The Fault In Our Books: The Importance of Diversity in Children’s Literature

 

I wrote this essay for a class, but I decided to publish it! If anyone is interested in seeing any more of my research, let me know!


The Fault in Our Books: The Importance of Diversity in Children’s Literature

           85, 88, and 97 percent of the characters in the books on the 2013 New York Times bestsellers list for young adult fiction were white, straight, and abled respectively (Lo, “Diversity in the 2013”). The lack of diversity in mainstream media is widely addressed–with the exception of children’s books. When the characters in the books read by children do not represent the diverse population of the children, a feeling of inferiority is created for the children who do not see themselves (Paul). The lack of diversity does not only affect children of minorities– the children who are represented also suffer through the lack of education about new cultures. Reading books featuring characters of minorities is essential to the development of self-esteem and comprehension in children because reading about different characters encourages acceptance of unfamiliar cultures and promotes the idea that everyone is equal while furthering a love of reading in children.

           The problem of diversity in children’s books is as old as children’s books themselves. The first time this issue was ever addressed publicly was in 1965, with the article “The All White World of Children’s Books” (Bishop). This article sparked a discussion that was strong among librarians for about a year, before the subject died off, only to be addressed again in 2014. Numerous studies have been conducted over the last few decades and the results are unanimously the same: the vast majority of books have main characters of white race and a large percentage of the already small number of books with diverse characters portray them in a stereotypical way. In recent times, there has been a lot of buzz around this issue because of an emerging organization: We Need Diverse Books. This organization came to be because of an outrage at the lack of diversity on author panels at BookCon, a large book convention, in 2014. This discussion spawned the hashtag “#WeNeedDiverseBooks” and the organization was formed after that (diversebooks.org). The organization has devoted itself to advocating diversity in the children’s publishing industry. In addition to this foundation that is harnessing a large amount of attention, schools around the country are starting to include more culturally diverse books in their curriculum. Even with these new developments, the lack of diverse characters in books is still a problem. Such an important discussion should not only be had in the publishing industry. Research shows that the “Big Five” publishers: Penguin Random House, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster, are still publishing young adult and children’s books that rely heavily on characters of white race, christian religion, heterosexual sexuality, and cisgender gender.

           One of the main problems of the lack of diversity in children’s books is the effect it has on the self-esteem of children of minorities. When children do not see themselves in books, they feel as if they are not important, as if they do not belong in books. This causes them to feel as if they do not belong in society: they feel “devalued” (Bishop). Children with an alternative home life, such as two mothers or an alcoholic parent, also have their self-esteem hindered when they are not represented in books; their home life will start to feel “secretive” to them (Paul). If it is not portrayed in books as normal, children will not feel comfortable talking about their problems with their friends. This creates a dynamic of one-mindedness and exclusivity, as well as affirming gender roles and “traditional values.” Minority children want to see themselves in a positive present and future. A large amount of the already small number of diverse titles are about historical issues and thus not relatable to children. Level three of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is belonging– “to be accepted and liked by other people in a group” (Merriam-Webster). Never reading about characters similar to oneself makes one feel like they do not belong; it diminishes their self-esteem.

           A commonly seen aspect of this problem that affects the self-esteem of children is stereotypes. Certain stereotypes are laughed at, such as the feminine gay man or the drag queen-esque trans woman (Lo, “LGBT Stereotypes”). This diminishes the self-esteem in both people who do and do not have these stereotypical traits when they are portrayed this way. Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie introduced the concept of a “single story” in her 2009 TED Talk, “The danger of a single story” (Adichie). A single story is a one-dimensional view of a complex reality. For example, a large amount of Americans think of Africa as an entirely third-world area– when in reality, parts of Africa are just as metropolitan as New York City. Single stories emphasize people’s differences rather than their similarities. One character is not representative of all their type. Children are very impressionable and susceptible to believe what they are told. If all of the black characters in books are poor, they will assume that all black people are poor. Diverse books are necessary to show children a broad range of lifestyles for every race. The nature of children is to love; they have to be taught hate and discrimination. One-dimensional books with stereotypical characters only help enforce racial supremacy and prejudice.

           A huge factor of self-esteem in children is the feeling of normality. Kids need characters like themselves to feel normal. Shockingly, there are more books about fictional creatures such as dragons or unicorns than children of minorities (Myers). This teaches kids a powerful lesson about their own importance. Children, especially those of minorities, use books as a means of self-affirmation. Having a relatable character in a book helps children with self-esteem issues because it affirms that they are “normal” and special (Bishop). The same goes for children with alternative lifestyles such as living in a foster home or having gay parents. Seeing a character living a life similar to their own causes children to value their home life more. When over 100 teenagers were asked how they feel when they read a book with a character that shares their race or ethnicity, the most popular answer by far was that they “can relate” or “feel a connection” (Diversity in Literature Survey). Children of minorities are so used to feeling different and left out among their peers that a book with a similar character to themselves provides immense relief. It tells them they are normal and can be just like their peers. Books have the power to change lives (NPR). For example, when Annie on My Mind was published in 1982, it was life-changing for so many young girls. It showed them that it is okay to be a lesbian– that they can fall in love and have romantic courtships like the straight characters that they are used to seeing. If minority characters are not included in children’s literature, white children will become the “picture of normal” (Adichie).

           Diversity in children’s literature increases more than just self-esteem; it educates children on different cultures and promotes equality and tolerance. Because of the naivete and willingness of the child’s mind, reading about new cultures makes them feel more normal rather than abstract to children. A lot of people have single stories of places and cultures that are unfamiliar to them (Adichie). Getting inside the head of a character different from oneself normalizes that character’s culture and home life; there are few better ways to learn about a culture than from someone who lives that culture. Diverse books teach kids belonging and acceptance (Sargeant). A good book that accurately represents an unfamiliar culture can broaden a child’s perspective of the world and their peers. Studies show that reading books with different dialects can broaden how English is spoken is America (Bishop). Kids also develop more positive attitudes towards their own culture and race when presented with books with similar characters (Gillespie). A large problem that prevents Americans from having the knowledge of other cultures that people have in other countries is their general hatred of being wrong (Paul). By reading books with different cultures, readers are respectfully, sometimes unknowingly, receiving a cultural education–especially if the characters in said books challenge stereotypes that have already been presented through other forms of media such as movies and tv shows. Ann Morgan, a writer from London who dedicated a year reading books from every single country in the world, argues that more books need to be translated into English for a full, unbiased understanding of world cultures (“Reading a book”). People of minorities are desperate to share their cultures; it is such an important part of their lives. Books are a perfect outlet. Growing up being aware of different cultures raises children to be more tolerant and inclusive. An extremely successful program at Fairmont State University in West Virginia is devoted to doing exactly this. The goal of the project is to “help children build self-esteem and embrace diversity through a love of reading” (McNamara). In addition to the tremendous success of this program, studies show that reading decreases prejudice and increases empathy (Kleinfeld). So many individuals all over the world use writing as a means of communication. Literature from different countries encourages cross-cultural communication, the key to acceptance (Dar). Having knowledge of a culture makes it easier to accept and recognize said culture.

           Children are truly not given enough credit for what their minds can do. They have the ability to transform stereotypical scripts to be more understanding and inclusive. It is not uncommon for a child to insert themselves into a book that does not have concrete race descriptions. In the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Harry and Hermione were never given specific races–it is the movies that projected sudden whiteness on the characters (Berlatsky). Learning about different cultures’ struggles and traditions helps develop empathy in children. In addition, children become aware of key concepts such as privilege through books where characters make the same discoveries, such as the young adult novel The Inside of Out, in which the main character is educated about white privilege by her friend. (Thorne). Contrary to popular belief, children do enjoy learning. They are “naturally curious” and have a need to discover the world around them (Hunt). Tying in education to reading makes children enjoy reading more, making them more caring people.

           Discovering new cultures through reading taps into a child’s natural desire to learn while promoting their love of reading. Students associate positive feelings with books when they can relate to them (Diversity in Literature Survey). If a child is more likely to reach for a book with a character that looks like themself on the cover, they are more likely to reach for a book in general. Noah Cho, a middle school teacher in San Francisco, fills his class curriculum with nothing but culturally diverse titles every year. As a result, his students become more self-sure and confident–and their grades raise (Cho). A group of librarians surveyed unanimously agreed that the children in their programs would be more enthusiastic readers if they saw themselves in books (PR Newswire). Also, diverse books provide a challenging reading experience for particularly younger readers, being overall enjoyable. It can be a struggle for children to grasp onto new cultures, but the overall result is a well educated child who enjoys reading more. For example, learning about history through a minority perspective that it not taught in schools can give kids insight and bring forth new ideas on historical events. Children use books to escape reality (“Children’s Fantasy Literature”). Reading about different types of people provides a fundamentally different reading experience than real life, where the only glimpse into other’s lives comes from what they offer up. Every culture has a huge array of stories: folklore, mythology, religious stories–the variety is endless. As Rudine Sims Bishop so eloquently stated in one of her most famous essays, children need “windows” onto other cultures, “mirrors” onto their own lives, and “sliding glass doors” to escape into other worlds and experiences (“Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors”).

           The lack of diversity in the children’s literature field is a huge problem because the self-esteem of children revolves around the feeling of “normality,” a sensation that can come from seeing oneself in books. Children who are represented in books also suffer from the lack of cultural education and true depth to their books. All children are at risk for misunderstandings and potentially harmful assumptions because of stereotypically portrayed characters of minorities. This problem can only be solved if publishers, teachers, librarians, and readers work together and share their experiences with discrimination to change the industry.

(Works Cited available upon request.)

Gabi’s Rants| Wattpad Books PT. 2

Hello booknerdigans!

Gabi is back, and I am here to talk about this amazing, wonderful, addictive, life consuming, app called Wattpad.

Now I already made a rant talking about the wonderfulness that is this app, but I have went down a very long and deep black hole of Wattpadness once again. Now the first thing that is immediately WARNING about this app is that it consumes all the time that you have for reading actual published books. I haven’t finished an actual published book in over two weeks…this is a problem. I usually finish two published books in a week. And wattpad is making me fucking insane. Do you know how much I know now about werewolves since I got this app. A hell lot more than I actually need to know.

Not only werewolves but the fanfiction. Oh dear sour skittles THE FANFICTION! I have read one too many Percabeth fan fictions in the last two weeks. They don’t even have to be good for me to read them! Just give me my Percy and I will be on my way downloading this app.

Now one thing that I really really do love about this app is the amazing Teen Fiction Contemporaries that are on there. I think I have read more good contemporary Wattpad stories than actually published contemporary books. And this is coming from someone who’s least favorite genre is Contemporary. The amount of sarcasm, cheesyness, and over all teen life makes the story ten times better than a regular old contemporary.

You relate to the stories, and I don’t know about you but the first thing that I search for in a book is if I can relate to it. And I can damn relate to these Wattpad stories.

SUE ME!

Gabi signature final

Review + Giveaway: The Cresswell Plot

Review + Giveaway: The Cresswell PlotThe Cresswell Plot by Eliza Wass
Published by Disney-Hyperion on June 7th 2016
Genres: Horror
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gifted
Goodreads

The woods were insane in the dark, terrifying and magical at the same time. But best of all were the stars, which trumpeted their light into the misty dark.
Castella Cresswell and her five siblings—Hannan, Caspar, Mortimer, Delvive, and Jerusalem—know what it’s like to be different. For years, their world has been confined to their ramshackle family home deep in the woods of upstate New York. They abide by the strict rule of God, whose messages come directly from their father.
Slowly, Castley and her siblings start to test the boundaries of the laws that bind them. But, at school, they’re still the freaks they’ve always been to the outside world. Marked by their plain clothing. Unexplained bruising. Utter isolation from their classmates. That is, until Castley is forced to partner with the totally irritating, totally normal George Gray, who offers her a glimpse of a life filled with freedom and choice.
Castley’s world rapidly expands beyond the woods she knows so well and the beliefs she once thought were the only truths. There is a future waiting for her if she can escape her father’s grasp, but Castley refuses to leave her siblings behind. Just as she begins to form a plan, her father makes a chilling announcement: the Cresswells will soon return to their home in heaven. With time running out on all of their lives, Castley must expose the depth of her father’s lies. The forest has buried the truth in darkness for far too long. Castley might be their last hope for salvation.

Hey bookworms! I am thrilled to be a part of The Cresswell Plot blog tour, hosted by the lovely Hannah @ Irish Banana Books! I’m doing a review for the blog tour, but there are lots of other people doing other creative posts to promote the book as well! I’ll have the their links down below. On with the review!Displaying TCP Banner.jpgc02758fd-e10d-46f2-bfe7-fe63b1142e95


If you know me and you read this blog, you’ll know that I love cults. It’s a sick fascination, really. I could spend hours reading up on all kinds of creepy religious stuff. I’m not sure why I’m so obsessed with cults! Maybe it’s because I’ve had so much religious freedom in my Reform Jewish family? Who knows. Anyways, I’m always looking for more books with sick religious themes and this book nailed it. 

This book made me feel so many things! I was scared, I was happy, I was hopeful, I was heartbroken, I was confused…any emotion you can name, I felt it while reading this book. Every single character had a huge impact on me and I even caught myself feeling sorry for the bad guys sometimes! In some of the final scenes View Spoiler », I was a complete mess. Seriously, I was screaming and sobbing and sending angry Snapchats to my friends saying “THIS DAMN BOOK!”

Castella’s religious journey was as heartbreaking as it was inspiring. She wasn’t like the typical person vs society type character. She didn’t start off hating her life. We got to journey with Castella and she lost her faith in her family, but also as she lost her faith in religion. It’s easy, especially for me, to be cynical about religion. But it is very important to a lot of people and proves devastating when that comfort is lost.

The romance was handled extremely well. I didn’t want them to end up together, so I’m thankful that they didn’t! George was perfect for Castella at the beginning. He showed her what the world was like and didn’t judge her. He slowly became worse and worse, and I’m glad Castella realized that. He served his purpose to help with her awakening and then slowly dipped out of her life.

The dynamic between Castella and her siblings was amazing. The amount of care and love that they had for each other made me envious. The fact they would LITERALLY take a bullet for one another shows how deeply they trust each other. Castella had a unique and interesting relationship with each sibling. The author did a fabulous job with the characterization of each child in the family.

TITLE: boring | nothing special | pretty good | caught my eye | perfection | music to my ears
COVER: not my favorite | goes well with rest of the series | boring | generic | pretty | series cover change | beautiful | HEART EYES
POV: 1st | 2nd | 3rd limited | 3rd omniscient | multiple POVs | too many POVs
CONCEPT: original as heck | run of the mill in genre | average | has potential | great idea, bad execution
MOOD: dark | hilarious | light hearted | romantic | depressing | suspenseful | fluffy | mysterious
PACING: snail’s pace | couldn’t keep up | mix of fast and slow | slow in the wrong places | fast in the wrong places | what even is pacing? | fast
CHARACTERS: i’m in love | couldn’t connect | too many | well developed (all) | infuriating | annoying | precious babies | underdeveloped (all)| a mix of good and bad | okay | new favorite characters | book boyfriend
ROMANCE: none | steamy | adorable | ship it | didn’t ship it | cheesy | predictable | love triangle (sorta) | instalove | OTP | huh?
DIVERSITY: none | black | religious | asian | indian | lgbt+ | mental health | male narrator | body | culture

I enjoyed this book a lot! It satisfied my craving for creepy religious books and made me feel ALL THE THINGS.


Giveaway time!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the rest of the fabulous blogs participating in this tour!
deanna signature final

ARC Review: The Leaving

ARC Review: The LeavingThe Leaving by Tara Altebrando
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on June 7th 2016
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 432
Format: ARC
Source: Gifted
Goodreads

Six were taken. Eleven years later, five come back--with no idea of where they've been.
Eleven years ago, six kindergarteners went missing without a trace. After all that time, the people left behind moved on, or tried to.
Until today. Today five of those kids return. They're sixteen, and they are . . . fine. Scarlett comes home and finds a mom she barely recognizes, and doesn't really recognize the person she's supposed to be, either. But she thinks she remembers Lucas. Lucas remembers Scarlett, too, except they're entirely unable to recall where they've been or what happened to them. Neither of them remember the sixth victim, Max. He doesn't come back. Everyone wants answers. Most of all Max's sister Avery, who needs to find her brother--dead or alive--and isn't buying this whole memory-loss story.

Hi guys! I am so, so, so sorry that I haven’t been very active. I’ve been so uninspired lately, but I am going to try to get more reviews up! I’m trying a more casual review format to see if I like it better, so bear with me!


 This book kept me up waaaaaaaay past my bedtime! (Seriously, I stayed up until 3 AM to finish it!) I was constantly guessing and I just HAD TO KNOW what happened! I loved the mystery of it all, but at the same time, it was a bit too much. I found myself wishing that the author had made the choice to show us their lives before, wipe their memories, then have us reading along as they figure out the past; a healthy bit of dramatic irony. I really don’t know what I would’ve wanted. I LOVED not knowing, but I also wanted to know! I think the ideal solution would be to keep us guessing, but reveal the plot twists faster.

This book definitely creeped me out! It was the perfect amount of creeptastic goodness. Not only was I scared for the characters during this book, I was scared for all of humankind! The author did a fabulous job of revealing the plot twists in a way that was super creepy.

I hated Avery. She was annoying–almost unbearable. But, her POV felt necessary to the story. Not because of the romance (which I’ll get into later), but because of Max. Max was the tagline of this book. “Six were taken. Five came back.” The other characters didn’t really think about Max at all, yet he was still an important part of the story. Avery’s hunt for Max added another layer to the mystery. As much as I couldn’t stand Avery and all of her teenagery whining, she was an important character. She gave perspective to the situation that we didn’t see through Lucas or Scarlett.

Speaking of Lucas and Scarlett, the romance in this book was very odd. We start off with Avery having a child-like crush on Lucas, Lucas feeling an intruguing connection with Scarlett, and Scarlett not really caring at all. Later on in the book, we find out that View Spoiler » Avery continues to pine for Lucas. View Spoiler » The romance was confusing. I didn’t ship any of the couples and I could’ve done without any romance at all.

The ending was very inconclusive! After all that questioning and build-up, it was very anticlimactic when the the answer was finally found. We didn’t get enough information. I was desperate for information about what happened during the events of the book and we barely got anyView Spoiler »

Judging by all that, it may seem as if I didn’t like The Leaving. That is false! I looooved this book! I simply can’t read a book without critiquing something!

TITLE: boring | nothing special | pretty good | caught my eye | perfection | music to my ears
COVER: not my favorite | goes well with rest of the series | boring | generic | pretty | series cover change | beautiful | HEART EYES
POV: 1st | 2nd | 3rd limited | 3rd omniscient | multiple POVs | too many POVs
CONCEPT: original as heck | run of the mill in genre | average | has potential | great idea, bad execution
MOOD: dark | hilarious | light hearted | romantic | depressing | suspenseful | fluffy | mysterious
PACING: snail’s pace | couldn’t keep up | mix of fast and slow | slow in the wrong places | fast in the wrong places | what even is pacing? | fast
CHARACTERS: i’m in love | couldn’t connect | too many | well developed (all) | infuriating | annoying | precious babies | underdeveloped (all)| a mix of good and bad | okay | new favorite characters | book boyfriend
ROMANCE: none | steamy | adorable | ship it | didn’t ship it | cheesy | predictable | love triangle (sorta) | instalove | OTP | huh?
DIVERSITY: none | black | jewish | asian | indian | lgbt+ | mental health | male narrator | body | culture

I had a lot of trouble rating this book. In the end, I gave it 4 stars! The romance and ending were downers, but the suspense and story line were done so well that the rating had to be good!


The Leaving was, overall, an excellent book and I highly recommend it!

deanna signature final

Guest Post|Kaina-One Page Closer

newlogoHello lovelies! My name is Kaina, I am a Junior in high school and I blog over at These Flying Pages. I magically appear before you today because Gabi has been kind enough to let me borrow her awesome blog to tell you about a very cool bookish thing.

tumblr_lkqf2nXVIV1qehum9o1_500

Today I will be talking about my recently launched literacy initiative/unofficial non-profit, One Page Closer, a community service project that provides fully stocked bookcases to children and teens in low-income communities.

excitement

 

Primarily intended for teens, each bookcase will be stocked with donated books or books purchased with donated dollars. In addition, every bookcase will have twelve We Need Diverse Books as well as an OPC collection, an assortment of YA titles hand picked by yours truly. What does this mean exactly? One Page Closer will be providing fully stocked bookcases with the best Young Adult titles at no cost to low-income communities in Miami, Florida, and hopefully one day abroad. Each book shelve will stock approximately 120 novels.

 What is an OPC Collection?

An OPC Collection is a series of handpicked YA books that will be present in every bookcase donated. They showcase the best of YA literature and are great introducers to the genre. It is through the reading of these novels that we hope to foster the readers of tomorrow.

row1 row2 row3 row4

Why

For me, literature has always been a method of escape–a permanent fixture in the consistency of my short days–the best companion on 2 am nights, and the most reliable friend. All the books that sit on my overflowing shelves have played some significant role in my life. Whether it be that of a friend, a mentor, a teacher, a much needed hand of comfort, or a wake up call. Every novel that has graced my hands have all parted with relatively similarity; instilling a bit of wisdom with each closing chapter.

And so, to realize that there are kids out there missing out on all of this–because of their socio-economic backgrounds, circumstances, or simple lack of exposure–commanded me to action. To do something to help, to make the enjoyable literature that hooked me on reading in the first place accessible to others. To make some sort of impact, whether it be on one or five hundred individuals, every person counts.

tumblr_nfe5hnANLp1ta4uato1_1280

What is We Need Diverse Books?

diversebooksWe Need Diverse Books is a campaign dedicated to highlighting the best of diverse literature for children and teens and to heightening awareness through continued education. Their focus is solely on works for children, with a commitment to continue to highlight and honor children’s books that celebrate the lives of all young readers, their families, and communities. As an extension of the OPC Collection each One Page Closer bookcase will have 12 YA novels that feature diversity.

Who Is This For?

As of now, the first bookcase will be going to Breakthrough Miami, an eight-year, tuition-free academic enrichment program that provides motivated middle-school students from underserved communities with the tools they need to achieve their most ambitious goals in life (this one has actually already been completed!) After that I will be stocking eight bookcases (yes eight *breathes erratically*) for The Boys and Girls Club of Miami for their four locations in Miami. Four bookcases will be going to their Literacy Rooms for kids K-8 and the other four will be going to their Teen Rooms for kids 12-18.

How You Can Help

If you happen to be going “hmm I want to help” I would like to take a moment to send you a huge enormous virtual hug, like right now.

gif

This is a primarily donation/people based project, a huge task to accomplish and I can’t do it alone. Whatever you can do will help. Whether that be getting the word out, donating to this projects GoFundMe, visiting our website , following our Instagram or Twitter, or donating books; anything and everything brings us one page closer to our goal: to make enjoyable literature accessible for all.

Every person who makes a monetary donation will have their name placed on the list of donors which will be visible on the bookcase they helped fund.

Can I Donate Books?

tumblr_inline_n01o93kgtJ1s4ivgm

You can send any new/gently used Young Adult, Middle School, or Children’s books to:

One Page Closer

4234 SW 152nd AVE, Suite 140

Miami, Florida 33185

(YA novels strongly preferred)

Thank you in advance for helping me #GiveYA, let me know if you have any questions below!

Top Ten Tuesday | 10 Websites I Visit Daily

The theme for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and The Bookish, is “10 websites!” This could be top 10 non-bookish blogs, top 10 websites I visit daily, top 10 websites I reccomend, etc. I am choosing to do TOP TEN WEBSITES I VISIT DAILY. Without further ado, here’s the post!

Top 10 Tuesday

This week’s topic is Top Ten Websites I Visit Daily


1. Google Drive

One of the websites that I visit daily is Google Drive. I use this website for all my homework and as a way to organize my writing. I also use this to communicate with my teachers and other students!

2. ModCloth

I am a self-admitted online shopping junkie. My favorite store is ModCloth! I visit the website or app daily to see what new arrivals they have and to browse the sale section.

3. Girls’ Life

If you didn’t know, I work at Girls’ Life Magazine. I visit this website to see what my coworkers and friends are working on and to generally work on things.

4. Twitter

I’m very active on Twitter! I spent waaaaay too much time on there. I communicate with both non-bookish and bookish friends on Twitter and I see my other fandom (Broadway) friends there!

5. Broadway.com

I freaking love Broadway.com! I love their articles, videos, and interviews. They have exclusive footage and pictures that I eat right up. I watch the Broadway.com Show religiously and read pretty much every article. Best place to go for Broadway news!

6. Goodreads

I don’t know how I ever got by before without Goodreads! I use the app or website every day to update my current read and to check out what my friends are reading and reviewing. It’s how I find out about a lot of books!

7. Netflix

My computer has a Netflix app, but it doesn’t work too well so I use the website! Netflix is THE BOMB. I watch movies, tv shows, documentaries, you know it. Live love Netflix!

8. Spotify

Spotify is how I listen to music on my computer! I HATE the app, but the web version is great! They have all the music I could ever want to listen to and I can skip freely and play what I want.

9. Amazon

The amount of stuff that I buy from Amazon is somewhat embarrassing. My family has Amazon Prime, so we literally get EVERYTHING from there. I’m always in need of something, be it books, food, toiletries, or anything.

10. Weather

I guess you could call me a weather junkie. I check the weather multiple times a day on both my phone and computer. It may be a bit compulsive, but I’m never caught in the rain unprepared!


That’s it! Tell me, what websites do you visit daily?

deanna signature final

DNF Review: How It Ends

DNF Review: How It EndsHow It Ends by Catherine Lo
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on June 7th 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Gifted
Goodreads

There are two sides to every story.
It’s friends-at-first-sight for Jessie and Annie, proving the old adage that opposites attract. Shy, anxious Jessie would give anything to have Annie’s beauty and confidence. And Annie thinks Jessie has the perfect life, with her close-knit family and killer grades. They're BFFs…until suddenly they're not.
Told through alternating points of view, How It Ends is a wildly fast but deeply moving read about a friendship in crisis. Set against a tumultuous sophomore year of bullying, boys and backstabbing, the novel shows what can happen when friends choose assumptions and fear over each other.

Hey guys! I’m so sorry for not posting in a while. I’ve been really busy with life and, to be honest, I haven’t wanted to write anything. I’m gonna get back into the swing of things this spring until I go on hiatus in July! Anyways, I’m gonna do a DNF review for How It Ends by Catherine Lo. If you’ve never seen a DNF review before, I talk about why I DNFd the book as opposed to likes and dislikes. On with the review!


WHY I DNF’D

This book started out really great! I enjoyed the relationship and related to both Jessie and Annie. Unfortunately, as their relationship deteriorated, mine with the book did as well.

The characters started to drive me CRAZY. I thought I was gonna relate to and like Jessie because of her anxiety, similar to mine, but it was the opposite. The way the author portrayed her anxiety…it felt like a caricature. I’m not offended by the way she wrote the character’s anxiety, just annoyed. It felt very inaccurate to me and made the book pretty much impossible to read. Anxiety aside, she was just plain annoying. She was extremely whiny and was essentially a privileged brat. She didn’t seem to actually care about Annie and refused to let her be her own person.

That said, Annie wasn’t an angel either. Again, I liked her in the beginning. I thought she was quirky and “cool.” Well, she turned out to be a huge bitch. She knew all of Jessie’s problems and STILL ditched her to hang out with the popular girls. She made my blood boil. I think we as readers can all relate to the dorky, bookish girl and seeing her hurt like that because of her interests and nature made me furious. Annie did so much horrible shit to Jessie all while complaining about Jessie. Something doesn’t add up here!

I DNFd How It Ends because of the characters. They were both horrible and impossible to read. Catherine Lo’s portrayal of Jessie’s anxiety was angering and inaccurate.

This book had so much potential! I love strong friendships and non-romantic stories, but this book just did not deliver. :(


That’s it! It’s good to be back. Thanks for reading!

deanna signature final