Books, Books, and More Books: A Look at Young Adult Lit

I know I can focus on bad television and fashion most of the time, but I am an avid reader. I love reading! There is nothing better to me than having a big chunk of time to just sit and get lost in a book. I could talk endlessly about all the different types of books I love and why, but today, I want to focus on young adult novels. There are so many amazing books out there, but if I can influence you with even just one, I’ll consider it a success! We all know about the obvious choices: Hunger Games, Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars, Stay With Me, HARRY POTTER SERIES (note that is in caps), but I want to recommend the not so obvious.

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I’m going to start with Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.This was one of my favorites. This is not your typical “boy-meets-girl, they fall head over heels” story. It is complicated. And let’s just say, not a love-at-first-sight eleanor and parkstory. It follows the lives of Park and Eleanor, teens living in the same small town. Both of the protagonists feel like they don’t quite fit in, though they are part of very different groups. They form a strange “friendship” to start and build from there. My favorite line from the book reads “‘I wanted to break that song in to pieces,’ she said ‘and love them all to death.’” Throughout, Rowell uses music to punctuate the story. You’re sucked in before you even realize.  The story can get a bit heavy, but the fantastic writing and relatable characters make it well worth your time.

As sweet and vulnerable as Eleanor and Park is, I wanted to go down a bit of a weirder path with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Sixteen-year-old Jacob becomes shaken up by the sudden death of his grandfather. He and his father go to a remote island to visit the orphanage in which his grandfather was raised. Jacob grew up listening to stories his grandfather told, and soon finds out those stories may have more truth than he ever imagined. At one point, he muses “I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.”

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I’ll finish with The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Protagonist Charlie is chartering his way through the early stages of high school. He’s not sure where he fits in, or if he does at all. He gets befriended by some quirky seniors who help him see that everyone is soul searching, and not always very successfully. My favorite line is “we acperkscept the love we think we deserve.” Though romance is involved, this isn’t a love story, but one of self awareness and acceptance. There are emotional twists and turns throughout that will leave you sad, shocked, and captivated.

All of these books are vastly different story lines, but all make you find something within yourself—strength, romance, pain—and help you work through it. Or at the very least, make you feel not so alone.

So PLEASE, any Young Adult literature that you found profound, TELL US! I want to know likes, dislikes, reviews. Anything you have to say about some YA lit.

College: Just a Decision that Can Impact Your Entire Life…

Well Seniors, this one is for you. You’re at a scary point where you are forced to decide what to do with the rest of your lives. The pressure is on, everyone asks you what your plans are after graduation. Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? Stay in state or leave? The questions seem never-ending as does the pressure. Here is the good news from a fellow worrier: It’s not that serious.  You’re going to make mistakes along the way, it is to be expected when planning the next four years of your life. I’m here to offer some pearls of wisdom as you plan the next step (Disclaimer: These are completely based on experience)!

1) It’s okay to not have it all figured out. Look, I know you have the pressure to go to college and know what you are doing, but that also takes time. Apply to a lot of colleges, both near and far, and see what happens! Or, if you think the military or some time off is more your route, that is okay too! There isn’t shame in that, just start forming some sort of plan that gives you options for your future.

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2) It’s okay to get rejected.  You could have a perfect school in mind. It’s the place for you, you just need to be accepted! And then, you don’t…Guess what? It’s okay! That means it just wasn’t meant to be. I transferred at the end of rejectionmy freshman year back to a state school in Vermont. While in high school, I SWORE I wouldn’t go to a state school and it ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me. The truth is, you’ll get an education no matter where you go, so make the most of it!

3)It’s okay to have your own plan. Say you do get in to your “dream” school, or the school where your parents and grandparents all went, but you wake up and realize you don’t want to be there. As scary and pressure filled as that seems, it is okay to go your own way. The thing about college is it’s the first decision you get to really make for yourself. It starts prepping you for the myriad decisions you’ll have to  make about your life from here on out. Go with what feels right!

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4) It’s okay to have no plan. Everyone will ask you what you want to study, and many of you will have an idea, which is great! But it doesn’t mean that’s what you have to do. I declared majors three times before finding the right one for me. When I found it, all things just clicked. When you have to take worried futureclasses that all focus on one study of education, you’ll know if you want it or not. That doesn’t mean they will be easy for you, but if you like what you’re learning and you see the benefits of working hard, you’ve probably chosen the right thing. It isn’t that you don’t have a plan, you just don’t have a plan YET.

5) It’s okay to make some mistakes. The final thing to remember is its okay to admit you chose the wrong major  or even the wrong college! You can declare a different major and you can transfer schools. Of course that would be a process, but it isn’t insurmountable. Mistakes are how we all learn, and forcing yourself to stay in a major or college that isn’t for you only makes it worse for you in the end. So don’t run away scared, it will come together, I promise.

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Remember seniors, college will be hard and it will be scary, but it will also be amazing. You’ll study the subjects you want and meet people who are so much like you, you never even knew it was possible. Once you get through the hard part of deciding and leaving, it gets better!

Have any of you applied? Had a hard time? Can’t decide where to  go? Let us know! We love to discuss!