Posted in Discussion, Mental Health, Posts/Features, Rambling with Em, Topical Issues., Uncategorized

The importance of Mental Health in YA fiction 


I haven’t posted in a while, that’s true. And my previous posts have been squealy fangirling book reviews.

I don’t want to stop my joyful rambling about books and I won’t. But there are other things I need and want to talk about.

1 in 10 children and young people aged 5 – 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder – that is around three children in every class (1).

Between 1 in every 12 and 1 in 15 children and young people deliberately self-harm (2).

There has been a big increase in the number of young people being admitted to hospital because of self harm. Over the last ten years this figure has increased by 68% (3).

More than half of all adults with mental health problems were diagnosed in childhood. Less than half were treated appropriately at the time (4).

A lot of us here in the blogosphere call for more diversity in YA fiction, tired of the unnaturally beautiful white girl who has everything together. And we have come so far. In my time I’m seen huge twitter conversations and hundreds of blog posts from bloggers and authors alike saying what they want to see and what changes they’re going to make. And we’re getting there, slowly but surely we as readers are starting to see our own selves, messy and imperfect, refelected back at us from the books we are reading.

But why is it important to talk about mental health?

Because mental health issues so often begin in childhood and when we are young adults. Because we need to remove the stigma and the fear surrounding mental health, so that those young people aren’t afraid to speak out about their problems.

We need to educate the ignorant. To teach people, young or old, that anyone can face a mental health crisis, at any age. To show people, through stories, that it’s not just ‘a phase’ or puberty, that depression, anxiety, eating disorders, psychosis and all the rest do not discriminate.

Young people in a survey conducted by time to change reported stigma coming from those around them: 70% had had negative reactions from friends, over half (57%) from parents and 45% from boyfriends and girlfriends.

The professionals that young people come into contact with were also reported as a source of stigma and discrimination: 40% said that they had experienced negative reactions from teachers and 47% from doctors and other medical professionals.

Our attitudes and beliefs are largely formed when we are young and are influenced by a ton of factors; what we are taught in school, by family members and books we read to name a few. That’s not to say we can’t change our beliefs as we grow, because we constantly do. However if the kids in your class make jokes about ‘crazy’ people or the news you see blames atrocities on a persons mental health and you never see positive portrayals of ordinary people with mental health issues then how are you supposed to understand what you or someone else is going through and to react in a healthy, positive way?

It’s important to represent real people in literature.

…and in all media. Showing that women can be powerful and strong; that men can show their emotions without being ‘weak’ and that people with mental health problems are just ordinary people who need our compassion not our ignorance. (I could go on…)

Seeing ourselves and honest representations in the media help people feel accepted and give them back that sense of I’m normal. This gives them back much needed confidence to open conversations and seek help.

I asked some friends why they think it’s important and this is what they said;

Characters can sometimesi be more relatable than real humans, I think its a starting point for the discussion for mental health –Hannah

“I just think it’s another good way to get people talking about mental health. To have realistic representations in creative works helps to de-stigmatise mental illnesses. Also, for me, it was a way of feeling like I wasn’t alone – Girl, Interrupted, although a memoir, was a very powerful read for me, it was upsetting for me as I’d been diagnosed with BPD, but it resonated with me deeply.” –Sophie

I think it’s important if done in a way that isn’t likely to add to the stigma. I’ve just read the gift and sisters both by louise jenson. In both books the characters suffer from anxiety, and it often describes their panic attacks. To me (as a severe sufferer) this is a good thing, as it might help people understand what happens to someone having an attack.

However I also think mental health in books can be bad, as it’s often used as a reason why a character is the way they are, in a bad way. In that case I think it adds to the stigma that anyone who suffers from mental illness are a crazed axe welding maniac. I understand it’s all to make a good story and it won’t necessarily be at the forefront of a readers mind, but I can’t help thinking that it might put that thought about mental illness into someone’s sub conscious. –Laura Caunce 

What books are already out there?

Buzzfeed did a post on the 29 Best YA Books About Mental Health

I’m going to make it my mission to pay abit more attention to wether books are portraying mental health issues and if they are, are they doing it well? 

Let me know your thoughts and please do throw any recommendations my way (good or bad examples!) xxx

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Posted in Uncategorized

Non apology hippy ideology infested I’m back post.

I’m not going to frantically type out another mad apology post hiatus post. But I’m back. For how long? Right now I don’t know but here we are.

Life if crazy and if it doesn’t stop throwing things at me I’m going to have to invest in a shield. Does anywhere sell shields? Huh. I’ll google that. (My google search history makes for a brilliant read)

Anyway…

I’m in one of those ‘follow your passion! Care for your mind, body and soul! All natural hippy self improvement’ phases. (I know right). So one of the things I love is books and blogging always made me happy so I’m back back back. I want to scream-type all the books at you. That means reviews with lots of CAPSLOCK and exclamations!!!! And book appreciation posts and mad ramblings that will put you off ever reading anything written by me ever again. 

So watch this space cause I’m back (bitch).

I really am, I even updated my about page.

  
(I don’t know what that is but it felt appropriate)

Posted in Events, Posts/Features, Uncategorized

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Guys and gals! ITS HALLOWEEN YAAAAAAAY. My favourite bloggy holiday!

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BOO!

muhahahhhahahahahaaaaa. (I’m blatantly the most terrifying thing ever)

I’m not doing anything for Halloween this year, even though it’s my first Halloween being 18 *plays small violin*. Instead I’m sitting in watching scary films and eating snacks with my pal (even tho she doesn’t like scary films, muahahah I’m evil). So not all bad! 😀

So for my Halloween post this year I’m doing a witchy brew of Halloween favourites.

First into the bloggy cauldron is…

(BOO)KS

Give me witches, give me werewolves and vampires, give me demons and ghosts… ALL THE SPOOKS!

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So, what are some great halloweeny books??

For witches, Id have to say Heir of Fire! It’s not exactly a scary book but the witches in it are FRIGGIN FANTASTIC! Yay for you Sarah J. Maas! Yay for you! Also there’s the fabulous Harry Potter books! Witches and wizards galore! And also a book I’ve read recently is The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin! It’s been described as Harry Potter meets Narnia, it’s adorable and a great read (review here, an the second book review is coming soon promise!)
(I haven’t read many witchy books! Let me know anymore in the comments and I’ll add them!)

For Werewolves, It’s have to be Darren Shans Demonata series. Oh my life do I just LOVE his books! And that series is AWESOME. It’s kind of Demons and Magicians but also WEREWOLVES, especially the first book. It’s intense and scary and just all around SPOOKTASTIC. (Actually I’ve excited myself too much and I’m gonna go read it now). And ofc if your after less scary, more romance, there is the awesome trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater: Shiver, Linger and Forever.
(Again, please tell me more as my list is pretty short aha!)

For Vampires, I’m thinking The Vampire Academy series (which I haven’t started yet but everyone seems to LOVE). Ooh, and The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda, it’s a little different to the usual vampire books, it took me a while to get into it but it’s actually really enjoyable. Also Darren Shan’s ‘The Saga of Darren Shan’ is vampires and its soooooo good!

For Zombies, I just loved The Enemy Series by Charlie Higson, ooooh its so good! Then theres’ Darren Shan’s Zom-B series (which I haven’t gotten around to yet! Bad Emily!). I think The Girl with all the Gifts is a zombie book, and supposedly really really good aswell! And ooh! A favourite of mine The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy by Carrie Ryan! READ IT READ IT NOW.

Other creepiness, such as The Chronicles of Anceint Darkness by Michelle Paver. Creepy demon bears in an ancient forest. Such an imaginative series, loved it loved it loved it. My dad recommended The Stand by Stephen King sounds super scary, as you would expect from Stephen King.
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Next into the bloggy cauldron would have to be

Spooktacular Filmssssss

I love love love horror films, they’re my absolute favourite. I love being scared. Zombies are the best, and I love abit of gore. Here’s some of my favourites;

28 Days Later / 28 Weeks Later (zombies zombies zombies)

The Happening (just plain creepy)

Silent Hill (creepy ghost town, and fantastic monsters)

Darkness Falls (creepy toothfairy)

Nightmare on Elm Street (LOVE ‘EM)

Underworld (vampires, werewolves, kick-ass)

The third must into the bloggy cauldron issssss

Halloween parties/costumes/and foooooood

and you know general excitement

My friend made creepy cakes 😀 how great are they, nom nom nom nom,
aagh cake
Here’s some other awesome haloween food ideas
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And creep-tastic decorations, costumes and fun?
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6a0133f30ae399970b019b0008ab94970b-pi b2443a5f5c9e1c94db17e58f10bae119 Plush-LOTR-Halfling-Slippers picture-of-baby-pumpkin-halloween-costume-photoAnd the final (secret) ingredient is…

ALL THE WONDERFUL BLOGGY EXCITEMENT AND POSTS

here’s some of my favourite posts,,

Publikworks: Boooooooooo

The Girl in Question: The Halloween opt-out

Brin’s Book Blog: Vintage YA Book Recommendations

Anibundel: Tardis Pumpkin

That’s all I have time for! If you have anything you thinks should be added let me know and I’ll add it!

HAPPY HALLOWEEEN, have a great day/night!

BOO.

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized

Review: Legend by Marie Lu

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The Book: Legend.
The Author: Marie Lu
The Publisher: Penguin
The Pages: 448
My Rating: 4/5

Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles.

Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect.
Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Review:

I first read this book as an ARC when it first came out and I loved it then, I lost my review for it but I’ve recently e-read it when I bought the whole series and oh my, do I love this book. It has to be one of the most underrated YA dystopians ever. Everyone should seriously read this book.

The writing is just spectacular, its not overdone tring too hard like some YA books, its simple, to the point and still makes me care about the world and the characters. Its one of those books you just devour. You can’t put it down, you cant stop reading. Everyone just go away I MUST FINISH.

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The main characters Day and June are brilliant. I love the way that him and June are the same yet completely different. Theyre both intelligent and resourceful, they care about the people close to them in a massive way.
June is the Prodigy, perfect score on her Trial, intelligent and tough. She could do anything she wanted. She’s independent and knows her own mind. I loved her.
Day was born into the poor sectors of the Republic, he’s a wanted criminal. But he’s kind and good and brilliant in his own way.

June is searching for her brothers killer and Day is out to look after his family, then they meet and everything changes.

The world they live in is a fantastic example of Dystopia, it makes sense and its perfectly crafted. Marie Lu is a genius.

The other characters; Tess, Metias, Thomas and even Day’s family are all fab. I hate it when side characters have no substance to them, like they’re not people but just pawns to push the main characters stories along. There’s none of that here, all the characters are as well crafted as June and Day. I would love to see more of Thomas’s character. He needs his own side story because I just need to see into his head and know why he does what he does.

I’m dying to start reading Prodigy, I want to know where June and Days actions will take them next.

I recommend this to lovers of Dystopian fiction. I just know you’ll love it as much as I did!

★★★★☆

Posted in Posts/Features, Uncategorized

From the Archives: An awkward fairytale from L.W.Patricks

This is an email i received from the amazing L.W Patricks, that I thought I’d share with you all!

Once upon a time in a bedroom far, far, away…

There was a seven-year old boy who was a coward. He was especially afraid of the mirror in his bedroom, which he secretly believed was a portal to the Kingdom of Monsters. Before going to bed, he would cover the mirror with his blanket and spend the night shivering from the cold. But at least the monsters couldn’t see him, and he was safe.

And then one day, the boy’s father discovered what the boy was doing and said, “For God’s sake, act like you have a pair,” and forbid the boy from draping his blanket over the mirror. Confused by what “a pair” meant, he began sleeping with a “pair” of cheap plastic toy swords, hoping that the neon-coloured Sword of Grayskull and the dollar store katana was enough to intimidate the monsters.

Seeing as how the boy still had to sleep with one-eyed open (which he found impossible to do), the boy now faced another dilemma. You see, his mother once told him that “if you don’t get eight hours of sleep, you’ll die. Now please, stop running around and go to bed.” (P.S. If and when you have children, never tell them that. It seriously messes them up…forever).

Not wanting to die from a lack of eight hours sleep, he needed a new plan. He decided to create an army of Monster Hunters, consisting mainly of his Teddy Bears, He-Man action figures (minus Skeletor…that scoundrel), Transformers, and Cabbage Patch Kids. Before he went to sleep, he placed his army around the mirror, positioning them for an invasion into the Kingdom of Monsters while he slept.

And sleep he did. For eight hours.

During the day, the boy imagined how the midnight battles played out between his toys and the monsters. They were always such epic battles, and fearing that he would forget the stories, he began writing them down.

And an author was born.

Now 24 years later, the boy stand before you as some guy from the internet who you gave your email to…but he’s grateful you gave it to him because he wanted to share this tale with you.

He is also honoured if you’d give his first book: Shadow of Wrath a try. But don’t worry, even if you don’t buy it, he still likes you and he’ll still manage eight hours of sleep a night.

And if you did purchase it, you’re worthy to be a general in his Monster Hunter army! Thank you!

The End.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(Is anyone there?)

Hey guys!

My first post on my shiny new blog! (celebratory shimmy dance).

I’ll be posting properly soon! I’ll upload some reviews of books I’ve read recently, some recommendations and favourite books! Also anything I find interesting and really need to share with you! (Nothing too weird I promise!)

Please say hello! (I get lonely on my own) leave a comment, and if you really want to make me feel special you could follow me!! 😉

I really would like to hear you opinions on the things I post and and recommendations or improvements you have for me would be so so appreciated!

I leave you with this picture of how I wish wish wish my room looked like!

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Much love babas!