Posts By: Layla

A Thousand Nights: Review + Giveaway

A Thousand Nights: Review + Giveaway

A Thousand Nights is the Arabian Nights retelling I have been waiting for. I know there have been a few to come out this year, but A Thousand Nights has been my favorite of them all. If I could imagine an Arabian Nights retelling that would make my heart sing, it’d be this book. Go read this book when it comes out. It’s awesome. Probably you are already familiar with the story on which this novel is based. If not, let me give you a brief synopsis. There’s a king. He takes a new bride every day and kills her each night. One woman, Scheherazade, becomes his queen and delays her execution by telling a series of interlocking stories with cliffhangers for 1001 nights. What I liked about A Thousand Nights is that it takes this frame narrative but transforms it – the novel stays faithful to the spirit rather than the letter of its… Read more »

Divider

Lizard Radio: Review

Lizard Radio: Review

Do you want to read a dystopian novel with a genderqueer protagonist who may or may not be part lizard? If this sounds like something you didn’t know you wanted, Lizard Radio is the book for you. It’s a hard book to describe. Our protagonist, Kivali – familiarly known as Lizard, was abandoned as a baby  (wrapped in a lizard t-shirt!). Lizard is adopted by Sheila, a human woman who becomes her foster mom and sends her, at the opening of the novel, to CropCamp. The novel takes off from there – CropCamp is all about teaching teenagers how to be good citizens of an oppressive totalitarian government; teens have to attend CropCamp or one of the many other strictly regimented government-run camps and, if they fail, risk being sent to Blight. At CropCamp, a camp focused on developing agricultural workers, group conformity is prized; state-sanctioned heterosexual relationships are supposed to emerge… Read more »

Divider

Top Ten Tuesday (12): Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught “YA and the Western Canon 101”

Top Ten Tuesday (12): Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught “YA and the Western Canon 101”

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week, the theme is “Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught X 101” and we’re happy to be participating!     I would like to make about a million of these (social justice & YA! LGBTQI literature!) but eventually settled on this topic, which is basically … novels from the Western literary canon and YA books that I think it’d be cool to teach with them and vice versa. Some of these are adaptations of canonical lit, others are loosely inspired by it, and others are just paired together because I want them to be. The sort of guiding question that I had in mind for these pairings – because there are approximately a million adaptations in the world! – was how do these novels explore what it means to be human? (With secondary… Read more »

Divider

What We Saw: Review

What We Saw: Review

If What We Saw isn’t already on your radar for September 2015 releases, it should be. I can’t say that I enjoyed it – the book, for the most part, centers on the rape of a high school student by a group of her peers and its effect on her community – but it’s a good book and an important one, and you should read it. If you’ve ever wanted a book that unpacks and critiques rape culture, What We Saw is here and it’s a good start. Here’s the premise of What We Saw: high school junior Kate Weston wakes up the morning after a party with little memory of what happened the night before. While Kate’s concerns are initially about herself (did she drive herself home? Is her car across town? Does Ben Cody, longtime good friend and fellow scholar-athlete, like her?), her focus quickly shifts. The next day at… Read more »

Divider

Top Ten Tuesday (11): Top Ten Authors I’ve Read the Most Books From

Top Ten Tuesday (11): Top Ten Authors I’ve Read the Most Books From

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week, the theme is “Top Ten Authors I’ve Read the Most Books From” and we’re happy to be participating!   1. Courtney Milan It is possible that I write about Courtney Milan far too often in my Top Ten Tuesdays! But like, it’s because I think she’s the shit, and conveniently for this week, she’s also written a ton of books. And I’ve read them all because, again, her books are awesome. If you’re not a romance reader and aren’t familiar with her books, you should read them because they feature banter (who doesn’t like banter!), super kickass protagonists (biologists! suffragettes! chess prodigies!), and good conversations around consent. They are  excellent. And hey, she started a New Adult series this year, starting with Trade Me. Woo! 2. Tessa Dare Fair warning, I hope you enjoy romance, because… Read more »

Divider

Out of Darkness: Review

Out of Darkness: Review

Out of Darkness brings to light often marginalized voices in young adult fiction. Centered on the New London School explosion of 1937, Out of Darkness features protagonists who are racially and culturally diverse and a heartbreaking story that confronts you with the realities of racialized and gendered violence in 1930s Texas (and … also contemporary American culture). If you are in the mood for some truly excellent historical fiction that will emotionally devastate you, well then, do I have the book for you. I read this book in less than a day and I couldn’t put it down the entire time. I haven’t seen much press around this book yet, which is a bummer, because Out of Darkness is so, so good and also as thoughtful and thought-provoking as hell. It’s one of my favorites of the year so far. (And hey! My list of favorites for 2015 is not going to be… Read more »

Divider

Top Ten Tuesday (10): Top Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds

Top Ten Tuesday (10): Top Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week, the theme is “Top Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds” and we’re happy to be participating!     For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, Jamie explains that “book nerds” can include a variety of things – people who work at bookstores! people who are aspiring writers! – so I’m also working with this broader definition for my list today. 1. Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë: One of my all-time favorite novels! As you might remember, the book opens with Jane trying to read Bewick’s History of British Birds stealthily in the windowseat and getting caught at it by her awful cousin John Reed. 2. Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: Catherine’s love for Gothic novels – particularly Ann Radcliffe’s – causes her to suspect that Northanger Abbey holds deep dark secrets at every turn…. Read more »

Divider