My Quick YA Fiction Recommendations – What to Read Now

Young Adult fiction contains so many wonderful, enjoyable and inspiring books, so when I’m asked for an on-the-spot recommendation, I’m not great at giving one – I feel like I need to know what a person is looking for before I recommend a book! This inspired me to write this post; recommending books depending on what you are looking for in a novel. If you’re in the UK, it’s World Book Day today (7th of March) so what better excuse to pick up a book?

To access my full review of each book, please click on the title.

If you’re looking for: Feel Good, Easy-to-read Romance

Then I recommend: /To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the ultimate feel-good book that will make you feel warm inside! If you have watched the film and not yet read the book, then do not fear: it is a trilogy, so you can continue the story of Lara Jean Covey and Peter Kavinsky in two more instalments! If you’re struggling to get into reading a book, then I really recommend this particular book to get you quickly back in the swing of reading.

If you’re looking for: An Intense, Plot-twist-full Thriller

Then I recommend: Cruel Summer by Juno Dawson

This is an extremely gripping novel, with interesting characters that seem perfect on the surface, but all have secrets to hide. Kind of like a modern-day Agatha Christie novel, the pace of the book increases as the book progresses, with more hints and clues as to who the killer was as you read.

If you’re looking for: Exciting, Female-led Fantasy

Then I recommend: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

If you’re familiar with the book scene on Instagram, you’ll have seen this series everywhere – and for good reason. This incredibly popular book is led by Celaena Sardothien, a fiery, talented and likeable assassin that you’ll really root for. I’ve recently bought the third book in the series, and I can’t wait to read it!

If you’re looking for: Powerful, Educational, Black Lives Matter movement-inspired Story

Then I recommend: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This book is an automatic recommendation whenever someone asks me for book suggestions. It is the perfect example of how a Young Adult book can educate you on the social issues in the world today, and I believe the more people that read this, the better. By the way, the film was also amazing.

If you’re looking for: Compelling, Tense Contemporary

Then I recommend: Fragments of the Lost by Megan Miranda

I picked this book up from the library, having never heard of it before, and I’m so glad that I took it out. The writing style allows the emotion in the book to be extremely well portrayed, and the use of flashbacks means that the reader can begin to piece together fragments of information, to be left with a picture that is unrecognisable from that presented at the beginning of the book.

I hope that you have found these recommendations useful, and decide to pick up one of these books. I really enjoyed reading all of them, and I hope you will too!

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How to Grow your Grades before your GCSEs this Summer

This time last year, I had received my mock GCSE results and was looking to my exams in the summer, which seemed so far away at the time; for year 11’s across the country, it’s the first time you take a public exam. I was tired of hearing the same thing about preparing for my exams, so I’ve tried to put in some different ideas as well as some tips you will have heard before, but are worth remembering. Looking back now, there are some things that I simply wish I’d known, so I thought I would share them with you now!

Before the exams

Know your syllabus. It may seem like I’m stating the obvious, but going back to the syllabus time and time again is crucial. While the course content is listed in text books and revision guides, I would recommend always looking at the exam-issued syllabus, because that will tell you exactly what will be in the exam and how much you need to know about it. I think that this is most relevant to the sciences, but you should try and print off a syllabus for each subject and put it in a revision file, going back to it at the beginning of each session.

Required Practicals. For the Sciences, taking a look at the required practicals is time well spent. Learning the methods, variables, equipment will really help you, as there is bound to be a question on one of the practicals. I think that the importance of required practicals is understated, but you should really know them as the questions are worth 6 marks (for my exam board, AQA).

Practice, practice, practice! Practice papers will be your best friend through the exam period. It’s so important that after you have done your practice papers and marked them, that you record your result and which topics you struggled with. This gives you a list of topics to go over in the days leading up to the exam, and to do questions on. I found that some of the questions that I had answered in revision were the same as the ones that came up in the exam! Also, remember to stick to the exam timings!

Order is important. For me, spending a whole morning doing Biology, Physics and Chemistry consecutively would be a struggle – I wouldn’t be able to keep up the motivation throughout because they aren’t the subjects I enjoy the most. Therefore, I found it really useful to order my subjects from favourite to least favourite, then decide on the order of my revision from that.

Take a break. When you’ve worked with no distractions, you deserve a break. Get up from your seat, go outside, exercise, chat to friends or family; try and take your mind off your work for a while and you will go back feeling refreshed. I liked to watch an episode of Brooklyn nine-nine in between revision sessions!

Talk to your teachers. For the humanities subjects, essays make up the majority of the paper. If your teacher offers revision sessions, be sure to make use of them, and ask them if you could go through/give them some essays to mark outside of school work. Hopefully, they should be keen to mark your work to help you secure those top grades!

Quizlet is your best friend. Chances are, you’re already using Quizlet, but if you aren’t, it is an amazing resource that will come in especially handy if you are taking languages. If you are short on time, and cannot create a set from scratch, there will probably be someone else’s set on there that you can use that covers your topics (but if you can, make your own so you can be sure that everything you want is on there, and the process of making them will help you learn).

Online resources. If there are some subjects that you really want to go over or if the content just isn’t sinking in, try YouTube. My favourites were Mr. Bruff for English and Malmesbury Science for science practicals (also has videos for A-Level).

Don’t lose hope. If you didn’t do as well as you would have liked to in your mock exams, use it as a learning experience; it will be of much more value to learn something from an exam that went badly than to ace an exam and lose momentum in your revision. Personally, my result in my Biology mocks prompted me to put the work in by doing practice questions on every topic. Eventually, I managed to grow my grade by 3 grades!

Before your results

Please don’t compare your GCSEs to your classmates or friends. Everyone has their own circumstances, journey and strengths outside school, and those with the highest grades will not necessarily be the most successful. As you go your separate ways after prom, whether you are taking A-Levels, BTECs, other technical qualifications or an apprenticeship, people will remember you for not how many As or A*s you have, but your personality, interests and attitude towards others.

Try your best – I’m rooting for all of you! If you need any more advice, please don’t hesitate to DM me on my Instagram, @alyssamaereads.

www.instagram.com/alyssamaereads/?hl=en

My Bookish Wishlist 2017

In the run-up to the holidays, a number of new releases have caught my eye, so I thought that I would compile a shortlist of the books I’m eager to read. From some classic YA novels to those hot off the press, the books on this list have really stood out to me. If you have any books that you have enjoyed recently or novels that you think should be on the list, let me know in the comments !

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I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson – book review

I'll Give You the Sun

Like most twins, Jude and Noah are very close, but that changes when an unimaginable tragedy tears them apart. As they both struggle to cope with the grief and loss of the situation, they find themselves able to discover what they truly want and how they can come to terms with the disaster that has struck their family. When they begin to fall in love with boys they can’t have, they start to realise that love is complicated, whether it’s with your own family or the new boy in town.

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My Top Three Female YA Protagonists

I’ve been blogging for about 3 years now, and in my time reviewing books, I have noticed the different ways in which female protagonists are presented. It can be so inspiring to read about a good female lead in a book, especially if they can defy all odds and push back against any adversity. I’ve chosen 3 women/teens girls of the many characters that are out there that have appeared in YA literature and I believe to be good examples of strong women. So, without further ado…

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

the hate you give

In Thomas’ debut novel, we meet Starr, a teenager who has learnt to act differently in the two worlds she lives in: a poor neighbourhood struggling with gang crime and the contrasting private school she attends in the suburbs. Her life changes completely when she is the sole witness to the fatal shooting of Khalil, her best friend who was unarmed when a police officer pulled the trigger. She is soon dragged into protests and riots as she struggles to make the officer pay for what he did and bring justice for Khalil.

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My favourite reads of 2016

Hello! Alyssa here.  As fictionforteens.com enters its 3rd year I thought I’d look back through by book reviews from the past year and pick out my favourites for you. Please click on the title of each book to see the full review.

Say her name, Juno Dawson 

say hey name

Say her name is based around the legend of Bloody Mary, but with a twist. A group of teenagers try to summon the ghost of Bloody Mary, unaware of the consequences. The tension in the book grew as the story went on, making it very gripping. The plot twists were completely unpredictable as the reason behind the events in the book were slowly revealed.

Chaos Walking trilogy:

The Knife of Never Letting Go

The Ask and the Answer

Monsters of Men

By Patrick Ness

the knife of never letting go

After reading other books by Patrick Ness and really enjoying them, I was eager to read the Chaos Walking trilogy. I really like the writing style and the vivid characters which really came to life, especially Todd, the protagonist of the trilogy. I saw A Monster Calls In the cinema last week and absolutely loved it, so I’ve bought the book and I will review it soon. 

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare 

city-of-bones

City of Bones is the story of Clary Fray who finds out that she is a Shadowhunter, half-angel demon slayers tasked with keeping the human world safe. Clary and her friends encounter vampires, warlocks and werewolves in this action-packed fantasy novel. I’ve already begun reading the second book, City of Ashes which I’m enjoying so far.

Are there any books you’ve enjoyed recently? Please let me know in the comments!

The Pomegranate Tree by Vanessa Altin – Book Review

the-pomegranate-tree

Sitting in a sunny courtyard under a pomegranate tree, Dilvan Haco, a kurdish teenager, struggles to come to terms with what she saw earlier. A kurdish soldier called Rehana gives her a diary, and tells her to write down everything that happens to her, from leaving her village to watching her mother being kidnapped, because one day, the world will want to hear her story…From that day onwards, Dilvan keeps a diary as a testament to what happens to her and family.

This book describes the beautiful scenery perfectly, with a very contrasting subject matter. Most importantly, it shows the effect of war on children like Dilvan and her family, and it was an eye-opening for me to read. Dilvan and Rehana were inspirational characters, always positive and strong, confident female role models. It is such a powerful book that I couldn’t put down. .

I would whole-heartedly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in world affairs or if you are interested in other cultures around the world.

My next review will be Monsters of Men, the conclusion to the Chaos Walking Trilogy.