Top Ten Book Covers I Would Wear If They Were Clothes

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

This week’s topic is “All about the visuals.” Since I don’t read graphic novels and just talking about my favorite book covers seemed boring, I decided to go with Top Ten Book Covers I Would Wear if They Were Clothes.

…And if I were more fashionable than I am.

1. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

cover to all the boys ive loved before

I’ll start with an obvious one. I absolutely love how classy and sweet this cover (and this book) is. I feel like clothing designed off of it would have to be a sundress of some kind, or a really nice sweater and pants pairing.

2. More Than This by Patrick Ness

cover more than this

This cover would make an amazing graphic tee or a really interesting mini dress/t-shirt dress. Something casual and clean but with an edgy vibe, like this book itself. Bonus points if the garment communicates vague existentialism.

3. Across A Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

cover across a star swept sea

Definitely a ball gown of some kind, though not exactly the one shown on the cover. It would be whimsical and dramatic in equal measures, and it would look like it was part of the ocean.

4. The Wrath and the Dawn by Rene Ahdieh

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How could I have a fashion-inspired blog post without mentioning TWATD? I love the colors of this cover and the gorgeous fashion described throughout the book, so I don’t know how any clothing piece inspired off of it could be anything but drop-dead incredible.

5. The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking #2) by Patrick Ness

cover the ask and the answer

Apparently my brain really wants to wear Ness’s covers as clothing? Regardless, any of the Chaos Walking trilogy’s covers would inspire incredible fashion (I’m thinking a dress of some kind), but I chose this one because I love the shade of blue.

6. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

cover the weight of feathers

Look at that minimalist cover! It would be an amazing graphic t-shirt, but I also think that you could design a really compelling avant-guarde gown off of it.

7. The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Look at the colors. Look at the cool smoke thing. Think of the possibilities. (As a side note, I absolutely loved this series and I need the next book to come out!)

8. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

cover night circus

This is one of my all-time favorite books, with one of my all-time favorite covers. Anything inspired by the cover would be incredible, especially if it somehow combined the historical feeling of the book with the fantastical circus elements.

9. The Sweetheart by Angelina Mirabella

cover the sweetheart

Okay, so I still have not read this book. But my sister loved it so much that she forced me to include it in this post. And look at that cover. It would inspire some adorably pink vintage-style clothing.

10. Graceling by Kristen Cashore

cover graceling

Putting aside the fact that Graceling is one of my favorite books ever, the colors on the cover are gorgeous. I want to see someone create an outfit that combines the gentle beauty of the colors with the, well, badass-ness of the dagger and the story itself.


What do you think? Have you read any of these books? What are some of your favorite covers that you would wear as clothing?

Discussion Post: You Cannot Read Them All, So Make the Books You Do Read Count

One of my goals for 2017 is to read more diversely, but I do not think I can say I accomplished that goal if I do not follow with a second, related resolution: read less problematic books.

Yes, we can have problematic favorites. I have a lot of them. I’m doing my best to understand their problems and to reshape my view of some of my favorite books based on others’ critiques. I have a whole lot of privilege in my life, but I’m trying to look past it and to become a more aware, conscientious reader.

In this spirit, I have been adding diverse books to my TBR while scratching others off it when they are called out for harmful representation. Some of the books I have ex-ed out are upcoming releases, but most of them are books that have existed for a while and that I meant to read eventually.

A lot of the books I crossed off my TBR list were ones that I was never extremely passionate about reading anyway. It does not feel like a big loss to make a mental note to avoid a book that I had not yet felt compelled to pick up, especially if it had existed for months or years already.

But other books? They are written by favorite authors. They are continuations of beloved series. They are books that I wanted to rush to defend when people first called them problematic.

Thankfully, I listened instead of jumping in rashly, and now I see where other people were coming from. It was a rough transition, but one I’m proud of making.

There was one thing that I constantly had to remind myself of throughout the process:

I can read any book. There are hundreds of thousands of books out there, with new ones being published every month. There is literally no such thing as a “must read”—no matter how hyped a book is, or how much I love the author’s other work.

I keep seeing favorite authors’ books being criticized, especially when new releases are announced. I’ll be honest: my first impulse is to ignore the criticisms. It’s my favorite author, I think. How could I not read everything they write?

But then I catch myself, and remind myself that I don’t have to read anything

If I don’t read a favorite author’s new book, does it actually matter? If I don’t read a hyped book, who cares?

I’m the one who will be experiencing the stories. I’m the one who will be giving up my time and money to enjoy the work of authors. What books other people think I should read—even if that “other person” is just Me from a year ago—should not matter. That’s part of growing as a reader and as a person.

I read about 50 books of my choice a year. That’s a tiny drop in comparison to the ocean of books out there. That means I need to think carefully about which 50 books I decide to A) spend money on, and B) read, review, and feature on my blog.

Reminding myself that there is no way for me to read every book that exists helps me deal with not reading books that I always assumed I’d read. With so many non-problematic (or at least less problematic) books out there, why would I give my time, energy, and support to blatantly problematic books?

I can read anything. And every time I remind myself of that, the excuses for continuing my dedication to problematic favorites get less and less believable.


What do you think? Was this post relatable? Have you given up any favorite authors when they were called out? Do you think this advice will be helpful in the future?

Book Review: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

An adorably fluffy romance that got me in the holiday spirit (in the middle of January) while making me laugh out loud.

3.5/5 stars

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synopsis for reviews 2

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Add it on Goodreads

my thoughts for reviews 1

This is one of those books that I have been meaning to read forever, so when I got it for my birthday, I didn’t let it sit on my TBR shelf. I expected it to be a cute, ridiculous love story, and it was.

I loved the premise of this book. Two teenagers united by a book of dares and a favorite bookstore? I’m in. And while the story takes place during Christmastime and is full of holiday cheer, I did not have any problem reading it in January.

Dash was by far my favorite character. He’s an honest-to-God introvert, something that I don’t see a lot of in YA. And while he hated the idea of going to Macy’s two days before Christmas and genuinely loved being alone, he wasn’t cringey or awkward the way most introvert characters are. He’s wordy (which might come off to some readers as pretentious), but I loved it. Add in a whole lot of sass and there was no way I wouldn’t fall in love with Dash.

I did not connect as directly to Lily, but I did enjoy her character. She was optimistic and energetic in an endearing way, but she also had her fair share of insecurities and frustrations. She wanted to be daring and ridiculous, but she also struggled to form friendships or break out of her comfort zone. I liked this take on extroversion—another character type that I haven’t read often.

Parents played an interesting role in both characters’ stories. Neither set of parents is in town, or paying much attention to their children. The specifics of how each teenager accomplished this was a little ridiculous, but I rolled with it. Still, the parents affected Dash and Lily from afar, adding subplots and forcing their characters to develop, which I appreciated.

Of course, the maybe-romance between Dash and Lily was the central focus of the book. The two of them bounce off each other for most of the book, interacting through the notebook while living their own lives separately. I enjoyed the way that the romance was handled in this book. Romance didn’t overpower the story, and it definitely wasn’t instalove, but it was there.

Let’s be honest, if I left a notebook full of dares in a bookstore and a guy decided to take me up on it, I would spend a lot of time trying to figure out if he was someone I could date. And if I picked up said notebook, I would do the same. But while both Dash and Lily think about the possibility of their relationship, neither falls head-over-heels for the other, and both remain skeptical about the chances of a random passerby being The One.

I loved the constant uncertainty of the romance. For most of the book, even couldn’t decide if I thought they were meant for each other or if they should go their separate ways. This kept me reading more than instalove ever would have, and was another part of this book that I appreciated for breaking the contemporary romance mold.

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares was paced really well. There were enough subplots that I was always worried about what would happen next, but also enough lighthearted moments that I got the fluffy feels I wanted. The plot was not long or overly complex, but it was not so simple that I got bored. The story was filled with humor (some, but thankfully not all, cringe humor), literally making me laugh out loud—which I never do.

Side characters make this book. None of them played major roles in the story, but all of them collectively made the book what it was. I loved the contrast between Lily’s massive family and Dash’s more reserved group of friends, as well as how both of those groups worked to bring the two of them together.

On a side note, I loved this book for all of the LGBT+ side characters. While this book is definitely not Diverse™, it destroys the idea that a straight contemporary romance needs to exist in an entirely straight universe. It’s a small step in the right direction that made reading this fluffy book infinitely more enjoyable.

I would recommend this book for anyone looking for a fluffy story that will make them smile. It is not a heart-wrenching romance, nor it is even a transformative book about self-discovery. It is simply a sweet book that has romance, self-discovery, and lots of allusions to authors and poets. I will definitely read Dash and Lily’s Twelve Days of Christmas, but I might wait for the 2017 holiday season.

Have you read it? What did you think?


Problematic Moments and Trigger Warnings: (A new section where I call out books for problematic moments and alert readers to possible triggers. Please note I am by no means an expert on either, but I will do my best to research the books I review as I write this section. I added this to help readers, but I cannot promise it will be perfect. I am still learning, and any critiques you have will be greatly appreciated. If I missed something in either category, tell me and I’ll edit the review to include it.)

Problematic Moments: While DALBOD didn’t strike me as very problematic, is is not perfect. In one scene, Dash is really flippant about Hanukkah. Comment if you want more specifics.

Trigger warnings: parent with alcoholism, drinking, semi-blackouts

Discussion Post: Parents in YA

There’s a recurring joke in the YA world that all parents in books are either

  • A) Dead
  • B) nonexistent
  • And when they do exist, they’re awful

There honestly is a lack of good parents in YA—a lack, even, of parents at all.

Out of this, a lot of bloggers often call for more good parents in YA. I understand the idea behind this: if reading is supposed to be an escape, then giving young adults a world in which parents are kind and supportive is an important responsibility of YA.

That being said, I also want to see more bad parents in YA.

The point, I think, of having good parents in YA is to give teenagers with awful ones an escape. Those books show teenagers what encouragement and love feels like and gives them positive voices to listen to when the real ones are negative.

However, reading should not just offer an escape from reality, but sometimes confront reality. This reminds people that others have survived what you are living through.

Here is the problem: the same way that YA has basically no parents, it also seems to have only a few types of bad parents. There are the parents who have fallen out of touch with their teens as they grew up, the parents who flat-out ignore their children, the parents who fail to recognize or accept their children for who they are.

But they have one thing in common:

At some point, there is a conversation and/or realization that brings the kid and the parent together, ending in understanding and forgiveness.

That relationship evolution is based in the idea that no parents are so blind or rooted in their beliefs that they could face their child in a moment of honesty and not fix themselves. It is based in the idea that teenagers and parents just don’t “work”—until they have breakfast together, cry it out, and reconnect. It is based in the idea that no parent is unforgivable, unfixable.

I’ve had a lot of friends, with a lot of parents who screwed them up in different ways. Parents who

  • Taught their children strict body image ideals that permanently made them to value being skinny over being healthy
  • Ignored their child’s depression, even when the child point-blank told them how they felt
  • Ignored their child’s attempt to speak about abuse
  • Decided their child was a chronic liar instead of listening to them recount problems they faced
  • Made their child fear the imperfection of an A- (let alone a B) so palpably that the child chose to value studying over taking care of their physical and emotional well-being

Parents who were more than clueless, more than out of touch. Parents who continued their behavior after confrontation.

Parents who honestly, I won’t forgive.

I am not saying that this applies to every bad parent in YA. They are not all bad in the same way, nor are they all forgiven. They aren’t. But it feels like there is a strong trend in favor of acting like parents making their children feel like shit was just a misunderstanding. And I’m not okay with that.

At best, it isolates teenagers. It takes a story that could be a beacon of hope—this character lived in the same situation but survived like this—and turns it into a “whoops, just kidding, you’re on your own.”

At worst, it gaslights teenagers into blaming themselves for their parents choices by making them believe their parents would be kind if they could just have the right conversation. This might sound like a far-fetched idea, but a lot of the teenagers I know have tried to talk to their parents about their issues, and it didn’t work. Not all of them, of course, but there are more than the two options: silence and forgiveness.

Young adult literature is complex. It cannot be defined by one trend or cliche. It has fluffy romances and heart-wrenching plots in both fantasies and contemporaries. YA has something for everyone to connect to. It gives readers things to laugh about and things to cry about. It helps us escape reality, and it gives us the tools we need to confront reality. The multitudes of YA are what makes it so incredible. 

I do not want every book published to have awful parents. I do not want every awful parent to end un-forgiven. What I do want is a YA that presents all types of parents, even the ones we would like to pretend don’t exist. 


What do you think? Was this post relatable? Are there any books you can recommend that break the forgiveness model?

Top Ten Diverse Books I’m Excited to Read in 2017

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

Reading more diversely is my main reading goal for 2017. There are books I own that I want to read, backlist books that I have been meaning to get to for ages, and upcoming releases that promise that the future of YA is a lot more diverse than its past. These are of course not the only diverse books I want to read this year, but a place to start at least.

Books I Own

1. When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

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(Goodreads)

2. Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

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(Goodreads)

3. If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth

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(Goodreads)

4. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

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(Goodreads)

Backlist Books I Want to Own

5. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

cover simon vs the homo sapiens agenda

(Goodreads)

6. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

cover-aristotle-and-dante-discover-the-secrets-of-the-universe

(Goodreads)

7. Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

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(Goodreads)

Upcoming Releases

8. You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

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(Goodreads)

9. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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(Goodreads)

10. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

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(Goodreads)

11. Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee and K.E. Ormsbee

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(Goodreads)

12. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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(Goodreads)


Have you read any of these? What did you think? Which diverse books do you want to read this year?

Book Review: My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows

A hilarious alternate historical fiction novel that was just so much fun.

5/5 stars

cover my lady jane

synopsis for reviews 2

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England

Add it on Goodreads

my thoughts for reviews 1

From page one, this book was hilarious. I have rarely read a book that reveled so completely in being ridiculous. There are references to Shakespeare, The Princess Bride, and the Monty Pythons. (Full disclosure: if you don’t know the source material, this book will be way less funny.) The narrators talk directly to you and sometimes even point out plot holes. I laughed out loud throughout the book.

I loved the alternate historical premise of this book. The authors re-framed the Catholic-Protestant divide under Henry VIII as a conflict between humans that turn into animals (Edians) and those that hate Edians (Verities). From there, they took further liberties with the chronology of history, which the narrators call them out on in a hilarious fashion. Overall, the way that the authors twisted history created a perfect backdrop for the rest of the absurd story. (If you love this time period and will be pained by historical inaccuracies, I don’t blame you, but probably don’t read this one.)

My Lady Jane is told from three perspectives: Lady Jane, the future queen; Edward, Jane’s childhood friend and the dying king she will replace; and G, the cursed aristocrat that will marry Jane as a part of his father’s power grab. I loved that all three perspectives had clear voices and personalities, and that they were all equally important to the story. Also, the switch from perspective to perspective felt natural and never broke up the flow of the story.

I’ll start with Jane. She was bookish and introverted, and she had always known that she would not be important to court life (she was wrong). She got thrust into an arranged marriage, then into a position of power, but all she really wanted was to read. (Relatable.) I loved her optimism and her stubbornness, even if they were frustratingly naive occasionally.

Edward was equal parts infuriating and endearing. Infuriating because he’s a spoiled, sexist prick. Endearing because once the plot knocks him off his feet, he starts to realize just how spoiled and sexist he was, and he grows. He never wanted to be king, and he was surrounded by people that let him have the power without actually doing anything. He hid from responsibility, and in the face of his own mortality, he had to grow up a lot. So while I hated parts of his character, I loved watching him grow into a character that I didn’t hate.

If you’re worried about the sexism, I’ll say two things: 1) the narrators call him out on his sexism, and 2) his voice is not focused on being sexist, so you won’t have it shoved in your face constantly while reading. (If that’s not good enough for you, I don’t blame you.)

G was possibly my favorite character (maybe tied with Jane—I’m indecisive). Cursed to turn into a horse whenever the sun is up, G’s entire life is pretty ridiculous. Still, I loved his a clear, emotional voice. I was able to connect with his character’s frustrations and longings. He was surprisingly down-to-earth and honest, and I loved how those character traits juxtaposed with his horse curse’s humor.

The plot of My Lade Jane was equal parts court intrigue, romance, and rebellion (all of it humorous, of course). Most of the plot consisted of Jane, Edward, and G unwittingly getting caught in a web of power plays and faction rivalries and then trying to survive the mess. The pacing of the plot was just fast enough to keep me reading and to prevent the nearly 500 page book from feeling long, but not so fast that I felt dragged along.

The romance was a large part of the book, but it did not overshadow the political side. Watching Jane and G fall in love was adorable, but it was not the only thing forcing both characters to develop. I appreciated that romance was often used to support and comfort characters, rather than to tear them down. Additionally, Edward’s less-than-perfect love life helped to keep the book from feeling like a rom com.

Still, it would be a lie to say My Lady Jane is not heavily oriented about romance, or to say that the romance never gets cheesy. I let myself get carried away by the story and chose to enjoy the more middle-grade romantic arc, and I had a blast.

I would recommend My Lade Jane to anyone that needs a break from the stress of reality. You have to be able to suspend disbelief and enjoy the ridiculousness of the story. This book gets 5/5 stars for being unabashedly hilarious, not for any deep themes or gorgeous writing. My Lady Jane does not take itself seriously—at all—and if that sounds like fun, then you should definitely pick it up.


Problematic Moments and Trigger Warnings: (A new section where I call out books for problematic moments and alert readers to possible triggers. Please note I am by no means an expert on either, but I will do my best to research the books I review as I write this section. I added this to help readers, but I cannot promise it will be perfect. I am still learning, and any critiques you have will be greatly appreciated. If I missed something in either category, tell me and I’ll edit the review to include it.)

Problematic things: It’s straight and white. There’s no sugar coating it: this is not a diverse story. It’s just not.

Trigger warnings: sexism, violence against people/animals, terminal illness, (recreational) drinking

Six Things College App Essays Taught Me About Writing

I just finished all of my college apps!!! *screams with joy for hours*

john-stewart-happy

And while it was a horrifyingly stressful and (sometimes) tedious process, it did teach me some things about writing and myself as a writer.

1. How to write something that doesn’t rely on dialogue. Or sarcasm.

In my fiction writing, I rely on dialogue and sarcasm. College app essays weren’t really the place for that style writing, so it was an adjustment. Trying to find a tone that conveyed my personality without making me sound like a bitch was something that I’m proud I accomplished.

2. Just how many “voices” I have, outside the ones I already knew about.

This goes with the one before, but as I wrote more and more essays, I started to develop new writing voices. I still prefer my fiction/journalism ones, but I like that I discovered others.

3. How to be done with something. And actually be done.

I have been writing fiction for years, but I have never really finished something. I have reached the end of pieces, and edited pieces, but I have never really felt done. With college app essays, I had to write, edit, and turn it in. This was incredibly stressful at the beginning, but it also feels awesome to be actually done.

4. Kill Your Darlings is actually really good advice.

I have heard the classic writing advice “Kill Your Darlings” for a while, but college app essays were the first time I really had to use it. And damn, it works. I can’t tell you how many essays clicked into place when I got rid of a favorite sentence, metaphor, or idea.

5. How to write, even when I don’t want to.

My WIP started to teach me this over summer, but it was writing essays for college apps that finally drove home this lesson. Although I still occasionally give in to writer’s block, I am now able to get myself to sit down and write, even if I don’t feel “inspired.”

6. Word counts are the worst, but only sometimes.

This was my first real encounter with word counts, and it was rough. Of the hours I spent working on these essays, only half the time was writing. The other half was spent editing them down to the right word count.

But I also started to appreciate word counts for the direction they gave me. I knew how far to go with an essay based on the word count. Without them, I don’t know if I would have edited my essays as thoroughly. So I guess word counts aren’t the worst.


What do you think? Was this post interesting for you? Have you applied/are you applying to colleges, and if so, what was it like for you?