Do YA Characters Have to be “Role Models”?

Do YA Characters Have to Be Role Models

I’m not even sure where I saw this description.

Once, maybe twice, maybe a handful of times. Here and there, scattered around several books that it really shouldn’t have stuck in my mind.

But it did?

I mean, it did.

I was utterly confused, at first, seeing that comment. YA characters? As role models? Never even crossed my mind. There are a great deal of characters I love – but they aren’t exactly “role model” material, and it’s never occurred to me to look out for characters who are “role model” material either.

Truthfully, I think it’s pointless to try to make YA characters as role models.

One of the big reasons I read YA is to see myself – me, with all my wonderful problems and questionable morals – and I sure as hell ain’t worthy of being a role model. And if authors suddenly start churning out books with, y’know, Perfect Sue or Perfect Joe from down the street who you absolutely must adore because look, what a great role model! I’d probably roll my eyes hard enough for a migraine.

Sure, make them nice, make them with good personalities that every parent wants ingrained in their child, but don’t make them “role models.” That’s like disguising a “How to Behave” pamphlet as a YA book and shoving it down teens’ throats. Not fun. Not pleasing. And certainly not what I signed up for when I picked up a YA book.

It’s not like I’m saying write a book where it doesn’t show the consequences of things; not at all. Those books with consequences shown in all their harsh reality can service as an abrupt wake-up call, which I think some of us may need (myself included.) But it shouldn’t read like a commercial: “See, kids? That’s what not to do! It’s bad, very bad! Be like Perfect Joe so this will never happen to you!”

so, i’m dying to hear what you think. role models? no role models? what’s your stance?

Never Push to Finish ARCs

Never Push to Finish Arcs

Some see it as a privilege, others, a curse. I see it as a book. A book that sometime I really really want but mostly just a book. An ordinary, perhaps sort of early, book.

Those books carry a lot of weight.

Mainly because it has a stigma of prestige (which really isn’t always true). You are a Big Blogger. Publishers like Big Bloggers for marketing purposes. They send you Incredibly Coveted Book six whole months before it releases, and the bookish world is in awe.

The subject of ARC envy has already been discussed, in great detail and in great depth so I’d rather just leave that specific nest alone, because I’m shining light on something else.

We all love to read. We all love to love reading. But there are books that we honestly don’t give any fucks to finish, and sometimes those books are ARCs. This usually makes us unsure of what to do. Do we discontinue? Will the publisher get mad?

Answer: no.

Or rather, they shouldn’t. Maybe a publisher is extra sensitive. Maybe they’re just being dicks. But they really should not get mad if a reviewer DNFs a book because they didn’t like it.

Isn’t that the whole point of a review? To give their honest to goodness, unbiased and uncoloured opinion of a story? I think publishers already acknowledge the fact that yes, we are all human beans (not beings, beans) and won’t love everything we get. We request the books in hopes of liking it, but there’s never a guarantee. I am a firm believer in that this an inherent risk publishers take, and that in sending out those arcs anyway, accept that risk in getting a measly DNF.

(Besides, as an author, I’d rather have a reviewer tell me the book sucked so they had to stop, than they trudge on not because they liked it but because they were afraid of the publisher getting mad.)

Of course, promo tours are another thing. Promo tours are usually made solely for sprinkling all the golden fairy dust over a book and making it as shiny and loud as possible. All the five four four and a half ratings get showcased and you’re just covered in glitter because this book is awesome promo everywhere. I understand if a publisher wants you to refrain from sticking a big red I DID NOT LIKE in the middle of their tour.


If you don’t like an ARC, dump it! Life is too short for this. Say you didn’t like it, detail why, and move on.

what do you guys think about this? do we owe it to the authors to finish it, even though we don’t want to? or is that a risk they accept when sending it out to us?


How Effective Are Comments for Discussion, Really?

How Effective Are Comments For Discussions, Really

The first time I ever visited a blog was when I clicked on a link in GoodReads, because I thought (and still do) that the reviewer was a fantastically hilarious person. Fabulously amazing. Fabulously amazingly fantastically hilarious.

While I don’t really remember the post I read, I knew it was one of those discussion posts that questioned some things and I remember thinking: oh, the comments will be great for this one.

I love reading comments, especially when people discuss things. Why? Don’t ask me. I hardly know why I do what I do. I’m pretty sure my mom has a better idea of how I work than I do.

But anyway, I’ve always thought comments to be rich with discussions, people going back and forth, back and forth as they debated the post and the stars above while they were at it.

So imagine my surprise when I got to them.

Sure, there were a lot. That blog was huuuuuuge. It’s like twenty of my blogs mashed together + a whole lot more snark. I like snark. I strive to add more snark to my everyday life.

But they were comments, with only one reply, and after that, nothing.

Isn’t the main point of posting discussion points… discussing? Arguing, debating, just having conversations about the post?  Isn’t it?

But when you have only a single reply – which is from the author of the post, because politeness and stuff – it doesn’t leave much room for discussing. There usually isn’t a discussion. And I’ve spotted this on so. many. blogs. The huge ones, the small ones, the in-between ones, all of them.

The lack of discussion is so disheartening.

I post discussions because I love reading your thoughts. I LOVE to hear what you have to say because people think about things so differently and I LOVE hearing other people’s POVs and thoughts! But it’s really hard to strike up a riveting conversation in comments, and I feel like I’ve got a grasp on (at least part of) the problem).

Short answer: we’re lazy as fuck.

Long answer?

Right now, to comment on a blog, I’d have to go to the bottom on a post, type the answer, swear as the blog EATS my comment and retype it, then post it again. THEN I have to wait for an email of your reply – or, if there’s no email, obsessively reload the page until you reply – and comment again. Rinse and repeat.


At this point in life, interaction is so. easy.

It’s a simple tweet, sent within three seconds and an answer received in five.

It’s a quick DM, which is bound to get answered any minute now.

It’s something easier, faster, nicer… than commenting.

Come now. How many of you interact through comments? Like, ACTUAL DISCUSSIONS. Not one-off snippets of chit-chat. Actual conversations. I can say that I think I’ve had only… one? One proper discussion that solicited more than a single reply from each of us.

My Twitter count rivals that almost a hundredfold.

I AM NO SOCIAL BUTTERFLY. If I was, I’d be the one who’d stay in their cocoon for an extra six months because SOCIALIZING DOES NOT FIT ME.

At all.

But Twitter makes everything so so so so so easy, simple, and quick. Isn’t that what we’re looking for in this day and age? The fastest, quickest, most efficient way of doing stuff?

And I’ve seen a staggering amount of people who admit that most of their friends have been met through Twitter WHICH IS DEFINITELY OKAY! I think all my friends have been met through Twitter, and I have no regrets there. But they rarely comment on my blog, and I theirs. Yet when they retweet my post or shoot me a quick @ on Twitter about it, that’s when I know they’ve read it, and we can have a discussion there.

The point of this post, I’ll be honest, is a bit mish-mashed. It’s part expressing shock at the lack of comment discussions, and part expressing my thoughts that at this point, comments might simply be a thing of the past.
The comments I get, I treasure. Truly. This blog isn’t huge and I’m thankful for every single comment I get.

But I’m just trying to pose the question: will, in time, comments become obsolete? Will social media like Twitter completely take over this aspect of blogging interaction?

When the Age Matches the Face

When The Age Matches the Face

YA fans are pretty damn weird.

I mean, I would know since I’m one of those weird people. Hell, I love being weird. I own it. We own it. Damn fine too, if I say so myself.

I have accepted the weirdness (and the fantasticness) of the bookish community with everything I’ve got, loving the strange-as-hell conversations we randomly have to the mildly-threatening-but-still-loving ways we push our favourite books onto our friends. It’s what makes the book community amazing. Like, full-of-life amazing. Like, chocolate-cheese-cake-amazing.

But what I’m always perplexed about? The love interests we so dearly support.

Now, back up a bit. I’m not going to point fingers saying ohmigodheissogross or ohmigodwhyHIM? to any of the love interest options out there, but I’m just trying to point something out.

Let me list you some love interests:

  • the Darkling from The Grisha
  • Edward Cullen from Twilight
  • Prince Ash from The Iron Fey
  • Rowan Whitethorn from Throne of Glass
  • Magnus Bane from The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices
  • Tamlin from A Court of Thorns and Roses
  • Raffe from Penryn & the End of Days

Notice anything? Aside from their massive (or at least large) fanbase made up of screaming fans that support them like hell, they’re also like a billion years old.

These love interests that have so many people swooning, fanning, and just plain loving them are probably five times older than their counterpart love interest. (Also, I’m sorry there aren’t any girls up there. I’m trying to think of immortal/female characters with super longevity, but there doesn’t seem to be many that I can think of.) And almost nobody bats an eye.

I mean, don’t you think that’s sort of odd? I do, and I support half of them on this list.

So what? you say, coming to defend your babies. They’re a hundred years, whatever. They’re still uber dreamy and soooooooo amazing.

Sure. But that’s when they’re looking like they walked out of GQ and haven’t aged a day past seventeen. What if they looked their age?

Let’s take Edward Cullen from Twilight. This dude is like a hundred years old. One fucking century. And he’s falling in love with someone who is basically a child compared to him.

Holy shit, anyone?

Sure, it’s super romantic. Of course it is. A lonely soul, never having found love his entire life until her. Our main character. Someone who is special enough to capture their heart and make them fall into love. Oh sweet, sweet, perilous love.

But again: if they looked their age?

I mean, I guess nobody bats an eye with this whole by-the-way-im-older-than-your-grandpa thing since they all look like teenagers, so who the fuck cares? I certainly didn’t when I loved Prince Ash and Tamlin. They look like they’re teenagers, so whatever, yeah?

That’s why I think it’s really weird. Because I’m really sure that if they looked like their age without all that Immortality4You moisturizer that they all use to look seventeen, and they fell in love with their love interests, I’m quite sure that we’d be a bit uncomfortable. Someone older than my grandpa and looks the part falling in love with a teenage girl? So totally gross! But if you look like you’re seventeen despite your clearly-not-seventeen age number? Ohmigod hawt.

I’m totally not hating against those love interest or their fans. Honestly, some of my faves are up on that list. But I’m just trying to voice out what I’ve been thinking for a while. This isn’t an attack on anyone, it’s just something that’s been swirling around in my brain. And I want to hear what other people think.

so tell me. what do you think of all this? does it not matter to you? would it change your perspective on the love interest if they didn’t look as young as they’ve been written, and instead looked like what they’d naturally look like (or at least what an ordinary person would look like)?