Stay Bookish Zine - Issue No 4

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Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever

2 STAYby BOOKISH photo Beth ZINE




4 STAY BOOKISH ZINE photo by Joséphine

letter from the staff

Dear re


If there’s o stand-o ne thing YA rea ut book d cover. W ers love, it’s a tastes a gorgeou hile we nd s, may diff dazzling genre preferen e r in our , vibran c e s , w e t cover all can u shelves art that pop. makes o nite around ur book In truth, though, book co that ma vers are ke YA b r n’t the o ig story id h t a n d colorf nly thing eas foun u l. From s d in tee commu t he creat n fiction nity of r iv to th e ead bold, be autiful e ers, YA literatur e passionate e is burs nthusias m for st ting wit o ha rytelling In our fo . urth issu e siasm, s potlight , we aim to cap in ture tha g the br YA. Whe te ight, co ther tha lorful vib nthut means on book ra analyzin covers, g the us ncy of fueling shelves e of the de fervesce bate, or intervie never-ending r color ainbow nt perso wing rea nalities d edition e r s w h to the w of orld of Y o bring efthe rain Stay Bookish Z A ine bo bo in the Y w of books, cha draws inspiratio oks, this A comm racters, unity. and peo n from ple pres ent We hop e you fin ish this a bit brig issue fe hter tha elin n you d agree th id befor g a bit bubblie at—from e. A r, a bright book co , beautif vers to b nd we hope yo ul, u ook love thy of c elebratio colorful categ rs—YA is o n. ry of lite rature w or-The Sta y Bookis h Team

photo by Joséphine STAY BOOKISH ZINE

















BOOKISH NEWS - The Miseducation of Cameron Post movie - Queer Books for Teens - Rick Riordan Presents

#ownvoices Reads





cover photo by Erika E.


lifestyle 50



want to be featured in the next issue? SEE PAGE 37 TO FIND OUT HOW!












Ruth Lehrer




FEATURED BLOGGER Dominique @ Pirates & Pixie Dust



photo by Joséphine 8




BOOKISH NEWS compiled by Sophie B.

February 2018 was an exciting time for the bookish community because it marked the launch of Queer Books for Teens, a brand new online resource that gives readers access to a wonderful database of LGBTQ+ YA literature. Criteria ranging from gender to sexual or romantic orientation as well as race, religion, and disability can be used to find the perfect book! Take a look for yourself at In March 2018, it was announced that Netflix had acquired the rights to the movie adaptation of Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Set to release in the summer of the same year, the film will star Lana Condor, Janel Parrish, and John Corbett, among others.

Laurie Elizabeth Flynn’s debut YA novel, Firsts, made waves when it came out in January 2016. Two years later, the author has revealed the cover of her upcoming YA thriller Last Girl Lied To. It is set to release in April 2019. Fans of Rick Riordan will be thrilled to know that the first book of his new imprint Rick Riordan Presents is finally out in the world! The Percy Jackson author announced in spring 2017 that he would be starting his own imprint over at DisneyHyperion. The imprint will feature middle-grade books about different mythologies by own-voice authors. The first book, Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi, came out on March 27, 2018.

Fans of Harry Potter, rejoice: the trailer for the second installment of the Fantastic Beast franchise is here! Fans can expect to see Eddie Redmayne reprise his role as Newt Scamander, alongside a new cast member Jude Law, who plays a young Dumbledore. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will hit theaters in November 2018. On March 23, FilmRise acquired the North American rights to The Miseducation of Cameron Post, a film based on Emily M. Danforth’s novel by the same name. The movie was originally announced in early 2017, and it won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival in January 2018. The film, which stars Chloë Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane, and Forrest Goodluck, among others, follows the title character as she is sent to a gay conversion therapy camp in small-town 1990s Montana. It is slated for a late summer release. March 2018 marked the end of the Illuminae Files trilogy, written by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Obsidio, the third and final book of the series, came out on March 13. With a rating of 4.7 stars on Goodreads, fans are loving the conclusion to the sci-fi series that has been trending since it first came out in 2015.



The cinematic adaptation of Every Day, the New York Times bestseller by author David Levithan, was released in February of this year. The film stars Angourie Rice as the main character Rhiannon, who falls in love with a soul who wakes up every day in a different body. (image above via Elevation Pictures)

In February 2018, Anne Ursu published an article for the Medium titled “Sexual Harassment in the Children’s Book Industry” in which she shared the results of a survey she conducted regarding unacceptable behavior in the bookish community. Ursu’s articles gave many the strength to come forward with their own stories, made some publishers rethink who they were representing, and made

a lot of people question what they can do to help stop sexual harassment in the children’s book industry. As readers, we have a great opportunity to show that we will not tolerate this kind of behaviour in our community. We can make the choice to stop supporting the authors who have been accused of sexual misconduct, we can make the choice to demand better policies regarding sexual harassment from the conventions we attend, we can make the choice to educate ourselves on the matter and spread awareness to fellow members of the community. The Stay Bookish Team stands against sexual harassment and will not be featuring books from authors accused of sexual harassment in the future. STAY BOOKISH ZINE


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Debut YA author talks about representation, tackling tough topics, and novels with crossover appeal By: Emily Rasmussen

photo by Erika E. ZINE 14 STAY BOOKISH

Stay Bookish: We’re thrilled to have you here to talk about your debut YA novel, Being Fishkill! For those who haven’t yet read your book, could you briefly describe what it’s about? Ruth Lehrer: You have such a beautiful zine! Thanks for inviting me! Being Fishkill is the story of Fishkill Carmel, a 13-year-old girl whose mother names her after a highway sign. After thirteen years of poverty, neglect, and verbal abuse, Carmel decides to fight back. The first step: a new name. Carmel Fishkill becomes Fishkill Carmel—Fish: cold and scaly–Kill: don’t-mess-with-me dangerous. She deflects tormentors with a strong left hook and conceals her secrets from teachers and social workers. But Fishkill’s fierce defenses falter when she meets logical optimist Duck-Duck Farina and her mother Molly. The three form a tentative family, even as Fishkill struggles to understand her place in it. This fragile new beginning is threatened by the reappearance of Fishkill’s unstable mother—and by unfathomable tragedy. First things first—Being Fishkill deals with a variety of hard-hitting issues: rural poverty, toxic family situations, bullying and loneliness, and so much more. Did you ever feel an obligation of sorts to write about characters dealing with these struggles? Or would you say the need to write about these issues grew organically out of a story you wanted to tell? I definitely did not set out to write a story about “issues.” Fishkill just showed up and started talking. I wrote the first line, which is basically still the first line of the book, in the car before a writing group. Then I went inside and wrote the first couple pages. The story was totally character driven (Fishkill and DuckDuck were definitely driving.) I never thought to myself, “I want to write a story about a girl seeing her way out of an inheritance of bigotry.” That was just who Fishkill was. I’ve heard several writers talk about being reluctant to submit their characters to obstacles or hardships. It certainly sounds

difficult—although obviously necessary to create conflict! Since Fishkill deals with so many distressing (often heartbreaking) situations throughout her story, did you ever struggle to put her through yet another trial? And if so, how did you deal with that reluctance? I wrote a first (unpublished) novel before I wrote Being Fishkill. I think that in that book I humored myself, I kept the worst things from happening to my people because I felt bad for them (and me). In that way, as in many others, that first novel was a learning experience. Maybe I got over whatever personal blocks I had? Maybe I just became a better writer? On the other hand, I didn’t make up Fishkill’s problems out of thin air; they are real for so many “real” people. Absolutely! I think that’s part of what makes Fishkill such an engaging, well-developed character—how tangible and real the conflicts she faces are. And speaking of character development, Being Fishkill is full of unforgettable characters. We have DuckDuck, an aspiring lawyer who forms an electric friendship with Fishkill; Molly, a fictional parent on par with the likes of Molly Weasley; and most of all Fishkill herself, who’s tough, vibrant, and endearing all at once. (And, of course, a cast of backup characters who are all fascinating in their own sometimes-morallyambiguous way.) Is there one character who you particularly related to or enjoyed writing the most? Molly Weasley! Thank you! I had not thought of her, but my Molly would definitely be flattered. I actually loved all my children. Even the ones, like Worm, who in the beginning did not seem particularly likeable. He was definitely the most surprising. I see so many parallels between your Molly and Molly Weasley—not only are they both great mothers, but they’re both incredible surrogate mothers to a child’s friend who desperately needs a parent. They even share the same name! On that note, earlier in this interview, you described the meaning behind Fishkill’s name. How did you go about naming STAY BOOKISH ZINE


your other characters? Do any other names have specific meanings? LOL, sorry, no great meaning behind the names. It’s either what they told me their names were (Fishkill and Duck-Duck definitely identified themselves), what they were named by others (Fishkill named Worm), or what somehow surfaced in my brain (the rest of the cast). I’m fascinated by the fact that Fishkill is so young compared to most YA protagonists; she’s only 12 at the start of the story. And yet Being Fishkill deals with some heavy, tough topics in a way that undeniably feels more YA than middle grade. Could you elaborate on why you chose to tell a young photo by Beth



adult story from the perspective of someone on the brink of teenage-dom? What storytelling opportunities did this open up for you? Opportunities—what an interesting way of looking at it. When I first started writing, the characters were just a little younger. We aged them up because it seemed more appropriate, but I never actually set out to write a story that was hard to place in the marketing categories. The author Rosalyn Collings Eves once mentioned that one way to divide middle grade from young adult was that MG is about fitting in (finding your place in your family/ community) and YA is about learning to stand out. I think that this might be why the Being

Fishkill characters are younger than typical YA but feels like YA—Fishkill’s story is a bit of both. That being said, although the book was published by Candlewick Press, a children’s and YA press, we also originally got an offer from another publisher who would have published it as adult fiction. Perhaps one of the strengths of the book is that it can be read on multiple different levels. It definitely deserves the label of “crossover.” I’ve found that many adults read and like this book, even 70-year-old men who haven’t read a novel in thirty years. Definitely not who I expected to be in my target audience. I’ve never heard that before—that MG is about fitting in while YA is about standing

out! Now I need to go back and analyze every middle grade and young adult novel I’ve ever read. And I completely agree; Being Fishkill is a great crossover novel that I’d recommend to a variety of age groups! Do you have any favorite novels with MG/YA/ adult crossover appeal that you think fans of Being Fishkill would enjoy? Some “crossover” books I recommend: one which I used in my original query letter is Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. It is adult fiction, but it is about a fourteen-year-old girl whose uncle dies of AIDS. Another is Girl In Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow, a gritty YA book about another girl who has had a hard life. That being said, I think a bulk of the labels are marketing driven. I saw a Maurice Sendak quote once where he basically said, “I don’t write for children. I write­—and somebody says, ‘That’s for children.’” A good book is a good book. I completely agree with you—and Maurice Sendak! To quote another famous children’s book writer, C.S. Lewis, “a children’s story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children’s story.” Back to Being Fishkill, I particularly loved that Fishkill’s age opens up the opportunity for a compelling storyline: over the course of the story, Fishkill and Duck-Duck explore their sexuality (maybe without 100% realizing that’s what they’re doing?) by sharing a first kiss. While this, of course, is only a minor part of the story, it creates an enthralling relationship dynamic that sits somewhere at the intersection of intense friendship, first romance, and blood-bonded sisterhood. And it’s a storyline we don’t often get to see in YA! What made you want to include this storyline? And would you consider your book to include queer/ LGBTQ+ representation? Of course Being Fishkill is queer! Molly is, as Jeff Giles called her, a kick-ass lesbian mother, and she is definitely a member of a larger lesbian community. Her kids are growing up to be their own people and they have her as a role model. Fishkill has to think/act her way out of her grandfather’s prejudice against STAY BOOKISH ZINE


photo by Beth

queer people. She is on the cusp of puberty but intellectually both she and Duck-Duck are representatives of the next generation who are shedding the shame and oppression of their predecessors. I love this description, and I think that’s part of what makes Being Fishkill so powerful— it feels like a story about shedding off the past, a story of rebirth almost, especially in terms of Fishkill’s prejudiced grandfather. Sure, rebirth, but as the old feminist guard said, the personal is political. Fishkill’s journey beyond bigotry is one that we all have to replicate in some manner if we want to change society. I couldn’t agree more. And another reason that Being Fishkill is so powerful is its utter relentlessness. From beginning to end, through the story’s joys and sorrows, the characters are always battling a mix of potent emotions. Sometimes they’re terrified of a perilous situation, sometimes they’re overjoyed to have triumphed against the odds, and sometimes they’re heartbroken to have lost. This creates a sense of high-stakes drama that I don’t often see in contemporary novels centered around intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships, like Being Fishkill. Do you have any advice for adding such emotionally-gripping tension to a novel that deals heavily with topics you’d expect to be more subdued, like friendship and introspection? 18


LOL—no advice. I don’t know how I did it. I’m writing my next book and I’m struggling to do this. Critique partners keep telling me, “Up the stakes, up the stakes.” But regarding Fishkill, in general I think that girls’ friendships at that age are often full of tension and suspense. When I remember that age I remember cliques and shifting allegiances. I remember bullying. I also remember having a love for my friends that we didn’t have a name for. Maybe it was the beginning of sexual relationship love? Maybe it was just the intense friendship love that women have for each other but that we are taught to devalue and thus as kids have no name for either? To use your term—the blood-bonded sisterhood. Now a bit more about you personally: before writing Being Fishkill, you published a poetry collection. Did your poetry background impact your YA novel-writing process, and if so, how? I studied poetry for several years before I wrote Being Fishkill. It heightened my sensitivity to the sound of language and to rhythm. It made me protective of odd ways of saying things. It made me less attached to consistency and making sense. It made me want to use language in unique ways, something that Fishkill herself does. In my acknowledgements (which got left out of the first edition of Being Fishkill but are there in the second printing!) I thank my poetry teacher, Emily Pettit, “who taught both me and Fishkill that we were poets.”

Also, in addition to being a poet and novelist, you’re also an American Sign Language interpreter. Does your knowledge of this language impact your writing/writing process? And do you ever plan to write a book that specifically includes ASL? As an ASL interpreter I spent 20 plus years thinking about how English sounds, when it comes out of my mouth, when it comes out of other people’s mouths, 20 years of thinking “if I were that person what would they sound like if they spoke English?” My interpreting career most definitely influences how I think about the flow of spoken language, especially dialog. My next book has a secondary Deaf character. The thing about ASL is that it has no written form. There are a lot of hard choices to make about how to transmit Deaf people’s communication into written English. Do you transliterate their word choices? Do you describe gestures (as opposed to signs) that the Deaf person has to

"My mother named me after a New

York highway sign, passing through, passing by, not even stopping to squeeze out my blue body."

use to communicate with hearing people who don’t sign? If they write back and forth do you use “proper” English, which might not be how a person using English as a second language actually communicates? I haven’t figured out which route to take yet. I’m definitely going to run my choices by Deaf folks and interpreters before it goes out to the big world. Wow, I’d never thought about the challenges of translating ASL into written form. That sounds like a fascinating linguistic conundrum, and it goes to show how much we need more Deaf representation in YA. I’m so excited for this book. Before you go, could you tell us a bit about what you’re working on now? Are you able to reveal a bit more about the book you just mentioned?

Book two: OY VEY. Everyone tells me that the second book is always really hard. I’m definitely living that. Scary to even put it out there while the book is fighting me tooth and nail but... here goes... My second book is the story of two sisters who live in a fictional western Massachusetts town where the primary industry, a candy factory, has burned down under suspicious circumstances. Wish me luck. Send chocolate. I need it. Like I said, it sounds wonderful! *sends chocolate* I’m wishing you the best of luck and counting down the days until I get to read it. And, of course, thanks for stopping by Stay Bookish Zine! We can’t wait to feature your second novel when it hits shelves.



2018 Debut Author Slambook Get to know the authors behind 2018’s most exciting debut YA novels!

By: Marie & Nathasya



photo by Beth

On writing... What’s your book about in five words? Crucial friendships from unlikely places. What’s your next WIP about? A biracial kid who works at a bodega in Brooklyn, New York, who wants to become fantastically famous and gets very, very close to his goal without getting close at all. What’s your writing routine? I write every morning for two hours. Typically at my dining table or else I’ll go out to a coffee shop in my neighborhood. The café is independently owned and lovely but they tend to play the same spotify playlist so I always bring earplugs. I always write with earplugs. While writing, I love drinking PG Tips tea with almond milk. I also snack on sunflower seeds. After lunch I catch another 90 minutes or so of writing and lately I’ve been managing another hour of good work right before bed. That’s new for me. Your biggest inspirations to write? I love chipping away at an overwhelming thing. I’m very impatient and everything in my life typically zooms very quickly so spending a year writing a book is tremendously rewarding. I’m always a little gobsmacked when I get to the end of one.

M A RY H. K . C H O I

Author of Emergency Contact

What’s your favorite local bookstore? My local used to be Book Court but it closed down which hurts my heart. It’s now Books are Magic The other greatly inspiring aspect of the work is which is a wonderful place in my neighborhood that that my MCs are all people of color. I think that’s I can’t seem to walk by without being lured in by crucial for me, to explore experiences for protago- the window display. nists who I never saw enough of growing up. One bookish (or TV show/movie) character you feel When you’re not writing, you’re… like you can relate to the most? Going on long walks or else watching art It’s a toss up between Claudia Kishi from the documentaries. Babysitter’s Club and Charlotte Flax from Mermaids. On books... A book you would recommend to everyone? Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. How do you organize your bookshelf? It’s not organized at all. It’s overflowing with magazines and comics and novels. The only taxonomical delineation is maybe size since my bookcase shelves are all different heights and host so many enormous art books as well. It’s a mess don’t be like me. Still, it’s better than that terrible trend of organizing books spine in.

In ten years, I’m hoping … I hope I have five novels published. I think it’s ambitious but entirely doable. I’d love to have some stories optioned for television or film not because It would be cool to play the casting game. I want there to be a massive kerfuffle every time some bigwig so-and-so moans about how casting the movie or TV version is virtually impossible because a “good” actor with the canonical ethnicity doesn’t exist. I hope they’re forced to do the legwork, raise the bar and that we all hold them accountable. I’d also love to write the screenplay adaptations and eventually direct as well. STAY BOOKISH ZINE


On writing... What’s your book about in five words? Sisters at odds (and) in turmoil What’s your next WIP about? My next book, coming out in 2019, is called Our Year of Maybe. It’s about the aftermath of a kidney transplant between best friends, complicated by the fact that the donor is in love with the recipient. What’s your writing routine? I usually write in a coffee shop, accompanied by a mug of chai and, occasionally, a chocolate truffle they make in the shop. Your biggest inspirations to write? Rainy days, sad songs When you’re not writing, you’re… Tap dancing, collecting tubes of red lipstick, petting my dog


Author of You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone

On books... A book you would recommend to everyone? The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid How do you organize your bookshelf? Currently it’s by color! But I change it up every so often. What’s your favorite local bookstore? University Book Store in Seattle, WA! One bookish (or TV show/movie) character you feel like you can relate to the most? Lee Fiora in Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld—no other book explores all the awkward agony of adolescence quite like that one! In ten years, I’m hoping … I hope I’m continuing to try new things, take risks, and push boundaries with my writing! I’d love to be writing in other genres or categories, but mainly I hope my books are still bringing joy to readers



On writing... What’s your book about in five words? Taiwanese-American guiltily defies parental expectations. What’s your next WIP about? I’m thrilled that Misaligned will be out fall 2019 with Simon Pulse! The book follows a teen outcast, Ali, who is the only Asian in her small, predominantly white Midwestern town. The book explores racism and prejudice, and when another Asian family moves to town, everyone believes Ali and the other Chinese boy belong together. Despite her initial resistance, she begins falling for him, only to learn that her mother forbids them from being together. As Ali searches for the reasoning behind her mother’s disapproval, she unearths dark family secrets that threaten her future. What’s your writing routine? I write in my office with two screens (one for the manuscript, the other for research) and a view of Lake Michigan. I always have tea in front of me (and on a mug warmer in the winter!) and music playing softly in the background. In the winter, my fingerless gloves are another necessity—Chicago gets pretty cold! In fact, there is a snowstorm outside as I’m writing this! Your biggest inspirations to write? I’m inspired by Amy Tan, Nicola Yoon, Adam Silvera, David Arnold, Becky Albertalli, Angie Thomas, Zoraida Cordova, Ellen Oh, Anna-Marie McLemore, and so many more! I feel so lucky to be writing at a time when there are so many wonderful books in YA, and so many talented authors to learn from! When you’re not writing, you’re… Curling! I just picked up the sport last year, and I’m obsessed. My husband and I curl in a league at least once a week! On books... A book you would recommend to everyone? The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Must read for everyone, and one of the most brilliant books I’ve read. How do you organize your bookshelf? By what I want to read next. I put the books I’m planning on reading next at eye-level, and I place books I’ve already read on the highest and lowest shelves. The favorites that I come back to often


Author of American Panda

fill out the rest of the bookshelf. What’s your favorite local bookstore? My favorites are 57th Street Books, Anderson’s Bookshop (though I wish it was closer to where I live!), Women & Children First, The Book Stall, and The Book Cellar. I feel so lucky to have so many wonderful bookstores in the Chicagoland area! One bookish (or TV show/movie) character you feel like you can relate to the most? I related a lot to Natasha from The Sun Is Also a Star even though we have very different life experiences. The one experience we did share was that we were not romantics and didn’t believe in the magic of love, yet we were lucky enough to experience it and learn that it’s even grander and more beautiful than the books and movies tell us. In ten years, I’m hoping … That I am still lucky enough to be able to write, and I hope that I remember every day what a privilege it is. STAY BOOKISH ZINE


On writing... What’s your book about in five words? Reality TV, college, existential angst. What’s your next WIP about? My WIP is a multi-POV YA fantasy inspired by saga-age Iceland. Vikings, volcanos, and witchcraft! What’s your writing routine? I’m still working on figuring this out, as my work schedule constantly changes. Sometimes I work 10-14 hour days, so it’s hard to find the energy to write when I get home. Sometimes I can sneak in some writing time at work, but when my days are shorter, I try to write for half an hour before and after work. Getting even a short period of writing done in the morning helps the ideas to keep flowing all day. I find music/ food too distracting when I’m writing, but I’m all about the coffee. Your biggest inspirations to write? I know it sounds cliche, but I write the stories I want to read. Stories that are a little off, unpredictable, funny, and unlike anything I’ve read before.


Author of Nice Try, Jane Sinner

When you’re not writing, you’re… Reading, obviously! I also love chilling with my cat, camping, drinking beer with friends, and convincing myself that I’m really close to getting in shape. Any day now.

On books... A book you would recommend to everyone? YOU’LL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE by Rachel Lynn Solomon. It’s a gorgeous and devastating read about twin sisters dealing with Huntington’s Disease in their family. How do you organize your bookshelf? Right now I have a shelf for research books, a shelf for TBR/agent siblings, and a shelf for books I’ve already read and try to push on others. What’s your favorite local bookstore? The Book Warehouse on Main Street (Vancouver, BC). One bookish (or TV show/movie) character you feel like you can relate to the most? April Ludgate (from Parks and Recreation) gives voice to all my deep, dark, misanthropic tendencies. In ten years, I’m hoping … I’m hoping to finish Book Two. Seriously. If I can to that, the next few fantasy books will come easier! I’d love to have a trilogy published in ten years.



On writing... What’s your book about in five words? Aspiring comedian has nudes leaked. What’s your next WIP about? It’s about a girl who’s obsessed with true crime, and the podcast she launches when the guy she’s been dating is sentenced to a death for a murder she doesn’t think he committed. What’s your writing routine? I honestly don’t have a routine. I pride myself on my ability to write anywhere, which I often do since I still have a day job! On the weekends when I’m home and writing, I get up around 9, have a slow coffee and reply to some emails, then head to the cafe down the street to do a solid few hours of drafting and have some lunch. Then I walk home and cram in another few hours. When I’m at home, I listen to a nice acoustic playlist on Spotify, but at the cafe the ambient background noise is enough. In terms of snacks, I’m addicted to mochas and popcorn. Your biggest inspirations to write? My love of storytelling—and also the fact I have to pay rent. Adulthood sucks. When you’re not writing, you’re… Reading (obviously), watching TV, playing tennis/ chess/Pokemon Go, hanging out with my friends and soon-to-be husband, obsessively looking at puppies for sale near me, and almost definitely not cleaning. On books… A book you would recommend to everyone? I really don’t think there’s such a thing as a book for everyone, but the world would be a better place if everyone read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. How do you organize your bookshelf? I’m currently living in a tiny hobbit hole of an apartment, so I don’t have bookshelves (*gasp* I know, right?). My books are just stacked in piles on every available surface, and also the floor. I’ve lived like this for two years! But I just bought a house, so fingers crossed I have the color-coded shelves of my dreams pretty soon. What’s your favorite local bookstore? Barter Books in Alnwick, Northumberland. It’s a second-hand bookshop with a train that loops around the entire store. And as the name


Author of The Exact Opposite of Okay

suggests, you can trade your old books for new ones. It’s amazing. Seriously, google it! One bookish (or TV show/movie) character you feel like you can relate to the most? Leslie Knope. I am her in every single way. In ten years, I’m hoping … I feel like I should be a good person and say “I don’t care as long as my loved ones are healthy and happy” WHICH IS TRUE but also you specifically asked for career stuff, so what the hell. I’d like to have published at least ten books and have some sort of financial stability, and buy a place in California where I can live in the winter months. Do you even know how cold northern England gets? Shudder. And I want the publishing industry to be a more inclusive, diverse and welcoming environment. Progress is being made, but nowhere near quickly enough.



On writing... What’s your book about in five words? Witches. Revenge. Sisters. Curses. Redemption. What’s your next WIP about? A spooky story set in the snowy mountains. What’s your writing routine? I usually make a cup of black ginger tea before I sit down to write. When I’m outlining I like to listen to music but while writing I usually prefer silence. And my favorite writing snack is chocolate—all the chocolate. Your biggest inspirations to write? I find most of my inspiration outdoors. I love to go on long walks in the woods if I’m feeling stuck on my story or just need a break. It’s where my mind feels most clear. When you’re not writing, you’re… Reading. I spend most of my evenings reading beside the fireplace. But I also carve out time every week for yoga, hiking, and finding quiet moments in the mountains.


Author of The Wicked Deep

On books... A book you would recommend to everyone? Hmm, that’s a tough question, there are so many! But one of my favorite books as a kid was Watership Down by Richard Adams. This book changed how I saw stories and I think it’s a must read! How do you organize your bookshelf? Currently they are organized by genre. But I’m getting ready to move and will have more bookshelf space and am considering organizing by color! I’ve seen so many magnificent photos of bookshelves that look like a rainbow of colors! I covet them! What’s your favorite local bookstore? Paulina Springs Books in Sisters Oregon. It’s a lovely little bookstore with places to sit and read and I order most of my books from there. One bookish (or TV show/movie) character you feel like you can relate to the most? Belle from Beauty and Beast because her love of books is immense and her bookshelves are enviable. In ten years, I’m hoping … I hope I’m still chasing stories and writing books and letting my characters boss me around.



On writing... What’s your book about in five words? Bollywood junkie chooses free will. What’s your next WIP about? My next YA is about a dancer who is trying to make peace with her mother, while at the same time, she’s getting closer to her father through cooking. Oh, and there are also Bollywood dance crews fighting it out. Basically, BRING IT ON meets a Bollywood movie. What’s your writing routine? I write wherever I can for however long I can. I have a job that takes a lot of my time so that means I have to squeeze in twenty minutes or so where I’m able to. I prefer silence when I’m drafting new material, but sometimes that’s not possible with my schedule, so my weapon of choice is a pair of Bose noise cancelling headphones that I carry with me everywhere. As for writing fuel…well…I’ll eat anything that has sugar in it. I have a major sweet tooth. Your biggest inspirations to write? I’m a big believer in Elizabeth Gilbert’s analysis of inspiration: it’s a free spirit that comes and visits you on its own terms. You accept it and embrace it whenever you can, or you wish it goodbye until you’re ready to see it again. I don’t have a big writing inspiration other than to embrace creativity as often as possible. When you’re not writing, you’re… Reading! Always reading. It could be social media or the news or a romance novel. I have a thirst for information and I try to consume words as often as possible. On books... A book you would recommend to everyone? Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. You can never go wrong with Austen. How do you organize your bookshelf? For a long time, I organized my bookshelf HIGH FIDELITY style. By period of time in my life, then alphabetically by genre, and finally alphabetically by author. Now, it’s just genre and author, with one empty shelf that I clear out on January first, with an intention of filing it with all the print books I read that year.


Author of My So-Called Bollywood Life

What’s your favorite local bookstore? I’m a big supporter of indie bookstores (LOVE Books of Wonder in NYC). And there is WORD in Jersey City, NJ, but I have a Barnes and Noble less than 4 minutes from my house. I am ALWAYS there because of its proximity to me. One bookish (or TV show/movie) character you feel like you can relate to the most? I can relate to Elizabeth Bennet from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE because of her family dynamics, her mother’s thirst for marriage prospects, and her relationships with men. I’m lucky now and found my Darcy, but man, for a while, it was rough out there. In ten years, I’m hoping … In 10 years, I’m hoping that I’ve made tons of readers happy with my books. I also hope that I have finally lost the twenty-five pounds I’ve been working on since high school. STAY BOOKISH ZINE


On writing... What’s your book about in five words? Love, grief, magic. Finding yourself. What’s your next WIP about? It’s about cultural identity and first love. What’s your writing routine? I write either at my desk with no music, or in a cafe to the sounds of people bustling and chatting around me. If I’m in need of a treat for fuel, I usually have a matcha latte. Your biggest inspirations to write? Everything. Other books. Music. Movies. Art of all mediums. Fellow humans. When you’re not writing, you’re… Playing mandolin, or practicing and teaching yoga.

E M I L Y X . R . PA N

Author of The Astonishing Color of After

On books... A book you would recommend to everyone? Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng. How do you organize your bookshelf? Alphabetically by author, and within authors I arrange them chronologically by publishing date. What’s your favorite local bookstore? McNally Jackson. One bookish (or TV show/movie) character you feel like you can relate to the most? Lyra Belacqua, from His Dark Materials. In ten years, I’m hoping … I’ll be writing even weirder stuff, and people will like it for how weird it is.



On writing... What’s your book about in five words? See All the Stars is about: first love and big loss. What’s your next WIP about? My 2019 book is a thriller about two girls under unbearable pressure from their families and communities—and what happens when they decide to stop compromising. What’s your writing routine? I write from home, usually from my couch. On weekends, I shut down email and social media. It’s amazing how I can work for hours at a stretch without those distractions! I prefer to write in silence, but love creating playlists for my books. Writing time is fueled by cold brew iced coffee in the summer, French vanilla tea in the winter, and Smartfood! Your biggest inspirations to write? The chance to make a meaningful impact on a reader through storytelling is a huge motivator. That’s why we do this—to connect with readers, teens especially. Not every reader is going to love your book, but when that spark happens, it’s magic. When you’re not writing, you’re… Probably reading, hanging out with my husband and cats, cooking, or revisiting my adolescence through music and television (Tori! Alanis! My SoCalled Life! Dawson’s Creek!). On books... A book you would recommend to everyone? The film adaptation of Emily M. Danforth’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post just won the top award at Sundance. For anyone, like me, who missed the novel when it released in 2012, go forth and read! It’s about a lesbian teen sent to a “conversion therapy” center in 1993. In 2018—a quarter century later!—the harmful and unscientific practice has been made unlawful in only nine US states, plus DC. It’s a beautiful literary YA novel exploring a pressing and timely topic. How do you organize your bookshelf? Messily! I live in a small apartment and share my home office with my equally literary husband. We have home library ambitions and Brooklyn square footage.


Author of See All The Stars

What’s your favorite local bookstore? Books Are Magic (Brooklyn, NY)! One bookish (or TV show/movie) character you feel like you can relate to the most? Angela Chase in My So-Called Life. Always and forever. In ten years, I’m hoping … For vast improvements in the diversity of people hired to work at every level of children’s publishing—from top executives to acquiring editors to agents to booksellers. We need more women, especially women of color, in executive roles. More people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities across the board. More advocates in all facets of the industry for diverse authors and their books.



dominique at

Pirates and Pixie Dust by Chelsea & Sophie

photo by Dominique


ntroducing Dominique, book lover and blogger at Pirates and Pixie Dust. A lover of children and YA books, she has a variety of books under her belt. Since our theme for this issue is colorful, it made a lot of people think about diversity in books. Being a diverse blogger herself, we trust Dominique’s great diverse book recommendations and hope all our readers will add a few new books to their TBRs! Stay Bookish: Welcome Dominique! It’s great to have you here with us for this issue. Let’s get to know you a little bit. What’s the meaning behind the name of your blog? Dominique: My bookish name was directly inspired by Peter Pan and the essence of Neverland. It’s great that you found inspiration from a classic like Peter Pan. How did starting a blog change you as a reader? Oh my goodness, I have so much more to read now! Before starting my blog, I had no idea that new books were released every single Tuesday. Why do you think diversity is important in the bookish community? Because people need a chance to see themselves in stories. Everyone deserves a chance



to be the hero and to believe that anything is possible. When characters look like us, think like us, talk like us, or grew up like us, we get to feel less alone. How do you encourage/promote diversity in the community? I am constantly requesting diverse books at my local library. It means the books will be on shelves for others to discover for years to come. That’s a great way to encourage more diverse books! Here at Stay Bookish we love getting book recommendations. Are there any books featuring diverse characters that you especially loved or found you could really relate to? Allow me to take this (and every opportunity) to recommend the Shades of Magic trilogy by VE Schwab. I’ve also loved The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann. Oh! Oh! And Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, and Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver, and… Wait. Maybe I should stop before I turn this one question into an essay. We love seeing what books people have adored! What is your opinion on book covers? (do you let yourself be influenced by them? Do you cherish them like your own children? Do you frame them on your wall?)

Ha ha! No, I don’t think about them too much, actually. Though I will say, that if there is anything holographic about the cover, I’m going to want it on my shelf. We don’t blame you. Who doesn’t love shiny books? Our theme for this issue is “colorful”. When you think of colorful in terms of books, what does that make you think of? The gorgeous rainbow bookshelves of bookstagram and how much fun they are to put together. What are your favorite genres to read and why? I used to say fantasy, but now I’m leaning towards science fiction. Why? Well, nothing can brighten up my day like a Star Wars, Firefly, or Doctor Who reference. If anyone in a book tries to reverse polarity or jump into hyperdrive I get all giddy inside. What is your guilty pleasure when it comes to reading? (tropes people usually dislike, reading while eating chocolate, reading the last line of a book before starting it)

A book you can read again and again without ever getting tired of the story? Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Bookish quote that speaks to your soul? “Second star to the right and straight on till morning.” Pirates or Pixies? Pirates Currently reading? The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw (it has a holo cover)

where to find dominique: On her blog: On Twitter: @piratesnpixdust On Instagram: @piratesandpixiedust And on Etsy: PiratesNPixieDust

Okay, I’m going to take “guilty” and “pleasure” literally. Because nothing makes me feel both happy and guilty and making a snack for myself and reading after the kids go to bed. It’s usually a snack I told the kiddos (ages three and four) that they couldn’t have not 20 minutes before I eat it. We asked Dominique a few rapid fire questions to finish the interview on a fun note. Here are her answers: Hogwarts’ house? Ravenclawesome! Also, I’m a Wampus in Ilvermorny. Favorite color? Somewhere between blue and green. Like a light teal or turquoise. All time favorite author? I’m gonna have to go for Victoria Schwab for this one, considering my arm says “as travars” Reading with or without music? With. But without words. photo by Dominique STAY BOOKISH ZINE



Own Voices by Sophie & Chelsea

photo by Chelsea

Representation matters. Readers want to see themselves in the stories they read, they want to see the real world, with all its differences, reflected in the books they hold in their hand. We want to help you find those books. Sometimes books recs can be overwhelming. We all rave about books we love because we want others to join our euphoric mood! And with more and more diverse titles coming out, it’s hard to find our way around this never ending sea of books. To help you make your way through the waves, encourage you to pick up something new and match you with a book you’ll identify with, we put together an introduction guide to ownvoice books. 32


The one where 'that girl ' is more than 'that ' A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena A Girl Like That is described as “a timeless exploration of high-stakes romance, self-discovery, and the lengths we go to love and be loved”. The novel starts off with characters Zarin and Porus found dead in Saudi Arabia from what appears to be a car crash. Zarin is known as a troublemaker; the girl your parents tell you to stay away from. As her story unfolds, we learn through multiple perspectives that appearances can be deceiving. A Girl Like That features some heavy topics like abuse, bullying, cultural norms, and religion to name only a few. Through all of it, A Girl Like That remains heartbreakingly honest. A must read for any YA lover.

The one for those who love drama Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton It can’t be easy to be a professional athlete. The amount of stress on not only your body but your mind as well can be overwhelming. Add in the competition to become the very best, some backstabbing, and manipulation and you’ve got Tiny Pretty Things. Featuring a diverse cast of characters, Tiny Pretty Things is about an exclusive ballet school and the fight to the very top. The characters all have their own personal struggles. One character struggles with being the only POC in the school, another is battling an eating disorder. If you thought ballet was all grace and fluffy tutus, think again.



photo by Beth

The one where her true self is revealed American Panda by Gloria Chao Have you ever felt pressured to be someone you weren’t, trapped in a role you didn’t want to play? Because this is exactly how Mei feels. While her parents are set on the idea of her becoming a doctor and marrying a nice Taiwanese guy, the idea of germs makes her squirms and she has a crush on a japanese boy. Talk about being torn between who people want you to be and who you really are! American Panda is a great read for when you feel weighed down by the expectations of the people that surrounds you. We’ve all heard it but it’s true: there’s only one you and it would be a cruel thing to deprive the world of such a unique and beautiful soul! 34


George by Alex Gino It can be hard to have your identity questioned when society puts too much pressure on people to label themselves. George is the perfect way to lift your spirits and remind you that there’s good people in the world and that you are never alone.

The one for people born in the wrong body

When you want a feel-good, uplifting story, this book is a great place for you to start. George is a powerful story of acceptance and learning to be yourself. People automatically assume that George is a boy but in her heart she knows that she was always meant to be a girl. When she goes to try out for the part of Charlotte in the school’s production of Charlotte’s Web, the teacher tells her she can’t try out for the part since it’s a girl part. Determined, George enlists the help of her best friend Kelly to come up with a plan to play Charlotte and to show everyone who she really is. STAY BOOKISH ZINE


The one that understands your spiraling thoughts Turtles All The Way Down by John Green Everyone gets anxious sometimes, taking a big test, going on a first date, wondering if they’ve made the right decision… Everyone gets anxious, but not everyone has anxiety. Trying to explain what it feels like to have thoughts spiraling out of control to someone can be difficult and unnerving. Being able to read a books that gets it, by an author that gets it, is the opposite. Turtles all the way down is a beautiful story of friendship and love that will leave you with the message that life doesn’t stop for anybody but that’s okay because despite your current struggles you are stronger than you believe and you’ll be alright.

Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee We’re all too used to reading books about the heroes. The people with extraordinary powers who use them to save the world. What makes Not Your Sidekick special is that it isn’t about superheroes, it’s about an average girl who still wants so badly to help the world. It’s an encouraging yet quirky story filled with all kinds of special characters. Jess, a fantastic Asian-American and bisexual protagonist, takes an internship with her town’s local supervillain team to spite her parents only to find that things might not be as they seem. It’s a great story that only proves that people aren’t just good or evil, but a mixture somewhere in between.



The one to make you believe in superheroes

WANT TO BE FEATURED IN THE NEXT ISSUE? Email us your photos of your colorful bookshelves and your photo could be featured in our next issue! STAYBOOKISHZINE@GMAIL.COM


photo by Erika photo by Joséphine



A Book Nerd Speaks

A conversation with the reader and photographer behind one of Bookstagram’s most popular accounts By Emily M. my one internet friend, I occasionally answered comments, and I’d only go on to post. Sometimes I miss when it was so low maintenance, but being active allows me to Meet Jill: a blogger, reader, and writer, very really get to know anyone who wants to chat active in the YA community. She reads all or know me! When I first started bookstagram kinds of diverse novels and takes gorgeous photos of them for her Instagram! Her colorful it was for fun, plainly, and to share my love of reading! However, I have sort of taken on bullet journal spreads are also a perfect addition to her feed. Find out more about her diverse books and activism which is awesome to have a platform to speak about. and her favorite things in this interview! ​ Awe, that’s so great! You’re also pretty Stay Bookish: Hi Jill! Thank you so much for chatting with us today. First of all, why open about sharing things about you, like did you decide to start your bookstagram? the fact that you identify as an aromantic asexual. What is it like to be in the YA Jill: Hi Emily! So there isn’t really a “why” but community and being so open about your sexuality and mental health? Do you feel I used to run a fandom Instagram account (similar to, say, @booknerdparadise) and I was that you are represented in YA literature? growing tired of it after a while, but suddenly I’m grateful that I can be open about my I saw a book photo on my recommended sexuality and mental health, especially with page and thought “Hey that looks cool! I the support I’ve been given! (It outweighs the should try that” which was probably one of criticism.) It’s draining as much as rewarding the best whim decisions I ever made! being so open and honest about yourself! And while there has been more and more Definitely, and I think all of your followers diversity in YA, I have yet to see proper would agree! One of the best qualities aromantic rep in the books I read! I haven’t about you, besides your beautiful read too many about anxiety, but I’m sure photography skills, is that you are very they’re out there. active with and welcoming to your followers. Were you planning on being so I’m glad you feel that way, and I active in the community? What was your goal when you started your bookstagram? completely agree, I wish there were more diverse novels. Your photos are so aesthetically pleasing and colorful, so I’m In my first year of bookstagram, I was super sure our readers are wondering: what shy! I didn’t really talk to anyone beside 38


is your favorite color scheme on book covers? Pastel colors or bright colors? Thank you Emily! I love my pastel books so much! I’m constantly looking for new ones to add to my collections! Those are my favorite, too! You’re also part of a diversity book club! Can you talk to me about that? How did it come to be? What are your favorite diverse novels? Yes, I am! I’m a member of The Book Bound Society, which is exclusively diverse books each and every month! My friend, Grace, was a member and I subtly (not so subtly) mentioned that I’d love to join—but I didn’t expect her to actually say yes! It was last July, in fact, and I’ve been a member since! AH I HAVE SO MANY FAVES! First to mind are Tash Hearts Tolstoy, The Sun is Also a Star, The Hate U Give, and When Dimple Met Rishi! Now for some fun questions! What is your favorite way to organize your bookshelf? Always by color, it’s really aesthetic! I don’t mind splitting up series (which I hear a lot about in criticisms of rainbow shelves) although my shelves are a hassle to keep up because I cram them to fit all that I can! No, I LOVE rainbow shelves! Yours are so beautiful! I know you drink both, but

which do you prefer: coffee or tea? And how do you take it? WHAT KIND OF QUESTION? I drink coffee in the morning and tea in the evening, usually. Coffee is always with cream, and tea with just sugar. Haha I know! It’s so hard to choose! And finally, what is your Hogwarts House? How would you decorate your common room? Hufflepuff!!!!! Ooh, well, there would definitely be a fireplace, lots of blankets, tea would be made at any time, tall windows with lots of light, too! I am also a Hufflepuff and would be HAPPY to share that common room with you. Thank you so much, Jill, for giving so many great answers to my questions!

Find Jill here: Instagram:@booknerd_reads Blog: Twitter: @booknerd_jill Tumblr:



photo by Katie


1. Leah On the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli April 24, 2018 Song: Bad Liar by Selena Gomez “With my feelings on fire, Guess I’m a bad liar”

Some great upcoming books are set to release in April to June 2018. Discover some cool music to accompany them while you wait impatiently! 2. Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody April 10, 2018 Song: Dirty Laundry by Don Henley “Just give me somethingsomething I can use, People love it when you lose, They love dirty laundry”



3. Love Songs and Other Lies by Jessica Pennington April 24, 2018 Song: I Wonder by Jinco ft SVNAH “I know you know that I love you deep down, Still I wonder if I made [...] The right choice after all”

8: A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews June 7, 2018 Song: Part of Me by Katy Perry “This is the part of me, That you’re never gonna ever take away from me, no! Throw your sticks and your stones, throw your bombs and your blows, But you’re not gonna break my soul”

4. Devils Unto Dust by Emma Berquist April 10, 2018 song : Devils and Dust by Bruce Springsteen “I’m just trying to survive, What if what you do to survive, Kills the things you love, Fear’s a powerful thing”

9: Your Destination is On the Left by Lauren Spieller June 26, 2018 Songs : Head Full of Doubt by The Avett Brothers “There was a dream and one day I could see it, Like a bird in a cage I broke in, And demanded that somebody free it”

5. Legendary (Caraval 2) by Stephanie Garber May 29, 2018 Song: Mad World by Michael Andrews “I find it hard to take, When people run in circles, It’s a very, very mad world”

10. Wild Blue Wonder by Carlie Sorosiak June 26, 2018 Song: Halo by Beyonce “Remember those walls I built? Well, baby they’re tumbling down and they didn’t even put up a fight, they didn’t even make a sound”

6. Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake May 15, 2018 Song : What’s Up by 4 NonBlondes “And so I wake in the morning and I step outside, And I take a deep breath and I get real high and I, Scream at the top of my lungs, What’s going on?” 7: Always Forever Maybe by Anica Mrose Rissi June 5, 2018 Song: Till it Happens To You by Lady Gaga “Til it happens to you, you won’t know, It won’t be real” photo by Katie STAY BOOKISH ZINE




photo by Joséphine



Listening to teen voices By Pamela Alvarado & Emily M I began reading Young Adult books when I was 13. I started with Twilight, and loved it. My— and I think most of the teen bookworms’ at that time—love for Twilight kicked off a new era for Young Adult books. And it was awesome. Book after book, I devoured stories that spoke to my soul. They got me through leftover trauma from bullying and a few hiccups during my high school life. Books just got me. I felt listened to. Flash forward to 2018, nine years and a few hundred books later. A few months ago, I started thinking, “Why is this heroine so immature? Why is she so stupid?” Okay, I realize we all think this at some point, but I was beginning to get really annoyed, especially with some contemporaries.

I also began favoring fantasy and science fiction. And I wondered, “why can’t they make these people more mature?” and that’s when I went wrong. This is the kind of thought pattern that has led countless teenage characters in books to sound like 20-year olds. YA readers are different ages, have different tastes, and come from different backgrounds. But I think that in the end we all want the same thing: to be able to relate, at least just a little bit, to the characters we read about. We all want that, but teens come first because YA is their space.

Emily: People of color are definitely included more now (The Hate U Give, American Panda). There are a lot more LGBTQ books out there, too (They Both Die at the End, Tash Hearts Tolstoy). Mental health is also an issue that is tackled in many YA books (History is All You Left Me, Little & Lion). But these characters are often secondary, and not important to the plot. You rarely ever hear of a Latino, aromantic, or bipolar main character in YA novels.

Pamela: There is a long way to go. I get that adults write and publish the books, but I think sometimes they forget it’s not about a book representing everyone; it’s about the genre being more diverse and including all kinds of people.

Emily: As a teen active in the bookstagram community, I realized that many teens aren’t represented in YA novels. I’m not just talking about the books with far off places, daring sword fights, and magic spells, but even the ones with regular teenagers doing regular things in high school. Many readers just don’t feel represented in most YA literature. 44


Pamela: I agree with Emily. There are some things that, even when I was younger, always irked me. For example, the ever-present parental absence, and how in some books, teens assume the roles of revolution leaders very easily. It’s a tough balance, though. There were other cases where teens got frustrated because the adults wouldn’t listen to very obvious arguments, just for the sake of creating this annoying conflict. And then there are the teens themselves. It’s so very important to be able to read about people who are like us, and who we can relate to at a much deeper level than just an age range. I’m Latinx (Ecuadorian) yet, when I began writing, I would find myself googling about the U.S. school system, and locations in that country. Because I actually thought that no one would want to read about a story set in my country, with people from my country. After all, none of those books had been put on my radar as a reader.

Emily: As adults, YA authors can’t really relate to the teenagers reading their novels. All they have are their memories, and times have changed since they went to school. The many tropes used in YA lit can be irrelevant. Some authors struggle with writing through a teen’s perspective, but others can find it easier and do it well. I definitely think adults should be reading YA, especially if they like that genre. They might not be able to relate to the characters’ situations, but they can reminisce and even relate to the characters on their personalities or for other reasons. I think there is definitely more that needs to be done in order for all teens to find a voice in YA literature. Even though the genre is specifically labeled for teenagers and young adults, many of them find it hard to relate to some novels and characters. There has been a significant increase in diverse and relatable novels, but there definitely needs to be more.

Pamela: I’m biased. But yes, of course, they should! It’s a great opportunity for adults who live and work with teens to connect with them. And well, they’re amazing stories, so why not? Adults, however, need to realize that YA novels and the YA community are for the teens, and it’s them who should call the shots in what goes. It’s our responsibility to make sure teens feel comfortable and heard. Listening to the people who inspire the characters in YA books—our teens—can only help make those characters more relatable and enjoyable. There’s a space for everyone, but it’s time to really pay attention to what our community is asking for.



Colours and Covers BY SHANTI Books shouldn’t be judged by their covers. But there’s a certain inevitability to it; covers are there, after all, to be judged, to represent the story they contain. And perhaps the most essential part of a cover is its colour (as any bookstgrammer who organizes their shelves in rainbow order could tell you). What connotations attach themselves to the colours of covers? It’s hard to know how much of the associations each colour holds is innate and how much is conditioned. Different societies and cultures certainly attach different meanings to colours; not everywhere, for instance, is pink for girls and blue for boys. Still, broad sweeps can be made: red is love and anger, blue indicates calm and sadness, yellow is happiness, black is fear and hatred. It’s hard for me to know how much my associations with colours come from the culture I’ve grown up in, and the meanings that have attached themselves to colours; I don’t presume that these are entirely universal. Still, I’m intrigued by the broad trends I see in cover colours. Think of Words in Deep Blue, Cath Crowley’s award winning novel of loss and new beginnings. The colour is both in the title and the American and Australian covers. Blue for grief and melancholy. Motifs of the ocean as healing and pain run through the story, and this dual nature is reflected on the cover: the blue is dark and urgent, but also still. Then there’s Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. The story thrums like blood through the body, quick and gushing. There’s more than a little bloodshed in the story too. While most of the cover is silver, the part of the cover that stands out most is the red, dripping from the crown on the cover. That immediately indicates how red blood is disruptive to the long-standing reign of the silvers. Then there’s Black Heart, the conclusion to Holly Black’s Curseworker’s series. The first book is lighter (at least in name, if not in tone and cover), with the title White Cat. As the series progresses and Cassel has to make increasingly more difficult choices, the colours intensify: Red Glove and then the strength of Black Heart. While there are several different covers, the vivid colours reflect the escalation of the story.

What connotations attach themselves to the colours of covers? 46


Not all titles contain colours, of course, but those that do are particularly demonstrative of the correlation between colour and story. Think of the yellow-toned sunlight on the cover of My Life Next Door, the supple vibrant green of the energetic story The Square Root of Summer, the black background in utter contrast to the gold mockingjay pin on The Hunger Games. The colours on a cover tell us more than where to place it on our rainbow shelves. They indicate a little of the mood of the novel, what to expect when you finish it. Even covers that aren’t as aesthetic (whatever that means) can still convey information about the story. I find that absolutely fascinating. Colour is powerful. That’s why people repaint their houses and dye their hair and give each other bright flowers. Colour attaches itself to lots of meanings, and o ne of the ways that this becomes most obvious is on book covers. There’s the fierce orange of Allegiant and Catching Fire, the resilient orange of Terrier (by Tamora Pierce), and the exuberant orange of When Dimple Met Rishi. That’s a lot of different associations for a colour to hold. And yet it works. Books become part of the landscape of our lives like the colour of our eyes or the blue of the sky. It’s appropriate that book covers are so colourful— whatever colour that may be—because books are part of what makes life so colourful. Stories and their promises are like a new pot of paint: imagination, ready to manifest.





photo by Joséphine



photo by Erika




for TEENS by Nathasya E.

Diversity has become a growing topic in the Young Adult bookish community. The Hate U Give, When Dimple Met Rishi, and Always and Forever, Lara Jean are some readers’ favourites from 2017. The demand for diverse is now higher than ever; more and more people are pushing for diverse stories to be published. Going into 2018, including more diversity in their reading has become the top resolutions for many YA readers; that being said, many people have no idea where to begin. Don’t worry, I’m here to help you start reading and supporting diverse books and authors. Follow diverse bloggers, bookstagrammers, and booktubers.

Participate in diverse reading challenges. Reading challenges are one way of finding new books and genres to read. You can find many of these kind of challenges online such as the Bookish’s 2018 Reading Challenge that asks you, for example, to pick up an LGBTQ romance, a book written by trans author, and many more. Start by reading diverse books with main characters representing marginalized group you identify with. One way to start reading more diverse stories is by picking up books with a main character you can relate to. It always feels magical when you read about a character that makes you think “Yes, they are just like me!”

Being a part of the bookish community is a huge blessing because you have tons of creators and influencers ready to throw book recommendations your way – including which diverse books you should pick up next. You can find them using hashtags on Twitter and Instagram such as #diversebookbloggers. Follow twitter accounts and hashtags recommending diverse books. There are a few Twitter accounts created specifically for this. @diversebooks, for example, make wonderful suggestions, you can use their hashtags #WeNeedDiverseBooks to find even more recommendations. If you are more of a visual person, @diversaesthetic is a Twitter account that brings you diverse book recommendations using aesthetic. Accounts aside, you can also use hashtags such as #ownvoices, #diversebookbloggers, #diversebooks, and many more to help you in your search for diverse books. photo by Beth



Support diverse authors. Reading diverse books is not only about the story and the characters, but also about the authors. Without them, we wouldn’t have these amazing stories to begin with. As much as possible, try to support authors who are part of a marginalized group themselves. One way to do so is to buy their books. You can go even further and pre-order them if you are able to because sales during the pre-order period are very important to help authors reach the bestsellers’ list which in turn will help the book gain exposure. By supporting authors of diverse stories, you are also letting publishers know that diverse books do, in fact, sell and that people want to read them.

for YOUNG ADULTS by Lila H.

In the past two years, the topic of diverse literature and supporting marginalized authors has become a massive one in the YA literature community. Discussions surrounding the subject have now become the new norm and it’s helped readers to slowly diversify their bookshelves, which is incredible and awesome! However, it might also leave some wondering, “So how exactly do I diversify my reading and support marginalized authors while still reading books that I love???” This can especially be a concern when you’re a “broke college kid” with limited funds, time, and energy to spend. Well, have no fear--we’re here to help!

Take advantage of the nearest library. Buying all the books isn’t exactly an option for everyone. However, there are different ways to get your hands on a book; your nearest library is one of them. While it might not have the most complete collection of diverse books, you can usually find some great reads to add to your TBR. You can also make a difference by requesting diverse stories you want to read to your library. This will make it easier and more affordable for you and others to add diversity to your reading. Don’t forget to share your review. After you read the books, the best thing you can do is leave a review: you can write a post about it if you have a blog and if you that’s not your case, you can review it on Goodreads, Amazon, or any other place you get your books from. If you really love a particular story, you can also recommend it to your friends and family or offer it as a gift.



photo by Erika

Step 1: Assess your reading tastes and take stock of how many diverse books you currently read The first step to diversifying your reading is definitely to know where you stand. How often do you pick up a diverse book? The answer to that is important, especially if the answer is “not much.” Think about why you pick up diverse books or why you don’t. Do you think that a diverse book can only be a contemporary (side-note: that’s totally not true, btw) and you like science fiction and fantasy? Are you afraid that a diverse book may not be relatable? Ask yourself these types of questions. It’s important to throw out your preconceptions about diverse books and also know what you’re looking for so you can have a better idea of where to start. Step 2: Do some research Now that you know what you’re looking for, you have an idea of where to begin searching. Let’s say that you assessed your reading habits and decided you want to pick up some diverse YA science fiction and fantasy. Google is definitely your best friend in this! A quick search for “diverse YA sci fi and fantasy books” will bring you an overwhelming amount of lists, from a number of sources. Here’s where being a good researcher comes in. First, choose a list from a source you trust and pick out two or three books. Next, do a quick search to find out what kind of diverse representation that book has and if that representation is #ownvoices (meaning that the author shares the same marginalization as

the diverse character(s) in question). Diverse books don’t have to be #ownvoices to have good diverse representation, but representation is generally more trustworthy if it comes from an #ownvoices author, as they are more knowledgeable about the experiences of their characters since they, themselves, have usually gone through the same or similar experiences. Finally, you want to try to find some reviews from people who share the marginalization represented in the novel and see if they feel that the representation is accurate. If you follow these steps, you’ll be well on the way to reading a really good diverse book in the category and genre of your choice! Step 3: Actively seek out diverse books The biggest way to support diverse authors is obviously to buy their books or, alternatively, request them at your library. Now that you’ve done some research, you can actively look to add more diverse books to your (or your library’s) collection. Step 4: Leave reviews for diverse books on Goodreads and Amazon Buying diverse books and requesting them at your library is one of the best ways to tell publishers that you want to see more diverse stories, but another great way to get the message across is to leave positive reviews for diverse books that you enjoyed. If you don’t have a Goodreads account, you can leave a review on Amazon or Audible. It doesn’t have to be anything in-depth, it could be something as simple as giving the book four or five stars and leaving a quick note that says how much you enjoyed the story, how fun it was to read and how you would ten out of ten recommend.



Step 5: Spread the word about diverse authors–in real life and on social media “If you love a book, share it with the world.” This advice is especially helpful when applied to diverse books because in a world that regularly makes it its life mission to trip up marginalized creators, sharing and promoting their works can be one of the best “little” ways to help them out! You don’t have to start a Tumblr dedicated to everything about a diverse book you love or do anything major–something as simple as recommending the book to your friends or just sending out a tweet saying how much you love a story can go a long way!


• You can read book blogs because there are tons of amazing book bloggers out there with incredible recommendations of diverse books to read. Also, you shouldn’t be afraid to... • Ask for recommendations if you’re looking to get out of your usual genre, comfort zone and to expand your horizons by reading more diversely. • You can also try and participate in reading challenges. There are so many challenges with predetermined prompts that will make you seek out more diverse books: #ownvoices books, f/f romances and so on. Point is: don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, as you might find that some incredible reads are waiting for you there.

by Marie V.

Support diverse books and authors

Diversity is not a trend, it is here to stay. Slowly, but surely, young adult literature is implementing some well-needed diversity in its settings, its characters and tackling important themes. Trying and reading more diversely seems like a hassle, but really, it is a piece of cake. All you have to do is open your eyes and immerse yourself into the wonderful community of book lovers, reviewers and book pushers that will have all of the recommendations ready for you. Don’t know where or how to take the first step? Don’t you worry, I’m here to guide you. Diversify your reading Being a reader of young adult books is pretty amazing because you know there is a whole passionate community of book lovers and book hoarders ready to throw so many of their recommendations at your face, you won’t even know what to do with them anymore.



As an adult, there are many different ways you can support and boost diverse authors. • You can buy or pre-order their books to make an author’s day, to complete your already filled bookshelves and to read and support the book industry and these diverse books. Buying diverse books also helps push them on bestsellers’ lists over on Amazon. • You can check the books out of your local library to give them some love there and, while you’re at it, recommend these bunch of new, diverse titles you have heard about to add to the library’s collection. • You can host giveaways for these books to allow other readers that might not have the means to buy the books to get a chance to read it. In doing so, you are also spreading a little bit of the love, and everyone enjoys a great giveaway.

• You can share these books with your friends either by recommending them, screaming at the top of your lungs about them or just sending them your copy of the book to read.

diverse book you read and loved to all of your followers, retweeting diverse bookish news, sharing your enthusiasm about these stories and so on. The list of possibilities is endless.

You can write about these books on your blog to give them exposure, whether it’s in the form of a book review, a “books to look out for” kind of list, or anything, really. You never know, the next biggest fan or the one who will find themselves represented in this story might be visiting your blog.

See? There is absolutely no need to be afraid to step out of your comfort zone because so many incredible recommendations are awaiting all around the blogosphere. Use your voice, your reach on your blog, social media, your means and whatever you can to spread these diverse books because those books matter. And know that you can always count on the Stay Bookish Zine to help and give you all the recommendations.

You can use your own community and influence to boost authors of diverse books, by talking about them and their books over on twitter or your blog, showcasing the latest

photo by Erika



Bookish in

Dublin By Marie

Whenever we think of Ireland, our minds are programmed to associate the country with green, both as the color in the flag and the color of the land there, as well as, leprechauns, because who doesn’t love adorable little elves? Guinness beers and clover leaves are also popular associations that people make with Ireland. Yet, whenever I think about Dublin, Ireland’s capital city, if these clichés stick, new ones come to print themselves on my mind. Bookish ones. You see, Dublin is one of those little hidden bookish gems in Europe. It might not seem as dreamy or romantic as a bookish stroll down the streets of Paris, or as hectic as a New York City tour, but Ireland’s little jewel has some well hidden and some well-known secrets for us book lovers. Let’s take a tour, shall we?

photo by Marie 56


Trinity College Our first, mandatory stop whenever going to Dublin, has to be Trinity College. One of the most famous colleges in Europe has had some famous alumni and faculty members like Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, Samuel Beckett and more. Pretty nice, right? Upon taking just one step in the courtyard, we simply know why they wanted to be there, and we might just start thinking about transferring here ourselves, right this second. While we could marvel at the beauty of the buildings and settings for ages, there is one particular reason why photo by Marie we wanted to go to Trinity College: to see the Old Library. A library means books, and we love books. Trinity College also has an incredible exhibition of The Book of Kells: Ireland’s most famous medieval manuscript, dated from the ninth century, tracing the four Gospels of the life of Jesus Christ. Obviously, we had to see all of these bookish treasures. After exploring a crazy-busy-yet-pretty-cool Trinity College gift shop, we finally enter the exhibition. There are rows and rows of signs explaining historical details about the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript in Latin containing the four Gospels of the New Testament. It is also the world’s most famous and oldest book! Then, our eager feet take us up a row of stairs, up another, to finally enter the Old Library. It’s just like what you can imagine it to be. Rows and rows of books, ordered by size with the biggest and heaviest volumes being on the lower shelves. An old book smell follows us around as we make our ways through the rows, fascinated by all the books there, while simultaneously trying to avoid the tourists taking selfies with them. No judging. We did it, too. I mean. Did you see, the books?

photo by Marie STAY BOOKISH ZINE


Dubray Books

The Gutter Bookshop

At the heart of the city center, walking down Grafton Street, you will meet a bookshop that seems small and intimate. Upon entering, you realize that there are actually four different floors and that it’s cozy and gigantic enough to fill all of your bookworms’ needs...even the one for a coffee or a tea on the last floor.

The Gutter Bookshop is located in a small lane, a couple streets away from the famous Temple Bar. This bookshop was the winner of the Independent Bookshop in 2017 for both the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is pretty easy to see why: a small but cozy place with a great selection of books, Oscar Wilde as their mascot, and an adorable YA and Children section. We love it.

Marsh’s Library Much smaller than the Trinity College Library, Marsh’s Library is hidden close to St Patrick’s Cathedral, it looks (and smells) just as amazing as the famous library in Dublin. Opened in the 18th century, Marsh’s Library has this feeling you get whenever you are in a special place. There are rows and rows of over a thousand books. This place also cages its readers from stealing their books (don’t worry, they don’t do it anymore, but there ARE real sort of cages here). It was the home of a mysterious mummy (named Maurice... nice), and even, from what we heard, a ghost. A real crazy place that you should not miss.

Dublin’s Writer Museum For those of you who like to spend time looking at books, letters, and portrayals of some of the most famous Irish writers, you’ll be happy to spend some time in Dublin’s Writers Museum. With exhibitions on James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, W.B. Yeats, Jonathan Swift and more, you’ll find yourself, in this gorgeous 18th century mansion, transported to another bookish, literary world of many years ago.

photos by Marie

Find the place: Dubray Books, 36 Grafton Street. Find the place: The Gutter Bookshop, Cow’s Lane, Temple Bar. Find the place: Dublin’s Writers Museum, 18 Parnell Square North. Find the place: Trinity College, College Green. Insider’s tips: Book a student tour of the Trinity College and experience lively stories told by current students as you walk around the campus and then gives you a pass for the Book of Kells Exhibition and the Old Library. Website: Find the place: Marsh’s Library, St Patrick’s Close, Wood Quay. Find the place: Dublin’s Writers Museum, 18 Parnell Square North. 58

Find the place: everywhere in the city STAY BOOKISH ZINE

Famous writers...everywhere in the city As strange as it seems, you can run into some quite famous writers while walking around. Well, not literally since the writers are actually statues, but still. If you fancy a little stroll, you may find your friend Oscar Wilde relaxing in Merrion Square Park, James Joyce on Earl St. North, George Bernard Shaw outside the National Gallery‌. and so on. photo by Marie

If you are looking for a bookish getaway, Dublin has plenty of treasures to offer: libraries, bookshops and surely some other well-hidden bookish secrets you might want to discover on your own someday.

Not to scale




written by Marie V. and Sophie B. photos by Erika E.

Is there something more beautiful than a rainbow? And before you answer “me, obviously,” hear us out. A perfect assortment of colors, that flow one into the other, arched to perfection, the things that turns rainfall into something magical… Rainbows are awesome in the sky and we want to bring that awesomeness to the page, or rather to the covers. We challenge you to #readtherainbow!



How does the challenge work? To complete the challenge, you have to read one book with a cover matching each of the seven colors of the rainbow! Follow the order of the rainbow or create your own—you have all the freedom in the world! Document your progress on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #readtherainbow. Your pictures could be featured in the next issue of Stay Bookish magazine! To help you get started, take a look at our suggestions:


Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda Inkhearts A Court of Thorns and Roses

ORANGE Illuminae Girl Against The Universe When Dimple met Rishi



#READTHERAINBOW YELLOW A Really Awesome Mess The Haters The Program

GREEN Splintered The Disappearances The Perks of Being a Wallflower

BLUE Words In Deep Blue Passenger 100 Sideways Miles



INDIGO A Thousand Nights Starfish The Indigo Spell The Bone Witch

VIOLET Tonight the Streets Are Ours Born at Midnight Geekerella



From the Newspapers to your Bookshelf by Sophie and Lila

Looking at things on a bigger scale

Books might tell fictional stories, but it

can be intimidating. In the news,

doesn’t mean fictional solutions can’t be

current issues often seem blown out

the beginning of real ones.

of proportion and it can be difficult to understand what’s going on or figure


out how we should react. This is why we’re shrinking the scale, to be able

In the past year and a half, immigration

to see how current problems are dealt

was once again brought to the forefront

with in books. In doing so, we have

of many people’s minds. The issue made

the opportunity to be inspired by the

a massive resurgence in 2016 when

characters and the choices they make.

America’s then presidential candidate,

photo by Renée



Donald Trump, proposed “building a

School Shootings

wall” to stem the flow of South American illegal immigrants into the United

A mass school shooting that happened

States. When Trump subsequently

at Parkland, Florida’s Stoneman

won the election, one of his first acts

Douglas High School in February of

was an attempt to ban entry into the

this year sparked a movement in which

US from several Middle Eastern and

students are standing up to Congress,

African countries, many of which have

to the people in position in power, and

large Muslim populations—a so called

demanding changes regarding gun

“Muslim ban,” which had been another

control in the US.

talking point for Trump on the campaign trail.

Many of us will never be part of a shooting of any kind, which is a good

Immigrants comprise an integral part

thing. That being said, if you haven’t

of American society, one which brings

lived something first hand, it can be

unique perspectives and experiences to

hard to understand it, to grasp just how

the table. Many of us know immigrants,

much it can impact and change people.

but the experience is wholly individual

By no means should anyone seek to

and difficult to fully grasp if you yourself

experience any kind of gun violence first

have never been through it. The

hand, but to understand the survivors,

following are books that can help to

we encourage you to read up on the

give those of us who aren’t immigrants


insight into the experience and can also show immigrants that they are not alone.

The following books have one thing in common: a school shooting. While

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

they’re not the lightest reads out there,

When Michael Met Mina by

they can help us understand how to

Randa Abdel-Fattah

react, and how to move forward after

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

this kind of tragedy. How to move

Something in Between by

forward could either mean how to heal,

Melissa De La Cruz

or how to go about demanding change.



This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

understand why the changes we are

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

currently seeing in the world are so

Violent Ends by Shaun David Hutchinson

important; some of them are serious

And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

eye openers to how our society tends

Women’s Place in the World

to view and treat women in general. For everyone who identify as female as well as marginalized groups trying to speak

In the fall of 2017, one of the biggest

up for themselves, these stories are here

film industry in the world was shaken

to inspire you, assure you of your worth,

to its core when brave women started

and to help you take the first steps in

to come forward with their stories of

having your voice heard.

sexual harassment and sexual abuse experienced in their time spent in

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Hollywood. Stories kept coming one

The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

after the other, causing the carefully

Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace

maintained balance of abuse and

Ellis, Faith Hicks, Brooke A. Allen, Shannon

submission that had been going on for

Watters, Kat Leyh, and Carolyn Nowak

years to come crashing down. Soon after,

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

the same thing could be seen happening in the music industry and, as of not too long ago, in the publishing world as well. If history can tell us one thing, it’s that for centuries women have been considered less than men. This mindset is changing every day, with movements like the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns allowing women to reclaim their place in the world, which was always meant to be standing side by side with men, as equals. The following books are a great way for people who don’t identify as female to 66


photo by Beth

photo by Renée STAY BOOKISH ZINE


matching books by


written by Shelly and Emily photos by Beth

With this issue’s theme being “colourful and bright,” we thought it’d be fun to pair up books according to colour and what mood is signified by a certain colour. Colours like blue have a way of indicating sadness, while yellow and red may reveal emotions like happiness and love. We are mood readers, and if you love to read books according to what mood they evoke, this list is perfect for you. Below you’ll find a list of colours and some books that match up perfectly!



blue saddness

& melancholy

In the mood for a good cry? We highly recommend these beautifully written books that will not only bring you to tears, but get you thinking as well. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Soloman History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

passion & rage


Do you always root for angry characters or villains that set out on revenge? These thrilling novels have characters with a lot of complicated feelings, ones that are perfect for when you want an intense book.

pink romance

A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Strutskie Because You Love to Hate Me edited by Ameriie Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

& love

In the mood for something heartwarming? These romances are definitely for you. Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli Meet Cute by various authors (anthology) Geekerella by Ashley Poston

royalty & wisdom

purple purple

Want to read about tales of royals and high court? These novels are just for you. Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton The Tiger’s Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera The Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi STAY BOOKISH ZINE



ave you ever wondered what the perfect book for your zodiac sign would be? Well, look no further! Here are your reading horoscopes for this issue! We’ve paired up books based on what mood you’d be in or books in which the character or story matches your horoscope.

photo by Erika E.

written by Emily and Shelly photos by Chelsea C.



AQUARIUS: JANUARY 20 FEBURARY 18 For Aquarius, we decided to feature two lovely books. The first is The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana, a stand-alone fantasy novel that’s wonderfully written with an original premise—we have yet to see another fantasy like it. On the flip side, You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins is a contemporary YA spanning generations that will have you rooting for all sorts of characters. Some of the characters are logical while others are adventurous risk-takers. In a novel as expansive as You Bring the Distant Near, you’ll definitely be able to find a character you relate to.

PISCES: FEBRUARY 19 - MARCH 20 Pisces are super romantic but can be a little too imaginative and out of touch with reality. Therefore, Meet Cute edited by Jennifer L. Armentrout is the perfect book for people with the Pisces sign. All of the stories are incredible adorable with amazing romances, but some of them are completely unique and wonderfully unrealistic. If you’re looking for a fantasy novel, you’ll love The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera. While it is an adult novel, it definitely has crossover appeal for YA audiences. The Tiger’s Daughter is a wonderfully written and lush romantic tale, perfect for Pisces!

ARIES: MARCH 21 - APRIL 19 People with the Aries sign, like me (Emily), can be very energetic, supportive, and devoted. The perfect book for you might be Geekerella by Ashley Poston. The main character, Elle, is devoted to her favorite TV series, Starfield. Her coworker surprisingly helps Elle when she decides to go to a convention dedicated to Starfield. They even go on a road trip together, which is something that Aries love as well! Another amazing book, out in April, is Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian. When it’s Amelia’s turn to take over the ice cream stand she’s devoted the last four summers to, things don’t go quite as planned.

TAURUS: APRIL 20 - MAY 20 If you are a Taurus, you’ll adore Love, Hate, and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed. You might be creative, patient, and dedicated, like the main character, Maya. She is passionate about her love of filmmaking and is constantly looking for new beautiful places to take pictures of. When a terrorist who shares her last name is constantly on the news, she has to be patient to deal with all of the bullies that tell her to “get out” and other cruel things. Another book you would love is The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cesari. Taking place in present-day Chicago, the city is home to many magical creatures. The main character is a matchmaker, but she has to be patient with her own crush and elders who constantly disapprove of her abilities. When her distant friend-turned-crush needs help, she is dedicated to doing the best she can to help him.



GEMINI: MAY 21 - JUNE 20 If you’re adventurous and into original concepts, The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke is perfect for you. The Girl With the Red Balloon stars Ellie, a girl who makes a journey through time with the help of a red balloon. The premise is totally original and Ellie herself fits the other Gemini traits through her inquisitive and adventurous nature. If you’re more into sci-fi, Want by Cindy Pon would also fit the bill. This sci-fi adventure that takes place in a future Taiwan impacted by climate change is completely original and features an amazing group of characters all with their own unique traits and motivations.

CANCER: JUNE 21 - JULY 22 People with the Cancer sign are creative, compassionate, and patient. For this category, we decided to feature novels with characters who share those traits. In American Panda by Gloria Chao, Mei is compassionate but a bit unsteady when it comes to being patient with her parents. By the end of the novel though, Mei has learned to be patient with her family. If you’re a fan of characters with considerable growth on their journey, American Panda is just for you. On the flip side, we have Xiomara in The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. She is confident in herself but not too patient with the world around her. She’s compassionate to those who matter to her and creative with her poetry writing. Even if you’re not a fan of novels in verse, The Poet X is so wonderfully character-driven that you can’t help but be drawn to it.

LEO: JULY 23 - AUGUST 22 Are you a Leo? Then you have a lot of great books in your future. If you’re a fan of fantasy, we recommend Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston. This Anastasia-meets-Firefly retelling is filled with courageous, loyal, and protective characters, which makes for one heck of an entertaining read. For fans of contemporary novels, we recommend Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore, which is filled with the Nomeolvides women, characters who are loyal and courageous in their own right. If you’re in the mood for a good cry, we recommend The Beauty that Remains by Ashley Woodfolk, a debut novel with a full cast of characters who share the traits above.

VIRGO: AUGUST 23 - SEPTEMBER 22 Virgo readers, you’ll love You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon. You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone stars two twins, Adina and Tovah, who have grown apart just before their eighteenth birthday. You’ll relate to Tovah’s dedication and tenacity for hard work while appreciate Adina’s fabulous wit. These two characters make for a great novel. Another wonderful novel for Vigos is What to Say Next by Julie Murphy. Two completely different people come together, helping each other, even if they don’t know it. Their awkward yet perfect relationship could be perfect for you!



LIBRA: SEPTEMBER 23 - OCTOBER 22 In They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera, one of the main characters, Rufus, could totally be a Libra. He is an extrovert, but Mateo is an introvert, so they are a perfect balance together. Libras are hopeless romantics, and this is the perfect book for them. Even though it has a heartbreaking aspect, Rufus and Mateo are the perfect couple. Another novel perfect for Libras is Prince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm. It is the definition of the perfect cozy, romantic holiday book. Dylan might keep to herself, but her sister, Dusty, is the perfect extrovert who you might be able to relate to.

SCORPIO: OCTOBER 23 - NOVEMBER 21 If you’re a Scorpio, you’ll love The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton. Your trendsetting nature will be immediately drawn to the world of high fashion that Clayton has created in her first solo novel. The magnetic energy in the writing will keep you hooked and you’ll definitely want to read the next in the series! Similarly, you’ll want to read Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. This first book in a fantasy series is all set to be the next big book in YA, and you won’t want to miss out.

SAGITTARIUS: NOVEMBER 22 - DECEMBER 21 For Sagittarius, we strayed out of YA, but hear us out! Hamilton’s Battalion by Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, and Alyssa Cole is a romance collection that takes place during Hamilton’s time, and these three novellas are wonderfully written and have such great characters that we had to include them. All three novellas are filled with inspiring leaders who are honest and optimistic. Despite being historical fiction, the novella collection still feels fresh and has some of the most inclusive romances we’ve read to date. If you don’t want to read a non-YA book (it’s fine, we get it) then we recommend Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. While the series isn’t as recent, it’s a classic in YA. You’ll love the dynamic between the wonderful and varied ensemble cast.

CAPRICORN: DECEMBER 22 -JANUARY 19 If you have the Capricorn sign, you will love The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson. Andie works hard to keep up her reputation as a politician’s daughter. She is also very loyal to her friend group, which she is somewhat the “leader” of. When her father is caught in an unexpected scandal, she winds up having to spend a lot of time with him. This is such a great book about family, friendship, and loyalty, perfect for Capricorns! If you have picked out the adjectives I’ve been mentioning, then you’ll notice Capricorns are most likely Hufflepuffs! My favorite Hufflepuff is Molly from The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. She has incredible work ethic, and a lot of the novel is family-focused, as well.



creating your ideal

READING environment By Mandy Schneck While we all love books and reading, our reading environments and the spaces we have at our disposal probably differ greatly from person to person. Here are a few tips to help you figure out what is ideal for you, and how to make your ideal environment a reality, no matter what you have to work with:

01. NOISE LEVEL Do you like reading around lots of noise (music, conversations, traffic sounds, etc.) or do you prefer silence? If you get easily distracted, silence will be your friend, and if silence makes you uncomfortable, some background noise might be good for you.

Photo by Joséphine

For the silent types, seek out a quiet library or bookstore, or choose a room in your house far away from the hustle and bustle of busy common areas. If you thrive around chaos, try playing some music in the background to liven up a quiet space, or head to a coffee shop where the sounds of the espresso machine and lively conversation will make you at peace.

02. LIGHT LEVEL Cozy fairy lights or bright illuminating fluorescents? Obviously, we shouldn’t be reading in the pitch dark, but low lighting creates a magical environment that makes it easier to get lost in your story. On the other hand, low lighting sometimes puts people to sleep, so if you tend to drift off the darker it is, a brighter environment might be more your speed. If you’re in middle of the road and prefer natural lighting, try reading by a window or outside, or invest in a lamp that simulates natural daylight. Photo by Erika M.



Photo by Joséphine



Do you like to read lying down or do you prefer sitting? Your preferred reading position will have a big impact on your perfect environment. Many indoor public places don’t tolerate fully lying around on their floors or couches, so take to the park with a blanket to spread out as much as you want and get some fresh air while you’re at it! Your comfy bed or couch at home also makes an ideal spot for those who prefer to lie. If you prefer to sit while you read, the world is your oyster, so go plant yourself on any (legal) wall, bench, curb, chair, etc. of your choice!

This includes fluffy pillows and blankets, a hot beverage of your choosing, your favorite plush companion, your dog or cat, and more. Add or subtract anything you want to ensure your highest level of comfort and most enjoyable reading experience. While our environments might not always mirror those on bookstagram, that’s okay! Don’t judge your reading environment against anyone else’s…as long as it works for you, that’s all that matters. Happy reading!




Emily Rasmussen



The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman

Every Shiny Thing by Cordelia Jensen and Laurie Morrison

Atlas Hand by Benjamin Francis Leftwich

Molecules by Hayley Kiyoko


Emily M.



The Beauty That Remains, Ashley Woodfolk

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Firewords by You Me At Six

Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol

Lila H.

Mandi S.



Furyborn by Claire Legrand

Now A Major Motion Picture by Cori McCarthy

Tell Me You Love Me by Demi Lovato

Everything ever recorded by Fleetwood Mac

Shelly Z.




You’ll Miss Me Whe I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Soloman

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

Blood Sweat and Tears by BTS

Beautiful Trauma by P!NK

Pamela Alvarado

Sophia Lin



The Evolution of Mara Dyer

Fire and Bone by Rachel A. Marks

Play with Fire by Sam Tinnesz

Boyz On Fire by SpeXial

Stacy Nguyen




The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Em Oi by Lynk Lee

Drops of Jupter by Train

Shanti M. @virtuallyread The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett Tess of the Road by Rachel HartMan

photo by Joséphine 76



Chelsea C.



Not the Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi

Obsidio by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

An audiobook for sure

Look by GOT7

Beth Bartholomew

Wren L.



The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

The Hamilton Soundtrack

Together by Wanima

Erika E.

Madeline H.



To Our Pure Little Beauty by Zhao Qianqian

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Bad Poetry EP by Megan Davies

What I Need by Hayley Kiyoko ft. Kehlani

Katie Beasley

Jamie De Leon



Circe by Madeline Miller

Warcross by Marie Lu

Saturday Night by Panic! At the Disco

Never Fade by Katelyn Tarver

Renée H.




Whiskey & Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith

Radiance by Catherynne Valente

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Trouble by Valerie Broussard






photo by Beth


Albertalli, Simon vs. The Homo Sapien's Agenda







photo by Joséphine