Should novel length fanfiction count towards your Goodreads goal?

fanfiction

I have always loved reading fan fiction so I can stay in a book world I love longer, to follow the characters’ lives or just see how other fans interpret and expand the book. There have been an ongoing argument on Goodreads on whether or not fanfiction should be added and counted on Goodreads as a book.

I recently finished a novel length Harry Potter next-generation fan fiction. It was better written than a lot of novels I’ve read, a good size (would be at least 300 pages if put to paper), and had a complex story expanding on the ideas in Cursed Child (here is the link if you’re interested, I thought it was fantastic). So my question obviously is, can I count this towards my Goodreads goal?

I know as book bloggers, there are what we call real books which are published books and then there are other reading material that aren’t published books. But there’s also the fact that there are many fan fiction that are published books: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro, even Harry Potter and the Cursed Child since it wasn’t written by Rowling. So if a printed fan fiction can count as a book, does that mean all fan fiction can count as a book? (I am speaking specifically of novel length fan fiction, short ones obviously do not count).

What’s your take on this? Do you think long fan fiction should count towards your Goodreads goal?

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Review: “Saints and Misfits” by S.K Ali

31123249Rating: 

4 stars

Saints and Misfits is an unforgettable debut novel that feels like a modern day My So-Called Life…starring a Muslim teen.

How much can you tell about a person just by looking at them?

Janna Yusuf knows a lot of people can’t figure out what to make of her…an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and sometime graphic novelist is not exactly easy to put into a box.

And Janna suddenly finds herself caring what people think. Or at least what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Or they shouldn’t date. Or won’t? Janna is still working all this out.

While her heart might be leading her in one direction, her mind is spinning in others. She is trying to decide what kind of person she wants to be, and what it means to be a saint, a misfit, or a monster. Except she knows a monster…one who happens to be parading around as a saint…Will she be the one to call him out on it? What will people in her tightknit Muslim community think of her then?

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and NoblesArrowSaints and Misfits quoteTrigger Warning: attempted rape, stalking

Saints and Misfits is a great start to the road for more YA contemporaries with Muslim main characters. The plot is of a typical YA contemporary about finding your voice and overcoming a past trauma. There are many things the book does well and I applaud the author for trying to educate people on what Islam is actually like.

The main character Janna is a fifteen year old, Muslim hijabi teen in the United States. She is kind-hearted and faithful. She tries to balance her religion with a typical high school experience and it was interesting to see what she does to not have to compromise one for the other (sometimes unsuccessfully). The book does a good job in highlighting that people aren’t perfect; Janna makes many mistakes in this novel but she is only fifteen and is still trying to figure herself out.

My heart went out to Janna for what she has experienced with Farooq. Farooq is one of her best friend’s cousin, he attempted to rape her and then continued to stalk her in the book. He is highly respected in their community and Janna is too intimidated by his reputation to report him.

Although I liked Janna just fine, I wasn’t in love with her. She seemed immature at times and her crush on Jeremy often deterred her from seeing the big picture. It makes sense because she’s so young but it did throw me off of loving her character.

Janna’s parents are divorced – she lives with her single mother in an apartment. Her father lives in another state and is married with two sons. The social stigma that comes with divorce in a Muslim society is briefly touched upon but isn’t given much detail.

The side characters all played a role in trying to represent all types of Muslims but sometimes it felt like that was all they were there for. The ending did little to resolve their stories and left a lot of questions unanswered. I wish we got to spend more time with the side characters and had more glimpses of their personalities. But I understand that’s not always easy to do with a first person narrative.

Overall this book was enjoyable and the representation was on point.

Have you read this? Do you have it on your tbr list?

Diverse Characters Monday #3 – Samirah Al-Abbas

Oooh, it’s been over a week! There goes my goal to post every week. Before I start, I changed my theme you guys! The last one I had, I liked well enough but the heading was huge and it started bothering me.

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Diverse Characters Mondays is my self hosted weekly meme celebrating my favorite diverse characters. This meme was created to get myself to post more frequently with a topic I am interested in. Posting memes always help me get out of a blogging slump, especially since I haven’t been posting Diversity Spotlight Thursday posts as frequently anymore.

If you’re not familiar with “diverse” characters (which I’m sure most of you are), they are basically a character who is not a white allocishet and able person (note that this is in no way a definite definition of a diverse character and feel free to comment or email me if you think I need to add/change anything). 

If anyone wants to participate, please do! If you do decide to do this, leave the link to your post down below and I’d love to check it out! Your post can be as long or as short as you like.


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Samirah Al-Abbas

The Magnus Chase trilogy by Rick Riordan

Rick Riordan has been really good at writing some strong and wonderful diverse characters. Samirah al-Abbas from the Magnus Chase trilogy is brown (Arab-American), a Muslim hijabi, and betrothed (and very happily so). She’s also an axe wielding Valkrye, a shapeshifter and her hijab acts as an invisibility cloak.

I always love seeing Muslim main characters in mainstream books, especially ones who are well developed. Samirah is raised by her grandparents and she respects them immensely and always feels guilty when lying to them about being a Valkrye.

She has faced prejudice from her peers almost all her life, in the real world for being Muslim and in the Norse world for being a child of Loki. But despite that, she’s kind and always tries to do the right thing.

Riordan also explores a healthy and happy arranged marriage through Samirah and Amir Fadlan. They’re both adorable as a couple and are both on the same page when it comes to getting married. Because arranged marriages are usually considered a stigma in western society, I think it’s important for kids to understand that they aren’t always forced.

Have you read the Magnus Chase trilogy? What do you think of Samirah?

Bollywood Book Tag – SRK Edition (Original)

So if you’ve been around for a little while, you probably know I love Bollywood movies, especially ones that involve Shah Rukh Khan. So a few days ago, I was talking to one of my best friends in real life who blogs over @ Empire of Starlight and we decided to create our own Bollywood book tags. Check out her Bollywood Book Tag: Song Edition (she doesn’t post often so it’s kind of a miracle when she does).

Anyway, on to my very own, Bollywood Book Tag – SRK Edition.

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Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge – Favorite Classic

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Lizzie Bennett is the perfect protagonist, she’s smart and witty and always unapologetically herself.

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Kuch Kuch Hota Hai – Favorite Romance

I am not big into romance? But out of the few I’ve read, I’d definitely have to pick The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. Natasha and Daniel are a great pair and I was rooting for them from the first chapter.

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Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham – Great in All Aspects

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Need I say more? Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom are both wonderful beyond wonderful books and have ruined YA Fantasy for me.

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Kal Ho Naa Ho – Favorite Love Triangle

Obviously The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. Will, Jem and Tessa are the ultimate love triangle. All three of them love and care for each other. I love their individual relationships as well as them as a group.

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Chak De India – Favorite Girl Power Book

YA is pretty good at publishing girl power books so there are lots to choose from. I’m going to say An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. I think this series is very good at highlighting all the ways a girl can be powerful. Helene is a trained fighter, Laia is more patient and intelligent, the Commandant is ruthless and unforgiving, Izzy is kind and loyal.

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Dilwale – Biggest Disappointment

I’ve had quite a few disappointments, especially from book that are superhyped but I didn’t end up liking. But there are two books that have disappointed me beyond measure: Allegiant by Veronica Roth and Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan. I expected so much more from the ending of both of those series but alas, it didn’t work out.

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Main Hoon Na – Favorite Action Book

A recent favorite would be A Gathering of Shadows by V.E Schwab. I love, love LOVE magical duels and sword fights, especially magical dueling contests.

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My Name is Khan – Favorite Controversial Book

A book that covers a controversial topic is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas which talks about the Black Lives Matter campaign. THUG is probably the best book I’ve read all year and I encourage everyone to read it if you haven’t already.


I Tag You

Diverse Characters Monday #2 – Starr Carter

Diverse Characters Mondays tpbg

Diverse Characters Mondays is my self hosted weekly meme celebrating my favorite diverse characters. This meme was created to get myself to post more frequently with a topic I am interested in. Posting memes always help me get out of a blogging slump, especially since I haven’t been posting Diversity Spotlight Thursday posts as frequently anymore.

If you’re not familiar with “diverse” characters (which I’m sure most of you are), they are basically a character who is not a white allocishet able person. Most of the books I’ve read the past year have been diverse books and I will continue to do so because I tend to enjoy them more.

If anyone wants to participate, please feel free to! If you do decide to do this, leave the link to your post down below and I’d love to check it out! Your post can be as long or as short as you like.


Hate U Give quote

Starr Carter

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Starr Carter is a black teenage girl who lives in a rundown, mostly black neighborhood but goes to a majority white private school. Because of that, she has a unique perspective when it comes to both places and she often feels like she doesn’t belong or that she has to change her personality depending on where she is.

“I always said that if I saw it happen to somebody, I would have the loudest voice, making sure the world knew what went down. Now I am that person, and I’m too afraid to speak.” 

Starr is a witness to her friend getting shot and killed by a white police officer. The police officer then turns the gun on her and Starr is unbelievably calm on the outside because she has been trained for moments like this. As the book says, black children often get “the police talk”: what to do if a police officer pulls them over. This entire situation is heartbreaking because Starr technically did everything right, everything she was taught, but it wasn’t enough.

Starr’s story follows what happens in that moment and afterwards. Starr is obviously stunned and she doesn’t know what to do after the ordeal. She takes her time to find her voice and the fact that she did is a feat in itself.

Because of everything Starr has been through, she has had to grow up fast and can seem older than she is. But her geeky side reminds you that she’s just another sixteen year old girl: she loves Harry Potter, High School Musical and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. And because of that, it’s even sadder that she’s been through so much.

“I can’t change where I come from or what I’ve been through, so why should I be ashamed of what makes me, me?” 

Starr is just phenomenal. She is persistent, she stands up against racism and she keeps fighting and resisting even when facing a bleak reality.

Have you read The Hate U Give? What do you think of Starr?

 

Review: “Words in Deep Blue” by Cath Crowley

31952703Rating:
5 stars

Love lives between the lines.

Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction, and the escape. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore. She can’t see her future.

Henry’s future isn’t looking too promising, either. His girlfriend dumped him. The bookstore is slipping away. And his family is breaking apart.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & NoblesArrow

“We are the books we read and the things we love.”

Wow. I am stunned.

From afar, Words in Deep Blue may look like yet another book about anonymous letter writing and people magically finding lost notes but Cath Crowley’s take on this trope was unique and perfect. She turned the concept into a beautiful and heartbreaking story. The book deals with depression, loss of a family member, and grief. But also of hope, love and friendship.

Rachel returns to the city she grew up in about a year after her brother Cal drowned in an accident. She is reacquainted with her old best friends (one of them being Henry, the guy she had a huge crush on) but she hasn’t told anyone her brother. Rachel starts to slowly ease back into the lives of her former friends. She has a lot of memories in the town of her brother and it takes her time to sort them out.

Henry is also in the middle of a family disaster. His girlfriend just dumped him again. And it also seems like his family would be losing their second hand bookstore: Henry’s favorite place in the world. Rachel starts to work at their store once she moves back into town and they start to mend their relationship little by little. I liked both Henry and Rachel and I was rooting for them.

The side characters were all great and never felt one-dimensional. Henry’s family members were all dynamic characters. Did I mention his parents are actually a present part of the plot? I know it’s rare but it happens. I hope we get more parental presence in YA books in the future. Henry’s sister was probably my favorite character. I loved how different the two of them were and yet always looked after each other.

Sometimes I fall in love with characters, sometimes the plot, rarely the setting. But I have to say, if I could live in a book, I would choose this one solely because of the precious book store. The way the bookstore is described is every reader’s dreamland. The idea of the Letter Library especially was brilliant. (The Letter Library is a section of the store dedicated to people leaving letters for each other in the books). I loved reading the letters the characters would write to each other, the little highlighted quotes and passages. Years and years of people’s history on the margins of second hand books is a lovely concept to think about.

“Sometimes science isn’t enough. Sometimes you need the poets.”

I also fell in love with Crowley’s beautiful writing. She puts an emphasis on the power of words in the story and her writing is fully up to par with her theme. The book is just so quotable but never seems like it’s trying too hard.

Because I don’t want this review to have half the book written on it, I will refrain from writing down my favorite quotes (which basically consists of half the book). All in all, Words in Deep Blue made me cry (a lot) and it also made me laugh quite a bit and that’s the best reaction a book can give you.

Have you read this or are planning to?

Diverse Characters Monday #1 – Inej Ghafa

Diverse Characters Mondays tpbg

Diverse books are important and what makes them important stories to tell are the characters they spotlight. And because I always love gushing about my darling diverse characters, I have decided to make it a weekly thing. Diverse Characters Mondays will be my self hosted weekly meme celebrating my favorite diverse characters. Posting memes always help me get out of a blogging slump, especially since I haven’t been posting Diversity Spotlight Thursday posts as frequently anymore.  I’m creating this to get myself to post more frequently with a topic I am interested in.

If you’re not familiar with “diverse” characters (which I’m sure most of you are), they are basically a character who is not a white allocishet able person. Most of the books I’ve read the past year have been diverse books and I will continue to do so because I tend to enjoy them more.

If anyone wants to participate, please feel free to! If you do decide to do this, leave the link to your post down below and I’d love to check it out! Your post can be as long or as short as you like.


Inej Ghafa

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Inej Ghafa
I couldn’t find the source for this aesthetic but I thought it captured Inej very well

Besides, she was the Wraith – the only law that applied to her was gravity, and some days she defied that, too.

What better way to start this off then one of my all time favorite characters: Inej Ghafa from the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo. Inej is a brown (she would be South Asian in our world) acrobat who is kidnapped and sold to a brothel at age fourteen. After her indenture was bought by the Dregs, she becomes a spy for the gang, their “spider”. She becomes one of the most dangerous people in the city, someone who can never be caught again. She came to be known as The Wraith.

Inej is a complex character with her own set of values that she never compromises. In difficult times, she always remembers the lessons her parents have taught her when she was young and takes strength from them.

 But I’ll die on my feet with a knife in my hand.”

Inej is a warrior. She’s brave and strong. Her time in the Menagerie could have dissuaded her from trying to do right but it didn’t. She had to fight to survive but she also knew there were lines you couldn’t cross.

 “No, Kaz,” she’d said, “the trick is in getting back up.” 

Inej is unyielding in her optimism. She looks to her Saints for guidance and strength and she believes in them wholeheartedly. Her faith in her Saints never falter, not even after all the tragic situations she has been through.

(MINOR SPOILERS FOR THE DUOLOGY AHEAD)

 “I will have you without armour, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.”

Inej knows what she deserves and she will not settle for anything less. She knew it wasn’t enough for Kaz to ask her to stay, not if he wasn’t willing to actively try and overcome his past. She also knew it wasn’t her job to fix him, help him yes but not fix him. She respects herself enough to say no until Kaz does his part. She doesn’t lose her sense of self and to me, that’s her greatest trait.

Other honorary points: 

  • Inej and Nina’s friendship is one of those rare awesome female friendships in YA and it’s beautiful
  • Her friendship with Jesper is also great
  • Inej is actually pronounced Inn-ezh? For the longest time I thought it was Inn-edge

DO YOU LOVE INEJ? WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE SIX OF CROWS CHARACTER?