What kind of question is this? Teens these days...

If I were to be asked the question, "What can't you live with out?" my answer would be this: books. Okay, my laptop would tie with books, mainly because it's where all my writing is.

I love to read. I think by now, that's pretty obvious. Books are a huge part of my life, and I don't know what I'd do without them. Writing is an art. Crafting the perfect characters, creating an intriguing plot line, it all takes mad talent. I love finding stories that touch me, or stories that I'm trying to figure out what will happen just as much as the characters. I seek these stories out. Books make me laugh, books make me cry. I'm a nerd, and I know it. In fact, I've embraced it.

The problem is... I'm in the minority. If you asked the average teenager in my school what they couldn't live without, their answer would be "my cellphone" or "my iPod." So many people I know have such an aversion to reading, it's horrible.

I can't tell you how many times I've gotten asked this: Why do you like to read?
Why do you breathe? Huh? :P

In fifth grade, I was reading the sixth Harry Potter book. I'd carry it around with me and read it on the bus ride to and from school. It never occurred to me that this could be considered "uncool."

Then I was in gym class with a friend. Another girl, one that's on my bus, comes up to us, but only addresses my friend and talks to her. After a couple exchanges my friends says, "Aren't you even going to acknowledge that Marisa is standing right here?"

The girl's response? "She reads. Big books. On the bus."

At that moment, I was so embarrassed. The way she said it was so snotty and just rude. I wasn't embarrassed enough to make me want to stop reading on the bus (I had to know what happened! I mean, it's Harry Potter we're talking about) but embarrassed enough to just walk away without a word. I wasn't (and still am not) the most confrontational person.

What should I have responded? "At least I can read."
It turned out the girl was in an extra help program for reading.
Go figure.

Another instance--a girl I've been dancing with for years.
I walked into dance one day with A Separate Peace, a book we were reading in class earlier this year. (I didn't like it.)

She looks at me. "You're not reading this for fun, are you?"
Me: "No, it's for school."
Her: "Good, because if you were, I'd have to kill you."
Me: "Excuse me?"
Her: "Well, who actually reads for fun?"
Me: "I do... all the time actually." -insert laugh- "I love to read. There are so many good books-"
She interrupts me. "How could you love reading. It's like... looking at words. On a page. So boring."

I didn't even dignify that with a response.

The question. Why? Why do so many kids hate reading? I think one of the problems are the books we're required to read in school. Some. of them. are so. boring. It's like pulling teeth to get through it. (Case in point. I'm reading Ethan Frome right now. -Rips hair out-)

The truth: if we read in school the kinds of books that people read on their own time, so many more people would love to read.

But since I highly doubt that will happen, don't hate on me because I love to read. Why can't I question you on anything? Why do you do track? Why would you willingly run on your own time? Why do you waste hours of your life watching overpriced athletes on television?

Oh, it's because you love it?


Another fantastic dystopia: Matched by Ally Condie

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her

: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

It's only February, and yet I've read another fantastic dystopia novel worth obsessing about. I've been wanting to read it for months, and finally did. Initially, the themes of this book reminded me a lot of Delirium by Lauren Oliver, which I just read and is one of my favorite books. While in a couple ways these two books are similar, Matched has it's own completely unique world, and after about 10 pages all thoughts about Delirium left my mind. Matched is just as great! While thinking about it.. I did come to the conclusion that I liked Delirium a bit better, but Matched is a close second! The writing is simple and beautiful, and the character development was fantastic.

First off, I loved Cassia! She was a great female lead. She knew what she had to do, and she followed her heart. She rarely whined or complained, something that I admire in an MC. I loved her relationship with her family-- especially her Grandfather. I became quite attached to Cassia throughout the book, putting myself in her situation. And it's such a pretty name.

Ky. Oh, what can I say about Ky? Putting it simply, I love him. He was real. And so sweet. I loved how he taught Cassia how to write (can you imagine not knowing how to write?) and how they shared those words. I fell in love with him along with Cassia. He's just so... ah! *swoon.*

But poor Xander. I really did feel for the guy. You could tell that he loved Cassia. And he's perfectly nice. This is where Condie's characterization rocks. She made me like Xander and sympathize with him, but fall head over heels with Ky.

The whole premise of the Society itself was really well delivered. The people are so controlled and conformed to Society life. And the Society controls everything. Who you're Matched with. Where you were. What you play. What kind of knowledge you have. What you eat. When you die. They have a set of 100 for everything from the old world. Hundred Poems. Hundred Paintings. Hundred Songs. All of this kind of made me appreciate the simple freedoms we have that we take for granted.

Oh, and I love the cover. Simple, yet beautiful. And the dress is gorgeous.

Well, Crossed is going on my long list of sequels I have to wait for. The never ending list that keeps growing... *Dies in anticipation*

Loved this book. Can't wait for the next. Go read it.

It's My Inkie Anniversary!

My Journey Through InkPop thus Far...

Wow, InkPop. I can't believe you've been in my life for an entire year. It seems like I found you just yesterday. I loved to write and was looking for a place to showcase my work. And there you are. A website any author could dream of.

I sign up and put Dancing Through Life up the next day. At first it's tough getting real criticism on work, but soon I was taking it all in and editing like crazy. I saw that there was a top 5, and that these books got read by a HarperCollins editor every month. At that point one year ago, I thought it was an impossible feat. Me? At the time fourteen-year-old me getting my book read by a REAL editor? Crazy.

People liked my book though, more than I thought. The more changes I made from helpful critiques, the stronger it got. It was steadily rising in the ranks, and I thought maybe a top 5 would be possible.

I also made so many great friends from this site. It's nice talking to people who relate to you on a level that other teenagers just don't. To people at school, my love for books and words are something to be made fun of. Not for these people. These people get it.

Summer gave, and InkPop became my addiction. I was on it constantly reading and leaving critiques for "swaps." I kept pushing, and by July I was in. Numero cinco. The amount of positive feedback I got on Dancing Through Life had given me so much confidence in my writing. I knew my writing wasn't perfect, but hey, I was fourteen and getting my book read by a major publishing company, one of the youngest top 5ers around. I was ecstatic.

It wasn't easy. It was a tough road. While I met awesome people, of course their were those who... weren't. Swaps took over my life for a while, and I would get so frustrated when people wouldn't fulfill their end of the bargain. After I got my gold star, I stopped swapping. Now, I do my best to return read if that person's work interests me, but I mostly just read what I want. And I've read so many amazing works since I've joined!

August stood for the grueling long wait for the review. From that month I began working on my second novel, Perfection is my Enemy. It was what kept me sane, and I believe I wrote 12k in the first week, and 27k by the end of the summer. Then high school started and I was overwhelmed by it, so I didn't write as much for a while. Currently I'm at 45k, a little less than 2/3 away from my word goal of 70k. Right now it's ranked 62 on InkPop and I'm hoping for another summer top 5.

August ended, and my review came September 1st. I was so anxious, I was practically shaking when I opened it. And what was it? Tough love. Yes, there's was praise. But there were tons of critique. I'll admit, it was a tough blow. I'd grown quite attached to my Chloe and Jake. And I'd gotten over 500 comments of love. While the editor made some good points, there were also some I didn't agree with. I decided to look at the positive-- I had a ton of great editing material! And it was only ONE person who looked at it. But I thought it'd be best to put DTL away for a while a focus on Perfection.

My InkPop life came to a lull when school began. The only time I really got on all fall was the weekend and sometime I'd pop in at night for the Insomniacs thread.

Over this year I've accomplished more than I could ever imagine writing wise... and I give a lot of the credit to the site. While it does have its flaws and downsides, I still love you inkpop.


I'm Delirious After Finishing This Book

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

So I finished this book yesterday. I had to sleep on it before I could write a blog, because basically the only thoughts going through my head after finishing were OH MY FREAKING GOD!!!! FDOASFJOWEJFLSAKFJAWEOIFASLDJDOFHDSOGHDSAFJALSF!!! And other senseless gibberish. LOL

I've been anticipating this book since I heard about it back in October. Before I Fall is my favorite stand alone novel, so I knew that this book was bound to be great. Plus, the premise of this story has some similar concepts to the book I've been writing Blissnorant, which was started before I heard of Delirium.

Speaking of the premise, it's kind of incredible. A world where love is classified as a disease? How cool-yet-horrible is that? And when she lists all the symptoms, it DOES sound like a disease, haha!

The characterization was wonderful. I loved Lena, and it was so enjoyable watching someone who is convinced love is a disease fall in love herself. It takes the cliched concept of someone who doesn't believe in love falling in love to a whole new incredibly unique level. Does that make sense?

And I fell in love with Alex along with Lena. God, I love him.

Oh, another thing I thought was great was how Oliver put little snippets at the beginning of each chapter that were passages that came from books in that society. Alterations in the Bible and nursery rhymes that teach that dangers of love and all that. I thought that was so cool.

I had super high expectations for this book, and it EXCEEDED every single one of them. I was not in any way shape or form disappointed. The writing itself was just as great as BIF. She is one of those few authors that does an amazing job with present tense.


Okay, that was incredibly gushing. I still can't get over this book. Wow.
Why are you still reading this? You SHOULD be reading Delirium.

Shiver and Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

I read Shiver for the first time a little over a year ago. Then I decided it was about time I read Linger, so I reread Shiver again and blew through Linger. I have to say that while overall I really enjoyed these books, my feelings are mixed on some parts.

First off, I LOVE the entire premise of these series. Stiefvater did a great job putting a unique spin on werewolves. The whole shifting from wolf to man based on the temperature was fascinating.

This was one of the rare cases where I liked the sequel better than the first book. Shiver was able to do a good job standing on its own, but I felt that Linger was much more developed, plot wise and character wise. I didn't like Shiver as much the second time as I remembered liking it the first time.

I liked Grace. It wasn't until I read Linger until I began feeling for her though. In Shiver I felt like she was too... stoic, if that's the right word. By the end of Linger, I felt for Grace. I wantedthings to work out for her. In that respect, Stiefvater did a great job with Grace's development. Even though her story wasn't the only story in Linger (that book is told from 4 perspectives), her character felt more real in this book.

My biggest problem overall was Sam. He was just way too sappy for my taste. There were moments I loved him, and I did want things to work out for him and Grace, but then there were moments were I just wanted him to shut up. Be a man, Sam! Come on! And honestly, when I read, I made my eyes skip over the song lyrics. I did feel horrible for Sam at the end of Linger, and I do appreciate how much he loved Grace, but he needs to cool it.

I LOVED the introduction of Cole in Linger! I thought Stiefvater did a fabulous job with him. He was the most developed character of all of them, in my opinion. Yes, he came off as a cocky asshole. But when it came down to it, he was broken, and by the end it seemed like he was beginning to fix himself. I have a thing for the tortured artists. The only plot hole I found with him was this: if he was supposedly a major rockstar, how come no one knew who he was until halfway through the book?

Isabel rocked in Linger, and while I thought it was weird that this book randomly went to 4 person narration (Shiver it's just Sam and Grace) I'm so glad it did. I like her and her narration much better than Grace. Her and Cole were definitely the best part of the book. I don't know if I could've handled another book of just Grace and Sam.

I pretty much wanted to punch Grace's parents in the face. But I'm pretty sure that's the effect Stiefvater wanted, lol.

Overall, these books are totally worth reading. The premise is intriguing and will keep you wondering. I will anxiously be awaiting for the concluding book in the series, Forever, which hits shelves in July.

If you like werewolves and want to see a fresh twist on them, I'd definitely recommend these books.

Shiver Rating:

Linger Rating: