Tuesday Top Ten-Favorite Fictional Schools

Welcome back to school everyone! By this point, order most everyone has started school, more about and its just that time of year to buy pretty new school supplies and tell yourself that this semester is going to different, and you’re going to get your act together this year. I’m with you guys, this is your year! Bring home those A’s on the report card!

As you guys have noticed the last few weeks, my creativity level on the Tuesday Top Ten has been…well, basically nonexistent. My dad has totally come up with the ideas the past few weeks and this week is no different. Thanks Dad. Seriously, my creativity is all tapped out haha.

But anyway, now that school has started, I feel like this is a great way to start it off, and a great Tuesday Top Ten. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in class, looking bored like Britney Spears in Baby One More Time, and wished I was in a different school. So that’s where this list comes in. Check it out!

10. Sweet Valley High from Sweet Valley High Series

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These were some of my favorite books when I was a kid. In hindsight, they probably weren’t the best things for a 7 to 9 year old to read, but my reading level was advanced, if nothing else, and my aunt gave me basically the whole series so there you go. But I always loved the absolute drama of Sweet Valley High. As a kid, high school seemed a thousand years away, and it was…magical, if that makes sense. High school was ALWAYS going to rock in my mind, and my mentality came from this series. Sure, there dramatics and all that, but it kept things all interesting and things always worked out in the end. You would have a nice car, be insanely attractive (the awkwardness of youth disappeared), get the hottest guys and have the best friends. Elizabeth is the dorky one but she’s still editor of the newspaper, fairly popular and has the hottest boyfriend in the school. Although, Todd, really? What kind of name is Todd?

9. Constance Billard/St. Judes from Gossip Girl 

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I think I’d want to go to Constance Billard for the pure enjoyment of the drama that comes down with being a part of the Gossip Girl show. There are a lot of things that are mostly guaranteed if you go to a school like Constance Billard, and its sister school, St. Jude. One, you’re rich. Let’s face it, its THE school to go to on the Upper East side, and its where you’re either made or unmade by Gossip Girl. Two, you probably have the best clothes in the entire world because either you can afford them or you’re a fashion genius Jenny Humphrey and you make it work. You have access to the coolest parties, and the dances, like Homecoming and Prom are OUT of this world. There are all kinds of amazing things about this high school that NEVER happened in real high school. Black and white balls, cotillions, all kinds of fun stuff. Sure, there is the ridiculous amount of drama and pressure but I still say that going to this school might have made high school a little more bearable.

8. Degrassi High from Degrassi: The Next Generation

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When you think about, I don’t know why I would want to go to Degrassi. People get shot and stabbed and get addicted to drugs, or become alcoholics or get in major car accidents or are in abusive relationships or get pregnant. I mean, this is NOT a happy school. But I LOVE this show. Its absolutely ridiculous and its completely dramatic and the amount of characters it goes through, and the amount of drama that takes place there…its all just so ridiculous. But I think its the same sort of thing with Constance Billard…it would be INTERESTING to go here. I think that it would have been crazy and dramatic and I’m sure I would ended up with some medical affliction or some sort of addiction but again, interesting.

7. Xavier’s Institute from X-Men 

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I know that in the comic and the shows and the movies that mutants aren’t accepted and that they are kind of hated because they’re different. I get that, and that sucks and it will be this ever growing fight in that universe and its kind of the whole point of it, besides the fact that they fight bad guys. But you have to admit, a school where everyone has a sort of mutation that makes them be able to do cool stuff like read minds or control weather or hop through walls? I honestly feel like I couldn’t hate school if I went to a school like that. There’s no way. Plus it would be really cool to have an awesome superpower that I was just born with, and I didn’t have to get bitten by an icky spider or anything. I like Iceman…I don’t know why but ice powers have always sounded really super awesome. I could be Icegirl and I would rock the hallways of Xaviers.

6. St. Vladimir’s Academy from Vampire Academy Series 

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I don’t want to be a vampire. I’ve never really had the desire to be a vampire unless I could become a vampire and become Simon Lewis’s girlfriend for eternity. But even then. However, I would become a dhampir. For those of you who are unaware, a dhampir is half human, half vampire, warriors trained to protect Moroi vampires from Strigoi, which are immortal, evil vampires. The main character is Rose, who attends St. Vladimir’s to eventually become an official guardian to protect her royal best friend Lissa. I always love a kickass female character, especially when they come paired with a delicious character like Dimitri, and I love this school. I love that, since they’re vampires, they go to school and party and do all their stuff at night, and sleep during the day. But because the novel is so well-written, you don’t even notice half the time, and so it’s not cheesy. I love that the classes are anything from magic (because the vampires have powers over different elements) and warfare and strategy and combat. That sounds like a really awesome school. Way better than learning chemistry and math and stuff like that.

5. The School of Idris from The Mortal Instruments series

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I have no idea if that is what its called but I call it that for now because no one has really named it yet. I want to go to Idris because it is the home of the Shadowhunter. No matter if they live there, grew up there, or grew up in an Institute or work in an Institute somewhere in the world, it is the home of the Shadowhunter. Like Mecca is to the Islams or Jerusalem is to Christians and Jews (and Islams too). It is a beautiful city, sort of old fashioned in the way that it is made, sort of like any other place in Europe, and it all seems so otherworldly and wonderful. I really want to see the Glass City part of it, with the demon wards, and the fountain, and the beautiful dances and wonderful parties. But I want to go to school in Idris because I want to be a Shadowhunter. Shadowhunters are preordained to protect the earth from demons; they’re born warriors. They don’t necessarily choose it but I think most of them would choose it. I want to be one. I want to have seraph blades, and a whip like Isabelle and I want to Mark my skin to help me fight. I would love training to be a Shadowhunter because it would be so different than our normal schooling.

4. Oden’s Ford from Seven Realms Series 

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Oden’s Ford is where the school exist in Cinda Williams Chima’s Seven Realms series. There is Mystwerk House, Temple School, Factor House, Merchant House, Isenwerk House and Wien House. What I love about this school is that it kind of reminds me of a fantasy college, if that makes sense. There are so many different schools there, schools for wizards and for trading and different crafts and that sort of thing, and the entire town seems built around the school. I love that. I love that so many people from all over the Seven Realms come here to learn a various number of things. I feel like you would get a real life experience here. There are people of all different races and religions and colors and shapes and sizes, and they’re all coming here to learn different trades, whether to harness their magics or become healers or warriors and that can really open one’s eyes wider to the world around them. You’re getting out of your bubble and you’re seeing what else is out there. I think that even though Raisa is sent here to escape the chaos that is going under her own roof, and that she is there under a false name, it really helped her become a better queen. She understood more of the way the world worked outside of her privileged life and it helped her. I also think it would be fun to live there because it is a place that is described so beautifully. So many bricks! I love brick buildings. SO beautiful.

3. Camp Half Blood from The Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series 

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Okay, I recognize that this isn’t technically a school and a good amount of the kids that stay there in the summer go to normal schools during the school year. But I like to think of it as a school because these kids will never stop being demigods. This is an essential part of their life…their very being, and they have been in trouble for so long, and they will continue to be in trouble. They are attracting to danger, as the offspring of gods and goddesses and the skills that they learn at Camp Half Blood will aid them their entire life. So I do consider it a school of sorts. I would imagine that a demigod would learn more at Camp Half Blood during the summers than they do in full school years in regular schools. Despite all the danger, and all that, I think I’d much like to be a child of a god or goddess. Think of the stuff that comes from that. Think of Jason’s power with lightning and Percy’s power over water, Annabeth’s incredibly warrior skills and intelligence, Piper’s ability to charm people, Leo’s ability to tinker with just about anything and so forth. Its all so subtle but awesome. I think I’d love to go to Half Blood to learn all the things that they learn and ride a Pegasus and play Capture the Flag and have gods for teachers and centaurs for mentors. I would love to go on quests and learn to fight with a sword and live in one of the cabins. Camp Half Blood sounds like a great place to learn.

2. Jedi Academy from Star Wars 

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I want to be a Jedi. I think a Jedi is one of the things I want to be most in this life, other than a wizard (see below!) or a Shadowhunter. I have been watching Star Wars since I was a kid, and I have been a fan of it for so long. Princess Leia was always my absolute favorite character, but I was always kind of sad that she never got a lightsaber, because she wasn’t a Jedi. I love that in several of the books that have been written that take place after the movies, she does Jedi training and wields a lightsaber. I’m just saying, lightsabers are some of the best weapons that have existed in fictional world. I liked that the Jedis are trained for so much of their life because they are so disciplined and so committed to the life that they are born to live. They are there to protect the galaxy and keep the balance of the Force, and they commit their entire life for it. I like that they start off in an academy as children, where you learn with Master Yoda, before you become a Padawan to a Jedi Knight or a Jedi Master. I like that you have several teachers on the road to becoming a Jedi Knight, with the abilities to learn so much from different people. I also like that its not always a classroom type of experience, but you are taken out with your master to learn on an experience base, in the field, while you try to do your job. Its like an apprentice sort of thing, which is what the masters call them. I want to be a Jedi. If only to get a pink lightsaber. I’ll make it happen.

1. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from Harry Potter Series 

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I guess it would be no surprise that this would be the first one on my list. I think this is one of the first places that existed in a book that I thought, I want to go there. This is a place that I wish actually existed, and it never can, which only makes me want to go there more. JK Rowling created a place where you go to learn, you go to love and hate, you go to grow up, you go to have adventures and to get in trouble and learn, and so much more. When she quoted at the final Harry Potter premiere, “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home”, I cried. I’m getting teary eyed just thinking about it. Because its HOME to Harry Potter; its where it all takes place in all seven works. It is the beginning, the middle and the end. It is where Harry Potter grew up and I would die to go there, to have adventures and to be a part of that world, a world that I have loved through the pages. Plus, I would love to take classes like that instead of the classes I take. I would love Charms and Transfiguration and Potions and Care of Magical Creatures. Hell, I think I’d even like History of Magic and Divination :) I would NOT complain like those guys! Hogwarts. The Ultimate best school ever.

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I hope you all enjoyed this edition of the Tuesday Top Ten. This one was an enjoyable one to write!

Don’t forget that you can always check out past lists here!

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What are some of your fictional schools? What would be some of your favorite fictional classes? As always, share in the comments!

My Reading Journey

So i was doing my daily journey through the blogs that I follow and I came to one of my favorites, no rx The Perpetual Page Turner, there run by the lovely and awesome, Jamie. Her most recent blog entry talks about her Reading History (which you can read here) and the different books that shaped her life.

I loved it. It was so cute, and it was nostalgic and it really brought to my mind my own reading history.

See, the one thing I’ve noticed in my journeys as a reader, as a writer, and as a blogger is that so many people that I’ve met have that “moment” or that “one book/book series” that just does IT for them. It brings them into the world of reading. You have no idea how many times I’ve heard, “Harry Potter/Percy Jackson/Mortal Instruments/Divergent/Hunger Games/John Green/Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants/etc got me into reading”. Which I think is absolutely wonderful and is a testament to how wonderful YA literature can be.

And I get that question a lot. “What book got you into reading?” because people know how insane I am with books and reading. And I always feel really perplexed when I get that question. Like…”Um, Green Eggs and Ham? Go Dog Go? The Polar Express? Chicka Chicka Boom Boom?”

Because, the thing is, reading has exploded over the past decade, and I do think that it is in LARGE part to do with the young adult literature boom. So many people are picking up these books, loving them and becoming readers, and picking up more  YA books.

But for me? I’ve ALWAYS been a reader. I can’t pinpoint a moment in which I discovered reading because its long before my memory can remember. I’ve been reading since I was a small child, three, maybe four years old. Reading has always, always, always been a part of my life. I can’t ever remember a time when I wasn’t reading. But I am seriously curious about the different books that I’ve read through out my life and so this is where I talk about my reading journey.

Thanks Jamie for an awesome post, and I hope you don’t mind that I’m borrowing it!

Childhood (3-10 years old)

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In my childhood days, I spent most of my time reading probably what most kids read: LOTS of Doctor Seuss, lots of Berenstein Bears, lots of Shel Silverstein. However, those books got really easy and really “boring” super fast. So I was already moving on to chapter books, formula books, by the time I was about five or six and I stuck with those for quite a many years. I’m talking Baby-Sitter’s Club, Pony Pals, Boxcar Children and the various Sweet Valley series (Sweet Valley High, Sweet Valley Kids, Sweet Valley Jr HighSweet Valley College). I ate these books up SO fast, and they probably were way below my potential but I could read a couple Baby-Sitters Club books a day and I loved that. I also read a lot of Judy Blume books in those days too.

I also realize now that reading all those Sweet Valley Books as a nine-year-old was probably unbelievably inappropriate. The high school and university series TOTALLY has sex in it and I was so cavalier about it, when I was a child. Interesting.

But those were the books I loved as a kid. They weren’t challenging and they were easy reads and I could bust through those books so fast, making me seem like a better reader than I probably was because I wasn’t challenging myself!

Preteen/Middle School (10-14 years old)

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I was 10 years old when I discovered Harry Potter, and this seriously changed my life in so many ways, I couldn’t even begin to write about it. That is a whole ‘nother blog post. But it changed the way I read books. Books didn’t have to be short, and they could be so different and interesting and challenging and wonderful. Harry Potter was the first book that I read that wasn’t a formula book, really, and I just loved it. I ate that up so fast and it was the first step I took into a whole different world.

Also when I was in middle school, I discovered both Sarah Dessen and Meg Cabot, both of whom are still some of my absolute favorite authors. This is where I discovered YA literature, and this is why I’m still obsessed with YA and I”m writing this blog. A friend of mine gave me Dessen’s Someone Like You and I loved it so much and went out and bought That Summer, Keeping the Moon and Dreamland and I’ve bought every book since then on the day its come out. For Meg Cabot, I went and saw the movie The Princess Diaries and realized it was a book. Then I read the book and realized how much better it was than the movie and I’ve consumed every single Meg Cabot book to come out since then.

This was the beginning of my foray into young adult literature. I had dipped a toe in, in the contemporary world of YA lit. I think this is also when I sort of discovered that I liked to write too, at about 10 years old. I think that’s when I realized that I liked the way these YA authors wrote, so relatable and so real, like you were stepping into the messy minds of teenagers.

High School (15-18 years old)

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This is what I am going to call my exploring years. I read a LOT during high school, and a lot of that was classics because of school. And I’ll tell you: Shakespeare? Steinbeck? I get they were great guys and all and changed literature and all that…but ugh, ugh, ugh. I can’t read either one without wanting to drown myself.

But I did discover a lot of classics I did like. I loved The Great Gatsby. Gone with the Wind. Poisonwood Bible (okay, which isn’t a classic, but is a great book). Brave New World. Huckleberry Finn. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD! (Hey, I named my dog Scout for a reason).

This was also the time that I was really getting into fantasy, especially young adult fantasy. It hadn’t QUITE broken out yet but it was definitely getting there. I had consumed the Lord of the Rings books with fervor, because I just loved the movies so much. (I had read The Hobbit as a kid). I was still reading Harry Potter like crazy, and I had discovered two of my still favorite authors, Tamora Pierce and Libba Bray. Tamora Pierce introduced me to a world of pure fantasy and it still is one of my absolute favorite fictional worlds to be in. Libba Bray gave me the sort of urban fantasy that I didn’t really know existed. I didn’t know that you could read fantasy books in a world you recognized, even if it was a Victorian England you never actually lived there. This is where I think my obsession with the supernatural, the fantasy, and all that started. I was full on 100% obsessed with Harry Potter and my reading habits were growing and growing by the minute.

I will also say that it was during this time that I discovered Twilight. Now as much as I don’t think its a well written book and all that, it was also very instrumental into the books that I enjoy now.

Young Adult (19-now)

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And this is where the trouble started :) This is where all the build up, all the YA I’d been obsessed with like Sarah Dessen, and Meg Cabot, Tamora Pierce, Libba Bray, Harry Potter just escalated.

Now, as you guys now, I read YA by the stacks and stacks of books. I consume YA so fast and so easily. I have discovered The Mortal Instruments (and in turn, the Infernal Devices), Percy Jackson and The Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus, Seven Realms series, The Hunger Games, Divergent, John Green, The Lux Series, the Legend trilogy, the Grisha trilogy, and so so so so so many more that I couldn’t even begin to tell you them all.

But I’ve also continued my love of contemporary YA as well, as that is what started the journey. I still love Sarah Dessen and Meg Cabot to no end. I read John Green now and David Levithan, Morgan Matson (!!!), Jessica Brody, and so many more. And this love of young adult books and what motivates me to do this blog and its what I read most of. I still read adult books but for the most part, its YA all day.

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So that’s my journey through books. Its been a long journey but an enjoyable one and I know its going to continue because my love for books only strengthens every day. I discover new authors and new books every day. I’m so grateful to my parents for pushing me so hard to read as a young child because I’ve been reading for longer than I can remember and books are magic to me, they are therapy, they are entertainment, they are escape.

So what was your reading journey? Did it start early like mine, or was there certain books or series that helped you to become a reader? As always, let me know in the comments!

And if you write a post as well, let me know and I’ll link it in this one :)

Tuesday Top Ten-Favorite YA Female Characters

So I’ve totally already done this Tuesday Top Ten before, information pills but it was kind of my favorite one to do (besides maybe my favorite fictional boy crushes) because there’s SUCH an outpouring of strong, amazing, kickass, well developed awesome female characters out there and I want to be able to share the ones that I like so much with all of you.

I also did this list way back in November and I had probably, hmmm, like five followers back then, which included my dad and my boyfriend and maybe a few friends. Now I have nearly 1000 followers and so I want to write it again, so all my new followers can now see this :)

So here we go! My top ten (err…eleven) favorite female characters in young adult literature!

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11. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games 

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Katniss is a badass, and she’s one of the first characters that comes to mind when you have strong female characters of YA, especially with the immense success of the Hunger Games movie and Catching FIre hitting theaters this fall. I like Katniss a lot, but mostly from the first book, not so much the next two. My personal opinion is that she gets a little whiny toward the end. Again, thats my personal opinion. But I do think she’s a great character. She’s a girl that doesn’t give up, even though most 12 year olds probably would. Instead of crawling into a hole, and letting her family starve or letting her and Prim be taken away, she figures out a way to survive and hunts, and trades and does whatever she can to help her family survive. And these skills that she learns for survival are the KEY to her survival in the Hunger Games. She’s extremely clever and she’s very caring as well, for her family, and for the people that come into her life like Peeta and Haymitch and Cinna and even Effie. She’s a GREAT character and Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress to play her.

10. Tessa Gray from The Infernal Devices 

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I love Tessa Gray because of her bravery, her resilience, her cleverness and the fact that she loves books so much. I love that Tessa Gray only wants to do the best that she can and that she cares SO much. The thing about Tessa is that she is unique, in so many different ways. First off, she’s an American in London. Then she’s amongst a bunch of Shadowhunters, which she is not. Then she’s not even sure what she is: possible a warlock, but without a warlock’s mark and no explanation of what she is. The Infernal Devices trilogy is not only the story of the London Institute and the Shadowhunters attempting to defeat Mortmain and his revenge plan but its also about the journey that Tessa takes in discovering herself and who she is and what she is and what her purpose is. I love that she loves with all of her heart and she loves her brother, even though he isn’t what she thought he was, and she loves the people she meets through the London Institute. I love that she loves both Will and Jem, and not in a whiny Bella Swan kind of way but in such a real, genuine way, the way people love in real life.

9. Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter series

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J.K. Rowling once said about Luna Lovegood that she has an unbelievably rare quality of a person who just doesn’t give a damn about what people think about her and for that, she’s on my list. Because let’s face it, no matter what we say, no matter how much we profess it, we all care at least a little bit what people think of us. That or, we care what CERTAIN people think of us. Luna has the quality of being an absolute badass because she’s so sure of herself. She is teased and bullied, and people mess with her and think she’s weird but she doesn’t even notice. She’s so happy in her own world and I, for one, envy her for that. But she’s also a seriously loving and caring and brave person. When she finally makes friends, she is so good to them, and she is a pivotal character in my opinion. I don’t think the Harry Potter series would have been right without her in it, and there’s a reason why everyone calls me Luna <3

8. June Iparis from the Legend trilogy 

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Okay, June is an absolute badass, and honestly, I think she’s one of the strongest female characters I have read in a novel, especially in the overflow of young adult lit that is going on right now. I was amazed at June’s…tenacity and her fire and her strength. I was discussing June with someone online once and they said she was cold, she didn’t have a personality, that she wasn’t as easy to like as some of the other heroines that are out there, and that’s exactly why I like her. She’s different. She’s trained as a soldier and thinks like a soldier and has a hard time breaking that habit, even when things start stacking up against everything she ever knew. Its hard for her to be as trusting of people, especially someone like Day, who she is told over and over again is a criminal. I think she’s very human, and I love how her feelings for Day are always in question, always a work in progress. I like that there’s a love story in this novel, but not the kind that takes over the story. I love June because she has a head on her shoulders, and she uses it before she falls in love. I love how smart she is, and how reluctant she is to accept the truth…because she wants to know its the real truth before she believes it. She’s such a great character.

7. Tris Prior from the Divergent trilogy 

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I think one of the biggest reasons that I love Tris is because she’s so little, and people don’t really believe in her because of that, and she proves them all wrong. She’s the tiny, little, divergent (read: normal) girl, who takes a chance, leaves her parents behind for a different faction, a faction so vastly different than the one she was raised in and just…just rocks it. I mean, sure, not at first. She’s weak, scared, shy. But she does all the work she needs to do to not only become part of the Dauntless faction, but to be number one in the initiates. I love that. I love that she’s been taught so much about the act of being silent, being selfless, lacking of affectionate and all of that sort of thing, but when she comes to Dauntless, everything she does is so real, and so genuine. She makes friends because she is so genuine. And Four falls in love with her because of that, and that’s just too darn cute for life. I am jealous for Tris and her relationship with Four, because…well he’s Four, and do you see the picture above? Theo James is QUITE the looker. But in all seriousness, I admire Tris for her bravery, her cleverness, her selfishness and selflessness, and her never ending drive.

6. Clary Fray from The Mortal Instruments

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I know that most of you know how addicted I am to the  Mortal Instruments series, and I’m sure you’re wondering why on earth the main character would not even be in the top 5, and there are reasons for that, and I totally have a TMI character in the Top 5. So hush. I love Clary, I super adore her. I enjoy watching as she takes the journey from normal teenager girl, to a budding Shadowhunter. I love that she’s brave and fearless, and she wants to save everyone: her mom, Simon, Jace, everyone. I love that the Shadowhunter world is SO confusing to her, but she goes with it, and she adapts quickly and that, I don’t know, she sort of grows into what is her natural heritage. She was born to be a Shadowhunter, even though her mom held that away from her for so long. I think the biggest reason why I love Clary is because of her loyalty. She is SO incredibly loyal and loving to the people she cares about: her mom, Luke, Simon. And when she meets the Lightwoods and Jace and Maia and Magnus, she cares for all of them as well. She just can’t help but care, and her caring is what makes her so brave.

5. Alina Starkov from The Grisha Trilogy 

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Alina is one of the most interesting characters that I have read in awhile. One, because she’s incredibly powerful…more powerful than pretty much every single person that she knows. And at first, she strays away from that power and is reluctant to use, reluctant to get any stronger. But as the story goes on, she almost begins to crave that power. She begins to grow addicted to it, and she feeds off of it. I think so many times we see characters that are so inherently good all the time, so good even when they make mistakes or make wrong decisions but Alina kind of represents a different sort of heroine. I think that we see Alina struggle more than any other character, because power is a dangerous thing. I don’t think that Alina is evil or a bad person, but that all depends on what happens in the final book of the series. We leave off, with all these people believing she’s a saint, a savior, and with her on a crazy, impossible quest to track down ways to make herself more powerful. This is incredibly dangerous and makes Alina a very complex, and addicting character. I just keep wanting to read and find out what happens next.

4. Alianne Cooper from The Tricksters Series

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One of the strongest female characters that I’ve seen in the young adult genre, and just one of many that Tamora Pierce has created in her Tortall world: Alanna, Thayet, Buri, Daine, Maura, Keladry, and so so so many more. But when it comes down to it, Aly is easily my favorite and I think a lot of that comes down to that she was the first Tortall woman that I met, and she ushered me into a book series, and a book saga, that would seriously change my life. Aly is a sixteen year old girl with the kind of skills I could only dream of having at twenty-five years old. She’s incredibly clever, and has the knowledge and abilities to become a spymaster for a massive rebellion and be incredibly good at it. She knows about spying, and codes, and the sneakiness that comes with it. She knows about war and the way it goes, the way its run. She knows politics and crops and government and trade, social and culture, she’s just so incredibly smart. She can wield daggers and has wicked hand-to-hand combat skills. She’s quick on the spot, and can turn a lie in an instant. She’s charming and funny and relatable. She’s amazing, and one of the characters I always, ALWAYS bring up when talking about young adult literature.  

3. Isabelle Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments series 

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Can I say that if this was favorite female CRUSHES, it would be Isabelle at number one, easily? One, Jemima West is absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait to see her as Isabelle in the movie this summer. But I like Isabelle because she’s the badass of the books. She is one of the best Shadowhunters there is, gender aside. She has her awesome gold whip, and she takes down demons and fights with Jace and Alec. I also love her humor, her personality. She always has a smile on her face; she’s always finding a way to joke through things, and laugh her way around, even when everyone else is so down. She’s a fierce, strong character and I think sometimes is overlooked but she’s one of my absolute favorites. Alec and Jace both say, that though the Shadowhunter world has changed, that it is still hard for girls to become true warriors, and yet Isabelle works her ass off for it. And she’s another fiercely loyal, and caring person as well. The amount of love that she feels for her family: for her parents and Alec and Max and Jace is unparalleled. She is willing to do anything for them. Plus I just want to be HER: sexy, strong, brave, fearless, charming, a fighter…a fierce, fierce fighter.

2. Raisa ana’Marianna from The Seven Realms series 

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Raisa is seriously….I can’t even…she’s just so awesome. I knew from page one that I was addicted to this character. She’s everything realistic about being a teenage girl plus SO much more. She is young, and pretty and wants to enjoy both of those. She wants to flirt with boys and have fun, and not worry about taking the throne just yet. But then drama goes down (as it is wont to do) and Raisa is forced to run away from her kingdom, hide herself from her own mother, and eventually come back to take her rightful throne. She is so much stronger than a lot of the characters we’ve seen in YA in that…even though she falls madly in love with someone she can’t be with, she doesn’t really cave to that. Her duty comes first and foremost through it all, and she follows the rules, to keep a hold of her unsteady claim on the throne. Spoiler: I honestly didn’t think she was going to end up with Han, for a VERY long time. We really don’t figure out that Raisa is willing to push buttons until she has fought for her throne and she feels the strength to do so. But she has fire and passion and a good head on her shoulders, even as she makes the same mistakes that any human would do. She is a character that I would LOVE to see her on the big screen.

1. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series

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I don’t think its any surprise that she is the best YA female character, at least according to myself. She is the first female character that I really read that I connected to, and that I still continue to connect to. Before I discovered Harry Potter, I was reading formula books like Sweet Valley High, Baby-Sitter’s Club, Pony Pals and the Boxcar Children. In other words, books that weren’t challenging me in the slightest. I first read Harry Potter when I was 10 years old, just one year younger than the characters themselves and Hermione immediately jumped out to me. One, she really was the only female character that we got to know in that book, besides, like McGonagall and Mrs. Norris haha. But I loved how smart she was, especially since she wasn’t born into that world. I loved how, even though she was teased and bullied, and had no friends, she didn’t stop being smart just for that. I love that she was always proud of her brain and her intelligence and she never, ever dumbed herself down for a boy, ever. I loved that she was brave, and loyal and kind and selfless and quick thinking and all of that. She is AWESOME and Emma Watson did a wonderful job portraying her :)

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I hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of the Tuesday Top Ten.

Don’t forget to check out last week’s Top Ten, on my favorite fictional dads, and other lists here.

Who are some of YOUR favorite young adult fictional female characters? As always, share in the comments!

Giving Books Love

My sister and I are both book lovers. I have been a book lover my entire life, for sale from the time I saw a small child. I think that I have mentioned before that my parents were kind of crazy and taught me to read at a pretty young age. So I was always a good reader. I always loved books.

And while the books that I loved when I was younger weren’t the most ground breaking of books (Sweet Valley High, what is ed Babysitter’s Club), check I still have always have a deep love for books.

My sister fell into the book love a little later in life. She has very very very mild dyslexia, probably not even enough to be diagnosed but enough that reading was always really difficult for her, and obviously not something she wanted to jump into.

Well, I started reading Harry Potter to her. And Harry Potter did that wonderful thing that it tends to do: it made her a reader. It made her love books. She’s been a reader ever since. If you ever see the two of us together, we’re probably more comfortable reading together than anything else. We have similar tastes in books but definitely differing tastes as well.

But there’s one thing that we’ve always disagreed on.

And that is what condition to keep your books in.

My sister is one of those readers who tends to keep her books in perfect pristine condition. Literally, all her books look as if she just plucked them off the shelf at our neighborhood Barnes and Noble, took it home and placed it on the shelf at home. They’re perfect. The pages are still crisp and new, the bindings aren’t bent…they literally still have white pages.

This is not at all in the same of my books. I beat the CRAP out of my books. I don’t do it because I show any disrespect or any of that. I don’t do it because I don’t care about my books. Quite the opposite. My books are some of my most important prized posessions. I am quite proud of the collection I’ve built up, and the collection I’ve continued to build up.

I’ve always accepted our differences, even though I thought she was a weirdo. I thought SHE was the anomaly.

Today I saw someone who posted a picture on facebook of someone reading a Cassandra Clare book and she’s was literally AGHAST at the fact that the person had bent the cover back…and people were commenting on it, ready to, like, run with pitchforks at the reader. Like it was the most horrible thing in the world that she had bent the spine a little bit.

And I was literally baffled. I mean, here are some examples of the books that I own. I only took a few pictures because I have too many beat up books to really share.

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My copy of Rebel Angels by Libba Bray. You can see stains on the front cover and that the spine is pretty beat up. Notice its missing its dust jacket.

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There’s my copy of City of Glass. The cover is pretty messed up and the pages are all brown and bent…and this is my SIGNED copy too.

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One of my absolute favorite books of all time. Look at this thing. LOOK AT IT. I don’t even have to explain, the picture says it all.

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My other absolute favorite book, Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce. Enough said in this picture.

The point that I’m trying to make is…well these people were acting like the person was showing disrespect to the book and the author by bending the covers and spines, folding over the corners, and showing any wear and tear on the books…like it was absolute blasphemy. One girl said “I only treat books like that if I disrespect the book or the author”. I mean, really?

I have absolutely NO disrespect to books or authors by showing my books LOVE. In fact, I’ve always felt opposite. If you see pretty books on my shelves, its usually because either its a brand new book or I didn’t like it enough to read it again, and show it some love. I carry books around in my purse, I toss them into my backpack, I read in the bathtub, on the beach. There are always several books on my bed and they get kicked around and tossed underneath, and squished between the bed and the wall. (I just counted, I have 8 books on my bed plus my Kindle Fire).

I bend covers, or I just plain lose them. I don’t have a lot of books that actually still have their dust sleeves. Its not that I don’t think the covers are pretty, because they TOTALLY are…I just hate dust sleeves. They get in the way when I’m reading. I’d rather have paperbacks over anything else. I read while I’m in the bathtub and I’ve totally dropped my books in the water…and I dry them out and keep them. I read while I eat (in fact, I eat SUPER slow if I don’t read, I get distracted by…pretty much nothing) and I get food stains and grease stains on my books. I don’t lovingly place my books in my purse or backpack; I toss them in there, and they get caught on other things and pages get bent, covers get torn. Its LOVE.

I LOVE my books. I can’t imagine keeping my books perfect. I mean, its not like I go around and purposely beat up my books. I just don’t think about it. I suppose if I really stopped to think about it, I could keep my books neat and nice but I’d have to go out of my way to really think about it and I just don’t care enough to do that. I care too much about reading and enjoying the book.

And I just feel like I can’t be the only person in the world who does this? Its not like…like I wouldn’t throw my TV around, or my laptop…I have respect for the things that I own, especially my books. I buy a good 90% of my books, and the rest I get as gifts. I care very much about my books, and I show that by keeping them with me at all times (remember, eight books on my bed), and that includes situations where they might get a little beat up. Look at my Goblet of Fire and Trickster’s Choice books above. My two absolute favorite books in the entire world and look how beat up they are!

What I’m wondering, basically, is…am I the crazy one here? Am I the anomaly? I pride myself in being literate, in being a prolific reader, a lover of books, both what they contain and what they are. I never thought of myself as disrespecting my books, or any of that. I still don’t think that. I will still continue to treat the books the way that I do, and they’ll still be torn to pieces and all that.

But what about you guys? What do you think? Do you beat books up, do you love them, do you always have a bookmark available to mark your spot or do you fold down those corners? As always, let me know in the comments. I’m ready for some discussion!

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