Wednesday 9 October 2013

Sex in YA (and why it's okay)

I know this is a topic that gets debated on pretty often so I thought I'd sound in on it. Because, why not?

I think it's important to look at what YA novels are overall: teenagers who are just trying to find their place in the world. I remember those horrid teen years where it felt like all the adults were against you, but you just knew that once you were one of them everything would be so much better. In the meantime, you had to deal with ruthless high school cliques who were never happy unless you were miserable, unrequited love for the hottest, sportiest, most popular boy in school who would never know your name, and the desperate grasp for financial independence.

I wouldn't go back there if you paid me, like, a gazillion dollars.

The thing is, young adults are learning all the social acts and games they need for the days when they are an adult and they are making a wild amount of mistakes in the process. Some of these mistakes are drug or alcohol-related, some of them cost best friends, and some (mostly, a lot) lead to giving up the cherry far too early.

It's life. It happens.

Now I don't want to sound all blasé about the loss of innocence that extra age-digit brings with it, but these things are fact. Yeah, a fair few of us manage to get by untainted but out of the people I know, it's probably around the 5-10% mark.

My point is, people want to read about things they can relate to. People look to books for more reasons than just escapism, sometimes they need that friend that can guide them through the hard times. And what better navigator than a peer who's been through the same trials and come out of them okay?

To those that don't agree, that's too bad. I'm not saying I want YA to be flat-out Fifty Shades territory, it should definitely keep the discretion and notion of love that most books out there hold, but I'll never agree that it should be omitted completely.

Think back to were you were 15+

Really try.

What was it on everyone's mind?

(And I'm not just talking about the boys.)

Thursday 3 October 2013

The Elite by Kiera Cass

America Singer is one of the Elite and Prince Maxon only has eyes for her.

If she wins the competition for his heart, she will leave her pre-destined life for a world of luxury. But the outcome is less than certain; the threat of rebel violence jsut beyond the palace walls is escalating into war and bitter rivals are ready to take her down.

And as America's feelings for Maxon grow stronger, ex-lover Aspen waits for her in the shadows. 

Where do her loyalties truly lie?

Now, there's no secret I'm a big, ol' fan of The Selection (Look, there it is on my sidebar!), because that book was just so darn awesome. Preppy, pretty, bitches all fighting it out for the Prince's heart, what more is there, really? Since it's been FOREVER since I wrote a book review, any of the ones coming aren't exactly new releases and most I've read a couple of times by now. But this is my blog so whatever.


At Face Value: I like that the covers haven't changed (I HATE when that happens) but I'm not a fan of this dress. I like that the girl looks fierce but I'm a bit over the dress-y covers.

High Five: I would love to say this one was as awesome as the first but it just missed the mark for me. I still enjoyed it, but probably only at the 3.5-finger level.

Favourite Quote:

"Maybe this isn't the right thing to say but I want you to know: when you ran for that stage, I've never been so proud of you in all my life. You've always been beautiful; you've always been talented. And now I now your morale compass is perfectly aligned, that you see clearly when things are wrong, and you do everything in your power to stop it. As a father, I couldn't ask for more."

The thing I really love about Kiera Cass's books is that fact I can't choose whose team I would join in the little love triangle of hers. Yes, I get that people hate love triangles these days (whatever) but they're great when they're actually done right. Don't ask me to choose between Maxon and Aspen because I can't even...

I think what made this book less enjoyable than it could have been was the predictability of what happened to Marlee, and the lack of fear over these supposed-vicious rebels. Yes, we see the destruction they've caused, but really? It feels very two-dimensional to me. These two things alone could have been made into something wickedly unreal but they just fell flat. 

That said, May is as adorable as ever, there's finally some more depth into the royal family, and America keeps on doing that jump-without-thinking thing she's so good at. 

I find it odd though, that even after a second book I'm still in the same place as I was after the first. Maxon is ahead by the teeniest amount and I'm just hoping neither of the lads has some horrible death ahead of them.

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Badass B*tches

During my rewatch of Downton Abbey, I realised that even though I love the show like crazy, there are so many characters that I just want to be put out of their misery. They're conniving, malicious, and in some cases brutally honest, and you know what? I love every minute of it.

So what is it about these guys that makes us both want to punch them and kiss them?

Downton Abbey doesn't have the monopoly on wickedly vindictive characters, either. Lady Mary might be my current favourite, but Queen Levana from Marissa Meyer's Cinder is a close second. And while is seems like the females are the only ones getting nasty, there are plenty of guys getting in on the action.

Obviously every protag needs an antag and all that, but when the antagonist becomes the one you're cheering for it gives the whole dynamic new meaning.

So what about you? Who are your favourite bad guys and what was it that drew you to them?