Author Spotlight: Sarah Crossan

“These I have loved:
Pork with apple sauce; tea in a heavy mug;
The smell of new books, and musty ones;
A girl with red coils for curls
–Her scream–Her smile;
The slap of a blonde dog’s tongue
Against my face; and an old face–Nana’s;
A broken fence–a secret pathway between two houses;
The sinking into a familiar bed;
Sheets white and crispy clean;
The return of a woman in a green coat–
Imperfect and human; The sound of poetry;
And of pencil lead scuffing the page as I write;
Made-up stores; and Truth.
These I have loved.”
― Sarah Crossan, Apple and Rain

Each time I read a Sarah Crossan novel, I’m become more and more moved and awed. I’ve always been a big fan of verse novels since studying one in high school, but I haven’t ever had quite the reaction to them until I started reading Sarah’s work. Her style of voice is astounding and true, her stories relatable and powerful. Each of her books are poetic storytelling at its best.

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Apple and Rain was the first of Sarah’s novels I read.  It’s not a verse novel, but it does incorporate poetry into it and I found Sarah’s prose still had the verse-feeling to it somehow.  Apple and Rain is a story about a girl’s reunion with the Mum who left her and the secret she’s kept from her daughter. It’s about being lost and finding the strength to open up to love again. It’s truly a remarkable and breathtaking story that I recommend to any one who’s felt let down and alone, who needs a reminder of what’s special in this world.

I actually reviewed this book a few years ago when I first started my blog; not the best review I’ve written, that’s for sure, but read it here.

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The Weight of Water is the first of Sarah’s verse novels I read, and it’s truly a heartbreaking and insightful look at a daughter and her Mum’s relocation from their home country Poland to the UK. The novel focuses largely on Kasienka’s effort of trying to fit into a new culture and her Mum’s desperate attempt to find her husband. It’s a tremendous novel about the alienation of immigrants, and the search for love and new beginnings.

Again, I wrote a review on this book a few years ago. Read it here  

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It’s been a long time since a book really made me cry, but One did. It made me cry quite hard, and I was surprised by that. I’m not entirely sure if I can really express how much Sarah’s beautiful words and painting of two remarkable sisters touched my heart. This is a tender, honest novel that I wish I could experience reading again for the first time.

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After reading One, I discovered I still hadn’t read Moonrise, so I quickly got in hold of a copy and wow, this time around I wasn’t as surprised that it made me cry so much I had an enormous lump in my throat for hours afterwards. I’m not even joking. It really, really got me deep this novel. I was so affected by the story, the characters, the writing style. By the heartbreak, the injustice, the strength of family. I was left speechless. Thank you, Sarah Crossan, for writing such an important novel.

Moonrise was also mentioned in a recent Top Five Wednesday post of mine, read it here

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Please read Sarah Crossan’s books! She is a remarkable, one of a kind storyteller 🙂

Until next time,

Jasmine @ Thesepaperwords

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My Blog’s Name In Books

Inspired by Louise @Foxes and Fairytales and her My Blog’s Name In Books post, I decided to do my own. It was fun and a great way to remind myself of some books that have been on my TBR for years. I’m lucky my Goodreads TBR is long, or this would’ve been much more difficult to finish!

Here are the rules:

  • Spell out your blog’s name. 
  • Find a book from your TBR that begins with each letter. (Note  the books must already be on your Goodread’s TBR). 

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My Blog’s Name In Books

 

The Fifth Season 

How To Be Famous

Emergency Contact 

Summer Bird Blue

Everything is Illuminated 

 

Piecing Me Together

A Lite Too Bright

Pulp

Everything Leads To You

Ramona Blue

 

Wild Blue Wonder

On The Come Up

Royal Assassin 

Drowning is Inevitable 

Sadie

 

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This was a fun challenge to try out :). Sorry I’m lazy with providing Goodreads links, etc with this post, but take my word for it that I can’t wait to read all of books above that make up my blog name :D. Are any of these books on your TBR, too? I’d love to know what your blog’s name in books is, so if you end up doing yours let me know! 🙂

Back soon,

Jasmine @ Thesepaperwords

Book Review: The Changeling Series by James Fahy

I don’t know if I’ve developed some kind of visual impairment this year or a deep set inability to find ANYONE talking about this series, but I really don’t understand why NO ONE is talking about this series, not for the life of me.

The Changeling Series (currently a trilogy but I’m really hoping for more!) is perfect for fans of The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Artemis Fowl, to name a few. I read this series when I was 26 (now I’m 27) and I loved it. It’s a series that has everything you could want, whether you’re a child, a young adult or an adult as far as I’m concerned. It’s hilarious, magical, suspenseful, adventurous and engaging in so many ways.

I got swept up by the magical world James Fahy has created here, and by the characters, a diverse mix of humans, faeries and magical creatures like my favourite character of all, Woad the faun (nothing like Tumnus, by the way). The series took me back to days curled up on the couch and in bed reading Harry Potter or Narnia when I was younger. I loved it. If you love fantasy with great characters and a great story, look no further.

Top Five Wednesday: Books For My Younger Self

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Wow, such a good topic for this weeks T5W! I found it quite difficult to come up with five books that I wish I’d read when I was younger, and in choosing them I had to forget about when they were published and make it as if I’d have been able to read them in the late 90s or early 2000s. In the end, I came up with 5 books that I wish I’d been able to read during school – whether in place of books studied in class or for fun during lunch hours I’d spend in the library and hours I’d spend reading after school when I was meant to be doing my homework. I don’t regret that I read these books later in life at all, but I do think I would’ve got a lot out of them in my younger years in terms of my understanding of the world and the social issues in it.

1.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

by John Boyne

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I never got into history when I was younger, mainly because I found my high school history teacher incredibly dull and too obsessed with us memorising facts and dates and because, living and growing up in Australia, we learnt more about Australian history rather than what happened in Europe during WWII. If I’d had The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas on my History or English reading list, it would’ve lead me into being far more interested in war history then like I am today as an older young adult. It is such a beautiful, harrowing novel about a dark period of history and undoubtedly a book every one should read.

2.

The Bone Sparrow

by Zana Fraillon

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This is a moving book about a boy and his family held in a detention centre in Australia and a girl who lives on “the outside,” and how they become connected in each others lives. Growing up, I’ve always been educated by my parents about detention centres such as the one on Manus Island and against “stop the boats” policies. But I never found a book for young adults about the exact issues I was educated about, a book that showed the perspective of a young boys life in detention, the only life he’d ever known. The Bone Sparrow is a wonderful, thought provoking, educational story based on the lives of many immigrants who were only trying to find themselves a new life and are today near forgotten. A must read for everyone!

3.

Moonrise

by Sarah Crossan

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Since being introduced to verse novels in high school, I’ve always loved them and been in search of more. I’ve read all of Sarah Crossan’s books and Moonrise is her most recent and one I know I would’ve loved in my school years. It’s a tragic story about brothers, family and injustice. Poetic and beautiful storytelling in the way only verse can be.

4.

The Hate U Give

by Angie Thomas

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Such an important book relevant to historical and current social issues that I simply wish had been around for a lot longer. One day this book will be a classic taught in schools, I surely hope!

 

5.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

by Emily M. Danforth

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I am actually currently reading this, and I have no idea why it’s taken me so long! So far it’s an incredibly insightful and well-written account of a girl’s self/sexual discovery; it’s honest, witty and such a different LGBTQ novel to most of the ones I’ve read. Though I’ve only ever liked boys, I’ve always been interested in LGBTQ literature (something the librarian at my high school surely noticed) and so far Cameron Post is one of my favourite novels in that genre, and also one of my favourite characters. Loving it.

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T5W was created by Lainey @gingerreadslainey, and is now hosted by Sam @ThoughtsOnTomes. If you want to join, go to the Goodreads group by clicking here.

Author Spotlight: Alice Oseman

If you’re looking for YA books that are character driven and are not all about those tropes we’re all a bit fed up with, check out Alice Oseman’s books! Alice is one of my favourite YA authors. As an aspiring writer, she really inspires me and I’d love to be able to write novels that tackle issues the way she does.

Alice writes relatable, unpredictable and diverse YA contemporaries that explore Internet culture, friendship and a number of social issues with a whole lot of sarcasm, honesty and comic genius. In each book, the characters and the relationships they form with others and how they come to understand themselves and the world they live in is wonderful and illuminating.

I read  her first novel Solitaire soon after it was published and have recently re-read it after reading the novella Nick & Charlie and the ongoing web comic Heartstopper (read it on Tapas, it’s adorable!), both of which are set in the same universe though they focus on Tori Spring’s brother and his boyfriend. I’ve also read Radio Silence and I Was Born For This, both of which are so different. Radio Silence is my favourite novel of Alice’s so far, though each have been so enjoyable and interesting. I wish I could read them all again for the first time!!

“I wonder – if nobody is listening to my voice, am I making any sound at all?”
Alice Oseman.

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Have you read any of Alice Oseman’s books? Tell me what you thought of them!

Til next time,

Jasmine @ Thesepaperwords

Top Five Wednesday: Favourite Friend Groups

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It’s been a long time since I’ve joined in with T5W, happy to be back!

1)

Harry, Ron and Hermione

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I mean, really, I’m just doing this post so I can say again how amazing Harry, Ron and Hermione’s friendship is!! Heart eyes. There are not many book friendships that stay with you as much as theirs. I can honestly say they are my favourite friend group of all time. They went through a number of squabbles, but in the end they were always there for each other. They made each other laugh and got each other through difficult times, i.e destroying Voldemort, and from the beginning they were a family. I can’t even. ❤

2)

Robin, Henry, Karya and Woad

I’m kinda sad James’ Fahy’s The Changeling books haven’t kicked off as a widely popular series, because I think it’s so fun and enjoyable to read, and I absolutely love the theme of friendship in it. Robin’s friendship with Henry, Karya and Woad (who is the funniest faun you’ll ever meet, though nothing like the ones in Narnia), is hilarious and endearing. Plus, there are friend additions to their group that make it even better! I definitely recommend these books so you can see what I’m talking about!

3)

Rosemary, Ashby, Sissix, Kizzy, Jenks, Lovey, Dr. Chef, Ohan and Corbin (I guess).

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Becky Chamber’s The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet, first book of the Wayfarers, is one of my favourite recent reads and that’s largely to do with the crew on The Wayfarer and the friendship that develops between them throughout the book. So good!

4)

Rolland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy

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The Dark Tower, one of my all-time favourite series and one of the best friendship groups in fiction as far as I’m concerned :D.

5)

Kady, Hanna, Ezra, Nik & co.

Aka, the Illuminae crew. There are a number of great friendships in The Illuminae Files series, but the friendship that develops between the four above is particularly good. Of course, there is lots of romance in the books, too, but I really did enjoy how this group and their other friends banded together to fight for a common cause and became great friends in the process. I only regret with this series that I read it on my Kindle, the hard copies are so much better!!!

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T5W was created by Lainey @gingerreadslainey, and is now hosted by Sam @ThoughtsOnTomes. If you want to join, go to the Goodreads group by clicking here.

YA Contemporaries I’ve Read & Loved This Year

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman 

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I am so incredibly excited that Akemi Dawn Bowman is releasing another book next month (Summer Bird Blue) as I absolutely loved her writing and story style in Starfish. It’s about Kiko, who has an extremely difficult home life and a mother who is, without spoiling anything, only interested in herself. Kiko’s dream is to get into an incredible art school called Prism, but she ends up being rejected. Her story and character, how she deals with insecurity issues and fear, is heartbreaking and inspirational. The relationship she has with her old best friend and other characters she meets in her search for a new school and belonging is wonderful to read. I loved this book for it’s unique voice and honest look into a life we can all relate to in different ways.

 

In Search of Us by Ava Dellaira 

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Told in alternating perspectives of a mother when she was 17 and her daughter in her present, In Search of Us is a beautiful, heart-wrenching story. It’s a captivating page-turner and I really don’t know what more to say about it other than READ IT.

 

If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak 

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If Birds Fly Back was a really interesting and unique read. There was a great sense of mystery in the story, and I never knew what was exactly going to happen next. It’s told in alternating perspectives of the two main characters Linny and Sebastian, who in many ways are polar opposites but happen to share one big thing in common: they are in search of answers and obsessed with filmmaker Alvaro Herrera, through whom they hope to find those answers. It’s an incredibly touching story. Won’t say any more 😀

 

Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga 

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I really enjoyed Jasmine Warga’s first novel and definitely enjoyed this one as well. It was short, but that really worked for the self-contained, hopeful novel it is. It felt like a really refreshing read for me. Warga is brilliant at being subtle and making you think here, and I was moved by the story and the feeling the book gave about life, family and belonging. Just lovely.

 

Letter’s To The Lost by Brigid Kemerer 

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An incredibly unique and sad story that I couldn’t put down. I love books with letters/emails in it and I adored this novel for the journey the two characters, Juliet and Declan, went on, together and apart. Kemmerer knows how to write a story with a delicate balance of profound sadness and the kind of stuff that makes you want to squeal in excitement. I really, really enjoyed this one.

 

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel 

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While I was slightly underwhelmed by the ending of this novel, I overall really enjoyed it. It’s quirky, funny, romantic, poignant…everything you could want in a contemporary novel. It might not blow your mind, but I thought it had a unique quirk and Juniper was an awesome main character to follow.

 

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu 

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I grinned from ear to ear throughout most of this novel. Girls fighting back, what could be better? It has a lot of heart and punch. You’ll love every minute of it!

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Let me know what you think! Have you read any of these? What are some of your recent YA reads you’ve really enjoyed?

Back soon,

Jasmine @ Thesepaperwords