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My Year in Books: 2017

Hey guys! This is a bit late; as I had originally intended to post about all the books I read in 2017 beforehand, but oh well. This year, I read a total of 15 books–the least I’ve read probably in my entire life, at least in terms of reading for fun. So that’s why, I guess I can list out all the books I read and what I gave them.

The first book I read in 2017 was The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, which I gave five stars. I think this was probably my favorite book of the year, and I’m so happy I met Nicola herself because I just love it so much!

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2. Next, I sensitivity read The Impossibility of Us by Katy Upperman (which is going to be published July 31st, 2018, so you should definitely check it out then!) and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to. It was a wonderful book with a Muslim (!!!) main character and beautiful writing.

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3. The third book I read was The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan–which was long overdue. Although nothing will be the same as when I first read Rick’s books, this one brought back lots of memories and had me feeling nostalgic. (4 stars).

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4. Next up I read Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, and quite sadly, it was pretty disappointing. I ended up giving it around 3-3.5 stars. I had such high expectations, and they just weren’t met.

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5. My Lady Jane, by multiple authors–I gave this one 4 stars. It was super cute, funny, and definitely a very enjoyable read.

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6. A Court of Wings and Ruin–unfortunately, this was also one of my disappointing reads of 2017. It felt too long, and too unnecessary, with parts that didn’t sit quite well with me. I liked it, but definitely not enough to give it more than 3.5 stars.

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7. Lord of Shadows, by Cassandra Clare–but of course. Loved it; and I mean, was that really a surprise? 4.5 stars.

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8. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (4 stars) and (9) Our Dark Duet (3.5 stars)–both of these books I also really enjoyed, but I did expect something a little more, which is why I didn’t give them higher ratings.

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10. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han–AH, the cuteness! I loooved this bittersweet conclusion to one of my favorite contemporary series. This was extremely adorable and satisfying, and I’m so happy that Jenny Han has blessed us with this series. (4.5 stars)

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11. Windwitch by Susan Dennard–besides The Sun is Also a Star, this was probably my favorite book, and definitely my favorite fantasy. I thought I wouldn’t like it as much as I did Truthwitch, but I found myself super immersed in the story and loving the characters even more. ❤ Definitely 5 stars.

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12. Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin–probably the most badass book I’ve read in a long time. The main character was awesome, the plot intricate, and the ending left my heart beating faster. (4.5 stars)

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13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger–I had to read this for school, and I had actually already read it before, so that’s why I’m not considering it one of my favorite books. That said, this is definitely my favorite classic ever, despite its flaws. 5 stars.

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14. The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin–this was by far the most disappointing read of 2017 for me. I gave it 2 stars, with my expectations so high in the sky crumbling on top of me. I’m not even sure if I want to continue the series.

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15. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas–this was, probably, the most important book I read in 2017 and the most profound one, too. I don’t even need to say anything else because everyone knows how good of a book it is, and if you don’t, you should probably read it too.

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…and that’s it! Overall, despite the fact that I read so little, the books I read weren’t all that terrible, though I did have more expectations of some books that weren’t met. I found that books I didn’t expect much from I ended up enjoying a LOT more, so I’m going to try to keep my expectations lowered from now on.

What were YOUR favorite/least favorite books of the year? I’d love to know and discuss, so please leave a comment!

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Reading Goals For the Rest of the Year

….aAaaaAAAAaaa!

I just finished off one of the most challenging weeks of school so far (or at least, a week that really impacted my mental health badly). Needless to say, it’s been rough. For the first time since the creation of this blog, I got less than 200 views per month in November. (It’s my fault–I barely published anything and I haven’t been interacting properly).

I’m continuing my (sad) streak of not finishing a book in over 3 months now.

It’s disheartening, to say the least.

It is one of the most saddening things to not be able to do something that I used to love so much, something that brought me happiness. But this month, the last month of 2017, I’m going to read. If not now, during winter break, I don’t care: I. Will. Read. I will force myself to read for fun. (Which will be entertaining anyway–not really “forcing”). In addition, my goal is to write at least four blog posts.

I’m going to do this like it’s my job, because right now, I need a little push. I haven’t read in so long that I’m procrastinating reading, even if I know I’ll be happy if I read.

So, this month, I first want to:

  • Finish reading When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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  • Finish reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, which I’ve been “reading” for far too long.

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And I also want to read two additional books that are fantasy, because I haven’t read fantasy in so long. I might buy and choose from any one of these:

  • Now I Rise by Kiersten White

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  • The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin

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  • All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

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Or maybe the Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas. Who knows? (Though my priority would be in the list that I just gave). If any of you have read these, PLEASE let me know which one you think I should get to first! I love all of the authors’ previous books so it’s kind of hard to choose for me.

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Contemporary Books I Can’t Wait To Get To

Hi guys! Long time no chat. The past few weeks, I’ve been trying to figure out what I should write about. After all, I haven’t even read a book in the past almost three months–so I can’t really discuss any new books. But, as always, there are a bunch of books I want to read and can’t. Today I decided to talk about some contemporaries I’ve had my eyes out for. (Some of these are published, others aren’t).

  • Girls Like That Tanaz Bhathena

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POC main character? With a cover that SHOWS it? Intriguing plot? Sign me up. (Release date: February 27th, 2018).

  • I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter By Erica Sanchez

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(This was released October 17th, 2017).

  • Love, Hate, & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

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GUYS. I am SO excited for this. It’s actually number one on the Goodreads list for POC main characters–the main character is an Indian-American Muslim and deals with Islamophobia. I CAN’T CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT–so many people have read it and loved it and I want to, too.

  • It Started With Goodbye by Christina June

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Pretty cover? Check. Cute contemporary? Check. Also, this is already published so I can go out and read it anytime!

  • Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

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Muslim-American protagonist? Who wears a hijab? IN THE BOOK COVER? Okay, besides all of my gushing, this actually means so much to me. Looking at this cover, I can see myself in the main character, and that just…makes such a huge difference. This was published over the summer, and I’m dying to get my hands on it.

  • Save The Date by Morgan Matson

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I used to love Morgan’s books SO much (back when I actually read), and I’ve been anticipating this one for nearly two years now. I actually heard about it wayyy before it was published when I met Morgan Matson, and I know it’s going to be just as cute and funny and heart-warming as her other books.

And finally, because I don’t want this list to go on forever,

  • Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga

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I legit waited three years for Jasmine Warga to write a new book, and she finally did! This also has a Middle-Eastern main character, and because My Heart and Other Black Holes was such an important book for me, I have super high expectations. (Thinking about it makes me nostalgic :’)).

And that’s it for this post! I know it was kind of choppy, but it took me a while to compile this list and I hope you enjoy. If you noticed, a lot of these books have POC/Muslim main characters, which means a lot to me (and I’ve been trying to read contemporaries with more representation). Please let me know if you’ve read/want to read any of these–I’d love to talk!

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Countdown to Halloween: Book Shoutout #1 (Mara Dyer)

Hey guys! Before I start…wow, it’s been such a long time since I’ve sat down, a little less stressed and not in a hurry, to write a blog post. My app, as I’ve said before, isn’t working properly and it just felt so good to be able to go through my feed and see all of the posts even if I couldn’t read all of them.

I’ve missed reading so much. I haven’t read a full book in over 6 or so weeks, and I haven’t avidly read in like…over a year. Sitting down and going through my feed made me realize how much I miss it, and the sad part is, I probably won’t be able to for a while. Regardless, I wanted to start a series of posts until Halloween in which I feature a specific book I’ve read/want to read that’s creepy, scary, or Halloween related.

I read the Mara Dyer series over three years ago, back when I was in 8th grade, and I naturally loved it. I recognize now that there are lots of flaws and points that aren’t that well written, but, well, I still love the books. I remember them as being addicting, intriguing, and slightly creepy but not necessarily horror–and I love that creep factor.

When Michelle Hodkin announced that she would be writing a spin-off trilogy, then, I was naturally SUPER excited, and I still am. I’ve been counting down for the release for years now–and it’s finally getting closer. The Becoming of Noah Shaw is going to be released November 7th, and guys. I can’t wait. I can’t wait to go back into this world and be immersed in a story with Mara and Noah. I miss these characters so much and that’s why I just HAD to do my first shout-out on this series/book.

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Also, I love all the covers so much, but this one especially. (I also love the fact that this new trilogy seems to be the opposite of the first one…The Unbecoming vs the Becoming, the fire/ashes instead of the water…all so cleverly designed.)

If you don’t know, the Mara Dyer trilogy is like the book version of crack. I’m serious. Once you start reading, you can’t stop. There are some cringy parts, but the overall enjoyment is worth it. Plot twists, romance, etc. And it will definitely get you in the mood for Halloween.

Are you excited for this book to come out as much as I am? Let’s discuss!

I hope you guys enjoyed this shortish post, and will keep following for my next shout-out.

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A Special Banned Book: The Catcher in the Rye

Whoops. It’s been two weeks since I’ve written a blog post (sorry). Do I even need to tell you why? (It’s because of school, in case you didn’t know). In honor of Banned Books Week, which starts on the 24th, I wanted to talk about one banned book in particular: The Catcher in the Rye.

I completely understand anyone who hates this book. I get that Holden is annoying, exasperating, and ridiculous. The book itself seems repetitive, vulgar, and can even be pointless for some. But for me?

I love it.

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Funnily, it’s actually one of my favorite books and definitely my favorite “classic”. I first read it two years ago, the summer before high school, and I enjoyed it a lot then too. This summer, I had to reread it for school, but I wasn’t sure what I’d think of it. The summer before freshman year wasn’t really a good time for me, so I thought maybe I only liked it because, well, I was depressed and so is Holden.

I reread it, and I still enjoyed it. At one point, I felt like I was going to cry (towards the end). Now here’s the thing. I feel like people who don’t enjoy Catcher kind of read it…wrong. Given, sometimes you just don’t like books, but I read it for what it was: one of the first young adult books ever published, narrated by an angsty, depressed (?) teen.

If I had read any other book that was published recently, and it was even remotely similar to Holden’s narration, I can guarantee you that I would hate it. But Catcher isn’t any other book that was published recently. My expectations were entirely different because I sort of knew what it was going to be about.

Sure, Holden’s annoying. He’s inconsiderate, stupid, and makes bad decisions. All. The. Time. But…I love his character too. He’s relatable, and he feels real. He’s more “human” than any other book character I’ve read about. Most people aren’t selfless and kind all the time. Most people are mean, judgy, and selfish–like Holden. And I related to that. He says all of the things that we normally don’t say because we deem them inappropriate. But he cares, too. He’s not a villain, per se, because he’s not really bad. Of course, he’s not good either. That’s why the only way I can describe him is human. Holden is human, and humans screw up, humans get depressed or say bad things and good things. And that fact–that’s what touched me.

There are a million other things I could possibly say about The Catcher in the Rye, but I think this is enough for this post. I love this book, and I know it’s controversial, but I feel like that just makes it even better.

What are your favorite banned books? What about Catcher? Are you a person who hates it, or loves it?

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National Book Festival Experience

Hi everyone! It’s been a little while since I’ve blogged, or even went on WordPress. I also haven’t been able to go through anyone else’s posts because my app isn’t working properly; I’m sorry about that.

Anyway, last Saturday, I went to the National Book Festival in D.C. for the second time, and it was so much fun! I wanted to share my experience with you guys, so I hope you enjoy. 🙂

This year the authors I met were Sabaa Tahir, Nicola Yoon, and Sandhya Menon. It was raining and a gloomy day, and we were in a hurry to get there on time for the signings–but luckily we did. If you don’t know, the National Book Festival (obviously) is one of the biggest book festivals in the world, so it was flooding with people and signing lines. I quickly rushed over to Sabaa Tahir’s line and luckily got to meet her!

She was super nice, asked me how Eid was going which was pretty cool, and I told her how happy I was for her books to be growing so popular. We didn’t speak for that long, because the line was so long, but she was so cool that it didn’t even matter much.

I couldn’t get a really good photo with her, but I feel like this picture accurately represents my reaction to meeting her:

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Next, I met Nicola Yoon, WHICH I AM STILL SO EXCITED ABOUT BECAUSE GUYS I LOVE THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR SOO SO MUCH. I had actually drawn a picture of Natasha, the main character, and gave Nicola the photocopy and kept the signed one for myself. It was such a lovely experience; and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to meet her and give her my fan art.

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For the next hour or so, I didn’t really have anything to do while my sister met Angie Thomas (author of THUG, whom I didn’t meet but saw!), so I decided I might as well buy When Dimple Met Rishi and meet Sandhya Menon. I told her how excited I was about her book, especially the diversity, and then she also recommend a bunch of books with other brown main characters. She was also, of course, super sweet and now I’m more excited to read her book. (I don’t have a picture with her, unfortunately).

Overall, the National Book Festival was once again so much fun. The staff was super nice, it’s a huge event, and it’s just really great to be among so many people who also love books. If you live in the area (or even if you don’t!) I highly recommend you come next year!

Have you ever been to the National Book Festival? If so, who did you meet?

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September 2017 & The Start of My Junior Year: Musings

Hello everyone!

I probably should have posted something, as it’s been over a week, but as the title of this post says, I started my junior year of high school this past week. Today’s Friday, September 1st, (it’s also Eid, so Eid Mubarak to all my Muslim friends!), and I wanted to write this post about things I’ve realized lately. I wasn’t feeling like writing a post about books, but if this interests you, please keep reading!

The first thing is, well, I’m a junior in high school now. I know, it sounds young to many bloggers, but I started this blog in 8th grade. I’ve changed…like, so much. I can’t believe I’m an upperclassman (!!!) now. I survived two years at a super vigorous STEM school.

Kind of along similar lines, I also turn 16 this month. And nothing’s actually happening, I know–I’m not even going to have a Sweet Sixteen–but it feels like I’ve reached a certain point in my life. I mean, 16! It’s supposed to be a great year! I finally got my permit, so I’m going to try driving soon. I don’t know. It just feels weird I guess. In my head, I’ve always idealized being sixteen in a way. Or it always seemed so far away, and now it’s right around the corner and knowing that just feels different.

One thing I’ve realized is that…I don’t think I’m ever going to be avidly reading and blogging with the same fervor as I did when I first started. Nope, this does not mean I’m quitting blogging. This most certainly does not mean I don’t enjoy reading anymore. Because I do. I love doing both, still. It’s only that at one point in my life, these two things were so important for me that I forgot about other things. And I sometimes miss that, being completely obsessed. But now I realize it’s not really the best thing–it shouldn’t be taking over my thoughts. They’re both still things that are really dear to me, and will always be. The thing is, though, I think I have to come to terms with the fact that it’s not going to be in the same way as it was two years ago.

Something else I noticed was that (in the past year, actually), contrary to popular belief, you can be good at (and love) both humanities and STEM. Why is there such a distinct line between the two? Why do you have to be either a “STEM” student or a “humanities” student? Because heck, I’m not that good at biology, but I still love it, and I am better at humanities classes, but that doesn’t mean I can’t pursue a career in STEM. Anyway, I want to talk about this later, but just food for thought.

I also realized, I mean–I had always known it, but I especially realized–I reaaallly want to do something art related in college. I’ve never taken an actual art course since fourth grade, but I really love drawing. I’m definitely not that good, but considering the fact that I’m pretty much self-taught…I like to think I’m not that bad, either.

Similarly, I want to learn a new language SO bad. Arabic, for practicality (since I already speak Turkish, and Arabic would be useful in the Middle East), and Russian, purely out of interest. It would be SO cool.

Finally, of course I have other things to say, but maybe for later, I want to have more posts like this on my blog. Of course this blog will still be book-related mostly, but I want it to be a bit more personal. Plus, I can put up posts even when I’m not reading that much. I’ll probably call all of these posts “Musings”. Some of my old posts have a really childish voice, and these posts might balance them since I’ll probably talk about more serious stuff. Anyway, I hope you’re interested in that!

I honestly don’t know who read through this whole jumble of thoughts, but if you did, thank you! It truly means a lot to me. Even if no one did, it felt good to write in a “mature” way on this blog–it kind of helps me sort out my feelings. (Please tell me if you did in fact read all the way through!)

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my social medias: // goodreads // studygram // tumblr // questions? contact me: aloofbooks@gmail.comSeptember 2017 & The Start of My Junior Year: Musings