As anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock knows, Pokemon Go has exploded! The app is literally everywhere, with millions joining in on the fun. And what better way to capitalize on the fan base than a book tag? Though I don’t Pokemon myself, the prompts Read at Midnight wrote were just too good to ignore. I had to answered them! If you ever wondered what book I would compare to the likes of Pikachu, Zubat, Ditto, etc., read on. Also go ahead and check out tag/graphic creator Aentee’s blog while you’re at it. But without further ado, let’s cut to the books!
Dear America series by Assorted
I really got into reading the summer before third grade, thanks in large part to Scholastic’s Dear America series. It was the first time I’d heard of such a genre, and a love for history soon bloomed into an obsession with historical fiction. Despite an effort to reimagine the ‘90’s/early 2000’s book collection, the stories have been mostly lost in modern libraries. And this, I think, is very unfortunate. If Pokemon can see a revival, why not my childhood favorite series? They have so much to offer young readers; from richly imagined historical settings, to spunky and eclectic characters. It’s these tales that will get kids invested in learning about the past. Implement them in social studies, implement them in language arts, implement them anywhere an enduring children’s series is needed! In particular, some favorites of mine included: A Coal Miner’s Bride by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Dreams in the Golden Country by Kathryn Lasky, and One Eye Laughing the Other Weeping by Barry Denenberg.
– The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Similar to how Dear America spurred my love for reading, The Hunger Games trilogy is what really got me into YA. Are they the best written books out there? Probably not, but nevertheless I can’t deny their iconic appeal and nostalgia factor. Years from now, when I think about what I was reading circa 2016, I guarantee you this modern classic will come to mind. It’s the face of dystopia (only the biggest genre trend of 2010 onward), and coupled with the movie franchise, it’s had a drastic impact on all levels of fiction. Known by all, loved by many, THG perfectly encapsulates an era; much like the Pokemon character I chose to represent it. Though you may not get excited seeing one on the streets, I can guarantee it’s the face of a very broad fanbase. So give a shoutout to our bookish Pikachu’s today, be it THG, Harry Potter, or Twilight.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Alberatelli
When Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda hit shelves in summer 2015, I instantly added it to my TBR. It was well received among YA contemporary lovers, and I had to know what all the hype was about. Except, as I often do, I just kept putting it off. And off. And off. Until Becky Alberatelli’s debut hit fever pitch popularity; flying off the shelves of all genre connoisseurs. I could not read a blog wrap-up or vlog haul without seeing it’s adorable red cover pop up. To top that, Simon’s tale was receiving insanely high reviews. Many laureling it as THE gay pride book of a post- gay marriage era. You might think that would spur me to pick it up stat, right? Nah, if anything it made me less inclined to do so. It’s not like I had been spoiled or anything, but I just had no inclination to read it at all. I no longer felt any opinion I came up with would be unique, ot adding anything new to a bucket of thousands (horrible, I know, but the truth). And thus, the story of why I’ll be checking out Albertelli’s The Upside of Unrequited as soon as it hits shelves.
First & Then by Emma Mills
First & Then is a retelling of the original YA romance, Pride & Prejudice. As such it should come as no surprise that the former is chock full of genre tropes. Hapless heroine? Check. Brooding love interest? Check. Pointless melodrama and hijinks? Double check. Yet Emma Mills still managed to present all this in a not only hilarious, but relatable, manner. Devon never came across as a vapid stand in for characterization, but a person facing serious crossroads in their life. Ezra, while occasionally pompous, is more often an ideal romantic counterpart to Devon. The miscommunications in their life? Well, that just allowed me to spend more time in the world. Everything about this story should be something I hate, yet Mills infused each scene with a dose of invigoration. She taught an old dog new tricks, crafting an inclusion to the genre I’d be happy to see more of.
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
I’m a huge fan of the Tom Hanks movie of the same name, and have waited nearly as long to read the source material. However, because of the sheer length of Cloud Atlas, I just keep putting it off. Besides being a very dense 509 pages, it’s also considered an adult book. Typically that wouldn’t be a big deal, but that’s a lot of time to commit to a “genre” I rarely read. I have a huge bookish fear of investing all this time in a story, only to realize halfway through I hate it. In defense of Mr. Mitchell’s book though, it’s divided into many smaller, interconnected stories. So maybe that would feel like I’m reading many shorter novels? In any case, I defer to my fellow longbookphobes. What do you do when a book is outside of your designated “page safe zone”? Forge ahead without abandon? Stay in the safe zone? I need a second opinion.
The Girl with the Wrong Name by Barnabas Miller
The Girl with the Wrong Name doesn’t get nearly enough love, and that in itself is a tragedy for fiction lovers. Though the story has several fabulous facets, its fire-hot, fast paced plot is what really sucked me in. Taking place over a week; there’s no time to waste, and Barnabas Miller gets right into the mystery at hand. From there things never let up, quickly jumping from one storyline to the next. All the while threads are being pulled together, orchestrated into a conclusion that’ll send your jaw to the ground. Needless to say, I could not put this book down! There’s such a huge draw to solve each question Miller raises, that over time readers will lose sight of the bigger picture. This makes things all the more shocking, when a climax greater than I ever imagined is revealed. One of the mystery/thriller genre’s greatest gems, do not overlook if you’re a fan of books with the word ‘girl’ in the cover 😉
American Girls by Alison Umminger
This book though, guys. It was my first 5 star read for 2k16, and as such I’m a little partial. However it’s just so amazing! And the best part? I never expected to love it the way I do. The cover is more Keeping Up with the Kardashians than ‘intense reflection on society’, but looks can be deceiving. This story just combines all the aspects I would hope to include in a novel; from great characters and a fascinating setting, to a very insightful and introspective message. I could go on and on here, but instead I’ll leave the link to my review. All my thoughts summed up in a (more lengthy) nutshell.
I have too many anticipated debuts. Here they are by publication: Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia, Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow, Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill, Caraval by Stephanie Garber, Wait for Me by Caroline Leech, and the list goes on.
What do you guys think of this tag? My answers to the prompts? Let me know in the comments!