Hello, and welcome to my list of the best YA books of the year, covering 2014 releases! Keep in mind that as voracious a reader as I am, I cannot possibly read all the YA books released in a year, so I'm probably missing out on some good ones. These recommendations are all 4.5+ star reads in my eyes. I hope you enjoy them!
Next time, I'll be doing my annual roundup of the best YA books released in 2014. In line with that, I wanted to also do a review of the YA book-to-movie adaptations of 2014! There were so many this year. If this influx continues, this may also become an annual post. For right now: here are my thoughts on the movies adapted from YA books this year.
Divergent is the first in a planned four-movie set based off of the YA sci-fi dystopian series by Veronica Roth and starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James.
Before this year, YA book-movies were hit-or-miss for me. It seemed like only the major blockbuster phenomena like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games were any good. The adaptation of Ender's Game last year surprised me by actually being quite well-done, but I considered that a fluke.
So I decided to see Divergent this year kind of reluctantly and mostly because a) everyone else was seeing it and b) my mom had also read it and was coming to pick me up from BYU - Idaho while the movie was in theaters. We watched it together, and I was floored. The movie does a fantastic job of adapting the book, and Shailene Woodley, whom I'd been sort of worried about, portrays Tris in an honest and emotional way. The scene where (spoiler, highlight to see) Tris's mother dies just killed me.
This one is therefore a thumbs up. I'll definitely be seeing the next movie in the series, although I have some worries because of how the book series ended. That's a different topic. (For thoughts that are pretty close to my own, see this post by Julia.)
Today, I'm doing a holiday-themed Day in the Life post! I'm posting pictures taken approximately every hour throughout this Christmas Eve, as I did in a previous Day in the Life post--except, you know, on Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas to you all!
I've finally been discharged from counseling for my OCD, and I'm in a better place mentally and emotionally than I could have ever imagined before this. With the semester ended and me returning home, I'm ready to publicly share my OCD story. This will be a general overview of the journey I've been through thus far with my mental health, similar to my post on having fibromyalgia.
Because this is a mental illness, it's a lot more personal and harder to talk about than the fibromyalgia, but I believe it's important to speak up about mental illness in order to help reduce the stigma and show other sufferers that they're not alone. I will therefore do my best to be accurate, although I'm sure I still have plenty to learn about myself and my illness! Whether you have similar issues or not, I hope this helps you in some way.. Thank you for reading. 💜
Content Warning: Suicidal thoughts, compulsive self-injury, body image issues
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce fear or worry (obsessions) and by repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing the associated anxiety (compulsions).
-- via Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I've had the hallmarks of an anxious personality since I was very little. As a child, I was bossy, stubborn, and driven by a desperate need for both reassurance from others and control over my own life. Adults often described me as "high-strung" or "moody." My first ballet teacher said that I was "the only three-year-old she knew who PMSed."
As someone who now has a fair amount of experience with counselors, I've been noticing how in YA novels, when a teen goes to see a counselor, they're usually not a very good counselor. Often referred to as "a shrink," they take lots of notes and say things like "How does that make you feel?" They sometimes have the character lie on a couch while talking to them. All of this is a weird stereotype that doesn't fit my experience.
When you have a mental illness, counseling is often the primary form of treatment. I could not have made it through the past year without counseling. It's improved my life immensely! So of course I worry that the way YA books portray counseling makes it harder for teens to get the help they need.
I've worked with five different counselors long-term, and there are both good and bad ones out there. It's important to know that so you can put in the work to find a good one. They do exist, despite their lack of representation in YA literature. Today I thought I'd talk a bit about my experience with finding the right counselors to treat my OCD.
The first counselor I ever saw, our elementary school counselor, was indeed a bad one. I was first sent to this counselor in fourth grade because of a phobia that I'd developed concurrent to my OCD. (None of this was diagnosed at the time.) She tried some weird role-playing and lectured me about not letting my fears interfere with my education. That was it. She could have made a huge difference in my life if she had referred me to a regular counselor or the school district's psychiatrist. It would even have helped if she had just told me that there was a word for what I was suffering from. But she didn't. I had to educate myself about phobias and deal with the fear by myself. A couple of years later, I sought her out about a different problem, as discussed in my last post, which didn't go well either.
Hi, everyone! Before we get to today's post, a bit of business: the Ch1Con Indiegogo campaign ends tomorrow. Please donate to support our endeavors and get some awesome perks!
Today, I'm participating in this month's Teens Can Write, Too! blog chain. (Check out last month's blog chain here!) The prompt for December is "What works of fiction have taught you by example, and what did they teach you?"
I've always adored books, but I'm not sure I realized how much I relied on them until I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in high school. My grieving process was worsened significantly by what I felt was a betrayal of the book industry--after months of searching, I still couldn't find any novels about teens who were sick like me. That made me feel incredibly unmoored and alone. That's also when I started to see how much books had been doing for me without me even realizing it.
Stories, especially those told in book form, make up the foundation of my life. They act as references, compasses, connections, escapes. I've learned so much from them, and yet it's hard to think of anything specific I can connect back to any specific book. Most of what I've learned has been integrated into my knowledge base so integrally and so unconsciously that it seems like I've always known it. I'm sure that my empathy has been bolstered by what I've read, as has my vocabulary. I'm constantly throwing out facts that I've picked up without noticing it. I can also name many fictional characters I've tried to channel in the moments when I've felt weakest. They have all been examples to me, and my own novel-writing has been key to me working through my biggest challenges and questions..
Hellooooo and welcome to our December humor post! I go home in a couple of weeks, after finals, and will be there until Spring semester, which starts in April. In the meantime, I am struggling through the end-of-the-semester crunch. Eugh.
Please enjoy this post!
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