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2 STA Y B O O K I S HC. ZINE Photo by Chelsea





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Letter Editor from the

Dear reader, Have you ever stopped to think about why, exactly, we read and share stories? Is it to spread ideas, to travel without leaving home, to outrun boredom, to make ourselves feel less alone? In truth, there are as many reasons for reading as there are readers. For many, however, reading is primarily a cozy, comforting escape from reality. Whether you’re getting swept up in a high fantasy world, laughing at a cute contemporary, or indulging in nostalgia by revisiting a childhood favorite, stories can be a great way to forget your problems and worry about someone else’s. Here at Stay Bookish, we love curling up with a blanket and a soothing book. We even got so caught up with our cozy stories that it took us more time than usual to finish this issue—please forgive this delay! We like to imagine that you’re reading this edition of Stay Bookish while wearing cozy socks and sipping your favorite beverage. If you’re lying upside with your hair brushing the ground, that’s fine too. Either way, we hope our passion for cozy books is present in each page and that we’ve helped you find your next relaxing escape from reality. – The Stay Bookish team









features opinion






John Green The Hate U Give movie The Death Cure


Feel-Good Contemporaries







Under the Radar Books Cozy Reads Music in YA Books Book Smugglers List





Cover photo by Joséphine


lifestyle want to be featured in the next issue?






TRAVEL Indianapolis









Nic Stone

Beth @ readingeverynight





Gabby @ gabbyyabooks

Emily @ emilyjmead

Being a true bookworm







B O O K I S H N E W S compiled by Nathasya

Five years after The Fault in Our Stars, John Green tackles the subject of mental illness in his new book Turtles All The Way Down. The book was released on World Mental Health Day, October 10th 2017.

After two years, fans finally got the first g trilogy, The Death Cure, last September. O the movie had to be pushed back after a Dylan O’Brien in the hospital. The Death

Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give is being adapted to the big screen with Amandla Stenberg set to play to play the lead role of Starr. Russell Hornsby and Regina Hall are set to play Starr’s parents, while her brother Seven will be portrayed by Lamar Johnson. Other names attached to the movie that fans will recognize and love are Anthony Mackie and Kian Lawley. Filming for the movie started is September and no release date has been set yet. 10


The fourth and final book of Victoria Aveyard’s much beloved Red Queen series will be titled War Storm and is scheduled to hit the shelves on May 15, 2018.

A new novella will be joining the ACOTAR universe! Describe as a bridge between the original trilogy and the upcoming spinoff books, the novella is set to be release in May 2018.

glimpse of the last instalment in the Maze Runner Originally expected to be released in February 2017, dangerous stunt went wrong and put lead actor Cure will hit theatres on January 26th, 2018.









Nic Stone, author of DEAR MARTIN, speaks about her writer’s craft, her experience navigating the book community, and provides a glimpse into the characters behind her debut. Phot o by H azel U ret a



Stay Bookish: We’re stoked to have you here to share in the excitement of your debut, Dear Martin, being released on October 17, 2017! For those not familiar with Dear Martin, could you describe your book in the form of a Haiku? Nic Stone: A Black boy just wants To understand a world that Isn’t always fair Aside from our need to pre-order your anthology of poems, you definitely capture the essence of your debut with that poem. In terms of Black narratives, did you have stories like Justyce’s on your shelves growing up? What own voices stories and authors do you reach for now? Growing up, I never saw myself in books. Can’t list a single Required Reading book in middle or high school that featured a black female protagonist. Which is part of the reason I started writing. Now, I read everything with the name “Jason Reynolds” on it, as well as Jacqueline Woodson, Kwame Alexander, Walter Dean Myers (whose books existed when I was a teen, but I didn’t know about them. #marketingproblems), Dhonielle Clayton, Sara Farizan, Tim Federle...I also love me some Meg Medina and Benjamin Alire Saenz and Jenny Han. Some newbies like me include Tiffany Jackson, Angie Thomas, Julie Dao, F.C. Yee, Misa Sugiera, S.K. Ali, and Sandhya Menon—all fantastic. And there are a bunch of upcoming debuts either next year or the year after (yes, I do coerce people into sending me their manuscripts to read): Ashley Woodfolk, Jay Coles, L.L. McKinney, J.A. Reynolds, Tehlor Kinney, Emily Pan, Tomi Adeyemi, and Nisha Sharma. Really just scratching the surface (and it makes me very happy that I was able to name this many people!). There is so much talent in the list you’ve curated! To extend your point on marketing diverse narratives, with exposure to Black narratives being STAY BOOKISH ZINE


a prominent issue for younger Nic, can you speak to your experience with the industry in lifting these voices and/or what could be improved? So I will confess that 1. I am a publishing infant, 2. I got in at the *right* time (i.e. just as the #WeNeedDiverseBooks and #OwnVoices movements really started gaining some traction, 3. My editor is both a badass and a bit of a legend (she’s been editing and pushing diverse books—like she edited Walter Dean Myers and “discovered” Kwame Alexander, his word-choice, not mine—for over twenty years), so 4. My personal experience has been pretty phenomenal. Dear Martin actually sold on a thirteen page partial, and the Random House squad has been fully behind it every step of the way. As such, I’m not sure I’m really the right person to answer the “What could be improved?” question. I do have some friends who didn’t have such great experiences and weren’t marketed super well, but #eternaloptimist over here, I’d say it’s been a pretty big year for diverse books AND authors. Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give has spent over twenty weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, most of them at #1, Sandhya Menon’s unapologetically Indian American When Dimple Met Rishi took the world by storm, Renee Ahdieh busted onto the bestseller list with Flame in the Mist, the first book in a new duology set in feudal Japan (that has exactly zero white people in it), and Always and Forever Lara Jean, the third book in Jenny Han’s To All The Boys series flew off shelves (also: the To All The Boys film is currently in production HURRAH!). We’ve got a novel with a brown Spider-Man on the cover and a comic series featuring a Queer Latina who can punch starshaped holes between dimensions. And these things are great for everyone because their success is proof that readers truly are hungry for diverse books by diverse authors. Publishers are definitely paying attention. My one gripe though is tokenism, which does still seem to be an issue. “We already have our black book” (or “our Asian book” or “our mental illness book” or “our gay book” or “our disability book” or “our fat book”… hell, take just about any marginalization and insert it between “our” and “book”). You don’t really 16


hear anyone say that about white-lead Chosen One fantasies or white-kids-falling-in-love-underdifficult-circumstance books, you know? Although the industry has taken strides since those hashtag movements, it is always lovely to see diverse visibility on the shelves of traditional bookstores. But tying a story’s marketability to Dear Martin, as Dr. King is the focus of the project that Justyce undertakes, what inspired him as the subject of choice for the story? Were you considering other African American icons or were you always set on the teachings of Dr. King? Honestly, it was the way I kept seeing people invoke Dr. King’s teachings in opposition to Black Lives Matter protests. There was even a point when the mayor of my city—the same city where Dr. King grew up and grew prominent— publicly stated “Dr. King would never take a freeway.” It made me want to explore current (terrible) events through the lens of Dr. King’s teachings. Dr. King’s teachings is obviously steeped in Justyce’s character. How did you approach ‘putting on his shoes’ of writing in Justyce’s headspace and why was his story the one you felt compelled to tell? Well, I usually start by conducting interviews when I’m preparing to draft a story so I’ll have the voices of real people in my head as I write. This book was no exception to that, but Justyce’s voice came to me pretty clearly just from years and years of being the only girl in my friend groups. My guy friends rarely held anything back (and there were definitely times I wish they would’ve), so I got a good feel for what they thought about and how they thought about it. I chose this particular headspace for two reasons: first, the news stories that hit me the hardest were the ones involving teen boys shot dead for no good reason. It was a harsh reminder that people like the guys that were (and still are!) super near and dear to me as a teen are often so feared and misunderstood, they might as well have targets on their chests. My goal was to highlight the humanity of

these boys. Show that they wake up and go to school and have crushes and are just regular people. The hope is that maybe it’ll help readers see African American teen boys as just that—teen boys. Secondly, I have two little black dudes of my own. Justyce’s headspace is one they’ll eventually occupy, so I wanted to *go through it first* in a sense, so I’ll (hopefully) be able to help them navigate when the time comes. Damn Nic, let me find you a speakerphone for those in the back. You raise an important point on the importance of intersectionality. It’s often that characters (or everyday people) get put into bubbles based on singular traits forcing them to deal with microaggressions and the like. With race relations being the focal point of Dear Martin, how did you navigate “building the world” Photo by Chelsea C.

and creating a sense of place to allow the setting (Atlanta) stand on its own as opposed to other mosaics and melting posts within the U.S.? Honestly, this part was easy. I was writing about the place I’ve spent 81.25% of my life (yes, I did the math, don’t be hatin’), so it was mostly subconscious? I’ve never really lived anywhere else in this country, so I don’t know that I could tell you how it compares to other places. I just know the neighbourhood my Granny lived in and this super lush, upper class area eight miles north that’s also inside the “Atlanta” city limits, but looks and feels like a suburb. I pulled on my Granny’s neighbourhood (the more *hood* area where Justyce grew up) and that rich-burbwithin-the-city as my juxtaposition points for the story. You have Justyce attending an upper echelon prep school in the story, which is not to say that public schools offer a vastly different scope in race relations, but not every child in America gets to attend or experience these environments. What was your process in developing the setting under the lens of a

black boy experience? What kind of research did it take to pull this off? A good bit of the “private school atmosphere” was inferred. I spent a lot of my adolescence as the Token Black Girl, and my high school was one of the most socioeconomically diverse schools in the state—just so happens that most of the white kids in my “gifted” classes were also the kids whose families had the most money (some of them had even transferred from prep/private schools). Wasn’t much of a jump imagining a prep school environment. Just spent some time with Google, added uniforms, better technology, and exorbitant tuition prices. Justyce came to me fully formed, and many of the situations he faces in the classroom are pulled from my own experiences, so I really just interviewed some of the black men in my life to make sure I was fully tuned in, turned my dude brain on, and went back through some of my memories on the page. Can you tease some examples as to the types of discourse you experienced and why those moments stood out to you as scenes STAY BOOKISH ZINE


higher score than me,” she said. It has stuck with me to this day. The shock on her face and the refusal to believe I’d beaten her. And while it might be said that race had nothing to do with it—it’s not like she openly stated “You couldn’t have beaten me because you’re black”—it was a very telling moment. And that’s exactly how I present it in Dear Martin. Speaking of Jared, there’s a sense of place and identity in each of your sub-characters as they react to their surroundings and to Justyce. Could you speak to your process of establishing empathy; particularly in regard to the importance of dialogue (re: combating adversity and microaggressions at school versus outside of it)?

you wanted to recreate through Justyce’s perspective? Was it written to be a teaching moment? Nah, I don’t really believe in writing fiction with the intent to teach. For one: I think it’d be pretty egotistical to assume my perspective is the *right* one, for two: I don’t think that’s what fiction is for, and for three: it’s always dead ass obvious when the author is trying to teach a lesson. My goal was to just lay stuff out there and allow the reader to do with it what they will. For instance, there’s a scene in the book where one of the white characters accuses Justyce of lying about one of his standardized test scores. The white guy, Jared, just cannot fathom the notion of Justyce having the higher ACT score. This is something plucked right from my own life. My senior year of high school, I was the only African American student in my AP Language and Composition class, and in the thick of college applications, a classmate—white, cisfemale—brought up test scores and asked me what I got. She was 30 points higher than me on the SAT, but two points lower on the ACT. And she was baffled. “There’s no way you got a 18


I guess I’ll start by saying it’s important to me that ALL my “characters” read as actual people. Not caricatures or stereotypes or plot devices. People. Which means they have to be both great and terrible. They have to think and feel and breathe and be complex. I feel like having that goal as a jumping off point really helps me get into their heads. I usually do a pretty intense profile questionnaire on the characters with the most prominent roles, and then from there, I’m able to connect dots between different characters. And that’s where I think REAL empathy comes from: points of connection. Well, that and logic. Logic that leads to understanding. Which makes a lot of sense considering that as human beings, we’re generally pretty suspect of things we don’t “get” because they make us feel out of control, I think. I lean pretty heavily on dialogue because in order to reach points of connection and understanding people have to actually communicate. Which is where things usually break down in real life. Whether it’s social anxiety or a fear of revealing thoughts/attitudes that are socially taboo, when it comes time to TALK, people tend to have their defenses up, so the communication isn’t honest. All that taken together, it was paramount for me to create believable situations that allowed space for all of the characters to be real people, communicating

openly. And I wanted the reader to be able to witness these communications sort of “in process,” so I decided to utilize scenes written as conversations, which will hopefully provide the reader with an objective perch from which to listen in on the different perspectives. As the characters talk, sometimes they establish points of connection and understanding, and sometimes they don’t. But hopefully with all the points of view expressed, the reader develops true empathy. I think you hit the nail with the dialogue in Dear Martin; which is where I drew most of the power in this story. The empathy is truly in the reader’s hands as it doesn’t really tell you how the narrator (Justyce) thinks or is burdened by the emotive reactions or feelings that come associated with third person storytelling. So I definitely commend you on this. HA! Thank you! (And full disclosure: the main reason there are chunks of this book written in pure dialogue is because I really hate dialogue tags, especially when there are more than three people involved in a conversation.)

photo by Sophie B.

Looking further at your characters, there are individuals you know in-real-life featured as characters in your story. Were these Easter eggs deliberate or do you find yourself naturally writing in quirks of those who are in your circles into characters of your story? Could you give us some hints as to who some of these people are? Oh, totally deliberate. The only one I think a decent handful of readers will be familiar with involves a certain prosecutor in the book whose surname is an anagram of the surname of good author friend of mine. And he’s kind of a big deal. **cough** He won the 2017 Morris Award **cough** I had suspicions, but I am glad you are able to make it canon for me! Speaking of real life, let’s suppose Dear Martin hits the big screens. Who are some actors you’d love to see bring your characters to life? This is going to be epically anticlimactic, but I don’t really think about this much. It’s hard for me to fancast stuff because 1. I don’t really watch any TV and have no idea who’s current/up-and-coming (which I feel like is a necessity when talking STAY BOOKISH ZINE


about adapting books that feature teenagers. Like I wouldn’t want a twenty-six year old playing my seventeen-year-old main character even though that’s probably ageist.) What I will say: Doc in the book is 100% based on an idealized version of actor Jesse Williams. Being in the know of current actors does seem like the norm for fancasts, but by not assigning a model to Justyce, S.J., Manny, or Melo, you definitely leave room for interpretation based solely on your descriptions. Speaking of, now that Dear Martin is at the point where the story is about to be out of your hands and into the world, how excited are you for fan art or inspired swag? Are you a collector of bookish memorabilia? Omg, YES! I will basically pass out from euphoria every time I see fan art of any sort, and I am definitely that author who blasts stuff all over social media, and will frame stuff and hang it on the walls of my house. Actually, true story: at Becky Albertalli’s son’s most recent birthday party, she gave out goodie bags that each included a toy dinosaur named after a character from one of Becky’s favorite books… The Justyce dinosaur is currently keeping watch over my TBR shelf on one of the family bookcases. You have...a dinosaur...named Justyce. This is too perfect. I just love it when members in the community connect with each other! But bringing this back to you, Nic, many conversations I’ve had with readers cite your presence (and voice) as being grounded, engaged, and all around rad as heck. As Stay Bookish is an e-Zine created by the book community for the community, could you speak to your experience using these social platforms and if you can offer any insight for current/new authors to engage on these mediums? So I’ve fooled you all! Muahahaha! (I kid. Mostly.) What I would first say to new authors is: Twitter is both a blessing and a curse, so use it wisely. What I mean by that is like, yes, it’s a great place 20


to connect with other writers/get plugged into the community, but it’s also a double-edged sword because things can get ugly in that bluebird nest real fast. Twitter is home to amazing things like chats and #novelaesthetics, but it’s also home to the equivalent of virtual public stonings. Don’t tweet impulsively. Don’t respond to trolls (which run rampant, lemme tell ya). Do choose your words very carefully (we’re writers after all, right?). TRY not to get caught up in the latest YA Twitter drama. It’s just… well it’s not worthwhile in my opinion. Also, I know not everyone considers target audience when they’re writing (which I will admit seems a little strange to me when it comes to writing something as deliberately teen focused as YA, but I digress), but if you do, follow bloggers from that target audience and actually read their posts and reviews. Get a feel for what they’re into. It’s worked wonders for me. And don’t be a jerk. Some wonderful advice there for even nonauthors to live by. Now to really change this dialogue up, and correct me if I’m wrong, but I know another passion of yours is make-up – especially creating book-cover inspired make up (see: @booklookz on Instagram). What are some products you could not see yourself living without? How do you approach book inspired make up? So fun fact: in my daily life, I rarely wear any makeup at all, let alone a full face. My essentials: Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask (Champagne is my favorite shade), Too Faced Perfect Eyes waterproof eyeliner and Better Than Sex mascara (I promise you that’s what it’s called), and Smashbox Photo Finish primer. For my Booklookz, I use Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in a few different colors for my (lightly contoured) base, Ben Nye Banana powder for MORE contouring, and then my eyeshadow and lipstick collections are a little out of control, but I’ll say I love both Bite Beauty and Lime Crime lipsticks, as well as Urban Decay and Too Faced eyeshadow palettes. And to do the Lookz, I always start by picking the lipstick color first, and then I build an eye look from the cover’s color scheme. It’s a lot of fun!

As book covers inspired you to create make up art, what was your goal and/or inspiration you want readers to take away from Dear Martin? And, speaking to your craft, what authorial element makes a book “Nic Stone”? From Dear Martin, I want readers to be inspired to ask questions, first of themselves, second of others, and lastly of the world around them. Broken systems are often perpetuated because people are too nervous to challenge the status quo. Yes, it can be both jarring and scary to realize something you believe is incorrect, problematic, harmful, or all of the above. But as the American Civil Right movement of the mid-20th Century teaches us, change doesn’t happen without people standing up and saying: Hey, that’s not right. To get to that point though, we first have to be willing to challenge ourselves and our own perspectives. That—the prioritization of asking questions over offering answers—is what makes my books me, I think. My second book (in edits now, lord help me) deals with a totally different topic, but the characters spend a good bit of time reflecting on their experiences and trying to figure themselves out in relation to the world and people around them. I’m also a huge proponent of Voice and like gimmicky plot devices… like Dear Martin had the letters and sections of dialogue and media elements, and my second book is written as a trilogy of novellas: the first third over the overall plot is one character’s POV, the middle is another’s and the third is a third’s, and each “book” within the novel totally has its own narrative and character arc. It was (mostly) fun to write. You’re teasing your next book when Dear Martin hasn’t even released yet! But to cap off this chat and to bring it back to Dear Martin, what’s on your music playlist and what’s on Justyce’s playlist? I have… a lot of playlists. Lol. Lately all I’ve been listening to are the new Halsey and 2 Chainz albums (hopeless fountain kingdom and Pretty Girls Like Trap Music respectively).

Turn to the next page to meet the characters of Dear Martin! Photo by Sophie B.

Justyce on the other hand… Well, check it out for yourself. Thank you so much, Nic, for taking the time to spill all the deets on Dear Martin! I think I’m due for a re-read (and I never re-read) but I am pleased that all of the hallmarks of your writing mentioned above are what makes this book such an unputdownable experience. So thank you for giving voice and power to Justyce’s story as one that can be read as more than just fiction as it is now. Do you have any last comments for readers? To everyone who read this through the end and reads Dear Martin: you da real MVP.








Introduction by Sophia Lin

There’s never a better time to cozy up with your beverage of choice and a good book. The Stay Bookish Zine staff is always doing that, so we’ve generated our latest list of reads. Shanti: Our Dark Duet by V. E. Schwab // The Bone Witch // Across the Universe by Beth Revis // Want by Cindy Pon

Photo by Marie

Marie V: Under RoseTainted Skies by Louise Gornall // Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle // An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir Inah P: This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes Nathasya: Lucky in Love by // The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby // The Kasie West // What to Say Becoming of Noah Shaw Next by Julie Buxbaum by Michelle Hodkin Sophie: Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs Shelly: A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo // Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh // The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katie Locke



Emily M: Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith // One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus // Internet Famous by Danika Stone Lila H: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell // When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Emily Rasmussen: Odd and True by Cat Winters // The Way the Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen // Be True to Me by Adele Griffin Hazel: Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore // Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu // The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

Stacy: Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya // The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie // Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson Pamela: Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman // A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet // No Ordinary Star by M.C. Frank Nathasya: Lucky in Love by Kasie West // What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum Keanna L: Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock // Drop of Doubt by C.L. Stone // Crossing The Line by Kimberly Kincaid Joséphine: Renegades by Marissa Meyer // Release by Patrick Ness // A Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland

photo by Chelsea C.



“Be yourself and have fun” – the only true way to book blog By Marie V. When you’re a bookworm, finding your kind of people can be kind of hard, especially if you’re not surrounded by big readers. Thanks to the book blogging community, Beth has found her place, her voice and developed her passion for young adult books even more for almost two years now. Expectations, reality, blogging tips and comfy reads: Beth shares with us her latest loves in blogging. Stay Bookish: Hi Beth! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us! First things first: how long have you been blogging now and what made you want to start blogging? Beth: It’s been almost two years, my two year blogiversary is coming up in November, but sometimes it can feel like much longer and shorter than that. The main reason I started blogging was so I’d have people to talk to about books, none of my friends were reading as fast as I was or reading the same books and I needed people to fangirl with over my favourite reads. Oh, yes, having everyone to fangirl with is the best thing, isn’t it? Is blogging anything like you expected it to be? What’s different? What’s worse/or better? I’d say blogging is better than I thought it would be. It takes up a lot more of my time 26


than I assumed it would – which you could say is a bad thing because blogging has taken over all my other hobbies – but I love the community, love talking to people, and I’ve made some amazing friends through my blog which are all the positive things. How would you describe your blog, using only three words? Too many books. Haha, perfect words indeed. There are so many books to be read...Let’s talk about your favorites, though. What has been this year’s favourite read for you? A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. Anyone who knows me probably won’t be surprised by that answer. Stay Bookish: After blogging for two years now, you might have picked up some tips and tricks along the way... Is there any advice you’d give out to book bloggers just starting out, trying to fit in?

Keep going; keep posting what you want and what you enjoy posting, keep putting yourself out there and talking to other bloggers. Also, I think the most important thing is to just have fun. It shouldn’t be a matter of fitting in with what you think a blogger should be but enjoying yourself. Trust me, because I’ve learnt this from experience, if you don’t enjoy blogging your blog will fail. Definitely! Having fun is the most important thing to remember while blogging. We’re doing this for us, because we love it. Back on the bookish discussion...our issue is centered around the feeling of coziness: could you share a book, or a genre that always brings you comfort? For me it’s light-hearted, standalone contemporary reads. Books where there’s not always a plot beyond the two characters’ growing romance, books where there’s plenty of fluff and humour, and books you know are going to have a ‘Happily Ever After’ at the

end. It’s not contemporary but one book that comes to mind immediately is Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. No matter what it never fails to put a smile on my face. To wrap-up this lovely interview: do you have a special reading place, someplace where you feel at peace to read all of your books? If not, what would your ideal reading place be like? Most times I read on the train into and out from work, but my ideal place to read is my bed. There’s nothing better than being wrapped up under my duvet, surrounded by pillows with a cup of tea by my side as I start a new book. The only challenge is not falling asleep in the process. Thank you so much, Beth, for taking the time to chat with us - it was a pleasure! You can find Beth over on her blog, readingeverynight. wordpress.com.




Feel-Good Contemporaries by Sophie & Chelsea

photo by Chelsea C. 28

As fellow bookworms, we know just how much fun it can be to share the books we’ve loved. Sometimes it can be hard to push yourself out of your comfort zone and when there are too many recommendations for you to handle, giving up on that new genre you’ve been wanting to try can become way too easy.To make sure that doesn’t happen, we’ve put together what we think is a great introduction guide to feel-good contemporary books if you’re stuck and don’t know where to begin.


The one that’s different from you She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick

People can judge, people can criticize and people can be plain mean. This is especially the case when they are faced with something or someone that’s different from them. Being that person who’s different can be tough and convincing yourself that being different means being weird can be easy. Fortunately, there are some great books out there to help you realize you’re wrong. She Is Not Invisible has a blind girl as its main character and it shares her journey to finding her father. When you find yourself questioning what makes you different, books like this one are there to help you remember that being different means being unique, and that being unique is the best thing you can possibly be!

The one everyone’s talking about

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Wanting to jump in a new genre or a new category of books can be like diving head first in the ocean when you don’t know how to swim. That’s why it’s a good idea to start with a book many have read so you can be sure to have people to discuss it with once you finish it. In To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Jenny Han shares the story of Lara Jean, a girl who writes love letter to the boys she likes without ever sending them. It’s a way for her to come to terms with her feelings and move on. One day, her letters get sent out and she must face every boy who received one and are in search of an explanation. Books with tangible characters like this one are relatable. If you’re looking for a friend you’ll immediately connect with, you’ll find Lara Jean to be a wonderful choice!



Photo by Sophie

The one with the great bromance

Center Ice by Cate Cameron Fantastic guy friendships in YA books can be hard to come by but Center Ice is a great example of one done right. Center Ice features a girl who moves to a new town after her mother’s death, and a boy who is struggling under all the pressure his father is throwing at him. It may be a romance, but it’s also about the boys on the hockey team and it shows what wonderful things can come from great teamwork. Each guy has their own issues but they’re always there for each other on and off the ice. It’ll make you miss your own group of friends!

The one with all the girl power Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares While the movie is still pretty popular, the books don’t get as much love as they deserve. We see these four girls grow up throughout the whole series and they way they stick by each other has always been friendship goals. They each struggle individually but they always somehow manage to be there for each other even if it isn’t always in person. It’s the little things this group does that makes your heart grow and fall in love with this series. It seems like the most obvious choice for a book that features some strong girl power, but you can never go wrong with a classic.



The one that gives you hope for the future

Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman It’s hard to resist reading a book that makes you feel happy and great about yourself but they can sometimes be difficult to find. Luckily Girl Out of Water is a great choice for a book that leaves you feeling so happy you’re ready to burst! Girl Out of Water is about a girl who has the perfect summer planned only to have to turned around when her aunt gets sick and she has to move her plans for the summer so she can help. While there, she meets a boy who helps her to see the world a little differently than what she did before. She learns to open her mind and becomes a better person in the process. It deals with the typical issues of growing up, but does so in a way that leaves you feeling content about yourself.

Watching Traffic by Jane Ozkowski Thinking about what lays ahead can be hard and stressful on the mind and the heart. Thankfully, books are a great way to help pick yourself up and give you a little hope for the future that may seem uncertain to you right now. Watching Traffic tells a fantastic story that can help you feel better about your uncertainty.

The one that makes you feel good about yourself

In her book, Jane Ozkowski tells the story of a girl during her summer after graduation. It is a beautiful tale about hesitation, being in limbo after high school and coming to terms with the fact that it’s okay to live your life without a plan for a while. Books like this one are there to reassure you and tell you “Hush child, everything will be okay, everything will fall into place, you wait and see.” If you’re looking to take your first step in feel-good contemporaries, this one is a great choice when you’re starting to doubt yourself on your ability to face what’s to come.



Recent Releases


With the new books that came out in October to December 2017, discover some cool music to add to your reading playlist! 1: Things I’m Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni Release date: October 3 Song: Scarecrow by Lukr Why, using lyrics from the song: I don’t know, how to let you go, I still don’t 2: Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me by Carrie Ann DiRisio Release date: October 3 Song: I’m Too Sexy by Right Said Fred Why, using lyrics from the song: I’m too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my shirt, so sexy it hurts 3: Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore Release date: October 3 Song: Building A Mystery by Sarah McLachlan Why, using lyrics from the song: You come out at night, That’s when the energy comes

4: The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed Release date: October 10 Song: You Don’t Own Me by Lesley Gore Why, using lyrics from the song: You don’t own me, I’m not just one of your many toys



Photo by Joséphine




5: Vanilla by Billy Merrell Release date: October 10 Song: Goodbye Stranger by Supertramp Why, using lyrics from the song: Goodbye stranger it’s been nice, hope you find your paradise, tried to see your point of view, hope your dreams will all come true

10: Bad Girls with Perfect Faces by Lynn Weingarten Release date: October 31 Song: Put the Gun Down by ZZ Ward Why, using lyrics from the song: Her lips, just like a gun, She’s got silver bullets on her tongue, He’s deep under her spell

6: Sparrow by Sarah Moon Release date: October 10 Song: Hard Times by Paramore Why, using lyrics from the song: All that I want, Is to wake up fine, Tell me that I’m alright, That I ain’t gonna die

11: This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada Release date: November 7 Song: Quiet Americans by Shearwater Why, using lyrics from the song: I can’t help it, if all the world is ending All the life is gone while you’re calling out this name

7: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green Release date: October 10 Song: Unwell by Matchbox 20 Why, using lyrics from the song: But I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell, I know right now you can’t tell, But stay awhile and maybe then you’ll see, A different side of me

12: The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin Release date: November 7 Song: Secret by The Pierces Why, using lyrics from the song: Got a secret, Can you keep it? Swear this one you’ll save, Better lock it, in your pocket, Taking this one to the grave

8: All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater Release date: October 10 Song: I’d Love to Change the World by Ten Years After Why, using lyrics from the song: I’d love to change the world, But I don’t know what to do

13: The November Girl by Lydia Kang Release date: November 7 Song: Come Sail Away by Styx Why, using lyrics from the song: I’ve got to be free, free to face the life that’s ahead of me, on board I’m the captain so climb aboard, we’ll search for tomorrow on every shore

9: Dear Martin by Nic Stone Release date: October 17 Song: Hands Up by Daye Jack ft Killer Mike Why, using lyrics from the song: Living with my head down, Hands up, No no don’t shoot

14: Renegades by Marissa Meyer Release date: November 7 Song: Not Ready to Make Nice by Dixie Chicks Why, using lyrics from the song: I’m not ready to make nice, I’m not ready to back down, I’m still mad as hell


15: The Temptation of Adam by Dave Connis Release date: November 21 Song: Rehab by Amy Winehouse Why, using lyrics from the song: They tried to make me go to rehab, I said, no, no, no

18: Prince in disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm Release date: December 19 Song: Teenage Dream by Katy Perry Why, using lyrics from the song: You think I’m funny, When I tell the punchline wrong, I know you get me, So I’ll let my walls come down

16: Run Away with Me by Mila Gray Release date: November 28 Song: Bad Liar by Selena Gomez Why, using lyrics from the song: What could possibly happen next? Can we focus on the love?

19: Here, There, Everywhere by Julia Durango Release date: December 19 Song: Stubborn Love by The Lumineers Why, using lyrics from the song: She’ll tear a hole in you, The one you can’t repair, But I still love her, I don’t really care

17: The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody Release date: November 28 Song: Future Me by Echosmith Why, using lyrics from the song: There’s gonna be some pain, It’s good to feel something

20: Love Blind by C. Desir and Jolene Perry

Release date: December 5 Song: We’re Going to Be Friends by The White Stripes Why, using lyrics from the song: Tonight I’ll dream while I’m in bed, when silly thoughts go through my head, about the bugs and alphabet, and when I wake tomorrow, I’ll bet that you and I will walk together again



The Enthusiastic BookTuber with a Passion By: Emily M.

Meet Gabby, the enthusiastic booktuber who loves talking about her most recent reads, book adaptations, and favorite musicals. She makes friends and is very active in the YA and BookTube community. Her channel, GABBYABOOKS, may be a smaller channel, but that doesn’t stop her from passionately sharing her thoughts on diverse reads and other YA novels. Keep reading to find out more about Gabby, her channel and her diversity book club. Stay Bookish: Hey, Gabby! Thank you so much for chatting with us today! Let’s start with a basic, but important question: Why did you become a BookTuber?

you’re bound to talk to people in line and form friendships, so it’s the perfect place to be if you want to meet more people in the community. Conventions are the best way to meet people. I’m glad you were able to do that! Were you comfortable talking in front of your camera at the very beginning? Or did you have to ease into it? Are you still getting used to a bunch of people watching you show your love of books?

Gabby: I decided to become a booktuber because I wanted to share my love of reading! Growing up in a community where there wasn’t a lot of other kids my age who read, it was hard to form friendships. By starting a booktube channel, I was finally able to have a place where I felt like I belonged. Plus, I’ve met so many wonderful people Being someone who loves public speaking, I in the community who make all the time and effort I felt relatively comfortable in front of the camera put into my videos worth it! from the beginning, but I still had a lot to learn and improve on from the point when I started my It’s so great to hear you were able to make channel over two years ago. I’m constantly learning friends through BookTube! Was it easy to get new things about myself and the way I film videos. comfortable in the community? How did you It’s definitely a little weird to think that anyone can meet new friends? watch the content I put online, especially since I’ve told a few of my teachers about my channel. In To be honest, it was relatively difficult at first. my opinion, if someone gets enjoyment out of my Being a smaller channel, it was hard to feel like I videos, then I know I’m doing something right. belonged among a lot of larger channels. It wasn’t until I started to attend conventions, like BookCon, I’m glad you’re comfortable with that, that I felt more apart of the community. It was also because we know some people aren’t. Also, a really great way to make friends because you are you’ve started a book club with a few other meeting people in-person. At conventions like that, BookTubers! Can you talk about that? How did 36


you decide you were going to be discussing diverse YA novels? Yes! We started the Diversity book club just recently. It began with a group of booktubers wanting to discuss diversity and representation within the community as a one time thing, but the more that we were talking and planning everything out, the more we realized how important a diverse book club would be! We wanted to encourage people, as well as ourselves, to read more widely. I think it’s incredibly important to have a better understanding of different people in society, not only does it make you more empathic, but more educated on what is going on in society. A diversity book club is very important, and I’m glad you went that route! With discussing diverse novels, some ‘haters’ can be very rude and non inclusive. Are you comfortable sharing your opinion? What advice can you give to others who aren’t so comfortable sharing their opinions? I’m more than comfortable sharing my opinion. The more people that speak out about issues within the community the more likely they are to be handled appropriately. I want to be a part of that and use my platform to help others. If you are worried about speaking out, I would say to not let other voices silence yours. Everyone’s opinion matters. The more that people contribute, the more issues get discussed, and the more we learn from each other. I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on that type of community because of a few haters. I am so glad! This community is mostly so inclusive, and it’s great that you’re speaking out about diversity in books. That is great advice as well. On that note, What are some diverse reads you would recommend? One that I’ve been recommending a lot recently is Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde. This book is packed with diversity all across the board and everything is really well represented. I talk about it a lot on my channel because of how unique the story is compared to other diverse books that tend to focus on one subsection of diversity discussion. I’ve heard a lot of good things about that book! How do you get cozy when passing time?

For me, I love to light a few of my favorite bookish candles and read in bed! It’s especially nice to do when I’m alone because I’m able to feel more relaxed and concentrate on everything that I’m taking in when I pick up a book. I love to feel relaxed while reading, it helps me concentrate too! What are some reads you’d love to curl up with? My favorite thing to do is pick up a Cassandra Clare book and get lost in it for hours. There is something about her writing for me that is so transcendent and alluring. I can never get enough of it! I’m planning on doing a reread of the TMI and TID series very soon, so I’m thrilled to get to be diving back into the Shadow World! I love to reread my favorite series, too every once in awhile! What kind of beverage would we see you with on a rainy day? I think it kinda depends on what I’m feeling. I’ve recently gotten into this Peppermint Herbal tea from Twinings that is so soothing. Because I’ve been enjoying it so much, I would probably grab for that first. Peppermint tea is my favorite! Tea in general is so soothing. What is your Hogwarts house? If you were there, besides (most likely) drinking tea, what would you be doing in your common room to get comfy? I’m a Hufflepuff, although I do feel that I have Ravenclaw tendencies. I’ve been sorted into both houses on Pottermore, so I like to say that I’m a Huffleclaw. To get comfy in my common room, I think that I would love to organize my bookshelves. At first it can be ridiculously stressful, but the best part is getting to see everything look so nice and put together in the end. Plus, you get the satisfaction of getting to admire your work later! I love organizing my shelves too! It’s a lot of work but it’s definitely worth it for the satisfaction in the end. Thank you so much, Gabby, for sharing how you get comfy and your tips for aspiring BookTubers! Keep making the amazing videos I love to watch! SSTTA AY B O O K I S H Z I N E


photo by Joséphine

UNDER THE RADAR BOOKS This list was compiled by a number of our staff members, focusing on books released within the past year. Without further ado, here are Stay Bookish Zine’s under the radar picks!

Everything All At Once by Katrina Leno When Lottie’s favourite aunt passes away, Lottie receives a package of letters from her aunt with a set of instructions on them. As Lottie completes the dares and pushes herself past her comfort zone, she also discovers a secret about the inspiration behind Aunt Helen’s best-selling series, Alvin Hatter. This novel is for contemporary YA fans looking for something unique and extraordinary.



The Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz This debut novel is about Mercedes, an artist who’s struggling to find inspiration after finishing an award-winning piece last year. With her mother visiting her grandmother in the hospital, Mercedes is free to visit her new neighbour’s art studio at any time. But the art studio isn’t all it seems, and Mercedes soon realizes that she may be in over her head.

You Don’t Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Barrow This debut novel stars Audrey, a teen who finds herself pregnant, just like her mother was at her age. Being adopted is a part of Audrey’s happy life, but her pregnancy starts to unravel the perfect picture she’s created for herself. Her fears and unanswered questions start to worry her, and as she weighs her options in her head, she wonders what it means to be Audrey Spencer.

Mare’s War by Tanita Davis

Ella, The Slayer by A.W. Exley What if the flu pandemic in 1918 wasn’t actually the flu, but an outbreak of zombies? Mix that with a Cinderella retelling and you’ve got Ella, the Slayer! Ever since Ella’s father came back from the war, stuck inside the prison of his own mind, her step mother has been nothing but cruel. Most of the time Ella’s a maid but she’s also the town’s zombie executioner. That’s how she meets the new Duke, who teams up with her to find the source of the zombie outbreak.

Meet Mare, a World War II veteran and a grandmother like no other. She was once a willful teenager who escaped her less-than-perfect life in the deep South and lied about her age to join the African American Battalion of the Women’s Army Corps. Now she is driving her granddaughters— two willful teenagers in their own rite—on a crosscountry road trip. The girls are initially skeptical of Mare’s flippy wigs and stilettos, but they soon find themselves entranced by the story she has to tell, and readers will be too.

Flawed by Cecilia Ahren Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan. But then Celestine encounters a situation where she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found flawed. In her breathtaking young adult debut, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society where perfection is paramount and flaws lead to punishment. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.



COZY RE ADS List compiled by Shelly Z

This issue is all about cozy reads and snuggling up with our favourite comforting books. To keep tradition with our recommended reading lists, here are some books that are perfect if you’re looking for something comforting and cozy to read: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon Style by Chelsea M. Cameron Meg & Linus by Hanna Nowinski Cherry by Lindsey Rosin The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler Long Macchiatos and Monsters by Alison Evans

Photos by Chelsea C.



On the Fence by Kasie West The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes Open Road Summer by Emery Lord A & B by J.C. Lillis Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins Harry Potter by J.K Rowling Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout



Music in YA

by Shanti

Young adult literature is primarily experienced in silence through eyes and text. However, even through silence, music can creep in. example: audiobooks. Some audiobooks feature music as the narrator reads. Author Maggie Stiefvater, produces music for her audiobooks. In Blue Lily, Lily Blue, for instance, the music at the beginning and end is a vocal version of the rhyme of the same title featured in the story. Some of these pieces can be found on her YouTube channel. Other YA author-musicians include Tommy Wallach (Thanks for the Trouble, and We All Looked Up) and Jeff Zentner (The Serpent King, and Goodbye Days). In fact, Wallach released an album titled We All Looked Up to accompany the release of his debut novel. Joey Tam of Thoughts and Afterthoughts, said “The protagonist [of The Serpent King] is a casual guitarist and the character is grounded in Jeff’s own experience as an artist.” He mentions the book has strong connections to music. Some less musically inclined authors release playlists for their novels, explaining how the songs inspired their writing process. For readers, this adds a layer of reading experience. Yet, not everyone may agree. Tam faces a dilemma when it comes to playlists. “Listening to the music during the read could take me out of the book by virtue of having to queue it up. The only case where this may work is if books were read digitally and, with a click on the



screen, you could turn on/off the music. In terms of after, back-tracking on scenes post-canon is viable but I would have to really enjoy the book and/or not know of the artist before doing it.” Even without music to back the story, there are books that feature musicians or mentions songs. The songs a character listens to may explain their character, who they are, or who they want to be. “Music is a huge part of who I am, so part of developing characters, for me, means building up the type of music they listen to,” said Emery Lord, author of Open Road Summer. Although, the characters she write doesn’t always share the same music taste as hers. Contemporaries have the edge in terms of music references. They can allude to familiar songs, presuming readers know a wide variety of popular Western music. Historical novels, such as What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell, Ruta Sepetys’s novels, or The Montmaray Journals by Michelle Cooper mention music of the era, which may be unfamiliar for readers. Still, the author’s research surely pays off in creating the tone. Musical references informing a narrative with unfamiliar songs can isolate readers. Gayle Forman’s If I Stay, includes classic rock and classic Beethoven pieces, and it’s unlikely that a reader will know all the songs. Fortunately, most—but not all— YA readers can easily look up unfamiliar music. “Mentioning songs can help set the mood of the setting or build character as to what they’d listen to but that’s not to say that I could immediately “hear” the tune in my head,” explained Tam, on his own experiences of music in books. “Music can be hard to incorporate into written word, but it’s a part of so many people’s lives—portraying that truthfulness can really had a lushness to the narrative, I think,” Lord said.

“Music is part of the lushness of not just stories, but life.”

Ph o to by JOS ÉPHINE

What, then, happens in sci-fi/fantasy stories where music is purely fictional? Gemina, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, features an ‘earworm’ piece of music, the Lollipop song, with lyrics continually echoing through the ship, as reflected by the visual nature of the novel. Meanwhile, Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman, features several musician characters. Hartman settles simply describing the music and how characters react to it. “Unless the plot is focused on the music, I would say that music holds equal weight. It is unlikely for there to be Top-40 stacks in a low fantasy based around medieval

lore, so music of the choral nature played in cathedrals works all the same in setting the stage,” Tam said. Neither Lord nor Tam listen to music while they read, as it can be distracting. Lots of other readers, however, enjoy music while they read. Many people will agree with Lord: music is part of the lushness of not just stories, but life. When stories are able to show that, they can better reflect real readers’ lives.




My origin story is simple: I have always loved books. When I found Thea, my partner-in-crime who seemed to love reading as much as I did, it seemed very natural to start a book blog. The Book Smugglers was born in 2008, and from the start, the blog was a place where we both could just let out our endless appreciation for books. Fast forward a few years later, and we’ve added publishers and editors to our resumés with Book Smugglers Publishing. What motivates a couple of bloggers to turn indie publishers you might ask? Not fame nor fortune (ha) but definitely a sense of having something to say, something to contribute and a lot of passion for good reads. When we shifted from bloggers to publishers, one thing we knew we wanted to publish as soon as possible was a Fantasy YA. With our newly launched novella line, we were able to do so with Keeper of the Dawn by Dianna Gunn, a secondary world fantasy featuring an ace protagonist trying to figure out who she is after the worst failure of her life. It’s a heroine’s journey through and through. Picking this novella and working on it was only possible because we have read so many wonderful recent Fantasy YA novels that came before and not only inspired us, but also left a deep impression. I’m sharing a few of those below. You’ll notice a common theme: all these books are about girls carving their own path and deciding who they want to be.

1 44


Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova starts with a terrible mistake: Alex, the heroine, performs a spell that send her entire family away. Her journey – an archetypal journey to the underworld on a quest to find her family, herself and her own powers.


Sorrow’s Knot by Erin Bow is an understated, lovely tale about Otter, who always thought she would be a magical binder of death but her mother chooses a different apprentice. What is there left for her to do? If follows a heroine’s journey to learn not only the extent of her power but also of the world she lives in.

Court of Fives by Kate Elliott follows Jessamy, the mixed-race daughter of a powerful man, who in the blink of an eye loses everything she holds dear. Bereft and lonely, all that Jessamy has left is the multi-level athletic course of the Fives, a sport she excels at. Kate Elliott is a prolific epic fantasist and this first foray into YA is excellent for its worldbuilding, character arc and heroine’s journey.



In The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi, Maya is the daughter of a powerful man willing to use her arranged death as political currency. She will have none of it, and when the opportunity to become the Queen of a far-away mythical kingdom presents itself to her, she takes it. Identity, agency and star-crossed lovers at all part of this beautiful, poetic novel.

Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace is perhaps the least known of the books I chose, but it’s one of my favourites of recent years. In a post-apocalyptic world, Wasp is an archivist: someone who can collect information from ghosts in order to decipher the past. Ghosts don’t speak though, until one of them does. And everything changes for Wasp who then goes on a revenge quest akin to Mad Max: Fury Road.


Ana Grilo is a Brazilian who moved to the UK because of the weather. No, seriously. She works with translations in RL and hopes one day The Book Smugglers will be her day job. When she’s not at The Book Smugglers, or hogging our Twitter feed, she can be found blogging over at Kirkus with Thea or podcasting with Renay at Fangirl Happy Hour. The Book Smugglers, a blog dedicated to speculative and genre fiction for all ages, was founded in 2008. It is also the home of Book Smugglers Publishing, an independent digital-first publisher of SFF fiction and non-fiction. In 2017, the Book Smugglers kicked off the Novella Initiative which included YA fantasy Keeper of the Dawn by Dianna Gunn.



A touch of pastel colors, cats and magic on Bookstagram By Marie V. Pastel colors, lights, the furry paws of a cat peeking onto book covers once in a while… Meet Emily. Active on bookstagram for a year and a half now and with already more than 22K followers, the 20-year-old Australian writer, blogger, and PR student shares with us the secrets behind her pictures, her bookstagram loves, her favorite comfy reads, and more. Stay Bookish: Hi Emily, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today! First things first, our readers would love to know… When did you start your bookstagram adventure? What pushed you to get into bookstagram? Emily: I started my blog almost five years ago now, but I only started Instagram at the beginning of last year. It was mainly because everyone else was doing it, if I’m honest. But now I’m completely obsessed! Stay Bookish: A healthy obsession, obviously! Your Instagram feed is filled with colors and overall a treat for the eye. If you had to describe your instagram feed/theme using only three words, which words would you pick?

from the moment you get the idea, to actually putting all of the elements together and posting the final picture? Emily: It depends on the photo. Some take only a few minutes of set-up, but some of the shelfies take up to an hour. All of the photos of me are self-timer photos, so they also take a while to get the right angle and lighting. It’s definitely the cleaning up that takes the longest, though! I take all my pictures in my sister’s room because it has the perfect lighting, so carting all those books back and forth is pretty time-consuming. Stay Bookish: Time-consuming, but ultimately worth it! Taking a peek at the bookstagram community, we all notice some props or some elements bookstagrammers like to use in their pictures more than once. What are your favorite props to use ? Emily: Cats are my go-to props, although you have to get them in the right mood!

Emily: Rainbows, pastels, cats!

Stay Bookish: Right, I’m guessing they are not always cooperative! I always like to give and take any advice I can in this wonderful community of young adult love. Personally, I’ve always been a bit afraid to start a bookstagram. What would your advice be to people wanting to get into the bookstagram adventure?

Stay Bookish: It always amazes me how bookstagramers manage to put together such amazing pictures. How much time does it usually take for you to work on one picture? Meaning,

Emily: The thing I’ve found with bookstagram is that everyone is incredibly positive and lovely— don’t be fooled by how many followers people have, they’re still people! Also, don’t be afraid to



experiment—I muddled around for ages with all kinds of photos before I found my theme. Stay Bookish: And once you’ve found it, it has to be the best feeling! According to you, what is the best part about being a bookstagrammer? Emily: I love when a photo turns out well it’s a bit magical, honestly. I love when people tell me they loved a book I recommended, especially a diverse one. I love seeing the talent in this community. And that, for me, is the best thing—this community so full of love for books and authors that we spend hours taking photos of them. You don’t find many communities like that. Stay Bookish: This theme’s issue is centered around the feeling of coziness. Is there a book or a genre that always brings you comfort, makes you feel right at home?

a lovely bookworm’s canvas, what would be, or what is your ideal reading place? The common room of this very Harry Potter house?

Emily: The book series I always, always go back to is Harry Potter. It’s my comfort read, and the perfect Emily: I feel like the Ravenclaw common room book for a rainy day. Every couple of months I try would be a lovely place to read. And I’m sure I’d to reread one book in the series and its familiarity is get lots of great recommendations! so wonderful. Stay Bookish: What recent favorite book of Stay Bookish: Oh, Harry Potter is the perfect yours would you be found reading? choice. What is your Hogwarts house, at heart? Were you sorted in any other houses? Emily: If we’re talking recent as in this year, my absolute FAVOURITE book I’ve read so far is We Emily: I’m definitely a Ravenclaw at heart—kind of Are Okay by Nina LaCour. It’s definitely not for a mixture of Luna and Hermione. But I also really everyone—it’s very slow and there’s not a lot of identify with Hufflepuff, so I guess I’m a Ravenpuff, plot—but I adored it. really. Pottermore and every other Sorting quiz has always put me in Ravenclaw, though. Stay Bookish: What drink/food would you be seen with, to complete the picture (if you like Stay Bookish: To wrap things up nicely and paint eating/drinking while reading in your comfy place, obviously!) Emily: It totally depends! In winter I like a good cup of tea when I’m reading, I have to say. But there are a lot of crumbs on my pages from the occupational hazards of snacking whilst reading.

Thank you so much, Emily, for chatting with us! You can find her on Instagram and on Twitter @emilyjmead, as well as on her book blog, loonyliterate.com.




How cozy do you like your YA? by Shanti

1. 2. 3.

You would rather wear... A Hiking boots B Fuzzy sweaters C Flip flops

Your ideal pet would be... A A fierce bloodhound B A snoozing cat C An enthusiastic turtle


Your favourite reading position is... A Crammed into a free minute when you’re not fighting off demons or hunting for food B Curled up on your bed C Slightly awkward, in the middle of doing gymnastics


4. 5. 6. 7.

You like to eat... A Stewed anything B Cupcakes C French fries

You keep your friends close and your enemies... A Closer B Non-existent C Distracted

You like characters who... A Die B Find happiness C Think a lot

Your favourite stories make you think of... A Death and sadness B Sunny autumn days C Times in your life when you faced a challenge and emerged resilient

8. 9. 10.

When not reading, you can be found... A Climbing trees B Knitting C Swimming

You read books... A Fast and ferociously B Slowly and carefully C Relentlessly and with courage

Your favourite bookish merch is... A FIRE. I mean, t-shirts B Soft t-shirts C Anything that will hold the tools that you love best‌that is, bags and pencil cases

Mostly A’s: You like gritty books, ones where happy endings may sometimes seem like an impossibility, where no one is right or good, where blood stains the pages and leaves you aching but ready for more. And yet, amidst despair, you love these books because they offer hope, characters who are resilient and make powerful choices, and there’s a comfort in that. You might like A World Without You, Strange the Dreamer, We All Looked Up, Sabriel, Chanda’s Secrets, or An Ember in the Ashes

Mostly B’s: You love cozy books, ones that make you feel soft fuzzy feelings like happiness and calm and amusement. You might like Simon vs The Homo Sapiens agenda, Cloudwish, Team Human, Better Off Friends, or Dreamology

Mostly C’s: You like all consuming books, the ones that pull you in and refuse to let you go, the ones that cocoon you in their own world for a few hours, where you chase intriguue and solutions. But it is cozy to be nestled in the pages of a book, no matter what you read about. You might like Out of the Easy, The Raven Cycle, Burning Kingdoms, The Archived, or Their Broken Stars.







Is YA Lit the Coziest Genre of Them All? by Sophie Bergeron

co·zy adjective giving a feeling of comfort, warmth, and relaxation The official definition of ‘cozy’ aside, for me, it boils down to, “Does this thing or person make me feel good inside?” The answer regarding YA lit is more complex than a simple yes or no. As a true and official bookworm (note the slight sarcasm as there is are no official rules on how to be a good reader), I got a little head start in the reading game and started devouring books when I was ten. Eventually, I made my way through the books for kids my age at the library and I asked my mom if I could read something else geared for older kids — a book that had the 15+ label on the back, which was a whole three years older than me. She agreed, and that’s how I made my debut in the young adult genre! When you are a few years short of officially being a teen, YA can become a refuge, a gold mine of information about what’s to come, a place where everything doesn’t seem so scary anymore. Ever wondered what high school would be like? Read 52


enough contemporary and you will have an idea of what’s waiting for you in those halls! Ever thought that maybe some of your interests or hobbies could make you an outcast? Immerse yourself in fantasy and you will realize that being different probably means you’re destined to stand out and accomplish great things! If you are someone who’s not yet a teen, then yes, YA lit can become the coziest genre to read because it makes you feel good about yourself. Reading these books can help you embrace and accept who you are, and it can help with the anxiety that growing up can bring. These books can become the older brother or sister you never had, or the ones you wish you had! Then suddenly you are sixteen and a young adult in full swing. Can YA lit still be cozy then? The answer is yes. The fact is: Reading doesn’t change much as you grow older. It remains an escape from reality, a place where you meet up with all of your fictional friends, a means to get smarter and to be entertained, a world in which anyone can live a thousand lives all at once. Because reading isn’t what’s changing. It’s you who are, and always will be. When you change, your perception of things does as well, and here is where YA lit becomes the coziest blanket you’ll ever snuggle with. Authors have the ability of creating characters that resemble their readers, making them extremely relatable. When you’re struggling with all the problems teenage or even adult years can bring, having an example to follow—or a person who’s going through the same thing as you—can be of great help. This is why when you are in search of that one thing that will make you feel like you’re not alone, YA lit is one of the best ways to go.

What about when you are older? What about when you’re not the same age as the characters, when you may not relate as much to the stories as you used to? What happens then? Does YA lit get to lay claim to the coziest genre of them all? That is the decisive moment where you either fall in love with your blanket all over again or you realize that you’d like to try a different colour. Or perhaps even try something else

altogether, like a comfy sweater! Blanket metaphors aside, the bottom line is that YA lit might be the ultimate cozy genre for you or it might not be. Maybe it used to be and it’s not anymore. The important thing to remember is that we are all individual and unique readers and it’s about what makes you feel good inside.



YA LITERATURE IN SCHOOLS Why this should be a thing

by Pamela

Let’s talk about English classes at high schools. Do you analyze the concept of heroes and villains while reading Vicious by Victoria Schwab? What about reflecting on madness with the likes of Mindy McGinnis, instead of with Shakespeare? This isn’t a fantastic and magical world I’m talking about. This is how it should be, in this humble writer’s opinion. In my home country, the Education Ministry oversees making a list of approved reading materials that schools can choose from. I once asked my school about why we couldn’t introduce other kinds of books. They explained that they didn’t choose them, obviously. But I have a few things to say about it. IT’S 2017, FOLKS My first bone to pick with schools’ or government’s (in my case) choice of reading material is how outdated it is. True, a lot of classic pieces are classics because of their universality. They shouldn’t be forgotten. But these grand masters have had plenty of time in the spotlight. Why not bring to the table new voices, discussing matters from a modern perspective? Why not create our own classics?



AHEM, YOUNG ADULTS YA literature is, hence the name, written for young adults, for teens. So why allow so little of this material -if at all- to be discussed in classrooms? Teens are perfectly capable of understanding the Odyssey, but the Percy Jackson books might be as equally effective, and more enjoyable. And if it’s not enjoyable, at least it’s less of a strain to the eye. Just saying. WOULDN’T IT JUST BE E ASIER? Isn’t the point to encourage young people to read and to develop an analytical mind? Why then not work with what they do want to read? Of course, some teens would rather not have to read anything at all, but you can’t please everyone. Some schools have added Harry Potter and the Hunger Games to their curriculum, which is amazing and a step in the right direction. We would need to push for it, and let them know that yes, we would very much like to read more of that sort of thing. Kindly state that if the ability to analytically pick apart a YA book is in question, we would gladly send them our 100+ reviews about A Court of Mist and Fury. Someone has even made a thesis about the author’s work, for crying out loud. Let them judge.

STAY BOOK I S H Zby I N EChelsea 55 Photo







I wake up at 8 a.m thinking of my blog. Some (like my brains) would say I am obsessed, some others (some people will recognize themselves) that I am passionate. I think I would rather be the latter. For almost three years now, blogging has been a constant in my life – while everything else has been changing and the world turning on its axis. It feels good to have books and an incredible community to rely on – but at times, it also feels overwhelming. Because I’m not a late sleeper, I take my book blogger’s throne – meaning, my couch - fuel my crazy mind with a big breakfast, turn on the TV as background noise to Revenge, 2 Broke Girls or whatever French TV decided to air this morning, and start reviewing the day’s schedule. Basically, it looks like this: 4 reviews to write (I am always late), 2 other blog posts to write and schedule take pictures accordingly to put up with the blog posts (thank God I am not doing bookstagram), tweets to schedule for the week, blog-hop and because I am an overachiever, might as well brainstorm for the weeks ahead for blog content. Basically, I better get started before I lose my mind. Two hours later, I wrote one blog post, spent about half-an-hour looking for the right GIFS -which I didn’t found- and am in the middle of the second review when I just lose my words. Why is there ALWAYS that damn moment of self-doubt creeping in, telling me I don’t know how to write decent reviews, make the words flow and share my unconditional love for this story without babbling? WHY is it so HARD to write reviews and HOW DO WE DO IT?



In that moment, I consider myself lucky. If some bloggers don’t tell their families they are blogging, mine is reminded of it every time I have a small breakdown in front of my computer. Back to the time I am trying to type actual words on my keyboard: words aren’t flowing and it’s time for a change. Picture time. From my homemade bookshelf to the garden, from the living room to my room, every single drawer is emptied to find the right props for the theme of the picture (I said it before, but I’ll say it again: thank God I am not a bookstagrammer). After considering even the weirdest things, I end up snapping a couple shots with my camera while mumbling “it’s as good as it gets”, getting dark looks from my sister and a sigh. (Over-achiever) Back again at my made-up desk -read, the glorious couch-, inspiration has found me again to finish that dreaded review. Not that bad after all, I almost managed to recommend this book without too many all caps and nonsense (or so, I hope). I switch windows – on the computer, I’m no Spiderman – and check up on my blogging schedule: I’m actually doing okay, because the over-achiever I am already planned one blog post before. I re-read it, again, and again, and sigh before hitting the schedule button. Then I forget all about blogging. No, that was a joke. While thinking about blogging, I actually read, catch-up on The Bold Type, eat, take a nap, plan a trip. When evening rolls around again, I’m back behind the screen for an intense session of blog-hopping. Reading blog posts, commenting, sharing the love within the community, a.k.a one stressful, yet stress-free activity.

Two hours later, I drag myself to bed, exhausted. I didn’t do everything on my schedule and I beat myself for it. I didn’t even mention the ARCs I needed to read, the emails I obviously forgot to answer and my cruel lack of interaction on the most prolific social media in the book community, twitter. Two sides of me are fighting: I didn’t do enough – I’m beating myself up too much. Yet, tomorrow is a work day, which means a non-blogging day and just thinking about it makes my heart ache. I love blogging. The way it makes me obsessed. Sorry, passionate. The way it fuels my creativity. The people. The community. We all have our thing. Well, blogging is one of these things I have in my life. It’s a bit crazy, but you know, Lewis Carroll said that all the best people are.

It’s a bit crazy, but you know, Lewis Carroll said that all the best people are.

Photo by Marie





by Shanti

As a bookaholic, I’m grateful to have book-obsessed friends. Without them, I’d have no one to complain to about the way a series ended or to share books with. Many of them are people I know in real life, and some of them I’ve met online, through various book blogging endeavors. Also, I’m lucky to have a twin sister who aids and abets me in my reading pursuits. However, not everyone has a twin sister or bookish friends, so you have to resort to other means to find book buddies. Here are a few tips on how to work your way to bookish friendships!

1. Talk to new people

One of the best ways to do this is to ask people, even people you don’t know, what they’re reading. This could be people you see around school or your neighbourhood. If you recognize the book, then you may have found a fellow book nerd! Ask them what they think of the book, then share your thoughts. I was once in an airport waiting for a flight delay, and the guy next to me was reading a book by the same author I was reading at that time. I mustered up my courage and asked him what he thought, and we had a nice conversation. I have several friends around my school who I see reading a lot. While I don’t necessarily spend much time with them otherwise, we keep each other updated on our reading progress. I also bring a book with me wherever I am, to give other potential reading friends the chance to do the same for me.

2. Go to the library

Another excellent place to find bookish friends is the library. At school, I often drag my friends to the library at lunch breaks and so on, to show them books I think they should read. Sometimes the exchange in recommendations is mutual. Even if your friends don’t want to go to the library, it’s a good place to find other readers. Your local library may have a teen book club, or your school might have a reading group. If you join these groups, you may meet reader buddies.

3. Check out lists of upcoming and bestselling books

Reading hyped books is a good way to guarantee that you’ll have at least some books in common. My friends may not know of the Swedish witch books I’m really into (The Circle by Sara Elfgren and Mats Strandberg, if you’re curious), but at the very least, we have John Green and Marissa Meyer in common. Possessing said books is even better; when I had Winter as a new release, I lent it to a series of curious friends, and then we could all talk about it. 60


Photo by Chelsea C.

4. Revisit your old friends

If you can’t find any bookish friends, you need to turn your existing bookish friends. I have a friend who’s moving to Prague for university, so I gave her my second copy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (why I had two copies of DoSaB in the first place is another topic altogether…); she’s enjoying reading it and giving me regular updates, even if she’s not much of an avid reader as I am.

5. Get into book discussions—even debates!

For me, one of the most important things about having reading friends is to be open to other opinions. My sister refused to read Sabriel, one of my favourite books, and didn’t like Shiver, though I did. I have another friend who mainly reads big philosophical tomes and is really pretentious about YA. With some difficulty, I can overcome this difference in opinion and we can still have conversations about books. Online, all the people who love a certain book or genre can find each other; in real life you just have to accept people as they come. Be on the lookout for readers and talk to them, and there’ll be people for you to stay bookish with!





Literary attractions in one of the most underrated cities in the USA by Emily Rasmussen

Are you planning a visit to the United States Midwest? Do you happen to live in the area? If so, a trip to the city of Indianapolis should be on your to-do list. I’ve lived in Indianapolis for about 10 years, and I’m only a bit biased when I say it’s an oft-overlooked gem of the Midwest—especially for literary activities. Here are a few bookish attractions you should visit the next time you’re in the capital of Indiana. The Central Library Located in the heart of downtown, the Central Library is one of the most historic, beautiful libraries in the state. Even if you don’t make it to any events in the auditorium, you can still browse the extensive YA collection, read a book in the café (or in any other of the library’s countless reading nooks), study in the reading rooms, snap a picture of the building’s Greek-style façade, or stroll through the nearby parks. Admission: Free For more information, visit indypl.org

Porter Books & Bread If you’re hungry after your day of Indianapolis tourism, stop by Porter Books & Bread for literary-themed café food and a look around an eclectic book shop. Most books cost less than $10—and you can exchange your own novels for titles of similar value. Admission: Free For more information, visit porterbread.com Indy Reads Books With hand-lettered signage, quirky decorations, and frequent poetry readings and local author signings, Indy Reads Books is one of the most adorable, cozy bookshops I’ve ever visited. Best of all, you can shop guiltfree; the store’s proceeds go to Indy Reads, a local nonprofit that helps Indianapolis adults develop literacy skills. Admission: Free For more information, visit indyreadsbooks.org



Other great bookstores to visit in Indianapolis

The Indianapolis Museum of Art While in Indianapolis, you absolutely must visit the IMA Gardens, home of the Funky Bones statue made famous by The Fault in Our Stars. After you’ve sufficiently pondered the metaphorical resonance of children happily playing on a human skeleton, make sure to visit the rest of the museum’s outdoor statues as well. And if you don’t mind paying the admission fee, the indoor collection has something for everyone—from ancient vases to geometric modern art to an artsy mini-golf course with holes designed by Indiana artists.

Kids Ink // In addition to stocking a variety of children’s and YA literature, this bookstore helps schools coordinate book fairs and author visits.

Admission: Free to enter the gardens; $18 to enter the indoor museum For more information, visit imamuseum.org The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library This small-yet-enlightening museum is a must-visit for all SlaughterhouseFive fans in the Indianapolis area. Spotlighting artwork inspired by the author’s stories, documents from his pre-publication life (did you know Vonnegut originally explored his famous “shapes of stories” idea in a failed masters thesis?), and more, the museum’s guided tour will answer questions you never knew to ask about the Indiana-born storyteller. I visited before reading any of Vonnegut’s books—but I still had a great time, and I left with the urge to binge-read his collective works.

Bookmamas // This new and used bookstore specializes in Indiana authors.

Admission: $8 For more information, visit vonnegutlibrary. org

Books Unlimited // The oldest bookstore in Indianapolis, this shop is great for browsing and discovering something new and random. STAY BOOKISH ZINE


A Guide to It’s no secret: we bookworms lead a very different life compared to fellow humans. We spend every spare minute reading; we savour the smell of books and we appreciate and love libraries. Bookworms are content with their cozy lives because books and a cup of coffee (or tea) makes any bookworm happy. The bookworm life requires dedication. If a normal, average and quite non-bookish human decides that they want to become us, they need some help.




So here’s a guide on how to become a true bookworm. It’s informative, quick and easy to read and you’ll discover five commitments of a bookish life.

1. Make sacrifices Many bookworms tend to be introverts, but even if that’s not the case, you must own your bookworm identity with pride. This means making sacrifices. Choosing books over friends. Saving and spending money for a book instead of something else. Picking time for reading instead of doing another hobby.

Being a True Bookworm

by Ilsa Nite

Not to say, reading will become your only hobby, but you should be prepared to make it a priority in your life.

2. Be ready to live the bookish life Bookworms devour books. Bookworms talk about books a lot. Bookworms spend time in bookshops and libraries. You must make this long and difficult journey to show your commitment to the bookworms. You don’t necessarily have to buy, but browse, wander aimlessly through aisles. And if you have no money to spare because you’ve already spent it on so many books, the library is always there. You must learn to trust the library, to get lost within it. Not every bookworm gets to go their library and bookshops every day or even every week but do go as often as as you can. You need to learn to spread a lot of love by talking about your books, as well. Shouting out your love for them as much as you can.

3. Appreciate authors Most do not appreciate the amazing, fabulous, wonderful creatures that are authors and writers. Bookworms do. We find out all we can about our favourite authors, read all their books, stalk them online, we squeal over their tweets. We appreciate authors for writing such amazing books.

4. Spend your time reading Being a bookworm is not just looking at pretty covers: it’s actually opening that book and reading it. One cannot just simply read but enjoy reading. If you’re a bookworm, you want to read most of the time. Whether it’s sitting down near the end of the day with hot chocolate and getting stuck in a book, or reading whenever you can throughout your journey, you spend at least some of your time devouring a book.

5. Learn to love books This is a very obvious point but for some it is not. I thought i’d save the best ‘till last. You’ve got to love everything about books and only when you do will you become a true bookworm. Loving books is easy for most bookworms, we are born with this gift. For others it is harder and loving books requires the skill of caring and nurturing them. Books are like your children. You must be a parent to them, watch out for them, protect them and cry over them. Books should have a place in your heart.



AC C O M PA N Y I N G P L AY L I S T Songs that keep the Stay Bookish staff going!

Building a Myster y by Sarah Mclachlan The Boys of Summer by Don Henley Supercut by Lorde Slow Hands by Niall Horan Power by Little Mix First Flight Home by Jake Miller Most Girls by Hailee Steinfeld Glorious by Macklemore ft. Skylar Grey Thunder by Imagine Dragons Pink skies by LANY Never Be Like You by Flume ft. Kai Green Light by Lorde Basket Case by Bastille Wish That You Were Here by Florence + the Machine Battle Cr y by Imagine Dragons Bone + Tissue by Gallant I Have Questions by Camila Cabello On Purpose by Sabrina Carpenter Sorr y Not Sorr y by Demi Lovato



“Our herd may roam, but we all know where is home.” Maria V. Snyder, Dawn Study





Hazel Ureta

Emily Rasmussen

Inah Peralta

KB Meniado

Angelica Galag

Stacy Nguyen




Chelsea C.


Keanna Lewis







Sophie Bergeron


Sophia Lin

Ana Vasquez

Emily Mepham

Joey Tam

Lauren Hanaway

Meia B.

Pamela Alvarado


Shenna M. Lagdameo

Marie V.

Erica Miller

Lila H.

Shelly Z.



Photo by Joséphine



WANT TO BE FEATURED IN THE NEXT ISSUE? Send us your photos of your cozy reading spots and your photo could be featured in our next issue!

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Photo by Chelsea C.









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Stay Bookish Zine - Issue No 3  

Feat. Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Stay Bookish Zine - Issue No 3  

Feat. Dear Martin by Nic Stone


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