Tag: rainbow rowell

'City of Bones,' 'City of Ashes,' and 'City of Glass,' books 1-3 in the six book Mortal Instruments series

7 Unmissable Books for ‘Shadowhunters’ Fans

Happy Birthday, City of Bones! YA Fantasy superstar Cassandra Clare released her debut (the first entry into the sprawling Shadowhunters universe) on March 27th, 2007, which makes the book twelve years old. That would land it squarely in middle school—a familiar landscape which has nonetheless changed a lot since this book’s release. Some things have, of course, remained the same: children are mean and hormones so rarely help anyone. But there are some major differences—YA is more diverse; genre fiction is booming; and social issues have risen to the forefront of modern discourse.

 

'City of Bones' by Cassandra Clare

Image Via Twilight Sleep

 

Cassandra Clare’s novels have continued to do what they did at their outset: tell stories of characters who don’t often have their stories told. Clare’s LGBT+ rep throughout her body of work hits each of those four letters (and perhaps, soon, we’ll get some of the other letters that come with the +.) Clare has also recently gained attention for autistic representation that transcends superficial stereotypes. Her characters are bombastically human with all that entails—dramatic love stories, deep-seated emotional issues, ridiculous inside jokes. Clare’s obvious love for fantasy and the genre is second only to her understanding of human nature, and it’s obvious her work resonates for innumerable reasons: there are currently more than 50 million copies of her novels in print. The Mortal Instruments series in particular has inspired both a film adaptation and a successful TV series. And, of course, her work has always resonated with me.

Picture this: I’m thirteen. I’m wearing a horrific amount of bright blue eyeliner (read: any amount). I am distinctly not straight. Since it’s not terribly likely you know what I look like, imagine me this way: uncomfortable with everything. City of Bones featured one of the very first LGBT+ couples I ever encountered—withdrawn, struggling Alec and the ever-bold Magnus Bane—and changed the way that I thought about what are currently two of my favorite things: genre fiction and myself.

Gay puns on the respective 'Shadowhunters' characters' sexualities.

Image Via @Kayla_Darktale Tumblr

 

We’d call this a list of books to help you fill the Shadowhunters void—except, of course, that there isn’t one! Cassandra Clare has dutifully (and enthusiastically) expanded her universe’s lore since its inception, with new releases forthcoming in 2019: Chain of Goldthe first entry into a new historical fantasy trilogy, and The Red Scrolls of Magic, the start of a trilogy centered on the magical misadventures of Alec and Magnus. Clare even has a section on her website entitled “where to start,” acknowledging the fact that readers might be a little intimidated by the canon. Some advice on starting? Do it. Immediately.

 

Which 'Shadowhunters' Book Should You Start With?

Image Via Riveted Lit

 

But if, like me, you’ve already plowed your way through the majority of the seemingly limitless Shadowhunters canon, here’s a delightful mix of 7 Young Adult & New Adult classics to remind you of all that this genre can accomplish.

1. The Raven Cycle

 

'The Raven Cycle,' a quartet by Maggie Stiefvater

Folded Pages Distillery

 

Is this first on the list because it’s my personal favorite? Yes. Is it first on the list because it’s sure to be your personal favorite? Also yes. It would be a travesty to reduce Maggie Stiefvater‘s quartet to its LGBT+ characters, mostly because it’s so many other things besides strong representation: dangerous, raw, and human as its characters and all the things they want. Bonus content: Molotov cocktails, dead things that are supposed to be alive, alive things that are supposed to be dead. Every possible use of ‘Dick’ as a nickname for Richard. Distinguished boys who, for some reason, continue to wear boat shoes. The feeling of returning home and, for some, the immense desire to leave it. Bees…? One of the most unique series in YA fantasy today, The Raven Cycle is startling, strange, and filled with a cast of characters so real you won’t believe you haven’t really met them. Cassie Clare fans will live for the sarcasm, the limitless wit, the character dynamics, and the positive LGBT+ representation.

 

2. SHADES OF MAGIC

 

The 'Shades of Magic' Trilogy by VE Schwab

ImaGe Via Book riot

 

In V.E. Schwab‘s delightful, inventive, and ambitious trilogy, four different versions of London exist with varying levels of magic—and equivalent levels of danger. (Spoiler: that level is HIGH.) One is the London of old, one that we might recognize: no magic, lots of crime. One London is magic the way that we might imagine it. One is magic with all the cruelty that magic so often entails. And one—the most magic London of all—no longer exists. Or, at least, it no longer exists in any way that we might recognize. Oh, did that description make these books sound happy and upbeat? They are… when everything’s not busy going very, very wrong. Fans of Jace and Alec’s affectionate-yet-frequently-frustrated brotherly dynamic will love the give-and-take between adopted brothers Kell and Rhy. And it would be quite the challenge to build a world richer than Cassandra Clare’s—whose books are physically large enough to build that world brick by brick. V.E. Schwab’s attention to detail will delight those who are after a detailed lore.

 

3. The magicians

 

Lev Grossman's 'The Magicians' Trilogy

Image Via The Reading Room

 

The Magicians has gotten a lot of attention lately thanks to its SyFy TV adaptation—and if it doesn’t already, it deserves to have yours. This may just be the best book series you ever read about a fictional wizard school (and yes, I do know about the other one). Unlike many fantasy series, which can paint concepts of good and evil in the broadest brushstrokes, The Magicians thoroughly examines all the thematic implications of the fantasy genre, subverting every trope in the process. The humor is frequently raunchy, nihilistic. The magic is even more frequently absurd. And the story is consistently unthinkable in its imagination, pushing the limits of what magic (and the fantasy genre!) can accomplish. Lev Grossman‘s world is as dark and sensual as it is intellectual and calculating—but, in the end, it’s more startlingly earnest than it is anything else, a subversive novel written from a clear love of the genre. Bonus: disaster gays, talking bears who drink Peach Schnapps, a hell that looks like a high school gymnasium, and a story to remind you exactly what storytelling means.

 

4. SIX OF CROWS

 

'Six of Crows' Duology by Leigh Bardugo

Image Via Affinity Magazine

One of the best things about Cassandra Clare’s writing is the never-ending banter, each topic seemingly more ludicrous than the last… and somehow, for all its silliness, it only makes the characters feel more human and their dynamics more sincere. Leigh Bardugo‘s Six of Crows is a character-driven heist duology set in a richly-realized fantasy world full of crime; corruption; and badass fight scenes, baby! What’s the difference between a heist and a regular robbery, you might ask? Well, it’s pretty simple: a heist is what they call theft when it’s cool. But as fast-paced and high-concept as this well-oiled plot machine may be, it’s also a deeply character-driven story. This misfit (and very queer) cast of characters may or may not steal what they set out to pilfer, but they’ll certainly steal your heart. And possibly crush it—this book has one of the most devastating backstories of all time.

 

5. Carry On

 

'Carry On' and 'Wayward Son' by Rainbow Rowell

Images Via Amazon; image made with photocollage

 

Rainbow Rowell‘s Carry On isn’t exactly fan-fiction, but it’s certainly fiction written for fandoms. You might call it your average wizard-boarding-school book, except that there’s very little average about it. Carry On is oft called ‘the gay Harry Potter,’ but it’s certainly not derivative—Rowell acknowledges its predecessor in clear ways, and chooses to thoughtfully play with beloved genre tropes. Oh, and you’re not going to find any LGBT+ subtext here—it’s all very much on the page. Rowell herself has commented on the matter of overt representation in Vanity Fair: “there was a time when this had to be subtext… don’t [read] it for the subtext, don’t [read] it for the moments [in BBC’s Sherlock] when Sherlock and John make eye contact and the world sets on fire but none of it’s real. As a culture, we are ready for text.” As a bonus, she also doesn’t think she’s a social justice hero for including a gay couple. “I’m definitely not the first person to write a gay Y.A. story,” she acknowledges, “by a million years.” Regardless, we’re always happy for more! This fun, subversive novel will appeal to pop culture fiends across all fandoms—including Cassandra Clare’s!

 

6. Peeps

 

'Peeps' and 'The Last Days' by Scott Westerfeld

Image Via Pinterest

 

Scott Westerfeld‘s gritty urban fantasy is the It Follows of the mid-2000s urban fantasy world: college freshman Cal’s previous girlfriends (read: YA way to say ‘sexual partners’) have been infected with an unusual sort of vampirism. Sure there’s the whole lurking-in-the-darkness thing, but there’s also the anathema—Westerfeld’s vampires are repulsed by everything about their old lives, everything they once loved. (Especially Cal… although that may have something to do with him dropping off his vampire chlamydia.) A New Adult novel before the classification was coined, Peeps and sequel The Last Days are gritty trysts into the dark supernatural underworld of NYC reminiscent of Clare’s Downworld, where the parties can last as long as some of their attendees’ lifespans. The edgy, fun tone with surprisingly poignant moments is sure to remind audiences of Clare’s own work. This isn’t your average vampire story… probably because it isn’t a vampire story at all. It’s about home, lies, love and equally powerful hatred: things far more human than that.

 

7. Modern Faerie Tale

 

The 'Modern Faerie Tales' trilogy by Holly Black

Image Via yALSA

If you were around when the original three books of The Mortal Instruments were being released—that is, if you weren’t, like, eight years old—you may recall Cassandra Clare and established fantasy writer Holly Black‘s power-couple friendship. (I happen to remember Cassandra Clare’s livestream when she announced that there would be three more books in the series, so it’s safe to say I do.) Author of the children’s classic series The Spiderwick Chronicles, fantasy queen Black gave fans a nod to her close friendship with Cassie by including a mention of Jace and his fellow Shadowhunters in her books! In turn, Clare mentions the protagonist of Valiant in her trilogy as well. Does she use Valerie’s name? No. But which other bald junkie who lurks with the fey folk in subway tunnels could the unnamed character possibly be? Given that Black’s series (urban fantasy, NYC, chaotic fey) fits in quite naturally with Clare’s Downworlder mythology, it’s an excellent companion series.

 

Featured Image Via CNN.

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10 Most Followed YA Authors Instagrams

There are are innumerable ways to judge an author’s success—the first way tends to be counting book sales. Instagram follows don’t measure the technical quality of writing, rather they measure less tangible, but still extremely important things: connection and community. These ten authors are the most successful (verified) YA authors of Instagram, and they’re successful because of you. Chances are, you’re better off because of them.

 

1. John Green (2.2 million)

 

John Green

Image Via Bustle.com

 

Everybody knows John Green, YouTube sensation and author of six bestsellers: Looking for Alaska; An Abundance of Katherines; Paper Towns; Will Grayson, Will Grayson; The Fault in Our Stars; and Turtles all the Way Down. His novels have spawned two film adaptations with serious all-star casts (box-office hit The Fault in Our Stars and the more recent Paper Towns). Also popular for his YouTube videos on the Vlogbrothers channel, Green frequently uses his status to raise money for charity and teach online history courses. Famously, critics believe Green has redefined YA literature, naming him one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. It’s no surprise that the so-called ‘Teen Whisperer‘ is the most popular YA author on Instagram. 

 

2. Rick Riordan (543k)

 

Rick Riordan

Image Via Dacimgl.pw

 

Most famous for his Percy Jackson series (starting with The Lightning Thief), Rick Riordan is the bestselling author of over twenty books. Riordan conceptualized the series as he told bedtime stories to his son, and it was his son who inspired its eponymous protagonist’s ADHD and Dyslexia—traits that help to make Percy Jackson a relatable character for readers with learning disabilities. The series currently has two film adaptations. Translations of his work exist in forty-two languages, and they’ve sold well over 30 million copies in the U.S. alone. His Trials of Apollo series (start with The Hidden Oracle) is still ongoing. 

 

3. Cassandra Clare (491k)

 

Cassandra Clare

Image Via Aminoapps.com

 

Cassandra Clare is the creator of the sprawling Shadowhunters universe where angelic warriors hunt demons to protect our world. On page, this entails a lot of leather-wearing misfits who uncover shocking secret after shocking secret as they do cool, edgy teenager things (like riding on the back of flying motorcycles or constantly making out). The universe contains three series: The Mortal Instruments (start with City of Bones); The Infernal Devices (start with Clockwork Angel), and The Dark Artifices (start with Lady Midnight). The universe will expand to include at least one other trilogy, and it already includes several spin-off novels featuring favorite characters. The Shadowhunters universe has been adapted multiple times, first as a film and second as wildly popular TV series. Perhaps most impressively, Clare has been a champion of LGBT+ representation in YA genre fiction, even in the genre’s earlier days. Since the universe’s creation in 2007, every single Shadowhunters book has featured queer protagonists across a wide spectrum of identities.

 

4. Hank Green (403k)

 

Hank Green

Image Via Thetownhall.org

 

Hank Green may be the only author on this list most famous for something besides his writing. In addition to his recent bestselling debut novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, Green has had a devoted Internet following since 2007 as one half of the Vlogbrothers, his shared YouTube channel with brother John Green. Hank and John are the co-founders of VidCon, the world’s largest conference for online videos. Hank has also acted as a contributing producer for a number of popular podcasts and web shows like Sexplanations and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

 

5. Sarah J. Maas (300k)

 

Sarah J. Maas

Image Via Booktopia.com.au

 

Author of the Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas experienced a career takeoff in 2008 when earlier drafts of the series became some of the most popular works on FictionPress.com. A Cinderella story with a dark twist, Maas’ series has been an international bestseller with publication in fifteen countries. Amazingly, these weren’t even the original drafts—Maas began writing the series’ first book, Throne of Glass, at the tender age of sixteen. Maas has also written a prequel series (start with The Assassin and the Pirate Lord) and the A Court of Thorn and Roses series (start with, you guessed it, A Court of Thorn and Roses). Her first adult fantasy series is forthcoming.

 

6. Jenny Han (225k)

 

Jenny Han

Image Via Barnesandnoble.com

 

Earlier this summer, Netflix released the film adaptation of Jenny Han‘s novel To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before with a massively positive audience response, leading to a huge spike in Instagram follows. Its sequel, P.S. I Still Love You, won the Young Adult Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. Han is also the author of a YA romance trilogy, starting with the novel The Summer I Turned PrettyAs if that wasn’t impressive enough, Han wrote her first book, middle school coming-of-age Shug, while she was still a college student.

 

7. James Dashner (211k)

 

james

Image Via Barnes & Noble

 

James Dashner is the hugely prolific author of nearly twenty novels, including the dystopian hit The Maze Runner, which earned a film adaptation. Dashner was dropped by Penguin Random House in 2018 following sexual harassment allegations.

 

8. Veronica Roth (206k)

 

Veronica Roth

Image Via Youtube.com

 

The definition of a prodigy and star, Veronica Roth sold film rights to her first novel, Divergent, months before the book saw print—and she sold the publishing rights before graduating college. Roth wrote the first draft of the novel during senior year winter break, and it sold well over a million copies within the next two years. Roth is also famous for her novels Insurgent and Allegiant, the second and third books of her dystopian series in which society operates with personality-based factions that define each person’s profession and goals. (And believe it or not, removing all kind and generous people from the government so that they can work on farms is not a great leadership strategy.) 

 

9. Colleen Hoover (202k)

 

Colleen Hoover

Image Via Rainydaybooks.com

 

Breakout romance novelist Colleen Hoover had no intentions of ever mainstream-publishing her first novel, Slammed. Astoundingly, it made the New York Times bestseller list as a self-published work. Hoover published Hopeless just a year later—and it became the first self-published novel to ever break #1 on the chart. A five-time winner of the Goodreads Choice Awards, Hoover has written eleven bestsellers in only seven years. While several of Hoover’s works have been published with Atria Books, Hoover has shattered the limits of what self-publishing can accomplish.

 

10. Rainbow Rowell (136k)

 

Rainbow Rowell

Image Via Mashable.com

 

Rainbow Rowell is the author of three wildly popular YA novels: Fangirl, Eleanor & Park, and Carry On. Famously, Fangirl began as a NaNoWriMo project—yes, that means the first draft was written in thirty days! Rowell famously faced controversy for the exploration of domestic violence in Eleanor & Park, with one Minnesota school district canceling her appearance and banning her book during Banned Books Week. Sounds like somebody missed the point! Despite this, the novel went on to earn a Michael L. Printz Award Honor, one of the highest recognitions in YA literature (other honored books include Angie Thomas‘ acclaimed The Hate U Give). 

 

 

Featured Images Via Johngreenbooks.com and Worthpoint.com