Posts Tagged young adult

The New Fan of Fangirl

Yes! I have read the first book of 2016.

Actually, I have read the first half of the book in 2015, so I don’t really know if it counts. So I didn’t include in my challenge. But I have finished it in 2016, so it is officially my first book of the year.


The book is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. It was published in 2013 and I’ve been hearing about it a lot since then. It’s a new adult book, which basically means that the protagonist goes to college.

The plot is quite simple. Cath, an introvert dreamer, starts college with her twin sister, Wren. Wren is looking forward to the experience. However, Cath is quite nervous and just has one thing in mind: writing her fan fiction for Simon Snow. Simon Snow is Harry Potter in an alternate universe. Their plots of basically the same- magicians, magic, Voldemort-ilke nemesis, Dumbledore-like headmaster. Her fan fiction, Carry on, Simon, is quite famous among Simon Snow fans everywhere. You can think of it as a gay romance between Harry and Ron, if Ron was an evil vampire. She isn’t looking to make any friends, but her roommate, Reagan and her boyfriend, Levi, slowly get under her skin and change her life.

Though it looks like a classic girl-starts-college-meets-people-aand-falls-in-love book, it actually has some deeper themes. Lots of them, really. Fandom, a writer’s creative process, twins, manic depression, abandonment, independence, anxiety, learning disorders (because I think that’s what it is), friendship, being a freshman, and college life in general. It is realistic, as much as a cute fluffy book like this can be.

I quite liked the book. I loved the first half, and I stopped reading it for a while because I didn’t want it to finish. I picked it up later. I didn’t like the second half as much. I thought some things were not properly concluded. For example, how did Cath end ‘Carry On, Simon‘? I can’t help thinking she didn’t provide an answer to this question because she actually wrote a spin-off.

The characters were awesome. Cath, though annoying to others around her, was really fun to read about. You could basically see her growing throughout the book. I can say the exact same thing about Wren. Levi, of course, basically shines. I also adored Reagan. All the characters were perfectly constructed and came alive. It painted a good picture of college life in the States. At least I think so. I haven’t actually been to college in the States, but it sounded believable.

I gave this book 4 stars, because I think the second half wasn’t as good as the first. And because I’m really stingy with my stars. It also made me want to continue rereading Harry Potter. I think this really calls for a sequel, maybe with Wren as the protagonist. Hmmm. Maybe I’ll write a fan fiction about that. Or not.



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Best Books of 2015

As I have mentioned in my previous post about reading in 2015, it wasn’t the best reading year. The best moments I had, related to reading of course, (the best moment ever was having my daughter, which wasn’t in the least comparable to reading) was rereading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I have talked more about this previously.

Still, it wasn’t  a year of reading bad books. I have read quite a few good ones. Today, I’ll talk about my top books. They didn’t make it to my Favorites shelf on Goodreads, unfortunately, but they were the best of the lot I read in 2015. They all got 5 stars on Goodreads from me. I’ll say a few words about each, and might talk about them more later, in another post.


Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

I have read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins the year before. I enjoyed it, as far as young adults books go. I tend to dislike young adult books more often than not (though I keep reading them), but that one was really good. I didn’t rush to read the other books she wrote, though.

I started reading this on a long car ride to Istanbul. I was hooked. It’s about a girl named Lola, who loves wearing costumes. She has two gay fathers, and a rocker boyfriend. One day, the family who used to live next door moves back in. She’s devastated because Cricket (the name though) has done something before he moved out the last time and she’s not really over that yet.

This is a really entertaining read, with vibrant characters. I enjoyed it more than Anna and the French Kiss, even though popular opinion is to the contrary. I also think this would make a good gift, since it’s really easy to love.


How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer

This is the only short story collection I read in 2015. It was highly recommended by Mercedes, from Mercy’s Bookish Musings in YouTube. I decided to give it a read as well.

This collection includes 9 stories that all star young girls of varying ages. They are all very different, and it deals with a wide variety of serious issues including drug use, obesity, cancer, bullying and death. I think it is a very powerful and beautifully written book. It’s not for everyone, but I think most people would think it’s pretty good.


I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

I am by no means alone when I say this is a wonderful book. It is about a girl Cassandra who lives in an old castle with her eccentric family on the brink of poverty. One day their new landlords drop by to change their lives forever.

This is a beloved book of many, so I think it suffices to say that I think it’s worth the hype. Lovable and quirky characters, beautiful writing, quite decent plot. Really enjoyable to read. I think this would also make a safe gift.


A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk

The latest book by Orhan Pamuk, also considered one of his most approachable, is about a boza seller called Mevlut who witnesses the changes in the city of Istanbul through four decades. It seems like a simple story about the life and loves of a street vendor, but it’s actually the story of Istanbul as it changes through the years.

This is the only book I have read by Orhan Pamuk. I have included the picture of the Turkish version, which is the one I read. It is translated to English now. I don’t know how good the translation is, but since he’s a Nobel Prize winner, I’d think it would be well done. I happen to think it’s excellent, though a lot of people beg to differ. It’s quite an easy read, unlike the other works by the same author.

I’ll probably do separate reviews for these books at some point. They all warrant their own blog posts with in-depth discussion. But for now, here are the other books I gave 5 stars to on Goodreads. Here they are:

  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: Franky, I was embarrassed to include this in my top books. But I found it fascinating, young adult at its best. It’s about a girl called Lara Jean who writes love letters to her crushes as closure, and one day they get sent out. It’s very well written, and Lara Jean is such a sweet character, though you can’t help getting annoyed with her at some points. You’ll love the love interest. It’s quite surprising, which is something quite rare in young adult books. I can’t wait to read the sequel, and I hate that it left on a cliffhanger.
  • Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson: I do love a good road trip book. This is such. Amy has recently lost her father and she’s also moving across the country. Her mother arranges for a family friend’s son, Roger, to drive with her. It’s really entertaining, like most road trip books are. I don’t think it’s as good as Saving June by Hannah Harrington but I quite enjoyed it.
  • Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg: I really like books that are set in the South. It is told by Evelyn, who’s in a nursing home. She talks about the people who run the Whistle Stop Cafe, and people who are somehow tied there. The plot is thick, and there are secrets abound. It’s very good. I’ve seen the movie years ago, and I remember liking that as well.
  • City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments 3) by Cassandra Clare: I loved how things got solved. This was written as the conclusion, however things somehow continued on to three more books. It reads like a final book of a trilogy, and a very well written one. I like this world by Cassandra Clare, the Shadowhunters and their Voldemort-like bad guy, Valentine. I think the TV series is coming this month, so I really have to hurry up and finish the whole series.

This is it for my 2015 favorite reads. An honorable mention goes to Cross Stitch (Outlander 1) by Diana Gabaldon. I really enjoyed it, but I had to give it 4 stars because it was so thick.


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2013 in Books and New Year’s Resolutions

The year 2013 has been a good year reading-wise, even though not writing-wise since I just realized that the only entry I have in this blog for the year 2013 dates back to 4th of January. This post is a lot like that one, except that I’ll do a general overview of my year with less detail and talk about my resolutions for 2014.

In 2013, I have read a total of 51 books. That means I have exceeded my goal of 50 books, which was about a book per week. Only two of them are novellas that were purchased on Kindle, but other than that, they are full sized books. Here are the other statistics:

– 7 of them were Turkish books.

– 5 of them were self-help.

– 1 of them was an autobiography.

– 1 of them was travel writing.

– 22 of them were young adult books. 11 of those were part of a series. 2 of those were novellas.

– The rest of the books were a mixture of other genres, all fiction. I’m not really good at identifying the genres. There were some classics, fantasy and romance.

I have to say that I’m a little bit embarrassed about these statistics. There are changes to be made for 2014. But before I get to my reading resolutions, here comes my top 8 favorite books of the year, in no particular order. I know 8 is a weird number, but I just couldn’t bring myself to choose more and say that I enjoyed it a lot. So here it goes.

1. Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin

2. Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

3. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

6. Saving June by Hannah Harrington

7. Hokkaido Highway Blues by Will Ferguson

8. The City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

I’m kind of relieved to realize that only 3 young adult books made it to my Top 8. But I’m also kind of ashamed that I have The Book Thief and Gone Girl there, since they are insanely popular and I always hate myself when I love ultra popular books. I know it’s insane to think this way, since they are popular for a reason.

I also wanted to compile a list of my least favorite books, but I realized that I drop a book I don’t like as soon as possible. I don’t torture myself by trying to read books I don’t enjoy. Here is a list of the books I dropped:

Perfect on Paper by Maria Murnane: I wouldn’t go near this. There are really bad jokes, and just the sheer idiocy of the main character made me want to break my Kindle. It’s like a really bad rip off of Sophie Kinsella books.

Dark Prince by Christine Feehan: I dug this book out from my college stash, after reading amazing things about it. I don’t want to say too many bad things since I barely got through 50 pages, but it was not for me.

Taking Chances by Molly McAdams: This book represents a turning point in my life: no more buying inexpensive Kindle books based on Goodreads recommendations. I’m way too old for this nonsense of a book, it’s juvenile in a really, really bad way.

The Boy Who Sneaks in My Bedroom Window by Kirsty Moseley: What I said about the previous book goes for this one as well. Although I thought this one was a lot worse. It’s the story of an idiot girl who’s put into overly sexual situations. It’s so bad I don’t even want to think about it.

And now for my 2013 Reading Resolutions:

– My goal for this year is 45 books. I kept the number lower than 2013 because I want to concentrate on reading thicker and better books instead of breezing through numerous young adult ones.

– I will read more adult books.

– I will read more non-fiction books.

– I will read more Turkish books.

– I will try to reread some of my favorite books, and also possibly start reading Harry Potter series.

I guess this is it! Happy 2014 everybody!

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