Discussion Post: How Pride & Prejudice Does Enemies-to-Lovers Different Than Modern Day YA Books

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Pride & Prejudice is THE enemies to lovers book— in the sense that it was published much before all the 21st century novels with this evergreen trope.

But then the question arises, is enemies to lovers really evergreen?? Personal and probably unpopular opinion alert: I feel, especially in the last few weeks when I’ve been on a YA contemporary binge (owing to the summer-y weather, obviously), that this trope is slowly being diluted in newer releases and/or being forced upon the story without any apparent reason.

No hate on the trope obviously, quite the opposite. It is, in theory, one of my favourite tropes, my one true weakness, the cause of something going into my eye and causing it to water (i’m not crying you’re crying) while reading and the reason for my poor half bitten nails.

And there have been plenty of books which have executed it in ALL of it’s glory if not more (*side eyes These Violent Delights, Six of Crows, We Hunt The Flame etc*), Pride & Prejudice included, so please note that I’m definitely NOT referring to these books when I roast certain aspects of the 21st century adaptation of enemies to lovers.

Lately I keep finding new releases (thankfully, the number is still much lower than the books who have brought it honour) with character relationships that almost bring shame to the grandeur of our beloved trope. And after having spent 11 hours of my life listening to P&P and rooting for Elizabeth and Darcy all those hours more than I’ve probably ever rooted for someone, I feel more than *ahem* accomplished to compare the execution of enemies to lovers in this majestic classic to the one in recent YA novels.

In true loving-anything-with-bullet-points fashion, a list of some of the merits of enemies to lovers in Pride & Prejudice!

Note: This does not contain any major spoilers so even if you haven’t read Pride and Prejudice, you’re all good! In fact, I might just convince you to read it by the end of the post ;))

There’s a compelling and realistic build-up to the tension. There are actual, legitimate reasons why our main couple dislike each other. They get off on the wrong foot because Darcy is seen as unpleasant and arrogant and Elizabeth as a lowly girl having poor connections by the other. Circumstances further heighten Elizabeth’s dislike— gossip about him having been cruel, his interfering in her sister’s marriage etc.
Certainly not like some books where random people look at each other the first time and declare the other to be their sworn enemy after NO conversation at all and like zero reason except for the fact that the author thought “oh the people like enemies to lovers?? let me force squeeze it into my book somehow”. I kid you not, this ACTUALLY happened in a book I read *cough* tokyo ever after *cough*

There’s a long period of time for feelings to evolve, and it’s actions that cause them to reconsider their initial hatred. The entire shebang of Lizzy and Darcy meeting and finally getting together spans about a year I think. Also, they were frequently miles away and not staring each other in the face ALL THE TIME. And it was after Darcy’s sudden change in behaviour, the clearing of the bad name that had been put on him that Elizabeth began to doubt whether he deserved her disregard. So just like there were reasons for them to hate each other, there were also valid reasons for them to overcome the hate.
The eternal conundrum in YA, I find, is how to make them fall in love? The answer apparently has not yet been discovered. Usually it’s a few days of forced proximity, one sudden kiss and BOOM they’re in love. Like girl he’s exactly the way he was before so why do you suddenly like him?? (*cough* not here to be liked *cough*)I now almost believe proximity will make anyone fall in love with anyone. (Well considering the situations authors put their characters into where they have to be near each other the entire time, I guess it’s not really the characters’ fault. I mean, I’d “fall in love” with my sworn enemy if it meant I could go atleast an hour without having to see their stupid face soo)

The absence of physical intimacy further brought out the chemistry between them. (a huge thanks to kaya @afictionalbookworm for suggesting this point!) It wasn’t like they could even touch each other because propriety and all BUT. Instead of lessening their chemistry, this “fallback” enhanced it because we could actually see their bond in their words without it having to be obvious with them getting physical. I’d call it a win for Miss Austen.

Society required that they be civil to each other. And boy was it entertaining to watch. Sure, we all love sassy banter and knife-to-throat scenes, but being forced to be polite and exchange pleasantries with someone you hate?? It was almost equally entertaining. Though I felt a little guilty sometimes for enjoying their immense discomfort, Elizabeth’s polite badassery and Darcy’s deadpan and brutally honest statements got me through it.
For once it was not like our “enemies” could actually kill each other (fantasy novels, looking at you) or even exchange outright insulting words and this was, surprise surprise, actually refreshing.

The couple did not always reciprocate each other’s sentiments. For some reason I haven’t seen a lot of one-sidedness in modern YA?? The couple are generally unanimous in their enemity and unanimous in their love declarations later. In P&P however, we have hate at first sight from one and a general dislike but of much less intensity from the other at the beginning. Then there’s a growing but unrequited affection that is only returned at the very end of the book. And yeah, this actually sounds more realistic than what we see in YA, because I don’t think when someone says “I’ve always loved you” the other ALWAYS replies “oh yes I have too”. Rejection exists dude. Even Mr. Collins knew that.

Have you read Pride & Prejudice?? What did you think of Lizzy and Darcy’s relationship? Do you also feel like some of the recent YA releases are not entirely doing justice to enemies to lovers?? Let’s have an open discussion in the comments!

Advertisement

Trends In YA Murder Mysteries // the one in which I try to sound knowledgeable

I’ve said it before (uh not really but you get the point) and I’ll say it again – 21st century murder mysteries will never be able to beat a good old Christie (personal opinion, please don’t come at me with axes).

I think one reason to this would be that a lot of recently published murder mysteries that I’ve read have certain elements and tropes in common, and with time I’ve just come to expect and predict them. Not that they’re all bad though. And sometimes they’re even executed well. But it’s the repetitiveness that I don’t really appreciate.

But if I got down to my self-contradictory opinions on mysteries, we’d be here all day so without further ado, let me present some common trends I’ve noticed in several recently published YA murder mysteries. Here we go! (and yes I’ve self-created some random quotes to go with each trend to get the point across)

— “maybe she got what she deserved”: villainizing the victim —

Prepare to get the shock of your lives, because the golden boy/perfect girl who was murdered wasn’t exactly that innocent. *GASP* Yes they had lots of secrets of their own, as the protagonist of the story slowly (agonizingly slowly) discovers. Even the victim’s friends admit that their friend wasn’t as perfect and sweet as everyone thought he was. If I was paid every time the victim turned out to be a liar, cheat, or something worse, I could set up my own bookshop today. (yeah so I exaggerated a tiny bit, so what?)

Okay, dramatics aside, I can’t really hold a grudge against this trope (but I do) because in a way it makes sense for the author to use this because 1. that means the victim did have enemies after all 2. and that means MORE suspects for the protagonists to tackle. How exciting.

— “stop looking for me”: threatening letters and mails —

Somehow as soon as the protagonist starts investigating, the murderer always gets to know and decides to compromise his identity by messaging threats to, traditionally, stop prodding or else…

I’ll be honest, I don’t even have much of an opinion on this one. One one hand I guess it does increase the stakes because now the protagonist’s life is on the line as well, but on the other… can we ever have a sensible murderer who tries less to deter the protagonist, and harder to, you know, not get caught?

— not going to the police because initially “i don’t know enough” and later “i know too much” —

It is perfectly reasonable to hesitate to go to the police initially due to lack of evidence. And apparently, according to the unspoken tradition of murder mysteries, it is also perfectly fine to not go to the authorities due to excess of evidence.

We also have these practical friends of the protagonist who frequently suggest going to the police with whatever they know throughout the story. But every time the main character shrugs this off with a “let us be completely sure first” or later a “i’m too deep in now, i HAVE to do this myself

— “she was better than everyone at everything”: the jealousy factor —

We always have these jealous friends/classmates/siblings of the victim to whom all suspicions are immediately directed because they had the motive. But more often than not, they are not actually the murderers. We get a “yes she was a snob and i didn’t like her, but I couldn’t possibly murder her!” and that’s it.

— secrets *said with jazz hands and ominous voice* —

I’m going to be extremely frank here- everyone has secrets. No one lives with their entire life displayed in glowing letters on a billboard.

Murder mysteries make a huge deal out of secrets. “oh my gosh he’s hiding something” leads to the immediate conclusion of “he’s the murderer”. Often the synopsis has something along the lines of “but such and such character has their own secrets…” in an attempt to sound ominous and intrigue the readers.

— “so it had been him all along”: circling round back to the first suspect —

This is something I’ve been seeing frequently of late. Say the protagonist suspects person X first, then realizes he’s wrong and moves on to Y, then to Z and so on. Finally, following a trail of clues and all, they’re back to person X. Now there’s a 50% chance that X is actually the murderer and 50% that it is someone else altogether.

____________

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder (A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, #1)
Truly Devious (Truly Devious, #1)
How We Fall Apart (How We Fall Apart, #1)
Dead Girls Can't Tell Secrets

And that was it for this post! (i can’t pretend to be knowledgeable and experienced forever now, can i?) But hold up, you might say, Rachel are we even talking about the same murder mysteries because I have literally never seen these trends in the ones I’ve read?? So I’ve thought up a solution for that – I’ve shown you some of the murder mysteries I’ve read recently, the ones that I had in mind while writing these trends!

Do you read murder mysteries? Have you noticed these trends too? Your favourite mysteries?? (please give me recs because i seem to be having a bad experience with murder mysteries lately)

~ Rachel

Discussion Post: Are Book Reviews Impactful? + Tips For Writing Better Reviews!

So. The first thing we’re doing after my brief hiatus is a discussion post! Exciting right? (technically the last thing before my hiatus was also a discussion but we are overlooking that). Let’s get started right away!

Most of us book bloggers are reviewers at heart. But review posts are also the posts which require a lot of work from our side, because not only do we have to sit and write an entire post, we have to read a book and form opinions before that! This sometimes causes us to wonder, “are our reviews actually making an impact? like does anyone even care what we thought about a book?”

I personally think that yes, book reviews are really helpful, not just to people who have not read the book, but also to those who have. Presenting… *drumroll* a list (yay lists!!) of reasons why reviews can be helpful.

Ways In Which Book Reviews Help Different People
  • For those who haven’t read that particular book: Reviews can be the extra weight required for tipping the scales in the book’s favour (or against it) for someone who is trying to decide whether or not to read the book. In my case, I often find that a book has certain tropes (like found family!), or maybe a very unique protagonist, or a twist-y plot etc etc through reviews, and that makes makes me add it to my tbr!
  • For those who have read the book: I don’t know about you, but many a times after finishing a book, I can’t really understand how exactly I feel about it or how to describe it to someone else. So I read reviews of the book and check whether or not I agree with the reviewer in certain aspects. They say – 2d characters? Ah yes I thought so too. They say – amazing worldbuilding? Hmm I don’t think so, it was lacking in several aspects.
    Basically what I want to say is that reviews can be a way to assess how we ourselves felt about a book.
  • For publishers and authors: This one is pretty obvious. Reviews create buzz in the bookish community, and it is through reviews that people come to know about a book and can read it themselves and appreciate the author’s work.

So we’ve established that book reviews certainly are important. Now, what are some things to keep in mind while writing reviews? How can we write better reviews that make even more impact? Here’s a list of things that has helped me write better reviews over time (i’m still learning though)

note: some of the below tips can apply to all sorts of reviewing platforms like goodreads, but I’ve made this list keeping in mind blog posts, so most tips might be specific only to review posts on your blogs. also, all these are purely my opinion, and I do not wish to offend anyone, because after all, each one’s writing style is different!

Tips On Improving Your Book Reviews
  • Share your thoughts on the book, not a summary. Back when I started blogging, my “reviews” were basically a summary of the plot of the book. I realized with time that the audience does not want to know a summary, they get that from the synopsis, rather they want to know how I as the reader felt about the book.
  • Form an opinion first. After finishing the book, gauge your overall feelings about it. It would not do to write a review not knowing exactly how you feel about a book because your confusion will show in the review.
  • Include quotes, or even creative content inspired by the book like moodboards and playlists! These make your review posts more attractive. Quotes can be really powerful. And Moodboards, for example, can tell you about the vibes of a book through a single picture, and this would be idea for someone who does not want to read long paragraphs!
  • Use paragraph breaks and separators. There’s no way I’d ever like to read a review in one loooong paragraph that looks more like an essay. Keep your paragraphs short (some can be even 3-4 lines! shorter paras are better than longer ones) and use separators after making a point, for example if you’ve talked about why you loved the characters of a book in 4 paragraphs, insert a separator before proceeding to talk about how the worldbuilding could have been better.
  • Highlight key points. More often than not, people like to skim read long reviews instead of reading them through, so they’ll atleast have some takeaway from your review in the form of those bold sentences. Even if somebody is not skimming the post, highlighted words and phrases stand out to them and they remember those better than the rest of the review.

Other than that, I’d just say be yourself and don’t hesitate to share your opinion while writing reviews!

Do you think reviews are effective? Which is your favourite review you’ve ever written? (self-appreciation is important!) Mine is this one – Book Review: The Ones We’re Meant To Find by Joan He. Drop your links in the comments!

~ Rachel

Discussion Post: Reviewing Books // how it has affected my reading, the kind of books I like to review, and a look into my reviewing process!

Hello people!

Why don’t we start with the elephant in the room – Rachel is writing a discussion?? Yes, yes I am. I know it has been a loooong while since I wrote a proper one, but blame inspiration. It never struck. Anywayy, onto the real stuff now!

I think most of us book bloggers, including me of course, started our book blog primarily to review books, and though we do so much more on our little corners of the internet now, book reviews still remain the soul of our blog.

I read avidly since I was really young, but didn’t always review books, in fact I’m quite a newbie as I started seriously reviewing only in the beginning of 2021. And while obviously my reviews have improved a LOT over time (please don’t read my earlier ones, they’re really cringey), today I’m gonna be talking about how reviewing has changed how I read, my take on the controversial “compulsory reviewing”, and in the second part of the post we look at my detailed reviewing process. (Oh and also, I’ll be asking myself questions since I couldn’t get anybody else to do that for me. Let’s see how that goes)

Do I read differently now that I review what I read?

Definitely. Blogging has impacted my reading in a big way. Not only am I open to more genres, the expectation of reviewing my reads has caused me to read more critically. In order to judge a book fairly, I must pay more attention to specifics like character development, the magic system, the worldbuilding etc, while also keeping enjoyment as a factor. Which brings us to the next big question.

Do I review every book I read?

Nope. Negative. (In fact, in the first quarter of 2021, I hardly reviewed any of the books I read!)
To make this appealing to math geeks, I selected 20 of my recent reads, and counted how many of them I’ve reviewed on my blog and/or on Goodreads. It came out as 11, which accounts for 55% of my reads. While that is definitely not accurate for the entire year (which is approximately when I started reviewing), it is a pretty average number for the ratio of the books I’ve been reviewing to the ones I read. And yes, while I’d like to increase this figure, I am happy with it.

In my opinion, no book blogger should feel pressured to review every single book they read. It’s completely fine if you don’t have much to say about a book. Picking up this thread, let’s move to the next major question – what can be the reason I don’t want to review a particular book?

Which kind of books do I like to write reviews for? When don’t I want to review a book?

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll see a plethora of positive reviews and barely any negative ones (scratch that. only 2 negative ones till date.) So yes, we can conclude that I love writing reviews for books I loved. I mean, of course, who wouldn’t like to scream about their newest obsessions right?

But then it is often 5 star books that are also hardest to review because sometimes… well… you just loved the book but you don’t know why exactly. Or atleast you don’t have enough words to write 10 paragraphs with. Same goes for some 4 star reads – I rate them 4 stars from instinct, because something is missing – but I have no clue what that something is. Hence, no review for such books from me.

On most occasions I find it easiest to write reviews for books I rated between 2 to 3 stars because then I have a healthy balance of things I liked and those I didn’t to include in my review.

My reviewing process!

#1 Just after I finish a book, I try to gauge my overall feelings towards it – whether I disliked it, liked it, really liked it, LOVED it… you know the thing. This is the most crucial, and sometimes the hardest, part because ultimately the way I feel towards a book decides the tone and vibes of my review.

#2 I write down pointers about the book in a curated list – this can be anything from a pros and cons list to a list of tropes featured in the book, or some general pointers about what stood out about that book. I like to do this immediately after finishing the book because the details are fresh in my mind.

#3 When I finally sit down to write the review a few days later, I make sure to refer my list. Then I organize the flow in my head – like I am gonna talk about the worldbuilding first, the characters next and the tropes later – that sort of a thing.

#4 Finally, I form complete sentences from my rough ideas. It is ironic how writing the actual review is the easiest part after doing all of the above things.

#5 And at the very end, I insert quotes and separators, and the synopsis and details – basically giving the entire thing a fine finish, and tada – you have a review ready! (whoa I really managed to make it all sound so easy)

Has reviewing books affected your reading in any way? What kind of books do you find hardest to review? What is your reviewing process? Let’s discuss in the comments!

~ Rachel

Discussion Post: Appreciation For Book Bloggers // Let’s Talk Bookish

Hiya everyone! I am back with a discussion post, but this time it revolves around a topic from Let’s Talk Bookish.

For those who aren’t aware, Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books and Dani @Literary Lion. Today’s topic is – Appreciation For Book Bloggers. Of course, this is not something that is rarely discussed in the bookish community, but it is an important thing and I would like to put forward my thoughts on this as well.

………………

When you take so much time and effort (and sometimes even money) creating a blog and regularly writing new content, it is natural to expect some appreciation for your efforts. Taking my personal example, I started off very ambitiously and wrote my first couple of posts in the same month I created this blog. And then I saw that my posts got hardly 1 or 2 views, and this made me question my decision of starting a blog in the first place. If nobody is interested in reading what I write, then why should I? This was something of my mindset then. I got quite discouraged, and discontinued writing anything on this blog for a couple of months.

Probably because of the blessing of the bookish gods, one fine day after 2-3 months of creating this blog, I published another post. This one too was a major flop, but I this time I kept going. Slowly, I made friends here, people started reading my content and interacting with me. Even today, each of your views and comments on my posts makes my day. So yes, my readers make me feel appreciated.

And there are also days when I feel particularly desolate, when I feel that my content is under-appreciated because only about 20 people read my posts. But then I am still pretty lucky to have these people, no matter the number, who always are so sweet and supportive. They encourage my to continue writing, and it is because of them that I have grown as a blogger.

………………

Everyday more and more people are taking conscious efforts to promote and support book bloggers. I have come across many such initiatives and it makes me happy to see all the new creative ways people are finding to recognize book bloggers. For instance, Sofii has created The Definitive Book Blogger List over at her blog, and it is such a cool idea to compile a list of book bloggers! Thank you Sofii for this amazing initiative!!

I’ve observed that it is generally book bloggers who appreciate the work of their peers the most. Since I am a book blogger myself, I relate to that feeling of elation when someone posts a positive comment etc on my content, hence I try to do that for other bloggers as much as I can. That’s probably the case with most of you, right?

………………

I can’t speak for others, but I know that the only compensation I want from the book industry in return for my work on this blog is for book bloggers like me to be recognized as an important part of this industry. We constantly highlight new books and authors, discuss important topics that readers should be aware of, give trigger and content warnings to readers and so much more. Still I feel that the role of book bloggers is often dismissed as trivial. That needs to change.

And with that, I have said everything I wanted to. I do realize this discussion is quite short when compared to my others, but that was probably because I was pretty blunt and said what needed to be said in a few lines.

Do you feel appreciated as a book blogger? What more do you think can be done to encourage book bloggers? Chat with me in the comments, I’d love to have a friendly discussion!

See ya!

Discussion Post: Role of Parents in MG and YA fantasy (Part 2) + 8 book recommendations with active parent roles!

Hello guys, how are you all today?

You can find part 1 of this discussion HERE . I would suggest that you first read the first part if you haven’t and then come back here. But if you don’t want to, that’s absolutely fine, you can continue reading this post. (also, if you’re on WP reader, please continue reading this post here to enjoy better formatting)

In the first part, we talked about how a lot of MG and YA novels ignore parents, and often have the absent and/or dead parent tropes. I also shared the results of a survey I conducted, which revealed that most readers do not prefer such novels, instead they would rather have books where the parents do have a role to play in the story.

I personally agree with the majority. It is really important for MG and YA books to portray parent-child relationships, not only because most young readers will find the experiences relatable, but also because it is crucial for children (as well as adults) to understand the benefits of a healthy parent-child relationship and to learn to steer clear of unhealthy ones. If I have to make a list on the advantages of showing parental relationships in books, here’s how it would look like –

  • As already mentioned, most readers will find the experiences of the protagonists quite relatable, and this will add to their enjoyment of the book.
  • It gives the reader a chance to reflect upon his/her own relationship with their parents/children and judge whether it is healthy or not.
  • The reader (especially if young) gets exposure to the different relationships parents and children share.
  • It adds a little realistic element to the story, therefore getting the readers invested into the story and help them in empathizing with the characters all the more.

Parents definitely should have some role in the books, and this does not mean only biological parents. Adopted parents add to the story even more, don’t you think? The Book Thief and Keeper of The Lost Cities are good examples, I’ll be talking about them in the later part of this post.

There are books like The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, where there is some ambiguity regarding the identities of the protagonists’ parents. Something along the lines of I-never-knew-my-father trope, if you know what I mean? I wouldn’t really consider books like these to be the ones with active parents, but whenever the identity of the biological parent is revealed, there is a certain element of surprise which adds some enjoyment.

The Aurora Cycle, The Mortal Instruments and The Keeper of Lost Cities all have something in common – villainous parents. Of course, parents are wholly included in these books, but on the opposite side of the protagonist. Usually protagonists of such books have this internal struggle – whether to side with their parent(s) or their friends.

Many books revolve around the main character trying to find his missing parents, like Ash in Frostheart by Jamie Littler, or trying to get vengeance for their dead parents, like Nova in Renegades by Marissa Meyer.

Then there are books like Six Of Crows duology, which I think cannot be included in any of these categories (absent parents, dead parents or active parents). Colm Fahey, Jesper’s father, definitely made a great addition to the book, and I was really happy when Inej got to meet her long lost parents. Wylan’s father was one of the main villains in the first book in the duology. But the other three main character’s parents are absent or dead, and I don’t think I would have liked having them in the story anyway, for the reason that Six Of Crows was one of those YA novels where the characters are in the higher age bracket (17-18 years old).


There are a lot (though not as many as I would have liked) of books out there which show the ups and downs of parent-child relationships and impart valuable lessons along the way. I will now be talking about 8 such books that I have read and loved. You can click on the cover images to know more about the book on Goodreads and add it to your TBR!

The Miracle On Ebenezer Street: This book was so adorable! The entire plot revolves around George trying to get his father to enjoy Christmas (and life in general) like he did earlier, before George’s mother died. I went “Awww” so many times while reading this. This perfect Christmassy read will definitely cheer you up whenever you’re feeling low.


The Six Bad Boys by Enid Blyton: I must have read this book a gazillion times now, (my first time reading it was 4-5 years back and my most recent reread was a week ago), and it never fails to make me all teary-eyed. I think this is one of the best books there is for showing the different types of parent-child relationships there can be. I think the major lesson here is that it is too easy for children to be led astray if their parents neglect them and make them feel unwanted. And what impacted me even more was how young the protagonists were – Tom was twelve-ish and Bob was even younger. A must-read for all coming-of-age (and everyone else, of course!) readers. (And its quite short so it can be read in a single sitting. Seriously, read it and you’ll thank me later!)


The Flame Of Olympus: Apart from its wonderful take on Roman mythology, the major thing I loved about this was that the mc’s father accompanied her on her quest to save Olympus and the human world from falling! Do you realize how rare that is in MG fantasy? Usually, in a book like this, the protagonist would have lied to their parents and snuck off, but this was a pleasant surprise!


Keeper Of The Lost Cities series: The main character, Sophie, finds out that her ‘human’ parents whom she has always known and loved are not her biological parents since she is an elf. Since nobody knows who her real parents are, she is sent to live with an elvin couple, who in turn, are battling their own grief of losing their only daughter to an accident. I loved seeing their relationship slowly build from hesitant to loving. This does not happen entirely in the first book, but gradually throughout the series, making it even more impactful.


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: Ah one of my favourite standalone novels of all time! So the main character is adopted, and her relationship with her foster father is so sweet! Though this relationship is a little sidelined throughout the novel, but that’s understandable because the story focuses on other much larger things. This book has gained a lot of popularity, so I am sure a lot of you have read this already, but if you haven’t, click on the cover image right now and add it to your TBR!


Matilda: You all recognize this one, don’t you? It was one of my childhood favourites, and so so good. Basically the main character is a sweet, incredibly intelligent girl who has got terrible parents who don’t care about her at all and provide an unsuitable environment at home for a little girl like their daughter. The ending (a happily ever after, I assure you) will definitely make you cry happy tears!


Misfit by Jo Zaida: I love how Elle (the main character) and her parents’ relationship grew through the course of the story, and the ending was just…*chef’s kiss*

This is releasing on 24th May 2021, so do add it to your TBR!


Buddy by Nigel Hinton: It’s been quite a while since I read this, but I do remember liking it a lot. The relationship between Buddy and his dad is the prominent theme in the book, so I would definitely recommend!


These were my opinions on the different fictional parents in MG and YA books. But why should this discussion stop here? This is why I am now adding a new feature to my discussion posts – I will be tagging some fellow bloggers to continue this discussion on their own blogs! April @Booked Till Midnight, Ashmita @the fictional journal and Pilar @The bookworm shelf, I would love to read your thoughts on this! You can twist and stretch this topic any way you want. No obligations of course, but if you do decide to do this, ping me back so I can read your posts!

Let’s Chat!

What are your thoughts on the inclusion of parents in MG and YA books? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Did you find any of my recommendations helpful? I’d love to discuss with you in the comments section!

Discussion Post: Role Of Parents In MG And YA Fantasy (Part 1)

Hello everyone, I would like to wish you a very happy Mother’s Day! I wanted to do something special on this occasion, so I came up with this idea for a discussion post – talking about the role of parents in today’s middle grade and young adult fantasy novels! I know it’s slightly long (thank goodness I decided to divide it into two parts!), but I’ve worked quite hard to put all this together, so I really hope you enjoy reading it and also express your opinions, since it is a discussion post. So without further ado, let’s start!


To put it bluntly, in most modern middle grade and young adult novels, the parents are neglected. And I am not even talking about the other characters’ parents, I am talking about the main character’s. I totally understand the reason. When the entire story is about a teenage girl who, one fine morning, discovers she has magical powers (just talking about a general thing here, not pointing to any book) why would anyone want to know about her mother? But including the parent(s) in the story does enhance it in some cases. I don’t know about you, but I would definitely love to see the parent-child relationship develop through the course of the story. But of course, there are also a lot of novels (especially MG) which involve the parents wholeheartedly.

In this post, we are going to go through the different types of roles parents have in MG and YA fantasies through the examples of popular books.


I think one of the most common parent-related trope is dead parent(s). It is very convenient to kill off one or both parents before the book even starts. I believe this is because a dead parent not only reduces the complexity of the story (no need to explain the main character’s relationship with them, etc), they also provide a certain backbone to the story, as the main character struggles to accept their deaths, or follow their footsteps etc. Dead parents usually mean that though they are not physically present throughout the events of the book, their presence is somehow felt. This trope has been executed in so different ways, some good, some not-so.

In The Mystwick School of Musicraft by Jessica Khoury, the main character Amelia lost her mother at a very early age, and after her death, her father disappeared. All Amelia wanted was to become a Maestro, because her mother was one. She chose flute (and that too her mother’s) as her instrument because her mother had been a flutist. And she wanted more than anything to go to Mystwick, because it was the music school her mother went too. Later in the book, she mentions (too many times!) that she felt very close to her late mother in Mystwick. And even later, her mother forms a huge part of the ending. I felt the story would have been better if it focused less on the dead mother and more on our main character.

We all know about Harry Potter. Orphaned when he was barely an infant, Harry learns more about his parents at Hogwarts. I like the little details we get, from Sirius and Snape and others, but maybe Harry could have shown a little more, I don’t know, like anger or sorrow or something for his parents throughout the series?

All’s not bad. I have come across books which have executed the dead parent trope wonderfully. Renegades by Marissa Meyer is a very good example. The murder of the mc’s (her name is Nova) parents and sister is actually shown in the very beginning, and after that it kinda takes a backseat. But it definitely fuels Nova’s hatred for the Renegades and her drive to destroy them. There are occasional mentions, enough for the reader to remember why Nova’s doing what she’s doing, but not enough to be irritating or repetitive. The perfect balance.


Then we have the parents who are very much alive, but not involved much in the story, in other words, the absent parents. I personally don’t favour this trope much. I mean, I know its fiction, but there should be something relatable, right? It is very unrealistic that the parent is totally unaware while their child is off riding dragons and/or meeting dwarves and/or nearly getting killed and what not.

In Orion Lost by Alastair Chrisholm, the adults are all in cyro sleep, leaving only the children aboard the spaceship to deal with everything. The mc’s mother and father are introduced at the beginning of the novel, but then they play no role throughout the story whatsoever. I am not saying its a bad thing, but you know, just absent parents.

Same is the case with Nevermoor series by Jessica Townsend. I mean, I loved all the three books (I rated them 5 stars!) but what I want to point out is that the mc’s father (her mother is dead) has no role throughout the trilogy except being mean to her in the first few pages of the first book.


And finally we have the books which actually give importance to the parents. I feel this one is the best there is. But you know what, I am not going to talk about these books in this post. I will be discussing these in the second part of this discussion. (Sorry if you came here only for these, but that next post will hopefully be worth the wait!)

Before you leave, I would like to share the results of a small survey I conducted. I put the following question forward to a group of readers –

In a YA or MG fantasy, would you prefer –

  1. Absent Parent (Little or no role in the story)
  2. Dead Parent
  3. Parent with an important role to play

The response was quite overwhelming and one-sided. A total of 85 people answered my question, out of which 73 of them favoured the last option i.e. parents with an important role to play. Of the remaining, 4 answered ‘dead parent’ and 8 chose ‘absent parent’. This means that about 85% prefer books with active parents. I think I agree with them, such books are fun to read.

Since so many of you like books with parent participation, this is what we will be (mostly) discussing in the second part of this discussion post, and teaser – I will be including some recs (books with active parents) too! Stay tuned, it won’t be long before the Part 2 goes up!

Which kind of fictional parents do you like best in MG and YA books? What are your thoughts on portrayal of parents in fantasy for young readers? Feel free to express your opinions in the comments, I would be more than happy to have a friendly discussion!

“What’s In The Name?”

Turns out, a lot IS in the name. Listen up, Shakespeare.

This idea just popped up in my mind this morning, so this is pretty spontaneous. In this discussion post, we are going to be looking at how important book titles are, which kind of titles make me take a second look at the book (and which do not) and some of my personal favourite titles. Make yourself comfortable because we are starting…now!

The title of a book is like the first impression the reader gets of the book, perhaps even more so than the cover. The title forms the basis of reader’s judgement about the book. It is the title that gets talked about in general conversations, making it incredibly important for it to be a word or a set of words which catches people’s attention. The title is what is mentioned in as the heading of book review posts on blogs, and other social media.

Most people (including me) would not even care to read the book’s synopsis if the title does not sound good to them. When I am scrolling through Goodreads, I stop only when a title catches my attention. Then I look at the blurb, and then I take a look a the cover, the genres and the ratings. So the very first basis in which I decide to add a book to my tbr is the title, and the rest comes later. Of course, a good title can’t make a boring book look good, but it can definitely make an interesting book seem better. Ultimately, the title should be such that it makes you want to start reading the story.

  • A title that uses some reference from the story, without giving away too much.
  • A title whose real meaning becomes relevant only when I am quite far into the book. (That moment when I finally understand is like a lightbulb turning on in my head😂)
  • Titles with puns, or some sort of word play
  • Titles that are easy to pronounce and understand
  • Vague one-word titles
  • A surreal title that ignites curiosity on hearing it for the first time

  • The word ‘and’ as a connector. I mean, I have nothing against it as such, but titles like “A and the B” (not a real book title! I am just giving an example) really discourage me from reading the book. It’s completely all right with children’s books and picture books (remember Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs?) but middle grade and young adult having such titles…its usually a no-go for me.
  • Very obvious book titles, which are the names of the main character or the main setting. Any title whose meaning becomes obvious as soon as we start reading the book.

(these are purely my opinions, I do not mean to disregard or offend anyone)

Alright, time for some of my favourite titles! This is going to be interesting….*cracks knuckles*

Mightier Than the Sword (The Clifton Chronicles, #5)
Supernova (Renegades, #3)
An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)

Mightier Than The Sword by Jeffrey Archer : Can you think of any better way to describe an author? There could have been so many other boring names for this one, but instead the author took up a phrase “The pen is mightier than the sword” and removed the first three words. So impressive, right?

Supernova by Marissa Meyer is the third and final book in the Renegades series. If you don’t have any clue about the story, this may not sound like a very impressive title. But actually this title is a pun, and a good one at that. Its not the supernova as in the “space explosion”, it is supernova as in “the mc’s name is Nova, the book is about superheroes, and Nova is a villain”. Now can you see the genius behind that title?! (And I haven’t read this book yet, but I have read the first two, so I will probably get this this one soon)

An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir : Although I didn’t enjoy this book very much, that can’t stop me from appreciating the title, can it? What I liked about this was how initially the reader has no idea why the book is named the way it is, and later on, I think about halfway through the book, this appears for the first time as a quote. “You are an ember in the ashes, Elias Veterius.”,something like this, if I remember correctly?

The First Phone Call from Heaven
And Then There Were None
Thirteen Reasons Why

The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom : What an intriguing title! Doesn’t the title itself make most of you want to read this book? And the book was pretty good too, from what I remember.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie gave me chills from the moment I read the name of the book. And that might be one of the reasons I was so hesitant to read it. Yeah I am a scaredy cat. And it has sort of a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? And then there were none…

13 Reasons Why I think I am talking about this on my blog for the first time! I had read it a couple years back and didn’t really enjoy it that much. But. We are here to talk about the title, so isn’t this a nice, unique one? Kinda makes me feel its the start of an essay. 13 reasons why polar bears are going extinct…okay that just popped into my head 🙃


Before ending this post, I wanted to share a completely random word fact : Today I realized that the words LUSTRE, RUSTLE and RESULT have exactly the same letters in different arrangements. How’s that?😏

How important do you think book titles are? Are there any books you picked up because of their title? Which are your favourite book titles? Any discussion post remains incomplete without your inputs, so be sure to put your thoughts in the comments section!

What is a “good” ending? | Discussion Post (Let’s Talk Bookish)

Hello everyone! I found this popular bookish meme which is hosted by Dani @Literary Lion and Rukky @Eternity Books. It is called “Let’s Talk Bookish” and there are topics and prompts for every week.

As you might have guessed after reading the title, today’s topic is all about book endings. I think I have often mentioned in my blog that I feel that the ending is the most important part of a book, and sometimes it can prove to be a game-changer, completely altering your initial rating of the book. What kind of endings do I like? What do I hate in an ending? Read on to find out my thoughts on all this!

I love completely unexpected endings. This sounds like a really broad category, but I have come across very few books which actually impressed me with their ironic or twisted ending. Look at Nothing Ventured by Jefferey Archer as an example for this. If you have read the book, you’ll know what I am talking about. The ending (and I think this was the very last line) was mind-blowing. And if you haven’t read the book, I’d highly recommend it, because not only the end but everything about the book was great.

I like Happily-ever-afters, but only if they were actually deserved. The ending of Cured by Bethany Wiggins was a happily-ever-after type, and it really made me happy to see all the characters finally get the life the deserved after so many hardships.

I like endings which refer back to something from the beginning or middle of the book, and explain the why and the how of something which happened. I am talking about standalones and the last book of any series here. Of course, if every strange thing that happened in a book that is part of a series is explained at the end, nobody would want to read the sequel.

As already mentioned above, the ending was superb!
This was one of the completely unexpected endings type. I mean, the last line of the book was a real shocker.
I liked how satisfying the author managed to make this ending. By the time I was halfway through the book, I was pretty sure that Tessa would have to choose between Will and Jem, but….it ended well.
The Outsiders by S E Hinton - Penguin Books Australia
I really like the concept that the whole book was <SPOILER ALERT> actually an essay written by the main character, and this is revealed at the end.

I generally don’t like endings where the main character is killed off. The author worked so hard throughout the entire book to create a bond between the reader and the character, and when that bond finally develops, the author kills of the main character? Unforgivable.

I am not a fan of predictable endings either. The ones where we already know that the main character is going to kill the antagonist, lose no one and nothing in the process etc etc.

That’s it I guess, because I generally do like the ends of most books I read. But there were some books whose endings I didn’t like…

Allegiant (novel) - Wikipedia
This entire trilogy was so wonderful, but the ending….why <HUGE SPOILER! SCROLL DOWN IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THIS BOOK> did Tris have to die? After everything she survived through…and I actually cared more about Four than Tris dying to be honest. The author should not have killed her, atleast for Four’s sake
This Christie book disappointed me so much because of the ending. The plot was building up pretty good, but then the ending wasn’t at all exceptional.

There are some authors I read who, simply put, end their books in a way that makes the reader feel exhilarated. In no particular order, I would recommend you read short stories by O’Henry (I live for his endings!), novels by Agatha Christie(I know I mentioned one of her books in my “didn’t like” section above, but most of her endings are fab!) and of course Jefferey Archer (I blabbered a lot about his book in the beginning of my post, didn’t I?)

All right folks, that was all for this post. Since this is my first time taking part in Let’s Talk Bookish, and also my second ever discussion post, I would love to know any feedback you might have for me. Also do let me know if you’ve read any of the books I have mentioned, and if you have any recommendations for me (basically books similar to those whose endings I liked). What do you think makes a good ending? Which books had endings you enjoyed? Let’s chat in the comments!!

Re-reading books | Discussion Post

Yes, you heard it right! I am (finally!) doing my first ever discussion post. The idea and topic for this post just popped in my mind today, and impulsive as I am, I began writing this.

I have never attempted a discussion post before, and I have also read very few discussion posts by other bloggers. So I am writing this with zero experience, and would be more than happy to get some suggestions and advice from all of you 😊.

Okay, so the title is pretty self explanatory. Rereading. We all reread books once in a while don’t we? Some more than others. Rereading, as the name suggests, simply means reading a book you have already read in the past. Through this post, I will be discussing the pros and cons of re-reading and my own personal opinion on it. Let’s see how it goes!

It helps us in re-uniting with old favourites. Suppose there’s this book you loved. You read it two years back, and can’t stop gushing about it ever since. But as time goes on, you can’t really remember what exactly it was about that book that appealed to you so much. That’s when re-reading comes to the rescue. Once again you get to connect with the characters, and delve deep into the story.

It gives us a fresher perspective on a book that we may not have liked that much. This happens all the time to me, especially when I re-watch movies. If you give a book you didn’t quite like another try, who knows, you might come to appreciate the story! Even if you liked a certain book, re-reading it will allow you to notice new elements that you probably didn’t when you read the book earlier.

If we want to review a book we read quite some time back, re-reading is very much preferred. As I said before, re-reading gives a new perspective, and more importantly, all the events of the book will be clear in our mind when we are reviewing it. Reviewing a book you’ve read a long time back usually does not do justice to the book, unless you have a very good memory (unlike me!)

If you’re looking for big reveals in the book, you probably shouldn’t re-read. This is always the reason I sometimes hesitate to re-read a book. Re-reading a thriller, or just any book with big secrets, is like knowing the future. What’s the fun if you already know what is going to happen next?

Re-reading can sometimes become tedious. When I read a book for the first time, the length usually doesn’t matter. I just want the story to go on and on. But if we are re-reading a book, the book somehow feels endless. This is primarily because we know the events that are going to take place, and it always feels like major part of the book is still left.

Re-reading a book can never be the same as reading it for the first time. Obviously. This is quite self-explanatory. The thrill of reading a book you have never read before is pretty unique, and the connect you make with the story and the characters for the first time you’re introduced to them is very different from the opinion you have of them when the story ends.

No. I am not very fond of re-reading, because I am one of those looking for unexpected twists, shocking betrayals, and surprising alliances in every book I read.

But I do occasionally re-read short stories, or old comics, as for some reason I find them enjoyable. Though some of the (kinda lame) comic stories that I re-read make me wonder how I could have possibly laughed so much over them in my childhood. Anyway, it makes old memories come back, so I am fine with it.

But I don’t think i have ever reread a full size novel, it just feels too intimidating!

And we are done! Whew! How did y’all like my first discussion post? What views do you have on re-reading? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!!