Top Ten Tuesday: Books I want my future children to read

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today’s theme is ten books I want my future children to read and rather than write about the various board books that I’ve read to my nephew and my friends’ children, or write about the middle grade books I loved back in the day, I thought I’d talk about ten issue-driven YA novels that would help expand their horizons without being too preachy.


If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo: A reminder that something as simple as using the correct pronouns and treating someone like a human being can make all the difference.
What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler: A reminder to speak up – especially when it’s hard – if you see something that shouldn’t be happening.
The Tyrant’s Daughter by J.C. Carleson: A reminder that not all members of a region or a religion are the same and to keep an open mind.


The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin: A reminder that it’s okay to fail as long as you pick yourself back up and keep going.
The List by Siobhan Vivian: A reminder that words and jokes can hurt and to be careful with what you say.


Cherry by Lindsey Rosin: A reminder that it’s okay to do what you want with your own body as long as everything is consensual and you’re being safe.
A List of Cages by Robin Roe: A reminder to always be kind because you never know what’s going on behind closed doors.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: A reminder that racism is alive and well in this country and it’s up to us to consciously fight it.


Made You Up by Francesca Zappia: A reminder to actively fight the mental illness stigma rather than feeding into it.
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray: A reminder that teenage girls are strong and powerful and can do anything that they set their minds to.

If you had to choose ten books that you’d want to pass along to your future children, what would they be?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that feature neurodivergent characters

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!  Today’s theme is ten books that feature ___ characters, and I thought I’d deviate away from my norm for once.  I know that I usually write about really great romances or my favorite tropes or upcoming debuts that I’m really looking forward to.  Instead of the fluffy stuff, I thought that today I’d go for the heavy-hitting ten books that feature neurodivergent characters.

Representation is so important in literature, and I think it’s great that authors are making a conscious effort be more inclusive.  The ten books below include characters with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, eating disorders, PTSD, and more.

If you’re interested in seeing my reviews for these books, navigate over to my review organization page!

⭐ Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
⭐ Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
⭐ The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

⭐ Some Sort of Happy by Melanie Harlow
⭐ A List of Cages by Robin Roe
⭐ More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
⭐ All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

⭐ We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
⭐ The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland by Rebekah Crane
⭐ Long Way Down by Krista & Becca Ritchie

If you had to make a list of ten books featuring characters with a certain characteristic, what would it be?

Top Ten Tuesday: Best of 2016

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!  It’s already the last one of 2016!  Today’s theme is the best of 2016.  I read a lot of great books this year, so rather than agonize over which ones to include, I’m using this as a general overview of my favorites.  In early 2017, I’ll have a more detailed list available for you, broken down by genre.

Below are Goodreads links for all titles included in the graphics:

[since you’ve been gone] [koreatown] [are you there god? it’s me margaret]
[what we saw] [the unexpected everything] [lured in] [you know me well]
[me before you] [some kind of perfect] [made you up]

What were your favorites of 2016?

Book review: Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

Goodreads   Amazon

I have been wanting to read this book for awhile now, and luckily for me, it was finally not checked out at my library!  I thought I’d like it.  It sounded like something I might enjoy.  I didn’t expect to fall head-over-heels in love with it.

Alex is a teenage girl suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.  She experiences delusions and hallucinations and often relies on her trusty digital camera to help her decipher what’s real and what she’s made up in her head.  After an unfortunate incident involving spray paint and the gym floor at her old high school, she heads off to East Shoal High School for her senior year.  It’s there that she finally finds true friends who like her in spite of her problems.

Miles is the teenage boy that everybody’s afraid of.  He’s made a name for himself by being willing to do just about anything to anybody… for the right price.  But that’s something he needed to do, because without that reputation, he’s just a skinny boy with a weird accent and no friends.  Miles isn’t just your stereotypical bad boy, he’s a complex character with his own backstory and his own motivations.

Now, I’m not a doctor, and I don’t have schizophrenia, so I can’t really tell you whether the portrayal is accurate.  But I can tell you that the emotions this book made me feel were insane.  My heart went out to Alex as she struggled to decipher what was real and what was in her head.  As she fought with her mother about how much freedom she should be allowed to have.  As her world was shattered when it turned out that one of the staples in her life wasn’t real.  Or when things she thought she had to have made up turned out to be real.  I think I went through a complete range of emotions while reading this book.  I consider that a good thing.

The thing that I think I loved the most about this book, though, was that there’s no instalove to be found.  It’s not like Alex and Miles lock eyes from across the room, and suddenly they’re meant to be.  Their connection builds slowly and realistically, and best of all, Miles doesn’t save Alex from her illness.  He doesn’t have a magical touch that cures her.  Sure, she feels safer when he’s around since she knows he’ll never lie to her, but he encourages her to get treatment and supports her when she does.  Imagine that.

Since we’re inside Alex’s head, we’re never sure what’s real and what’s not. I loved that. She’s the perfect unreliable narrator because she’s not purposely misleading us.  She’s not lying to further an agenda.  She’s telling her story as she sees it, even if how she sees it isn’t really how it is.  Are events as strange as they sound?  Are her classmates and teachers really how she describes them?  Did a snake really just pop down through the ceiling?  Some answers we get, and some we don’t.  And, the thing is, we really don’t need to know for sure.  Half the fun of this book was trying to figure out what was real and what wasn’t.

I’m sure that this book isn’t perfect, but I absolutely adored it.  I have to say, I feel sorry for the book that comes after this one.

Final rating: ★★★★★