I find myself fascinated by the horror genre. It often feels like there’s no middle ground in any media produced, print or film. Either it’s an absolute masterpiece, or an absolute trainwreck. I do enjoy my fair share of terrible horror films, watching them with friends and laughing at the failed jumpscares, lack of suspense, and terrible acting. However, I also enjoy good horror movies, and I’ve been on a bit of a kick of horror fiction at the moment. I’ve just finished Let the Right One in and Cabin At the End of the World, and while neither of them were my absolute favourite books, they were both pretty solid reads that sure had a psychological impact. It’s undeniable that society has a fascination with the macabre, as I wrote about in my post on true crime, but why do we enjoy being scared so much?
I love YA fiction as much as the next blogger. A good portion, if not the majority, of the books I read are YA, and I have absolutely no problems with that. My criticisms don’t come from a sense of shame or guilt. As someone who loves to see things they care about flourish and improve, I think there are some recurring tropes within the genre that can be really harmful and aren’t really talked about enough. I’ve previously written about some of my views on YA fiction, and I’m going to touch on another issue today: the portrayal of romance. A lot of people have mentioned problematic aspects of individual relationships, and even abusive relationships as a trend, but the representation of romance in YA as a whole, even when those relationships are fairly healthy, is overall a bit of a problem. These attitudes and issues aren’t problems exclusive to YA, but they’re certainly particularly prevalent, and can cause a lot more harm to young people internalising problematic views. When fairytale romance is all you see, it can become hard to figure out what real-life love can and should look like.
I have a brief life update/announcement (as you will have seen if you follow me on twitter, which very few people do) to make before I actually get into this review properly: I’ve been accepted into my first choice masters degree!!!! I’ll be studying a Master of Publishing and Communications, which I’m really excited about! I’ve been looking at subjects and planning it all out and I’m super duper excited so excuse me while I scream for about a thousand years.
Anyway, now I’ve yelled into the void I’ll get to actually talking about the stuff you’re here for: books. One book in particular, today.
Amelia Westlake by Erin Gough follows Harriet Price and Will Everheart, two students at the prestigious Rosemead Grammar with radically different backgrounds and attitudes. Despite their differences, together they invent a persona called Amelia Westlake to challenge issues within the school. Romance happens, trouble happens, and I had a great time reading it.
I haven’t been around on WordPress as much the past week or two, so I thought I’d make a quick post about why I’ve been so busy recently. I mentioned in my review of One of Us Is Lying that I was away for a few days, and that’s part of it – a friend I met at Edinburgh uni (who is from Croatia) has come over for a few weeks, and I’ve been doing stuff with them rather than talking about books on the internet. Weird priorities, right?
I’m currently away for a few days so this isn’t going to be a long post, but I wanted to just post a quick review while I could actually remember what happened in this book – it’s been out for a little while, but I finally got around to reading it.
Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.
I feel like just about every time I see someone enjoying something even remotely indulgent, it’s referred to as a guilty pleasure, and the person enjoying it often feels the need to justify it as some sort of lapse in judgement or taste. Fiction is no exception: the entire genre of YA is sometimes dismissed as such.