Erika Romero

a student and teacher of children's and young adult literature

Tag: YALit

ARC Review Month, Book Review #5: Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway

 

As promised, for today’s post I’ve reviewed my ARC of Joanna Hathaway’s debut YA novel, Dark of the West. Unlike Alone Together, which I reviewed here, today’s novel is the first in a new YA series (called Glass Alliance), rather than a standalone text. The publication date has been pushed back, but I wanted to post this review now while the book is still fresh in my mind. This novel is set to be released on February 5, 2019, so I’m going to stay clear of any major spoilers. But, as always, a few details not included in the book blurb will be included in my three-part review. This is the last ARC I’ve had the pleasure to get my hands on, but I’ll be on the lookout for more opportunities to read and review other new YA reads.

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ARC Review Month, Book Review #4: Alone Together by Sarah J. Donovan

 

I’ve been lucky enough to receive advanced reader copies (ARCs) of two YA novels set to be published in May 2018. It seems, then, that this month is the perfect time for blogging about these two new releases! I’m especially excited to share my thoughts on these books, as they are both debut novels. This week, I’m reviewing Sarah J. Donovan’s verse novel, Alone Together. In two weeks, I’ll be reviewing Joanna Hathaway’s historical fantasy novel, Dark of the West. As a disclaimer, my ARC reviews will be pretty spoiler-free, but of course a few details not found in the blurbs will be included in my reviews. If you’d like to see the other book reviews I’ve done, you can check them out here, here, and here.

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Looking for Your Next Dystopian Read? Book Review #3: Unplugged by Donna Freitas

 

The weekend after I received approval from my dissertation committee to defend my proposal (otherwise known as last weekend), I read three novels and quite a bit of fanfiction. Reading is my go-to activity when I’m feeling nervous, and with Axis 360 (a library app that I wrote about here) just a click away, I had plenty of books to pick from when I wasn’t in the mood to find a new fic or reread some of my favorites. Unplugged was the first novel I read this past weekend (Fan Art was the second, and I reread Simon vs. the Homo Sapien’s Agenda in order to prep for teaching my classes this week). Unplugged is the first book in The Wired trilogy, and I haven’t read the second and third installments that came out last year, The Body Market and The Mind Virus. The first book was an interesting read for multiple reasons, which I’ll get into in today’s (very spoiler-y) book review.

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Top 5 Diverse Young Adult (YA) Novels I’m Looking Forward to Reading This Year

 

As I’m in the middle of teaching my Young Adult Literary Narratives course for the first time, I’m currently rereading a novel a week as part of my preparation for class discussions. With all my other responsibilities -and the fanfiction I read – I haven’t had much time to read novels not directly related to my class in the past few weeks. I’m the type of reader who has trouble not finishing a book in one sitting (or at least one day) if I am really enjoying it. With this lack of willpower in mind, I’ve compromised by making a list of books I want to read once I have a bit more time on my hands. Spring break is only a couple weeks away, and I’m definitely planning on doing some non-work reading during that time. In today’s post, I’ve listed five of the books I’m most looking forward to reading along with a short explanation as to why I’m feeling this way.

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Classroom Resource: My Experience with Assigning a Literary Autobiography Project

 

I’m three weeks into the spring semester, and I uploaded my feedback on my students’ first major assignment a few days ago. I’ve never assigned this project (a literary autobiography) before, so I didn’t know what to expect from it. It’s pretty small stakes, in comparison to the other major assignments, but it was something I decided I wanted to try this semester for multiple reasons. In today’s post, I thought I’d describe the assignment and my reasons for creating it, just in case someone reading this is looking for some classroom inspiration. I think this assignment would work well across many education levels, in case any high school or even middle school teachers have stumbled across this post.

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New Year, New Reading Challenge: 40 Book Prompts to Inspire My Reading in 2018

 

Last year, I completed the Ultimate PopSugar Reading Challenge 2017 with one day to spare. I actually read about ten books during the first half of my winter break in order to reach that goal. I’m hoping not to cut it so close this year. For 2018, I’ve designed my reading challenge as part of my Christmas gift to my brother. He had challenged himself to read 12 books last year, I challenged him to do 40 with me instead, and he ended up at 30 (here’s his list from 2017). As he wanted to try again this year, I created reading prompts that have connections to each of us, along with more general prompts that can inspire us to branch out from our usual genres and topics. A few of the prompts were inspired by challenges I saw online while creating the list. So, without further ado, here’s the “Romero Sibling Reading Challenge of 2018.”

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Lesson Planning: Designing My First Young Adult (YA) Literature Course

 

It’s that time of the semester. No, not the drowning in final exams and papers time. That’s still three weeks away. Nor is it the can’t-see-any-surface-in-my-house because-of-all-the-books time. That happens way earlier on in the semester. No, the time I’m talking about is when you receive an email letting you know what course(s) you’re teaching next semester, and asking you to submit your textbook request form ASAP. As half of my graduate assistantship is currently devoted to my work for our Writing Program, this next semester is likely the last one in which I’ll only be teaching one course. I’ve been assigned my top choice, ENG 125: Literary Narrative, and I’ve decided to use a different design than the one I used last year. Instead of a ChYALit adaptations course, my new 125 class will be a YA literary narratives course. [Update: Here’s the page all about this course.]

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PopSugar Reading Challenge 2017: An Update with Star Ratings and One Line Reviews

 

If today’s featured photo looks familiar, it’s because I used it a few months ago for my reading challenge post. I’ve decided to share an update on my progress, as there are only about two-and-a-half months left to complete the challenge. While I have updated the original post with the books I’ve read since I began, in this post, I’ll provide my star ratings of each book along with a one line review. If you need another book for your TBR list, perhaps this list will inspire you. I’ve listed the books in order of how many stars I gave each book. The last two books are still in progress, which is why I’ve put them at the end with no star ratings (yet). I’ll update this post as I continue reading more books.

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“Fandom Spotlight” Introduction: My (Current) Top Five Fandoms

 

If you want to spend more time in your favorite story-worlds, all you need to do is go online and search for some fanfiction. Or, if you prefer watching rather than reading, some fanvids or fanart. For those of you who have been living under a rock for the last few years, fanfiction, fanvids, and fanart are stories, videos, and images created by fans of certain works using elements of those works. So, for example, a fan of Lord of the Rings writing a version of the trilogy in which Frodo is female or a fan of Twilight writing a story about Bella and Edward in a BDSM relationship (and if you’re E.L. James, making millions by changing the characters’ names and publishing the story as an original trilogy). In the case of fanvids, there are many different types of videos including those that tell alternate stories, those that focus on a particular [relation]ship, those that compile favorite clips, and more. Finally, in fanart, fans can create new visual scenes between characters, change characters’ identity markers (like race, age, gender), or recreate iconic images from the source material using their own artistic skills and media. If you’re not familiar with basic fandom terminology, check out this link before continuing.

As part of my blog, I’d like to have the occasional “fandom spotlight” post. In these posts, I can recommend some of my favorite fanfics (I’m not much of a fanvid or fanart person), talk about trends that are happening in my favorite fandoms, and potentially interview some of my favorite fan writers. Before I experiment with these spotlights, though, I thought it important to share with you the current fandoms that I spend most of my time in. I’ve been reading fanfic for more than 15 years, so I’ve been a part of many fandoms in the past. For this post, though, I’m going to focus on my current top five fandoms and the particular elements of them that I enjoy the most. I thought this short intro would help give readers a sense of whether or not they’ll be interested in my future fandom spotlights.

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Looking for a New Read? Book Review #1: The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

 

When deciding what book to read next, I try to think of ones that I’ve been hearing a lot about and/or ones that I think have potential for future use in my classroom. Adding Nicola Yoon’s The Sun Is Also A Star to my PopSugar Ultimate Reading Challenge reading list was a direct result of both these considerations. I was originally assigned a fall semester course that provided me with the opportunity to add young adult (YA) literature to my required booklist. While I’ve been assigned a new course that cannot include YA lit, three of the books I’ve completed for my reading challenge were read in consideration for that prior class: The Sun Is Also A Star, The Hate U Give, and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. While I enjoyed all three of these novels in different ways (it’s hard to use the term “enjoy” when referring to The Hate U Give), I’ve chosen my favorite of the three for my first book review on this blog. If you’ve read any or all of these three YA novels, though, I’d love to hear your thoughts on them in the comments section below.

 

One final note before getting to the “meat and potatoes” of this post. I plan for each book review post to have the same elements:

  • a brief introduction
  • a “basic information” section
  • and, a review of the book from my perspective as
    • a reader
    • an educator
    • a fan (as in, someone who takes part in fandom)
Now, on to the main event…(warning: a few *spoilers* ahead)

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How to Read More? Take On a Reading Challenge!

 

When planning what types of posts to include in this blog, I knew that one category had to be ChYALit book reviews. Reviews are so easy to find online and can be so helpful when deciding what to read, either for fun or as a potential booklist addition for one of my classes (or both). Luckily, one of the goals I set for myself (and my brother) this year is to complete a reading challenge: the 2017 Ultimate Popsugar Reading Challenge. As I spend most of my free time reading fanfic rather than ChYALit, I decided I would give my challenge the theme of children’s and young adult literature. While there will be an exception or two on the list, the ones that do fall under my ChYALit theme are perfect candidates for my book review posts.

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