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Destroy Your Misconceptions of YA Novels: Illuminae

27 May


Illuminae is a rather unusual book, especially for YA. On the surface, with its bright orange cover and lettering, you might think you’re picking up a book with your typical YA story tropes and cliche characters that give it that reputation YA is known for. A glimpse at the summary might spark your interest, but even still, you might be going in thinking you’ll get something slightly edgy at best.

You would be wrong.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is one of the those books that will take all of the misconceptions you have about YA and destroy them.

Our protagonists, Kady Grant and Ezra Mason only just broke up when their home planet, Kerenza IV, was attacked. The pair are then boarded onto two different rescue ships and a series of terrifying and chaotic events begin to unfold while they try to escape the enemy ship hunting them down.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. The intensity of the plot and blend of scifi-horror elements really make this book shine. The writing is flawless and the character work in this is something to behold. As the first of a trilogy, Illuminae makes a spectacular entrance.  You can read a previous review of the novel here.

Enjoy writing?  Check out this Friday’s Writing Prompt for Fresh YA Fiction!

Written by:
Lauren Lapinski
Circulation Assistant


Writing Inspiration: Your Favorite Classic

22 May

Trigger Warning
Fan fiction is a popular activity online with whole communities of writers sharing works based on their favorite stories and films.  I have been running a weekly short story discussion through Discord where we discuss stories from Neil Gaiman’s terrific Trigger Warning collection (we have some really great discussions so you should join us if you are available on Friday afternoons) and some of our favorites are stories that have been inspired by other works such as “The Case of Death and Honey” featuring Sherlock Holmes or “Nothing O’Clock” set in the world of Dr Who, which we are discussing today at 2 O’Clock.

For Today’s Writing Prompt think of your favorite classic story (no longer in copyright means you don’t have to worry about intellectual property issues that pop up if you want to publish your piece).  What could have happened if the story had been set in a different time period or was told from a different character’s perspective?  An example of this would be Wicked, told from the perspective of the “Wicked” Witch from The Wizard of Oz.  Maybe you didn’t like the end of a story and you want to give it a “better” one.  Maybe a romance should have happened that did not.  Perhaps as your story unfolds it will lead to something more original and you will find your own characters or world lurking in the works of your favorite author’s.

This is a fun prompt for poets too.  I’ve written several poems inspired by other poets including one inspired by “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” by Wallace Stevens.

Gaiman says in the opening to Trigger Warning, “Writers live in houses other people built…[those who] built Speculative Fiction, always leaving the building unfinished so the people who came by after they were gone could put on another room, or another story.”

If you love Gaiman’s work as much as I do, check out our next post on Monday about Coraline.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Information and Digital Services


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