What I’m Reading: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Young Adult Book Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

I finally found time this summer to pick up the second book of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I wasn’t sure I would be into Scarlet so much because I loved Cinder and entire first book is told from Cinder’s point of view, and Scarlet changes that up, but I quickly fell in love with Scarlet.

Cinder is loosely based on Cinderella, and Scarlet is loosely based on Little Red Riding Hood, but she’s strong and fearless and easy to love. Just as the entire futuristic world of the Lunar Chronicles is easy to love.

I’ve already started reading Cress, who is loosely based on Rapunzel, though I’ve left that book at home while I roam the country on my epic road trip, more on that later.

5/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: The Fates Divide by Veronica Roth

Young Adult Book Review: The Fates Divide by Veronica Roth

I’m going to start out by saying, if you read my review of Carve the Mark then you likely know what I’m going to say about The Fates Divide. There were multiple points where I was confused, where things didn’t seem to make sense. Mainly, in The Fates Divide, it was character description. To me, I felt like people actually changed how they looked in this book. And Yma, she has white hair in The Fates Divide, yet in Carve the Mark I was under the impression that Yma was trying to seduce Ryzek. So yeah, confused.

IMG-0617

That said, what I love about Roth’s writing is her ability to describe what it is to want to belong. Both the Divergent series and Carve the Mark have this same theme: do we chose to belong, or do we belong to who or what we are born? What choice do we have in our own lives, in our destiny? I love that Roth asks this question, and does so in a way that feels natural.

IMG-0618

The Carve the Mark world was vivid, even if I was confused. There was a lack of description of things like space flight—exactly how far apart are these planets? How long does it take to get to one from another? I’m a scientist, this is the kind of information I want to know!

Overall, I would give The Fates Divide 3/5 Stars, mostly because by the end I just really felt like I wanted to be done. Though I will say that the ending was much better than the ending of the Divergent series.

JEH

Writing for Teens: How to Keep it Real

A short essay on writing for teens, and how I keep my fiction real.

I’ve written a lot of Young Adult fiction, sure, it’s not as much as some people have written, but it’s enough that I’ve learned what to look for when crafting a young adult novel. Now that I’m in my thirties, high school feels distant and trivial. Did I really get that upset when my best friend didn’t invite me to a party? Things that upset me then, wouldn’t upset me now. The trick is remember how I acted in my teen years, and not force my adult learning on my characters.

The above mentioned party happened sometime in my senior year of high school. When I found out about the party late that night, or possibly the next day, I was in tears. Did my best friend at the time (we aren’t friends anymore, unless Facebook counts), mean to hurt my feelings? Probably not. She probably just wanted a break from me, wanted to have fun with someone else, or thought it wasn’t my thing. I don’t believe she was vindictive (she seems like she’s a nice person overall). But I do believe that she didn’t have the words to express why I wasn’t invited, or why she lied instead of telling me the truth.

IMG_5616

Thinking back on my teen years, and about the teens in my life now, it is very common at that age to ‘read too much into things’. By the time adulthood rolls around, most people have stopped taking every look and every word dished out personally. We’ve begun to accept our differences, our path, and our identity. But this is something teenagers struggle with.

One of the ways I stay in touch with my teen self is by keeping my teenage diaries and occasionally, when I feel strong enough, by reading the terrible, painful entries: here’s an example.

“I finally talked to Red. I don’t know how it is. We’re talking tomorrow after school. That’ll be hard. It was hard enough on the phone. I think she was crying. I’m not sure. I almost felt like it. But I don’t cry. It’s too hard. I almost said, “I can’t stand Blue”, when she said she couldn’t stand Green, but I couldn’t. This is hard. I mean, we have a circle. We work together and I told her we shouldn’t. That was hard. I don’t know what to say. Tomorrow we have to talk and I have to tell her my happenings and feelings….”

IMG_1793

See, everything is hard when you’re a teen. So hard in fact that I reused that word five times in that one short paragraph. And this was just about having a simple conversation with the friend about why she didn’t invite me to a party! Nowadays, I’d just go up to my friend and be like, Yo, You didn’t invite me b-! And my friend would either apologize and offer a reason that may or may not make sense, or we’d just laugh about it and move on. It wouldn’t be as difficult for me now that I’m older.

What about you? Did simple things seem more difficult for you when you were a teenager?

JEH

What I’m Reading: Leia Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray

Young Adult book review: Leia Princess of Alderaan, by Claudia Gray.

Not only am I a Star Wars fan, I’m a huge Princess Leia fan. I absolutely adore this book cover, and had to have the book. This book provides a good background to Princess Leia’s character, and was much like I expected.

This book also had a tie-in to the Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie, so I rushed to see it before going out to see the film. I liked that I possessed a bit more background regarding one of the on screen characters. But it wasn’t that interesting of news. Since I don’t want to ruin the book or movie for anyone, I won’t say anymore than that.

Of all the Star Wars reading I’ve been doing lately, I would definitely put Lost Stars at the top, followed by Leia, which wasn’t quite as full of detail but still a fun read.

Have you read it?

4/5 Stars

JEH