Non-Fiction Farces 101

"Top Ten Tuesday" is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I've got to tell you, as an experienced collegiette, I got pretty excited about today's theme of "Top Ten Books if I Taught ___ 101," simply because it's a topic with which I've had quite a bit of experience... from Informatics to Fisheries, I've taken more than one introductory course, to fulfill basic requirements to supplement the fairly flexible English major.

However, choosing a topic upon which to build my imaginary syllabus wasn't so easy, because there's more than one topic I'd suppose myself to be a bit of an expert in (what can I say, I've always been a bit of a know-it-all! Probably one of the reasons my over-confident self keeps getting shown up in trivia games).

So, finally, my family helped me hit upon a killer favorite topic over lunch this past week, highlighting both my unabashed bias for both the hilarity of comedian memoirs, and the relatability of a pair of ovaries in their authors. From the basis of those two characteristics, comes the development of a new course, with me playing professor: Funny Female Non-Fiction Farces 101.

The things we hold to be of most narrative value in this class: truth - the veracity of the tale being told - and the laughability of the story... one of which is more necessary than the other. Your final thesis is to argue which element is most valuable. Choose at least two works from the list below as the basis for your argument. Bring on the mirth and mayhem!

1. Bossypants, Tina Fey. The basis of many Mother's Day/ Christmas Day/ Holiday presents alike. Because who doesn't find Tina Fey relatable? Especially for a bespectacled brunette like me, could there be any other?

2. Yes, Please, Amy Poehler. Comedienne-in-arms for the benefit of a women's right to tell a joke, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey make the perfect dynamic duo of the SNL circuit. Whose memoirs really bring out the belly laughs? Decide for yourself!

3. Why is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy Kaling. There is no limit to how much I wish this woman was my best friend. And that's without even taking into account her domination of TV-world... strictly from this collection alone, I know Kaling to be a righteous, riotous force to be reckoned with, and one we'll soon see again in her upcoming collection, Why Not Me?

4. and 5. Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang, and My Horizontal Life, Chelsea Handler. To be fair, I acknowledge that Chelsea Handler is not everyone's cup of tea. To be more fair, I think that a Chelsea Handler beverage comparison would skew much more to the spectrum of the alcoholic... maybe a swig of whiskey straight from the bottle. Regardless, if your day sucks, her stories will probably set you on the straight and narrow (or, conversely, send you straight to the liquor cabinet).

6. I Was Told There'd Be Cake, Sloane Crosley. As I have mentioned, Crosley's New Yawkian tales of mishaps and mayhem are perfect for a good guffaw... complete with a sideways glance at your own closet full of skeletons, just to make sure they're staying put for the time being.

7. You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), Felicia Day. OMG, more like #FeliciaBAE! A review of this particular set of memoirs is forthcoming, trust me, because even after completing her very self-effacing set of personal anecdotes, Day remains one of my top celebrity idols... probably because her version of normal is abnormal enough to skew to the standard of Internet norms. Does that compute?

8. Everything is Perfect When You're a Liar, Kelly Oxford. This woman, I swear. An irreverent potty-mouth Canadian and master-Tweeter, Kelly Oxford knows how to rock that which is brief and unbelievably funny.

9. Julie and Julia, Julie Powell. Okay, so obviously there's the classic Sesame Street tune playing in your head right now: "One of these things is not like the other..." But hear me out: this book is not only a great read and a good laugh, but pairs well with the movie based off the title... written by notable late/great female scribe Nora Ephron.

10. Okay, so you caught me. I don't have a number 10... because the really hilarious stories are the ones that come from your friends! Everyone's got a funny story to tell, right? (#copout. But if you leave a funny story about your or a female friend in the comments below that makes you think you'd be worthy of a bestseller like these ladies, I'll be sure to laugh. :) )

So, do you think you'd pass my class? Do you have a hilarious title you think belongs on this list? Or, better yet, a funny anecdote from your own life? Let me know, in the comments below!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Review: The Heir

Whenever I'm asked whether I have any "guilty pleasure" reads, I tend to respond with the conventional wisdom that if you genuinely enjoy something, you really shouldn't feel guilty about it (within the realm of reason, ya monsters). 

But then I remember this series... and I have to think, Why the hell do you keep doing this to yourself, Savannah? 

The Heir, by Kiera Cass, is the fourth novel in the Selection series, and the first to tackle the romantic entanglements of Eadlyn Shreave. Eadlyn is the daughter of America Shreave (no longer Singer), whose ascent to the throne of Ilea, was chronicled in the first three novels.

Friends of mine know that I've had a long and complicated history with this series, the most recent installment of which followed after I finished the third novel... back when we all thought it was going to be a trilogy. Long story short, I don't like it... but I sure can't help myself!

What can I say, I've always been a sucker for covers with pretty dresses on them since I first found Anna Godbersen's The Luxe series in the 7th Grade. Besides, what sorority woman doesn't love The Bachelor?? (Okay, stereotype. But I'd be lying if I said our Monday night post-chapter viewing parties aren't the stuff of legend.)

Well, first off, Eadlyn is a brat. Her brother is an idiot. They both reminded me of that one line in The Little Mermaid - "I'm sixteen years old; I'm not a child!" - as well as Ariel's proponent for making stupendously dumb decisions. And no, this is not commentary on the realm of YA as a whole, by any means; there are plenty of well-written leads in YA galore who make rational, reasonable choices, with understandable emotional response. The Shreave royal line just does not seem to fit into that category.

But seriously: Eadlyn is a mess. In terms of characterization, she is thoroughly unlikable, and I get that it demonstrates character development on her part if she starts out a brat and grows to be better, but the fact of the matter is, the ideas that drive her plot progression are inherently problematic to me.

She likes the power and responsibility of being Queen one day... but all her acknowledgement of that is in outward appearances. She is described as doing paperwork with her Dad, which means she's tackling some kind of legislation, but for the most parts, it's commentary on how she looks in the media, asking why her subjects don't love her, and, most of all, her carefully-calculated wardrobe choices.

That's right: because Eadlyn, more than wanting to be Queen, really yearns for the freedom of her twin brother, younger by 7 minutes... to follow her heart. Not in romance, which is what he's doing, but because what her real passion is, is fashion.

You're the first monarch in the royal line to assume the throne as a woman, and not only are you allowing yourself to be shunted into a relationship conducted in the eyes of the public at such a young age, but you also would consider abdicating for the sake of a designer career? Wow, America. I'm so sorry for everything I've ever said about you or Maxon, because your daughter is literally the worst.

I guess that kind of fits in line with some of my other frustrations with the book, in terms of where those two crazy kids had been up to since the original trilogy concluded... namely, how the kids that we had gotten to know as teenagers in the Selection trilogy don't really translate to the kinds of adults demonstrated in The Heir. I honestly never thought I'd miss them, and yet, America, Maxon, et al., seem to have been doing a lot of growing since we saw them as teens, but little explanation is made for why they now act the way they do.

Time jump without coordinating character progression =/= cohesive series structure. Not to mention the fact that such a seismic shift in the political structure of the world of Ilea didn't necessitate too much commentary either... beyond the fact that the citizens are still angry.

Most of what I took issue with was a lot tamer than what I had seen go so wrong in the original Selection trilogy, which, I think, is a good sign. Cass, like I've said before, is growing as a writer, and beyond the fact that I have thought both of her leading female characters so far have been pretty unsuccessful, the future of the series is still unwritten.

Lord knows that if I've stuck with it thus far...

Final Verdict: The most recent installment, the most improved installment, but also still pretty ill-constructed. If you've read the first three books, you probably might as well. (If you haven't gotten involved in this series yet, save yourself and turn back now!!!)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Novel and the Movie: Bridget Jones' Diary

So, remember that one time back in the Spring of 2013, when I both finished Dashiell Hammet's The Maltese Falcon and viewed it's movie counterpart in a matter of days, in order to write a College Fashion post by the end of the week?

Well, if you do recall - and if you do, good on you, because I sure as hell didn't - I ended up making it into its very own blog post, comparing and contrasting to find which of the two formats told my favorite version of the story. (Spoiler alert: The book won!)

Recently, I found myself tearing through Helen Fielding's chick lit classic Bridget Jones' Diary, and as soon as I swiped through to the last page on my Kindle, I knew I wanted to watch the movie as quickly as possible. Thankfully, it was on Netflix, and after I was done cozying up with my computer and a bag of chocolate covered potato hips, I was left with burning abs from laughing and plenty of crumbs to sweep off my comforter.

Which left me to ponder: which version of the story - the novel or the movie - really brought Bridget Jones to life?

The Novel

Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones' Diary has rightfully earned a reputation for being a relatable, humorous take on Singledom, hilariously depicting the London city life of a 30-something woman who just can't seem to get her life together. While Bridget attempts to parlay suggestive flirting with her boss into a real relationship, and avoids the weirdos her mom keeps attempting to throw into her path, she learns a lot about life, love, and losing weight... but not enough to prevent her from making the same mistakes time and again. 

I have a note in my book notebook, at the five page mark, that says "Already the most relatable mother-daughter relationship I've ever read." A couple of pages later, and I don't want to put this book until I'm finished with it. 

It's completely insane how the novel manages to be both so relatable - being that I, outwardsly, am almost nothing like our heroine, but can completely identify with about a million of her features - as well as balls-to-the-wall unexpected. The humor isn't rational or realistic, and yet, readers are left feeling like Bridget might not be just like them, but definitely like that one friend of theirs.

I couldn't help but message my sister some of the funny parts as I was reading through them, including one quote I almost want to get framed so I can look at it every day:

"It struck me as pretty ridiculous to be called Mr. Darcy and to stand on your own looking snooty at a party. It's like being called Heathcliff and insisting on spending the entire evening in the garden, shouting 'Cathy!' and banging your head against a tree." 

You see what I mean? Beautiful. 

Another surprise feature that I loved about the novel, was the formatting: it's told in epistolary style, which makes it more relatable and personable as well, especially due to the fact that it's exact same way I used to format my own journals! 


  • God, this guy is such a jerk. No wonder Hugh Grant plays him in the movie. 
  • This seems like an awful lot of cigarettes. Did people still smoke in the '90s? 
  • Adult life sounds terrible. 
  • There is a lot of food mentioned in this book, and almost none of it sounds very good.
  • "'I know we're all psychotic, single and completely dysfunctional and it's all done over the phone,' Tom slurred sentimentally, 'but its a bit like a family, isn't it?'" (AKA, the book in a sentence.) 

The Movie

The movie maintained a pretty solid preservation of the humor of the novel, especially in repeating key pieces of dialogue and recognizable "Bridget-isms;" however, I did notice some of it was rearranged in order to better accompany the movie's flow. 

The movie also played up the Pride and Prejudice undertones more than the book did, which I loved. Even the "it is a truth universally acknowledged" line was given more of a prominence (then again, that might have just been because it was so recognizable). 

Those weren't the only changes made for the movie: I feel like all of the vibrant characterizations and zany antics were smoothed out and toned down for its big screen depiction. Maybe it was just too dramatic, or the dynamics of the book wouldn't have been as funny translated into visual humor, but the book's soap operatic nature was one of the things I loved most about it. It definitely went beyond moving Mark Darcy's character more into the foreground... I especially missed the obtuse insanity that was Bridget's clueless, dramatic mother.

In terms of being used to play up the attitude of the film, the soundtrack was completely on point. And I think every film can benefit from a man-fight in an Italian restaurant set to "It's Raining Men."


  • So far, so good, so late '90s...
  • How the hell are Colin Firth and Hugh Grant still so attractive? 
  • OHMYGOD Moaning Myrtle! 
  • Hugh Grant has only one personality setting and it is "charming a**hole" 
  • Crazy rom com move: the zany accidental hairdo 

The Verdict 

My winner for this one, has got to be the Novel! (Wow, two for two! Am I biased?)

I just think that the humor present in the book was a lot more over-the-top than the movie, and exactly what I was looking for in this kind of reading material. 

While Zelwegger might have been nominated for an Oscar for her performance as Bridget, I thought the novel really helped you get in the mindset better when you were literally reading her diary, and I liked some of the main characterizations more when they were described on her own terms. 

There was quite a lot of humor and giggly, dizziness that carried through them both, though: the hilarity, the happy ending, and everything in between. And regardless of format, I hate the "Tarts and Vicars" scene, book or movie, but at least it can confirm the fact that a Playboy bunny outfit appears to be extremely effective in identifying times of heartbreak and emotional resurgence, in terms of both Bridget and Elle Woods. 

Which would you have chosen? What should I read and watch next? Let me know, in the comments below! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Girls in New York: Double Review: I Was Told There'd Be Cake and Brooklyn Girls

I've been living in the glittering city of Seattle for a little over three years now, which makes me feel like I have a lot in common with some of the very funny women I see in TV today, who happen to share an affinity for their own metropolis of origin. 

Are you a Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, or Miranda? Or, more importantly, are you more Broad City than Sex in the City

Then here are a couple of reads that might appeal to you! (btw, Cosmopolitan has dictated that I'm a Charlotte. Just for future reference.) 

2195289I Was Told There'd Be Cake, by Sloane Crosley, is a series of essays, spelling out her misadventures in early adulthood in NYC, from learning the ropes at a new job with a hellbeast boss, to experiencing one of the worst Moving Days of her life, and everything in between. This peek at the life of a twenty-something still trying to get her bearings in a city that never stops moving, highlights everything from dating disasters to early-onset nostalgia to reflecting on her family's Twin Peaks habit.

From her very first essay - detailing her innate embarrassment over a steadily-growing collection of plastic ponies as a result of mentally-ingrained sarcasm reflexes - I knew I was going to enjoy this book. Highlighting Crosley's job disasters and friendship disasters and disasters of all shapes and sizes, I will always deeply appreciate the funny women we've got in current media, who do their best to show you that even if you mess up, it's because everyone's already a mess. 

There's that subset of uniquely funny New York-ian writers who skewer the city with a sarcastic female bent. The genre has done a lot of growing since Sex and the City... thank God for those brassy broads and daring dames a la Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, and the women who've been raised on that kind of humor. I'm glad we have women who have altered this focal point from one of glance-askance glamour and inherent chic-ness, to the kind of relatable dropped-the-birthday-cake humans that are available at more of the world's metropolises instead of just the Big Apple.

Overall, this is one of the good ones. Uproariously funny and relatable - not because you've gone through these kinds of problems, but because you can totally imagine that kind of thing happening to you or your friends - Sloane Crosley's I Was Told There'd Be Cake is amazing.

Final Verdict: If you're a fan of Amy Schumer's movie Trainwreck, you'd like this book.

On the other hand, we've got Gemma Burgess' Brooklyn Girls: the first in a ficional series, about a group of girls who've come into an NYC brownstone, trying to make their own way without losing a heel. This first installment, following the bread crumb trail of scattered Captain Morgan bottles and ill-advised Facebook pics of attempting-to-reform party princess Pia, involves a dilapidated food truck, skinny salad lunches, and a Smart Water-drinking loan shark. 

Like I Was Told There'd Be Cake, there's quite a bit of references to contemporary New Adult-typified circumstances - like trying to differentiate yourself from your parents after college, or contending with competitive job processes - but without any of the raunchy romantics that usually coincide with that particular fiction genre. Instead, we have a mysterious British Prince Charming-type figure, who is conveniently placed at specific points along Pia's journey and is just constantly bumping into her, which, I'm sure, always happens in New York. Right?

This is not a very good book to read when you're hungry, because, true to twenty-something life, a lot of what these girls do is eat food. Like I said, the primary plot of the novel involves the creation of a "skinny salad" food truck, and while that hardly sounds delicious in the slightest, there are plenty of other food truck shenanigans, as well as group dinners of sushi, copious amounts of Italian food, etc. to remind you you've not eaten since that KIND bar you called lunch.

While the general business model of owning and operating a food truck was pretty realistically spelled out, the processes by which Pia manages the actual business of doing business are not: from making deals with a loan shark in order to spontaneously buy a food truck which she is able to fix up and take on the road in a manner of days, which turns out to not only be a miracle success, but something she is able to parlay, by the novel's happy ending, into an incredibly lucrative corporate career? It's a New York Dream, start to finish.

Final Verdict: Jon Favrea's 2014 indie food truck fiesta Chef, this is not. However, it is a hot dish of fun food and city shenanigans for the single girl, complete with a happily ever after at the end.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Review: Life After Life

I'd had this book on my TBR shelf for a while, and was looking for a good time to read such a hyped - and mammoth! - novel. Therefore, why not summer vacation, right? 

Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson, follows the story of Ursula, born on a snowy winter's day in 1917, who dies shortly after birth... and then is reborn again, given another chance at life robbed so quickly. Then another, and another. In fact, every time Ursula dies, regardless of whether that point is at the age of 4 or 40, she gets another chance. Set in a time period that intersects with WWII, the choices Ursula makes impact a lot more than just her own life, and it's up to her to make those decisions, even if she's not entirely aware of the consequences... and even when she's made the same mistakes before.

I used to think that being immortal would suck, because you'd lose your friends and family and just outlive everything you cared about. But I'd like to revise that statement: living your life over and over and over again - in the manner of our narrator and main character - seems like it would kind of suck, too.

(Then again, that might also just be the time period talking. Books set in Europe with a focus in WWII probably have a solid stake in making it seem like life kind of sucks in general.)

Even when Ursula's life has gone fairly well, or successfully - she's lived past the age of 60, she's got a family to dote on, she's accomplish major goals - it starts all over again, regardless... which just begs the question, what is the purpose of her life anyways? If Ursula is slated to be reborn the very second of her death, then what exactly is the final goal of her living in the first place? What is she supposed to achieve?

Basically, it's like dying over and over in a video game that doesn't have any primary directive. In that special way, it definitely raised a couple of philosophical questions in myself, as to what I was trying to achieve in my own life. Nothing to make you rethink mortality, the inevitability of death and the inscrutability of life's purpose like a little light reading on a warm summer's day.

But actually: there are so many book lists out there touting titles that "will really make you think," and this is definitely one of them. I read this book a handful of weeks ago, actually, but there are still bits and pieces floating around in my head that I can call to mind almost immediately. Ursula didn't just live one life, but many, and thus transforms her into many different characters, with different views of the world, different friends, etc. It's a pretty awesome thing to watch how those transformations come about.

As an after-effect of Ursula's chronic habit of dying, the book is oftentimes told in a non-chronological order, in a manner of speaking. While this sometimes made it a little confusing to follow, it also lent it its uniquely circular flow and direction. The overall composition of it was very well-constructed - as this kind of narrative effect would probably cause confusion in most readers, but it managed a good cadence, for the most part - and I was really, really impressed as to how everything was laid out so gradually. I want to know how Atkinson managed it, because I've got to figure a wall full of index cards factored in somehow.

Final Verdict: Windy, plot-twisty, and almost meditative in its circular narrative, this is a good thinking book. Maybe not a beach read, but something that should definitely be sitting on your bedside table come Fall.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Fairy Tale Retellings

"Top Ten Tuesday" is a bookish meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

So, I was glancing through my Bloglovin feed this morning, mug of tea in hand and eyes blearily scanning for something of merit to read over breakfast, and wouldn't you know it, seeing today's TTT theme woke me up faster than true love's kiss woke Sleeping Beauty. I know it might be a little bit late in my usual Top Ten posting habits, but honestly, I wasn't really planning on tackling a post today, until I knew I had to get involved with today's topics!

So, without further ado, here's some of my absolute faves from one of my favorite subgenres, divvied up according to the age at which I read them for the first time!

Elementary School

Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine
Literally everything else by Gail Carson Levine that was in our school's library

Yeah, yeah, so Ella Enchanted is pretty much on everyone's lists today, but it's because it was a pretty universally loved book (and lead to a very hotly-debated movie among my bookish friends)! But what about Gail Carson Levine's other retellings? Does anyone remember those little novelette-type books, that came with adorable pastel-colored book jackets, and were eventually released in one big collection??? What were they called?

Middle School

Once Upon a Time YA series, especially the ones by Debbie Viguie (like Midnight Pearls and Scarlet Moon)
I am absolutely on the look-out for these, as our library has sold them to make room for all the shiny new paperbacks that have tromped out the old paperbacks I read all the time, including these two titles especially. The original covers are stunning...

The Book of Lost Things, John Connolly
This book was WAY too scary for chicken-like little me to be reading at that age, which makes me want to revisit it all the more now, just to check up on whether it's really as creepy as I remember.

Princess Ben, Catherine Gilbert Murdock
I ended up buying this one for my Kindle while it was on an Amazon sale a couple years ago. I think I've reread it a handful of times since then, and I enjoy it every time.

Sisters Grimm series, Michael Buckley
I'm a big fan of using your younger siblings as an excuse for your enjoyment of things you'd otherwise be too "old" for, like Disney Channel, and technically-too-young-for-your-reading-level series like this one, about two sisters who move to a town with their Grandmother, and find our they're heirs to the Grimm dynasty of fairy-tale detectives. 

High School  

Cinder, Marissa Meyer
I love that the Lunar Chronicles series has been on almost every list I've looked at today. Tacoma resident, fairy tale enthusiast, best seller? Marissa Meyer can do no wrong. 

Splintered, A. G. Howard
I get weirdly protective of the history of Alice in Wonderland sometimes - I did a 12-page research paper on Charles Dodgson my senior year of high school, and I've never quite let go - but I genuinely enjoyed this title. I should probably read the rest of the series. 

Beastly...and anything else by Alex Flinn
I am astounded and disappointed that Alex Flinn didn't show up on more lists today. From Beastly, to Towering, to Cloaked, to A Kiss in Time, I have genuinely had a great time with each title I've read.

Avalon High, Meg Cabot
Yeah, there's no way I could say "high school" without having the name Meg Cabot somewhere near it. I don't know if King Arthur counts as a fair tale, but I'm making it count, because I still love this book. 


I'm getting massive amounts of reading done this summer, which is great and everything, but it says a lot that just thinking about some of the titles on this list whipped me straight back to summers all the way back to elementary school. 

Taking the worn paperbacks down from the meager YA section (which wasn't really a thing back then; it was mostly Fear Street books and timeworn teen romance novels that look like they could have been ordered from the back of Tiger Beat in a past decade, all stuffed into a couple wire racks hooked into the wall), and carrying them home in the bag I won on a Summer Reading Challenge a couple of years before (and I still have that bag), was a weekly ritual for me.

Now, I'm going into my Senior Year in College, and it's nice to know that these titles still hold so much meaning for me, even this many years later. Tale as old as time, I guess. 

What was on your Top Ten today?