YA Faves

As YA week comes to a close, I’ve found myself reminiscing over some of my old favourite books that I read during my teenage years. Although I still read YA, there are certain books that just stayed with me over the years, ones that I often return too.

The Outsiders and That Was Then, This is Now by S.E Hinton.

S.E Hinton is still one of my favourite YA authors. I actually own an anniversary copy of The Outsiders, and adored the book so much as a kid that I nicknamed one of my own character’s Ponyboy. If you’ve read Vermin, you’ll also notice one of my character’s is named Kurtis, with a K. Ponyboy Curtis. Although the character’s have nothing in common, I couldn’t help it. I’d also be lying if I said that Kurtis was the only character in my work over the years to be named after a favourite character of mine.

Sometimes I also shout, “Do it for Johnny!” when I need to motivate myself to finish chores. Adulting, am I right?

House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer.

This book was so good! Honestly, Mateo was one of my favourite characters of all time. I really wish Netflix or somebody would adapt this series into a show because trust me, it would be absolutely fantastic. I highly, highly recommend if you’re into sci-fi, thrillers and crime stories.

Dawn of the Arcana by Rei Toma.

This manga is one that you have to read twice, because once you reach the end there’s this HUGE reveal…and that is all I will say about that. You should read. It’s really good. I’m surprised not that many people have heard about it. I loved Rei Toma’s work so much, that I do have a character named after them in one of my stories that I wrote in high school.

Confessions from the Principals Chair.

I honestly can’t recall how many times I’ve read this book since I got it in the 7th grade. I read it over and over and over again. I just really enjoyed the characters. I’m curious though, if this book is actually middle grade? Probably, but I reread it all the time in high school and university.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

I know that this isn’t technically YA either, but I read a lot of Charles Dickens and classic literature while I was in high school and I absolutely adored all of it. These were books that I’d chosen myself, and although my Nana isn’t a big fan of Dickens (she prefers thrillers/mysteries and romances), her and my granddad got me Oliver Twist, and then let me keep my uncles copy of Great Expectation’s which I read the summer before starting university. Of course the one of the first books I was assigned was Great Expectation’s, and I chose to do my midterm paper on it. I also read A Tale of Two Cities in the twelfth grade, and again absolutely adored it. The only Dickens works that I’ve seen adapted into film however are Oliver Twist, and A Christmas Carol. Funny enough, I don’t own a copy of A Christmas Carol, but I’d very much like to.

Dengeki Daisy by Kyousuke Motomi.

This series is still one of my favourites. I recently recommended it to a few friends at work. It’s really good. It’s got mystery, romance, action, humour and suspense. Everything you want in a shojo manga directed at teen girls. In all seriousness though, this was and still is one of my top series. I cannot stress enough how much fun it was to read. I believe this was also one of the first series that I collected in entirety. Before I would borrow one or two from the library, but this series I borrowed the first 5 from the library bought the rest, and then years later bought book 1-5 to complete the set. Totally worth the money.

Two Steps Forward by Rachel Cohn

As a teenager, I think I read just about every book I could find by Rachel Cohn. Two Steps Forward was my favourite of all of them, possible because it was the first I read, not realizing it was the sequel to her book The Steps. I just loved the characters.

Naomi and Eli’s No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Speaking of Rachel Cohn, if you loved the Dash and Lily series, you have to read Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List. There are scene from this book that still resonate with me to this day. Rachel Cohn and David Levithan are such a powerhouse. I’d love it if they wrote another book together!

Happy Face by Stephen Emond

I wish more people knew about this book. I believe I read it back in the 9th grade, and it absolutely broke my heart. The emotional rollercoaster was 100% worth it.


Liked this post? Why not explore one of these from my blog.

If you’re looking for a new YA book to add to your own list, feel free to check out my debut novel Vermin.

Book Talk Episode 19: It’s YA Week!

It’s YA week on Goodreads, so I thought I would do a blog post (possibly 2?) about my favourite young adult reads and talk about how the genre has evolved since I first became a YA reader to what it is like now.

As Goodreads mentions in their article, the tropes and characters we see in YA today are vastly different from the ones we saw 10 years ago. I remember when Dystopian fiction was huge, with series like The Hunger Game and Divergent. Not only was I reading the YA in this genre, I was also writing it. Vampires and angels were also popular, at least among YA fantasy. Some examples that I can think of are The Vampire Diaries, Twilight and Fallen…and there are many, many, many more from this period.

What I’m seeing now is more of a mix of both high and urban fantasy being written not only for young adult readers, but for middle grade and adult readers as well. Personally, this is something I absolutely love. There is so much variety within the fantasy books that are out right now, and I often go to friends for recommendations.

I also noticed that, well at least when I was a teenager, a lot of the books weren’t spooky enough. Now, not everyone likes spooky, but now there are so many YA books that border along the lines of horror, mystery and thriller. I’m curious to know whether television created this initial shift, or if it happened naturally within the media. I know when my mom was a teenager, that a lot of the YA books at the time fell in line with gothic literature. I’d say, at least the ones that I can recall her mentioning, were American Gothics. As for the thrillers, the ones I read as a teenager were all about spies, and I beginning to think that those prep-school spy books may have also contributed to the ever popular dark academia vibe we’re seeing today.

Another very obvious shift in teen fiction is the variety of voices, not only are the characters from all different backgrounds, but the are authors come from all walks of life as well! Literature is beautiful like that. Although, I feel the process was slow, books have become a space where people feel seen, and I hope that it translates across all media as we move into 2022. I’m really looking forward to this period of growth.

One thing that I have noticed is that there’ve been a lot of complaints about the lack of YA fiction geared toward a male audience. I’ve also noticed that the market seems to be more favourable towards female readers at this current time, however, there are plenty of YA books and series out there for everyone! I know plenty of guys who read Twilight when it was first released, and enjoyed it. I also know plenty of guys who were (and still are) obsessed with The Hunger Games, any and every book by John Green, and who are extremely invested in all the books by Leigh Bardugo. To quote one of my friends from high school, “A good book is a good book. I don’t care if Katniss is a girl. She’s cool.”

One other thing I’ve noticed is that YA fiction has brought back illustrated covers, which I have missed an incredible amount! I hope this carries over into other genres, because it gives the books such a personal feel to them. I’ve also noticed this with romance as well, but I’m still waiting for the illustrated covers to be the norm in horror again. I don’t read a lot of horror, but the old illustrated covers in that genre were incredible! If you haven’t gone through and looked at old horror covers, I highly recommend it…unless of course you don’t like horror, then please don’t. I don’t want you to get scared. Some are really freaky!

Lastly, I want to talk about the insane amount of fairytale retellings. I don’t mean insane as in it’s a bad thing. It’s not bad at all! I used to adore retellings when I was a kid, but they didn’t make very many for teens at the time I was getting into YA. There are so many cool ones out right now and it’s not just fairytales, it’s myths and legends and all kinds of lore being retold and reimagined for new audiences! I like this idea of taking something familiar and flipping it on its head. It’s just so much fun, revisiting a story but having it be completely new to you.

What’s your favourite shift in YA? Is there anything that you miss about older YA books that makes you feel nostalgic?

My book has a release date!

My book has a release date! I’m so excited. There’s a lot to be done still but I’m happy announce that we’re currently looking for reviewers who enjoy YA fiction, urban fantasy, romance and paranormal romance.

Want to receive an ARC of this book?

Check out the post Reviewers Wanted, fill out the form and we will send you a link to the book the day the ARC’s become available or go to the ARC Reviewers website on July 1st, 2021.

Please note the ARCs provided will be ebooks.

Happy 1st Blogiversary!

Apparently it’s my blogs anniversary. I hadn’t even realized it until just now. Traditionally, with my older blogs I would make a long post highlighting the years…but I didn’t plan anything. This will also probably be posted a day late because its 11:30pm…

So for starters…

My blog is officially a year old. Happy 1st Birthday kiddo!

I’ve been catching up on my reading lately, and I have a bunch of new reviews planned out. My TBR was shrinking last week, but now it’s growing again! Hooray!

I also have a bunch of exciting news that I can’t wait to share. I hope you’ll all be as excited about it as I am. All I can say for now is that I’m doing a super cool project, that I am pumped about! I’ll talk more about it before the premiere!

Today I had my favourite ice cream and watched 90 Day Fiancée with my sister which my Dad absolutely hates but put up with because we rarely get TLC on our station unless its like a monthly promo thing…we also didn’t let him change the channel. I’m not a huge fan of reality TV but I find this show addicting. I don’t know why. I think I can recall a YouTuber who discussed TLC (The Learning Channel) as a modern day Freak Show. I agree with her. After thinking off the top of my head, most of what airs on that station reminds me of the old “COME SEE THE MAN WITH THE SEVEN EARS!” type thing…only its on television. I wish I could remember the name of the YouTuber, because that video is seriously worth watching if you have the time. I want to say her name was Ada?

Anyways, that’s enough about television.

I had ice cream, finished compiling and organizing my research results and now that I’m finished with that I’ll be rewarding myself with a few more books to add to my shrinking TBR.

I’ve been low-key participating in a co-workers read-athon. I like read-athons, but I sometimes have a hard time filling all the prompt categories. Sometimes I try to knock out two categories with one book. I’ve found this helps. I love that her prompt allows us to read diversely and explore different mediums and genres but also gives us the freedom and flexibility to read whatever we like at our own pace! I also got a very lovely list of series recommendations from her, which I am extremely grateful for! I was starting to worry that I’d run out of novels to read. She’s such a fun person to work with, we literally just gush over YA novels and the majority of what she recommends me is 100% up my alley!

Working in a bookstore is the best. I miss my co-workers so much during lock down but every once in a while people send out emails or our managers call to check on us. It’s extremely thoughtful and I just…I feel so happy and safe with everyone at our store.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t complete 5 books in four days last week. My managers even asked if I was really reading that much…and to be honest I don’t even know how I accomplished that. I haven’t read like that since I was in my first year of university. I guess it happened because I was multitask reading a bunch of different books around my birthday and then when we went into lock down I was just reading with my niece…because this little girl who used to hate reading now adores it! We pretended to have a book club. I think we should try to continue it via social distance because it was so much fun. I actually have a post planned involving some of our reads and reviews of certain Middle Grade books. She gives fantastic reviews, so I’d love to get quotes from her on her recent reads for that post. Who knows, maybe I’ll interview her.

She’s also been making her own comic series! It’s really creative and I love how her personality shines through it. She’s got a great sense of humour so seeing that in her stories always makes me happy.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading my blog over this past year, and have found new books to add to your reading list…or perhaps one of my writing related posts has helped you. If you have a blog, feel free to share your link in the comments, I love checking out other bloggers!

Manga Review: Living no Matsunaga-san 1

I won’t lie, the reason I picked up this book is just so I could hold it up and say, “And they were roommates.”

Yah…I’m that person.

I’m planning on reading the next volume in the near future, however I felt like book #1 was a bit rushed. It had the usual,

“Hi my name is so and so and I’m this many years old and go to blah blah school…”

type introduction which I find tiresome, unless something really wild happens interrupting the main character.

I did however think that the character’s were fun. I like the dynamic between the roommates living in the house. I just found the female lead, Miko a little dry in the beginning. Once I reached the end of the book she grew on me, but part of me wishes that her roommate the nail artist was the protagonist? I don’t know why but everyone else just seemed a lot more fleshed out than Miko did in this first book.

I still enjoyed it. It was a nice, short read with a cute story. The main character just seemed to fall into the typical shojo cliches that I’d grown tired of after reading for 14 or 15 years now. I read a lot of shojo, so for me I really need to connect with the character’s (leads especially) for me to continue. They only reason I’m giving this series another chance is because the supporting cast of character’s were incredibly charming, which in my opinion makes up for the dryness in Miko’s characterization near the first half of the book.

As for the art style of the book, I thought it was really cute. Each of the character’s seem to have their own distinct styles, which is something I love to see when I’m reading comics/manga!

Overall I’m going to be giving this first book 3 stars because it was “okay” but it wasn’t “great.”

Rating: 3 out of 5.
OH MY GAWD THEY WERE ROOMMATES!

Book Talk Episode 17: Illustrated Covers

The other day at work, a co-worker of mine was admiring this beautifully illustrated book cover. I wish I could recall the name of the book so I could show an example, but her comment really made me think. She said, “I’m so glad that they’re going back to the illustrated version of this cover. I hate how boring a lot of covers have been these past few years.”

The two of us then went on to discuss how, since the first Twilight book came out a lot of book covers began to mimic the style and then ultimately readers were bombarded with stock images and lifeless photographs. Now, not to bash the creators of those types of covers…I believe that the covers for Twilight and their simplicity was actually well thought out. The issue that we discussed was that it seemed as though the plan was to get readers to buy a book because it had a similar cover to that of the Twilight series, versus coming up with something significant to the actual story.

I can clearly remember being a 13-15 year old wandering around my favourite bookstores and sighing at the cover art. I know that they say not to judge a book but it’s cover, but it’s the first thing a reader sees, not the review. Not the synopsis. Not the first page. The cover is what’s put on display for us.

Illustrated covers have always captured my attention. For example, the cover of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It’s absolutely beautiful. When I saw it, I immediately was drawn to the book! That is what a cover is supposed to do. It’s supposed to capture your attention.

The design itself isn’t too complicated, and yet it captures the eye. It stirs curiosity. It makes you wonder what’s inside.

Illustrated covers, in my personal opinion, do a better job of conveying certain types of stories. Especially within much of fiction. It makes them stand out more.

If you compare the classic horror book covers to current ones, you’ll find yourself greatly disappointed. A few of my friends who are avid horror readers lament over the lack of character given to horror books today in comparison to the ones printed in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Look at this cover of Misery by Stephen King.

The illustrated version of this cover is eye catching, whereas the version with the snow covered cabin doesn’t peak my curiosity as much. It doesn’t pull me in as much. This however, is my personal opinion. I have however, seen some horror book reviewers (along with friends of mine who adore the genre) discuss this in more detail.

I recommend checking out the video, Horror Books Have Lost Their Identity. I’ve linked it below because I think it really summarizes what I’m discussing in this post.

As YouTuber In Praise of Shadows states in the video, book covers are supposed to give the reader some indication of the genre as well as what the story is about. However in recent years they have had to scan the covers for small clues…such as a single word in a review in fine print on the cover like, “haunting,” “shocking” or “disturbing.”

The older covers made it very clear what the books were about. Right now all of the covers, across these vast genres are blending together in a mess of bright colours and large font.

This video really grasps what my co-worker and I were discussing the other day. At some point all the books blend together.

I know many people who believe that The Hunger Games and the Divergent series are the same, simply because of how the covers were designed. People who know nothing about the plots for either series. This assumption came with how the books were marketed. I know that when I first saw the Divergent cover, I thought it was a Hunger Games spin off series. That was until I read the synopsis. I remember being almost…frustrated by how so many of the covers that came out that year, resembled The Hunger Games (and Twilight). I was so frustrated by it I missed out on reading a lot of potentially good books, and lost interest in much of what was published that year.

Now, as someone who also reads comic books and manga, I know how much work has to go into the covers for those. I’ve seen examples of some of the covers done for the more recent releases of the Jughead comics. There were several options done for the front cover, before one was selected by the team as the perfect cover. Guess what? I bought that comic solely based on the cover art.

Based on the cover you already know that Jughead and Sabrina are going to get themselves into some kind of mess (or fun!). Your eyes are draw to the different parts of it. The colours are eye catching. It makes you interested in the story.

When I look at some of the books being printed over the last few years, my curiosity isn’t peaked. A catchy title may draw me in but it’s the cover that makes me flip to the synopsis to learn more. It’s the cover that captivates me visually and draws me into this world created by the author. It’s the cover fills me with excitement.

I’m not saying that today’s covers are boring or lacking creativity. I know that design takes a long time. I just think that the genres are all blending together…to the point where each cover is more or less the same.

Even earlier this morning while I was looking at books. I was trying to guess where they went in the store, solely based on the covers. The adult romance books and the teen romance books were all clearly romance however the contrast between them was almost non-existent. I wasn’t able to tell which was YA and which wasn’t. Normally the shirtless cowboys are a dead giveaway. Not anymore. The majority of the books that I assumed were adult romances were actually YA. Some weren’t even romance books at all. They were coming of age novels. I must’ve blinked the confusion from my face at least 30 times while going through these books.

The fact that myself and many other readers are excited to see these unique, illustrated book covers just shows how much is lacking on the shelves. We want books that upon first glance make us excited, curious and capture our attention. We want to run our hands along the covers as we examine every detail, before continuing our individual book choosing rituals. Reading is an experience and for those like myself who read a lot and collect books it is extremely sad when books lack character in their design.

Sure, we shouldn’t judge books by their cover but covers convey so much. Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Manga I Read as A Kid

WARNING: This entire blog post will likely be filled with excessive fan-girling. For your own safety, please approach with caution.

I’ve been reading manga and comic books for a very long time. However, this isn’t a post about my favourite Archie comics…this is about Manga I read as a kid. Now, I am aware that some of these series are for teens. I didn’t understand the rating system when I was 9, so you’ll have to excuse me.

I will be noting which ones I definitely don’t think you should read between 9 and 12…and which ones are definitely 16 plus. At the time, I didn’t know anyone besides my younger sister and our friend M (who is the same age as her), who read manga. So the three of us were constantly finding books that made us go, “GAAAAAH!” haha…which I laugh at now as an adult but there are some books that seriously messed us up and some that were very mature in subject matter.

If my friend who had gotten my sister and I into manga and anime didn’t move back to Japan in 3rd grade I don’t think we would’ve had this problem. His mom knew what was what…and well our Canadian parents definitely did not.

Note

Now, for those of you who haven’t read manga or perhaps have children interested in manga, graphic novels and comic books, the rating system is similar to how films are rated and are based on subject matter.

For example:

There is children’s manga: Pokemon, Yokai Watch, Beyblade, Yugi Oh

All Ages: Girl from the Other Side

Teen 13+ manga: Minima, Shugo Chara, Card Captor Sakura, Sailor Moon, Kamichama Karin, Hatsu Haru, Love in Focus, Anonymous Noise, Kodocha, Me and my Brothers…etc.

Teen 16+ manga: Mars, Ao Haru Ride, Dengeki Daisy, Wotakoi, Daytime Shooting Star, We Where There, A Silent Voice…etc.

and 18+ manga: Monster, Ao Haru Machine Gun…etc.

Some of them will say Older Teen and will be placed in the general manga section, usually with the adult books as they are recommended for readers 18 or older.

Now Let’s Begin!


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Kamichama Karin

I had to start with this manga. My sister and I read the entire series (part 1 and 2) during the summer. We were hooked! We watched the anime as soon as we finished.

I think this was the first summer where our mom didn’t have to fight my sister to take time out of the day to read.

The series was hilarious, fun and of course about a magical girl. Plus the artwork was adorable.

My sister and I still crack many inside jokes to this day about the series.

I would definitely rank this as a 13 plus manga. I think I was in 6th grade when I read it and my sister…she would’ve been 10 (4th grade). I’m pretty sure the rating for this series is 13 plus but I’m not sure. That’s just what I’m ranking it as based on the content.

Honestly, it was really fun.


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Shugo Chara

I’m still obsessed with this series. I was 12 when I read and watched it and I ended up rewatching the anime in my first year of university.

It’s funny because I remembered parts of it being sad as a kid but in university I cried like a baby watching it…while stuffing my face with mountain dew, stir fry and candy bars. I think I understood certain things more at 18 than I did at 12.

To this day I find more and more people who were absolutely obsessed with this series.

I even dressed like Amu as much as possible. She was also extremely relatable as were her friends.

I’m positive this is a 13 plus series but it may also be ranked as children’s (for the spin off series). It reminds me a little of what Miraculous Ladybug is today. Only the kwamis are chara/heart’s eggs and your super powers are what you wanna be when you grow up.

Plus who doesn’t love these beans?


Beyblade

I cannot express how much I love Beyblade. Like I love it so much that even to this day I see the toys and I instantly beam with excitement.

I read the manga when I was 10 and watched the series between 8 and 11 (rewatching it constantly because I have part of season 1 on VHS).

I even dreamed about it. That’s how much I loved this series.

I wanted to be a Beyblader, travel the world, make friends, fall in love with Ray or Kai (I could never decide) and have a super cool team name.

Yah…this series was fantastic and is honestly for all ages. I’d watch it with a toddler or my Nana (she’s watched it lol).


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Kingdom Hearts

I will forever be in love with this series (both the games and the manga). Although the games are more fun in an interactive sense, the manga is fantastic for younger readers.

I would rate this manga all ages as I think it could be enjoyed at any age. It’s a great story, with fun and memorable characters plus…reading books based on video games has become a huge trend lately.

I can’t get enough of these characters.


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Me & My Brothers

This series started off well…and I do own a few copies of it…however it’s questionable, especially the 13+ rating.

Not saying that it’s innapropriate but like…a 14 year old girl being in love with her 24…or 30 something year old step-brother is just…yah.

At the time I read this I was 12 and everyone I knew who had read it found that whole thing extremely awkward and uncomfortable.

The story however is really fantastically written.

Perhaps if Sakura liked one of the younger brothers? Like the 16 or 18 year old? Maybe then it would…yah I’m still not okay with it. I just can’t justify it, I never could. But I still really liked the series. The amount of drama in it was insane! So much happened.

I recommend the series by the author with the babysitters instead. From what I read in high school (I lost track of this series sadly), it was a lot more…um….

I don’t know what to say. Good book. Questionable content. NEXT!


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Tokyo Mew Mew

Oh my goodness.

Okay so my love for Mew Mew is almost as strong as my hardcore love for Sailor Moon.

I adored magical girl manga. I think it’s because my mom got me into watching the old Wonder Woman show as a kid?

This series wasn’t just fun and adventurous it also had a great message about taking care of the planet. I definitely recommend it to younger audiences. I believe I was 11 when I read it? I’ve read it more than once though. I also really liked the show which was dubbed in English as well for people who aren’t so great at keeping up with subtitles.


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We Were There

I cried. I was way too young for this manga.

I thankfully didn’t watch the anime until university. There were certain scenes that were hard to stomach. It’s a heavier story and I definitely would recommend for 16+ readers.

It’s a really good story…but the level of maturity and the content is definitely not something I should have been reading at the time. I think I was around 11 or 12?

Yano and Nanami ave a fairly toxic relationship as well, which unfortunately stems from Yano’s previous relationship where his girlfriend died. He also continues to keep things from Nanami like how he slept with his dead girlfriends younger sister…it’s messy.

I gave that context simply because again, probably not something an 11 year old needs to be reading. I liked the story but I cried a lot and was extremely upset by it. In university when I fully understood everything that was going on, I cried more and also at times hated the characters.


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Monkey High!

I never finished Monkey High! but my friend and I were reading them back when I was in the 6th grade (she was in 4th). We loved how cute it was.

I believe however that the rating for this series is…maybe 16+ but I don’t know for sure. It’s hard to find the actual rating systems online.

Still I remember thoroughly enjoying this one! I may revisit it and give it a review in the near future.


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Sugar Sugar Rune

This series was adorable. Like really adorable. Like I don’t even know if I can contain how sweet it was.

Chocolat and Vanilla have the sweetest friendship of all time and just…it was wonderful and very imaginative.

I remember reading this at a friends house just gushing over the pages (and Pierre).

I didn’t find out until last October that the series was adapted into an anime, so I watched it then because spooky vibes.

I honestly think this series is fine for All Ages. Especially the show, however it was never dubbed…like Shugo Chara…which I find weird. If anyone wants to dub them, hit me up though because I would love to be apart of that.

Still this series was really focused on the strong love and bond between friends more than anything…and it honestly made me miss the good old days. It was so much fun reading manga together and talking about out favourite characters all summer or on the school bus every morning.


I’ve read so many other’s but I can’t think of anything else at the moment that I read before I was 13 that I can put on this list…aside from like Hamtaro, but I’ve never seen a manga for it so I have no idea if it exists. I do however have the VHS and managed to keep all the toys my friend gave me before he moved back to Japan. It was really cool having a penpal! My sister and I always laugh about all the fun games we used to play as kids.

I will definitely do a list of manga I read as a teenager in the near future and rate those as well. It’s been a nice trip down memory lane. I definitely want to revisit many of these stories. They still hold a dear place in my heart…even those that…were upsetting for me as a kid.

I’m also thinking of doing a post where I discuss my favourite manga/anime fashion icons. Not gonna lie, I used to get all my outfit inspiration from cartoons. These artists had a great eye for fashion.

Just look at Momo from Peach Girl!

I actually own the art book for this series…and like…Miwa Ueda needed to start a clothing line or something. Her characters always look amazing.

If you read manga as a kid, what was your favourite series and why? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Novels I Would Read Again

There are many books that have resonated with me from their first to final pages, ones that I don’t have on my own shelves and wished I did, so I could read them again and again.

This is a list of those books.

  1. Plague Child by Peter Ransley

I read this book at the end of the 10th grade, during summer vacation. I couldn’t put it down. I was addicted to each and every passage.

I wish I owned it and have been on the hunt for it ever since I borrowed it from the library. It’s one of those books that I’m constantly reminded of.

I also recently discovered that this book is apart of a series, which makes me so happy because it definitely needed some sort of sequel.

2. Sirena by Donna Jo Napoli

This novel had such beautiful passages. I read it in the 9th grade and was completely captivated by the story.

I’ve always been a fan of mermaids (I watched a lot of H20 back in the day), and was a bit of a history nerd as well…or I should say, that I still am. I just love stories and to me history is a compilation of stories passed on from generation to generation. We have individual histories and shared ones…and woven into those is where mythology lies. Mythology can teach us a lot about our past and present, just as much as history can, as the stories we tell about our world often reflect how we view it.

Sirena was such a beautiful story. I secretly read it during classes. I read it at home. I read it on the bus. I could not put it down.

It was one of those books where my mom had to come and tell me to stop reading and go to sleep. One that I couldn’t wait to leave the dinner table to get back to!

I wish I owned it. I would love to read it again.

3. House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

I read this book in grade 9 as well. I loved it.

It made me cry more than once. It felt as though the reader was growing up alongside Matteo.

The bonds between him and some of the other character’s were so strong and yet so fragile at the same time. Everything about his existence was fragile.

There are many scenes from this novel that continue to pop into my head every now and then. I don’t believe the sequel was out yet when I had read it, which was extremely frustrating because it ended with a fantastic and heart-wrenching cliffhanger.

I was on the edge of my seat reading this novel. I’d love to revisit it someday.

4. Greener Grass by Caroline Pignat

It seems that I read a lot of these books back in the 9th grade! Greener Grass was a gem.

I actually bought it for myself as a Christmas gift in 2019, while I was working seasonal at Indigo. I was shelving new books in the Teen/YA section, when suddenly it popped out at me. A single copy of Greener Grass, tucked between two larger novels on the shelf, as if it had been waiting for me for the last 10 years.

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was. I bought it immediately after my shift.

The first time I had read this book was when I was 14.

If you couldn’t tell by now, I spent nearly every day in the library during high school. I also spent way more time reading than on my actual studies (which I don’t recommend!).

Anyway, I had learned previously from my grandparents a little bit about the Irish famine, but this book really opened my eyes. I cried reading it. It was different than hearing my grandparents tell me about it, or learning songs written during the famine, or watching a documentary on TVO or BBC…this novel threw me right into the story and I couldn’t put it down no matter how painful it was.

To this day I still feel for Kit as a character. She was extremely relatable, and incredibly strong. I think that my love for this book is what brought her and her story back to me after all these years.

Each of these books have left their mark on my heart…and the fact that I remember them so fondly after 10 years is honestly remarkable. There are books that I read for school, that I almost feel sorry for…because although I finished them, I wouldn’t choose to go back to them (aside from 2).

Thinking about these books brings a smile to my face, despite…all of them having moments that were fairly sad…and I mean like Boy in the Striped Pajama’s sad. Like not being able to sleep because your heart has been ripped out by a book sad.

It’s funny…I’ve had my heart broken by more books than boys. I guess that’s a good thing…but when I say these books are some of my favourites, I mean I adored them like no other.

Honourable Mentions:

Flood by James Heneghan.

I read this book when I was in the 8th grade. I’ve never forgotten it. However, I actually took it out of the library again in 10th grade because my high school had it.

I do wish I owned a copy of it because it’s such a lovely book…and it blends the thin lines of reality and fantasy.

Andy was a very memorable character, along with his father.

A fantastic Canadian read about a boy moving to Halifax after a horrible tragedy.

Escape from Memory Margaret Peterson Haddix

This is another book that I remember fondly from the 8th grade.

During this time I read just about anything I could get my hands on by Margaret Peterson Haddix.

This novel was incredibly captivating and had me staying up all night to finish it!

It also lead me to reading other books by the author like the Shadow Children series, which I thankfully own a few books from…and will hopefully someday complete the set.