Saturday, November 18, 2017


Hi guys!!

Lia and Kat here :)

Have you ever looked at the YA genre and thought

"There isn't anything clean for me to read!!!!!"

Well fear not!!! We are here to save you!! (and possibly ruin your life with these books #sorry)

Lia's Picks

 The Gallagher Girls Series

I don't think we can stress this enough!! Read this series!!!!!!!!! It's so good!! Teenage! Girl! Spies!
There is no language, the content is clean and its just such a feel good series. 

(And if you're a weirdo who likes somewhat accurate Spy details, then it works. And dark (sweet) boys...-K)

The Ascendance Trilogy

I actually didn't realize until after finished this that is is actually a children's series. But it feels just like a YA book. I love this series so much!! So clean and great for families!

(The sass. So much sass. This is the kind of book that you could read to your little brothers or sisters and still enjoy yourself.-K)

The Lunar Chronicles
Fairy-tale retellings are so amazing when they are done right and this one certainly takes the cake. (Yum, food) 
Not only is this a fairy tale retelling, it's a futuristic retelling with cyborgs, and people who live on the moon! 
It's so great, your goldfish would enjoy it!!

(I am actually re-reading Winter right now. Because I am by no means swamped with work...-K)

The Little Women Series
Louisa May Alcott writes so amazingly. These are my favorite of her books and I would recommend it to everyone! 

A Girl Of The Limberlost
This book!!! It has such an Anne of Green Gables/The Blue Castle feel to it. I felt like I was reading a book by L.M. Montgomery. But this book is by Gene Stratton-Porter. I love this book and I know you will too!

Kat's Picks 
(Three of which are by the same person.) 

Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George

 Dragon Slippers (Dragon Slippers, #1)
DRAGONS!!!! And you know that trend...Peasant girl bumps into prince in market (and possibly his annoying fiance...) and then they fall in love blah de blah? 

Well, I thought that was where this was going. But it didn't and I am so happy! And dragons!

The Two Princess of Barmarre by Gail Carson Levine

The Two Princesses of Bamarre
When a sickness spreading across the land strikes a member of the royal family, it is the adventurous princess who is in danger of dying and the shy princess who must journey beyond the castle and face dragon, ogres and other mythical beasts to try and save her sister. To save them all.

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

 P.S. I Like You
I have this problem with contemporary novels about teen romance. All the drama comes from the main character fighting with her friends. They end up not speaking to each other, often over a boy. 

This book is not like that. Granted, it was fairly cheesy and predictable. But if you want an adorable fluffy book to read...this is the one.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow

I really like fairy tale rewrites...But it is kind of annoying when they stories are ONLY the handful or really well known stories. And whether you know the two Norse fairy tales that this story is based off or not (I did) you will still love this story. 
(Seriously. Read it so that we may fangirl)

Tuesdays at The Castle by Jessica Day George 

Tuesdays at the Castle (Castle Glower, #1)

This book is really cute and amazing and IT HAS A MAGIC CASTLE!!! And the castle has this amazing personality. 
And there is almost zero romance, but lots of sibling love? And all the siblings are different and sometimes get on each others nerves/disagree? And it is really really funny? 

Hope you enjoy this!! 
Talk to us in the comments!
Will you check out any of these?

-Kat And Lia-

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Book Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting - he's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It's ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd - whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself - Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.


A few usages of minor cuss words: a couple of h-words, a couple a-words, maybe one d-word.


Conor's mother has cancer or some similar illness, and takes medication and powerful drugs for it. This includes chemo (which makes her throw up and barely able to get out of bed) and a powerful experimental drug, but it's all in that medical context and NEVER glamorized. 


None.  (Conor is friends with a girl he's known since preschool, and used to be teased about being in love with her, but he isn't.) His parents are also divorced and his dad is remarried, but that is portrayed as destroying Conor's heart and thus negatively. 

Book Review:

This book.

Every time I read it, I'm overcome by the sheer amount of symbolism. The metaphors in everything. The brokenness of the characters; the mess Conor, our protagonist, gets himself into.

This is an example of a book that allows its story to carry its own weight without the unnecessary smut that Rebellious Writing is opposed to. The story is deep. While on the surface it may seem simplistic (boy's mother is terminally ill; boy doesn't want her to die) it's so much more.

The setting is all over the place: While it all technically takes place in Conor's world, his house and his grandmother's prim and proper house and his school, it doesn't stay there. The monster's stories enact new kingdoms and realms around Conor while he's still in his yard; a dreamscape is visited at one point (although what happens there is less than dreamlike); things flicker in and out of a hospital in a way that blurs into the confusion of real life when a loved one is in a bad way.

Patrick Ness is a good writer. While I haven't loved the other books of his that I've read, I bought this one without thinking twice. It's that good. While the cover initially makes it look like a horror novel, believe me, it isn't. It's a gorgeous, emotional, heart-shredding story of a boy and his mother, a boy whose dreams are threatening to destroy him, who's bottled up his grief up and refused to let it out. It resonates with me.

"Stories have power, Conor O'Malley." 

In all honesty, can I really recommend this book? Well, in terms of cleanliness, I certainly can. But I do so with a warning: It will rip your heart out. It will make you think twice about the stories you believe. And it will do so with lovely, lyrical, gorgeous writing that takes you in and doesn't allow you to realize that it's destroyed you until it has.

Read at your own risk. But read knowing that you don't have to cringe away from the page. This book, with the exception of those three or four milder curse words, is clean.

And I, for one, am incredibly glad it is. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Blazing A Trail

Following an established trail is really easy to do.

I’m a mountain biker. My favorite rides are on smooth, established single tracks. The excitement and the adrenaline rush I get from peddling such trails cannot be compared (except to writing, of course 😉). It’s incredible that there are people who create these trails. How do they do it? With shovels and rakes and repeatedly riding the new trail—it takes work. A lot of work, with little chance of success.

Think about it. When these people had set out to build a trail, initially they didn’t even know if it was going to be popular or not. They just thought they would enjoy it, but they had no idea if anyone else would. The experience would be the same for any sort of pioneer. And truly, creating a niche in writing is much the same. It’s kinda scary to blaze a new trail—whether on a mountain or on paper.


People tend to go with the crowd. They’re like a river—and the water isn’t going to randomly shoot off in a new direction and create a stream. Wherever the river goes, the rest of the water will go. And people, like the water, are more inclined to follow other people rather than go a new way.

There’s nothing wrong with that. But we shouldn’t be following something just because everyone else is. We need to think, critically think about what we’re doing and what we’re supporting.

Consider dark, gritty YA literature. It seems perhaps that many people have forgotten why they read it. Is it just because that’s what other people like? So they have to like it too?

And what about the authors writing this? Are they writing it just because it sells? While the readers are buying it just because it’s all there is on the shelves?

Either way, I believe it’s time to move away from the crowd in this regard and step out in a new direction, a direction toward clean YA literature. 


Granted, it won’t be easy. As a reader of YA, I spend hours going through reviews looking for good novels, and am usually disappointed by what I see in bookstores. Clean YA novels are few and far between. 

As a writer of YA, I understand what it must be like for the authors: writing is how they make money. If they keep writing novels that publishers reject…no money. No publication. Time to give in and change over to that gritty content so you can get published, right?

I hope not. Because if no one stands up to change YA, the cycle is going to keep going around and around, with readers settling for dark content, and writers only writing dark content. The blame isn’t on the publishers, either; some of them may want clean YA, but the writers are only writing dark YA, and that’s what sells, so…. I think you get the picture. The readers, the writers, the publishers—no one group is driving the process, but it still goes on because we’re all part of it.
And that is why readers, writers, and publishers can all stand up to break the cycle.  

Just like making that new mountain bike path, it’s going to take planning and a bit of muscle and a lot of courage to blaze a new trail. We need to see what our goal is, gain momentum, and keep the momentum going until we have a new trail. We then need people to begin going over it until—bam, the trail is used so often and no one thinks twice about using it. 

We want reading and writing clean YA to be like that. Easy to find, easy to get published, something that’s going to be around for a long time. 

Accomplishing this doesn’t involve demolishing the dark YA niche; this goal is not to destroy, but to build something else which we stand for: clean content in YA. Yes, blazing a trail is hard—whether it’s on dirt or in literature—but it will be well worth it as we create a new, smooth track, something teen readers in the future can enjoy.

~ audrey caylin ~