Thesis Thursday: I DID IT!

Thesis Thursdays is a weekly(ish) feature where I rant, love and talk about young adult books I’m reading because I’m conning my college into thinking this is all for academia! Find out more here!

12804668_10209117395316620_614087368349724463_nIf this were a movie, I think this is the point where I’d give some great speech about how I always knew I could do it. But, here’s the thing: considering that I had three panic attacks on Monday before it was even noon, I did not think that I could do this.BUT HERE WE ARE.

The chapter was due Wednesday. I finished it Tuesday. GO ME.

I finally, finally got all my reading done in time to spend all last Saturday writing the beginning of this paper. I spent (rounding) 5 straight hours, left for dinner with friends, and then 3 more straight hours just pounding away. That first night, I got up to 14 pages–which honestly wasn’t that great. I thought that I only had one more section to write and then my conclusion, and the paper at that point felt really lacking to me.

Enter Sunday. I just had to take that day to myself, meaning that I needed it to do all the12798887_10209122216317142_1628587853003279900_n homework I had for Monday and that left me no time for thesis writing. I let it go and pretended that that didn’t bother me. (It did.) However, in thinking about it all day, I realized that I needed to add a section, so I really needed to write TWO more sections and my conclusion and also rewrite my intro.

Which is why I had all those panic attacks on Monday. My Mondays have a really long schedule, and I wasn’t sure I’d even sleep that night. But I hunkered down and finished the paper and I even slept that night. VICTORY IS MINE.

In the end, it ended up being 24 pages. Between that and the 29 page first chapter, I’ve already hit the minimum page requirement for this thing. And there’s one more chapter to go. I must really hate myself.

12801277_10209140220927246_1575951528546352262_nI realized something, though, that is trending between my first two chapters. It’s not intentional. My first paper, “Taming of the Tropes: How the Female Assassin in YA Literature Showcases the Biggest Issues and Best Possible Subversions of YA’s Most Popular Tropes” (working title), is all about the content of YA books, and how they claim to include these strong female characters but the publishers are LYING. This second chapter, tentatively titled “Masking the Issues: The Commodification of Young Adult Book Covers” talks about how publishers are putting more and more effort into producing covers of quality but not texts of quality.

Basically, I’m calling out big conglomerate book publishers for being liars.

Whoops?

Alright, yeah, there’s a lot more to it, and I still love YA A LOT. Just consider it part of my continued effort to get all readers of young adult a genre that actually speaks to them like humans rather than formulaic tropes that are packaged in shiny covers.

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Thesis Thursdays: Review – “Seeker” by Arwen Elys Dayton

Thesis Thursdays is a weekly(ish) feature where I rant, love and talk about young adult books I’m reading because I’m conning my college into thinking this is all for academia! Find out more here!

20911450Seeker (Seeker #1) by Arwen Elys Dayton

Published February 10, 2015 by Delacorte 

Goodreads | Amazon

The night Quin Kincaid takes her Oath, she will become what she has trained to be her entire life. She will become a Seeker. This is her legacy, and it is an honor.

As a Seeker, Quin will fight beside her two closest companions, Shinobu and John, to protect the weak and the wronged. Together they will stand for light in a shadowy world.

And she’ll be with the boy she loves–who’s also her best friend. But the night Quin takes her Oath, everything changes.

Being a Seeker is not what she thought. Her family is not what she thought. Even the boy she loves is not who she thought. And now it’s too late to walk away.

One star

When I added this book for my thesis, I had to write that first chapter within the week. My adviser thought I was crazy. I was, but I just had a FEELING that I needed this book in my thesis. Mostly because it was published in 2015. Well, it was perfect for my thesis alright. In all the right wrong ways.

This is going to be a spoilery review because I have a lot of things to say.

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Thesis Thursday: Merry Christmas and Here’s What’s Happening in the New Year

Thesis Thursdays is a weekly(ish) feature where I rant, love and talk about young adult books I’m reading because I’m conning my college into thinking this is all for academia! Find out more here!

giphy1Praise Santa because I’m finally home. I made it out of my penultimate semester as an undergrad alive. (Mostly.) Honestly, since I’ve gotten home I’ve mostly been sleeping around requisite holiday stuff.

But anyways. You aren’t here to read about how tired I’ve been. You’re probably here to read about my thesis. Otherwise I’m confused why you clicked on a post titled Thesis Thursday.

I don’t know if I ever spelled this out, but the two thesis projects I had thisgiphy2 semester had two very different goals. One was for my Writing BA, and that necessitated me writing at least 50 pages of original work. I wrote way over 50 before I even considered participating in NaNoWriMo in November. I think I hit about 170 pages of the novel when I won. It’s still not done. Maybe like … 3/5ths done, if you want to get specific. I’m never really sure when I’m writing because I don’t plan a damn thing. But anyways, that one is completely finished and done as far as the school is concerned. I’m going to finish it, but on my own time.

baby-napThe English thesis, on the other hand, is still a massive work in progress. The goal for this last semester was to research things for it and then write the first chapter, and the goal for next semester is to write the last two chapters, defend it and present it. Not necessarily in that order, as I’ve learned, since my presentation is in the middle of freaking April and it’s assumed I’ll still be writing it then.

The finished chapter is currently titled “Taming of the Tropes: How the 81pujydq2ylFemale Assassin in YA Literature Showcases the Biggest Issues and Best Possible Subversions of YA’s Most Popular Tropes” and basically it’s about how so much of YA lit presents a supposedly empowering female main character and then takes away all her power and agency with a really creepy and terrible romance arc. Specifically, I looked at female assassin literature using Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, Poison by Bridget Zinn, Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton and–of course–Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. If you want the fangirl version of my thesis, it’s that Throne of Glass is the only one that gets close to present a truly empowered female character while also presenting a plot that thoroughly subverts popular tropes that I’m sick and tired of seeing.

buriedinbooksThe origin of this thesis was me trying to figure out how I could just re-read ToG forever and this is what happened. I’m happy to say that it held up to my intense scrutiny (mostly), because some of them did not. I wrote a blog post about how shattered I was by this re-reading of Grave Mercy, and I reviewed Poison, so if I get around to it I’ll post a reaction to my re-reading of Graceling (mostly okay) and a review of Seeker (mostly not okay).

However, Thesis Thursdays is a long way from over! My second chapter is 200going to deal with marketing strategies for YA books, like cover trends, blurbing, etc, and how that factors in to commodification and tropes, and my third will tackle different publishing strategies as weapons for and against this war of commodification and tropeism. (While still talking about how amazing Sarah J. Maas, Bloomsbury and the Throne of Glass series are.)

Basically, sit tight and wait for next semester. Expect a bunch of bleary-eyed rants about more things that frustrate me. Whether I’m doing research for my thesis or just writing it.

Also, Michaela and I have not forgotten our Betwixt the Books goals. Look for new videos–both solo and together–as we try to figure out how to keep making BookTube videos while separated, since Michaela graduated a semester early and LEFT ME. Coming after the holidays is our promised #imbibliomancy episode on Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant!

Thanks for reading, guys, and happy holidays!

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Worth It Wednesdays: “Red Queen” by Victoria Aveyard

Worth It Wednesdays is a weekly post where I feature my favorite YA titles. Find out more about it here!

Title: Red Queen

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Goodreads Description: This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart…

Why it’s worth it: I cuss out tropes a lot. I hate them. I’m tired of seeing them on repeat. I didn’t pick up this book originally because I thought it sounded fairly same-same and also I’ve become extremely wary of hyped books. I added it to my “maybe get someday” list and let it sit there. Then, when I taught high school writers over the summer, one of them–who loved Throne of Glass!–suggested that I read this one because it was a lot like that. I went out a few days later and bought it.

I DID VERY MUCH LIKE.

The world hooked me straight away, and for that I was very glad. It kept me reading when the book started to tumble into some of those books I so hate. (*coughlovetrianglecough*) But I kept reading, because Aveyard writes a really good story and from the inception the plot tackled some political realities that I hadn’t really seen.

THANK GOD I DID.

This book is just a trope subverter. That’s why I like it. I mean, sure, it covers all the basic bases like a well written story, thought out world building and characters I really like spending time with. All that is there, and all that on it’s own would make it a good book. What makes it a great book is that Aveyard knowingly sets up a plot that looks very similar to something I’ve seen a million times before and then in the final act BLOWS EVERYTHING UP WITH DYNAMITE. I haven’t been this blown away by a final act trope subversion since A Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson.

Avoid the hype and read it. It’s worth it.

Read it if you’re looking for: Strong female characters, trope subversion, swoon-worthy male characters who are also more than nice to look at, hype that’s worth it, action, adventure, fantasy, magical powers, kick assery, political realism, dystopia

Thesis Thursdays: An Introduction

Okay, nobody panic. This feature sounds kind of pretentious and crotchety, but it isn’t. In fact, this feature (which may not always be weekly) will be a combination of book reviews, tirades against academia, writerly panic and frustration, rants about book tropes and fan girl freak-outs–usually about Sarah J. Maas, probably. Let me explain.

I’m a senior this year. *INSERT PANIC HERE* I have chosen to inflict upon myself the year long English Honors Thesis course that my Department offers here. Now here you might expect me to say that I’m studying Shakespeare or some post modern writer or something.

Well, you might. But you’ve been following me on this blog and you know that that isn’t my style.

First things first, remember that post I wrote about being an English and Writing double major? While I’m writing this English Thesis, I’m also completing my Writing Senior Project, which is a novel. This will come into play later.

16034235The topic of my English Honors Thesis, broadly, is YA publishing trends and female assassins. It’s conception came from me saying HOW CAN I JUST KEEP REREADING THRONE OF GLASS FOR CREDIT? Turns out, my thesis adviser really likes what I came up with. I’m not going to bore you with the academic details, I’m just going to say that I’m going to be writing about the tropes of these books and therefore reading a bunch of books like Throne of Glass to make my point. Which is where the rants about annoying tropes and the book reviews come in. I’ve actually got a short list on Goodreads about what books I’m considering.

The YA publishing trends component of this is going to mean that there are some books on there that don’t make sense, but don’t fret. I’ll explain that all in due course whenever I figure out what the hell I’m doing.

Don’t forget that novel I’m writing! It occurred to me, rather late in the game, that if I was doing all this work talking about tropes of female assassins and what they do well and what they don’t that maybe I should WRITE the book that destroys all the tropes I hate and is actually more like what I want to read. So far I’m two chapters in and while I’m way rusty (more on this later), I’m making myself laugh so that’s about the best I can expect.

Still with me? If not, that’s cool. I honestly don’t know if anything remotely interesting will come out of this besides amusing rants and more book reviews, but that’s okay. At least it’ll help me sort out my thoughts.

Tune in next week when I discuss Poison by Bridget Zinn, why I can’t tell if I like it or not and why I’m confusing myself as to whether or not to consider it for my thesis!

C’mon guys, let’s get real: Why I stopped reading “Ink” by Amanda Sun

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*WARNING* *RANT INCOMING*

Today was supposed to be the day that I reviewed Ink by Amanda Sun (Goodreads). Today was supposed to be the day where I gushed to you all about how the book inside was as gorgeous as the book outside. Instead, today is the day I have to report that I DNFed Ink 19% of the way through because I couldn’t handle the two main characters.

There is no possible way I could be more disappointed.

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