Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Books with School Settings

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It’s been weeks and weeks since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday. This is mainly because I haven’t really had the time to respond to comments and I always feel bad about leaving my Top Ten Tuesday comments unanswered for weeks. But I love the topic of this week, so I’m gonna go ahead and do it. Today, I’m featuring some of my favourite books that have school settings. I love pretty much all books that are set in school and I’m excited to share some of my favourites. Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the team at The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Duh! How could I not include the Harry Potter series on this list?

2. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On is one of my favourite books of all time because it’s a wonderfully hilarious Chosen One story that’s set at a magic school. If you love Harry Potter, you will love this (as long as you don’t compare the two).

3. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Nevernight is a wonderful story about an assassin who goes to the Red Church, a school of assassins. The things that happen there are super brutal and intense but it was such a fantastic school setting. I loved it!

4. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Not only is Fangirl one of my favourite books with school settings, it’s one of my favourite contemporary novels of all time. This book has a really great college setting and I loved the role that school played in Cath’s story.

5. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

And while I’m at it, let’s include a third Rainbow Rowell book on this list. I read Eleanor & Park recently and it was what really made me want to do this Top Ten Tuesday post. Eleanor and Park meet and interact mostly on the school bus and my heart was just so full of happiness at this. However, it’s not all just fun and games on the bus. Eleanor is bullied quite badly at school and I enjoyed how this was incorporated.

6. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After is my favourite of Stephanie Perkins’ companion trilogy. I loved that it was set not only at a boarding school in Paris, but also partly in New York and Barcelona. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the dorm room aspect of the book a lot.

7. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

School probably isn’t the first thing that I think of when I think about this novel but I did really like the school setting in this book. It’s a central part of the book and I thought it was wonderful.

8. Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

In this alternate history novel, where the Great Library of Alexandria was not destroyed, the characters in the book attend an academy of sorts to learn to become librarians. It’s a really interesting world and the training that these apprentices go through were really intense but intriguing.

9. Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

This book is about a student-teacher relationship and is written from the perspective of seven different high school students. It’s about the relationships between the characters and the things that they learn from each other. This is one of the most realistic high school settings that I’ve read about and I highly enjoyed it.

10. The Yearbook Committee by Sarah Ayoub

Similar to Seven Ways We Lie, this Aussie YA novel is written from the perspective of five high schoolers who are all working on the yearbook together. They’re vastly different people but the things that they learn from each other and the relationships between them are what make the book so special.


What are some of your favourite books with school settings? I’d love to add them to my list because I love school ūüėÄ

Wrap Up: March 2016

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Welcome to my 200th post! Can you believe I’ve posted 200 times on this blog? I’m super proud to say that 120 of those posts were book reviews because I love sharing my opinions and spreading the love. I’ve also done 39 Top Ten Tuesday posts… so I guess the remaining 40 posts are wrap ups, hauls and tags.

I did pretty well this month with my reading. I did feel a little bit slumpy in the middle of the month and I wasn’t reading as much at that time. But I came home strongly and did a lot of reading during the Easter break. I read 17 books this month and I’ve completed half of my 2016 Goodreads challenge already. Right now, I’m about 26 books ahead so I’ll probably end up increasing my goal this year. I was also in a blogging slump this month. I usually review almost every book that I read, and this month… well, you can probably see how many I actually reviewed from the lack of review links down below…

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Reading summary header

1. What I Saw РBeck Nicholas  3 stars

An Aussie YA book about alcohol-fuelled violence that focused too much on the romance and not enough on the issues that it needed to explore. It was middle of the road for me.

2. The Yearbook Committee РSarah Ayoub  4 stars

A lovely novel set in Sydney that focuses on friendships and the bonds that can be created between people who are very different. This book is written from five different perspectives, but it never felt like there was too much going on.

3. The Sidekicks РWill Kostakis  45 stars

This is another Aussie YA novel that focuses on friendship and grief. The book is about three boys who shared the same best friend and what happens when that best friend passes away. It’s a really short book that packs quite a punch.

4. Dirty Rowdy Thing РChristina Lauren  35 stars

I read Sweet Filthy Boy, the first novel in this companion series, last month and wasn’t that big of a fan. But I decided to give Dirty Rowdy Thing a go because everybody seems to love these books and I wanted to see if it could change my opinion. And… again, it was good but not great. I’m not sure that I’ll continue with Book 3 but these are great NA books if you’re feeling slumpy.

5. Trouble РNon Pratt  2 stars

This book is about teen pregnancy and I couldn’t really connect with the story or the characters. I was just really frustrated with the characters and the author’s writing style. I’m glad that I read it but it wasn’t anything special.

6. Iron to Iron РRyan Graudin  45 stars

This is a novella that follows one of the side characters from Wolf by Wolf. It was wonderfully written and if you enjoyed Wolf by Wolf, you’ll enjoy this novella. If you haven’t read Wolf by Wolf, I would definitely deter you from reading this novella until you’ve read Wolf by Wolf because it will ruin your reading experience of that novel.

7. Lady Midnight РCassandra Clare  45 stars

I was so excited to have a new Shadowhunters book in my hand but I wasn’t sure that I’d enjoy this one because I wasn’t a big fan of Emma Carstairs or Julian Blackthorn when I met them in City of Heavenly Fire. But this book was SO GOOD! Everything was wonderful, besides the very last part of the book, which had one of my most hated tropes… It was the only reason why I took off half a star.

8. Prince’s Gambit – C.S. Pacat¬† 35 stars

This is the second book in the Captive Prince trilogy. I didn’t really see what all the hype was… I thought this book was just a little bit better than average. I liked the characters and the romance but the actual plot of the book was kind of lacking. I had a hard time remembering who everybody was and even though there was lots of political intrigue and strategy, I had a hard time following it all because it wasn’t very well-developed.

9. Kings Rising РC.S. Pacat  4 stars

This is the final book in the Captive Prince trilogy and it was better than the first two books. I still thought the plot was a little weak but overall, I enjoyed it a lot more.

10. Identity РMilan Kundera  3 stars

This was a book that I started reading about 7 years ago but never finished. I finally picked it back up this month and it was really good. I just wasn’t really in the mood for literary fiction and I think I could have enjoyed it more if I had really spent the time trying to delve deeper into story and the messages.

11. Beautiful Broken Things РSara Barnard  2 stars

This book had me shaking my head so hard. It’s a book about friendship and I just did not enjoy it at all because I disliked all of the characters and thought the friendship was a very unhealthy one. The main character is highly frustrating and ignorant and I just wanted to slap her across the face.

12. The Complete Maus РArt Spiegelman  4 stars

This is a bind-up of the two volumes of Maus by Art Spiegelman. It’s about Spiegelman’s father’s story and how he survived the Holocaust. The story was very meta – it followed not only his father’s story but also the story of how Art learnt about what happened from his father. While I enjoyed that aspect of the book, I also didn’t really like it because I found Art very dislikeable. I probably would have liked the graphic novel a lot more if it was just about WWII and the Holocaust.

13. The Way I Used To Be РAmber Smith  2 stars

This is a story about rape and the main character’s struggle to deal with what happened. This book is split into four parts and each part follows one year in the MC’s high school life. I really didn’t like this book at all. It’s basically a story about self-destruction and we just see the MC be increasingly nasty to everyone around her until she hits rock bottom. I couldn’t connect with her or her story and didn’t find it to be emotional at all. The book had no effect on me and I couldn’t really see what messages the author was trying to convey.

14. The Girl From Everywhere РHeidi Heilig  4 stars

This was a really fun time travel book. I really enjoyed the characters and the romance that was in the book. It was a really quick read and I thought it was great. The only thing that I struggled with was some of the time travel aspects. I didn’t think the rules were set out very well and I had a little bit of a hard time following some of the logic of the story.

15. Love is the Higher Law РDavid Levithan  4 stars

I love David Levithan’s writing and this was another wonderful book. This book follows three people’s experiences with 9/11 and how it affected them at the time and afterwards. As someone who was really young and half a world away when 9/11 happened, I really appreciated being able to see the impact that it had on New Yorkers and how the event continues to stay with people.

16. Frankie РShivaun Plozza  5 stars

This was a really amazing Aussie YA debut novel about disadvantaged youths. It was a beautiful coming of age story, with a fantastic set of characters and writing that everybody can relate to. I absolutely loved it and can’t wait to read more by Shivaun.

17. This is Where the World Ends РAmy Zhang  3 stars

This novel was a bit of a rollercoaster ride for me. It started off as one thing and then quickly morphed into something that I wasn’t completely expecting. The book had lots of great messages about rape and sexual assault and I enjoyed the plot. However, I was disappointed with the characterisation and didn’t really like the two protagonists. I just couldn’t connect with them enough to give this book more than a 3 out of 5. A review of this will be up next week.

DNF-ED

The Chimes – Anna Smaill

While the writing in this book was undoubtedly beautiful, it was much too flowery and purple for me to get into the story. The syntax was strange and there were so many big words that I didn’t know the meaning of that I pretty much was just skimming over the text. I pride myself on my wide range of vocabulary, and to read a book that made me consult a dictionary every second page… was just not enjoyable. I just didn’t understand what I was reading so I DNFed this at 30%.

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I posted 5 Top Ten Tuesday posts in March:

Review: The Yearbook Committee by Sarah Ayoub

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Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Release date: February 22, 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Pages: 320
Goodreads || Book Depository || Booktopia

Five teenagers. Five lives. One final year.

The school captain: Ryan has it all … or at least he did, until an accident snatched his dreams away. How will he rebuild his life and what does the future hold for him now?

The newcomer: Charlie’s just moved interstate and she’s determined not to fit in. She’s just biding her time until Year 12 is over and she can head back to her real life and her real friends …

The loner: At school, nobody really notices Matty. But at home, Matty is everything. He’s been single-handedly holding things together since his mum’s breakdown, and he’s never felt so alone.

The popular girl: Well, the popular girl’s best friend … cool by association. Tammi’s always bowed to peer pressure, but when the expectations become too much to handle, will she finally stand up for herself?

The politician’s daughter: Gillian’s dad is one of the most recognisable people in the state and she’s learning the hard way that life in the spotlight comes at a very heavy price.

Five unlikely teammates thrust together against their will. Can they find a way to make their final year a memorable one or will their differences tear their world apart?

MY THOUGHTS

4 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Yearbook Committee is the new release of Aussie author, Sarah Ayoub. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the launch party in Sydney and have Sarah sign my copy of the book! The Yearbook Committee is a wonderful depiction of high school life in the inner west of Sydney. It’s written from the perspectives of five very different students who all attend an elite private school, and are thrown together to create the 2016 yearbook. Working together forces them to learn new things about themselves and the world, and create new bonds that will last forever.

This is very much a character-driven novel. I loved our core cast of characters and I thoroughly enjoyed following them on their journeys of self-development. We have Charlie, the smart and outspoken feminist of the group, who is determined to hate Sydney after being forced to move¬†from Melbourne with her mum and stepdad. She quickly finds herself clashing with Ryan, the school captain, who is struggling to find himself after an accident causes him to lose the thing that defined him and his future. Also part of the yearbook committee is Tammi, the popular girl’s best friend, who doesn’t have any control over her own life. She’s pushed around by her best friend, her boyfriend and her father, and isn’t allowed to be who she wants to be. We also have the politician’s daughter, Gillian, who struggles with the spotlight that’s always on her and her family. She is constantly criticised and bullied because of her public presence. And finally, there’s Matty, the scholarship kid who doesn’t really fit in with the rich kids who attend the school. He works multiple jobs while he waits for his mother to snap out of her breakdown. But it’s been months and she doesn’t seem to be getting better…

Despite there being five different perspectives, I enjoyed all of them and how different each character was. Their personalities definitely come through in the writing and their voices. Their voices were distinct and it never felt like they were the same person. I also liked the multiple perspectives because I thought it was extremely interesting to see what they thought of each other, and how it differed to how I viewed them, especially at the beginning. I also appreciated that the book was never repetitive, despite having so many perspectives. It wasn’t the same story written from the points of view of five different people; it was five different stories that converged into one.

On either side of me, Gillian and Matty reach out and grab a hand each, like guardian angels. And the tears give way to a smile, because I finally feel my worth for the first time in ages.

I loved the friendships that formed in the book. The five committee members start off as strangers and I loved being about to see them forming bonds and opening up to each other, especially because some of the characters didn’t really have any friends prior to being on the committee. I loved how much the characters were able to learn from each other and that they were able to use these new experiences to further develop their own identity. There were some time skips in the book, which at times made it difficult to see the full development of the friendships, but it never felt like things were happening too quickly or suddenly. I thought the author used the formatting of the book superbly to fill in the gaps. There were detailed notes about each committee meeting that helped fill the holes in our knowledge and I really liked those pages.

Who knew that after all those meetings, the five of us would not only accomplish what we set out to do but become better people just by knowing and learning from each other?

Besides the characters coming together as a result of working on the yearbook,¬†there is actually very little focus on the yearbook itself. We don’t really see the characters work on it very much, which I actually preferred because the characters’ personal stories and journeys were so captivating. I enjoyed everything that I read. Everything felt realistic and the depiction of high school life was so accurate that I couldn’t help but connect with everyone’s stories. There were a couple of things that I wish had been resolved a little bit more. I kind of felt like I was left hanging about a couple of things that happened at the end of the book, but I didn’t mind the open endings that much because life goes on.

This is a wonderful Australian YA novel that I can confidently recommend to everybody. It’s completely relatable and has a cast of fantastic characters that will capture your heart from the very beginning.