A Novel Chat

A Novel Chat

Follow along with Aneeqah, Willa, and Emily as they discuss all things young adult books. Featuring insightful yet fun conversations, A Novel Chat features conversations about various young adult novels, and the themes surrounding them. If you're looking to find your next read or just listen in on a fun conversation, then tune in for some good times. From reading to publishing to all things life, these gals will sure to keep you entertained and also inspire you to think a little deeper about a variety of books.

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    030: Bookish Pet Peeves

    This week, Willa, Emily, and I are talking about some of bookish pet peeves. We decided to step away from our book of the month and do a more fun episode, talking about some the little things in YA that rub us the wrong way.

    We cover a wide range of topics in this episode, anything from nit-picky things about AP classes to broader topics such as insta-love. A lot of our time is spent talking about various topics inspired by #RealYA, a hashtag Emily came up with a while back to talk about real teenagers' lives and how they differed from the YA portrayal.

    A lot of the things we mention are small, nit-picky things, but still things we find important and worth mentioning. We'd love to know what you find annoying in YA, and whether you agree or disagree about the variety of topics we mentioned!

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    029: Authors who write across genres

    This week, Willa, Emily and I, Aneeqah, are talking about those magical authors that can write multiple books in different genres. We talk a little about the trend of many YA authors writing MG novels, and how that can be really beneficial for authors. We spend a while talking about our tastes in Middle Grade novels. Of course, we spend a lot of time talking about the queen that is Victoria Schwab. (I mean, she was able to write a book, edit a novel, and be on tour all at the same time. If that isn't amazing, I have no idea what is.)

    After that discussion, we talk a bout various authors who write across various genres. Many authors are talented enough to be writing across different genres like fantasy and contemporary, others do that and even more- writing different emotional arcs, light vs gritty books, etc. It's amazing how versatile some authors are, and we dive into a diverse list of authors who are fantastic and so, so talented.

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    028: Paranormal Creatures

    This week on ANC is all about paranormal creatures. Vampires, zombies, monsters- if you can think of it, it's probably mentioned in this episode (and if it isn't, please write us that book and give it to us!!).

    We spend the first part of the episode talking about whether or not we enjoy having paranormal creatures in our novels, and some of the different types we've seen in YA as the years have gone by. There was a huge ghost and vampire phase, which is why Willa and I love unique creatures. Em is a fan of ghost stories (which we disagree about, of course). After, we dive into some of our favorite paranormal books. (Spoiler alert: a lot of these books are my all time faves, so there are some amazing books to pick up, if I do say so myself!).

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    027: Dystopian Books

    This week Willa, Emily and I, Aneeqah, are continuing our discussion of the beloved This Savage Song. Something unique about this book is that it's actually a dystopian novel- which is pretty unheard of right now. We start this episode off by talking about some of the first dystopian novels we read back in 2012, when the dystopian trend was on the rise. We even dive into some classics that Willa and Emily have read (sorry not sorry for not enjoying Animal Farm, though).

    After talking a bit about the dystopian trend and how the sub-genre is fairing, we dive right into the books. Of course, we start off our discussion on the dystopian elements present in This Savage Song, which we all agree is done fantastically. Hopefully, this book can bring the dystopian trend back. We dive into a lot of recommendations in this episode with a great mix of different types of dystopian- those with fantastical elements, classics, and even a book with a unique writing style. It's a great episode with some excellent backlist books that you absolutely need to check out.

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    026: Books with Little or No Romance

    We're starting September just two days early, and bringing out our newest book of the month: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab. Willa and I (Aneeqah) both pushed to have this book as our BOTM because we had so much love for it- one of the reasons being the fact that this book has 0 romance in it.

    We begin the discussion actually discussing what the heck we even define as romance, which is interesting, because we all have slightly different definitions of what we actually categorize as romance in YA novels. We discuss the intricacies of different types of relationships, and also talk about the lack of romances in novels and our general feelings on them. It's also interesting, because all of us bring in some of our own experiences with seeing romance in teens, and we talk about how realistic romances actually are in YA. Beyond that, we move on to talk about some of our favorite books that have no romance, or have just a little. There's a few slightly "cheat" picks in there, but we all tried to err on the side of cautious and pick books with as little romance as possible (which was a surprisingly difficult task!). Hopefully some of our discussions (and Willa's interesting ability to totally forget about her own thoughts on a book) will leave you laughing, but also reconsidering the romance trope that is so present in YA.

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    025: The Beauty of Ava Lavender

    It's nearing the end of August, and so today we have a special episode for you on A Novel Chat! Em and Willa are tackling one of their favorite novels: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. (Yes, the title is an attempt at a pun.) It's a gorgeous book, though I, Aneeqah, haven't read it, which is why I was not on the episode today.

    They have an intricate discussion of the way history interweaves in the story and some really creepy characters. Willa and Emily both love the gorgeousness of the writing style and discuss how even though the book's plot is relatively "plain" it's the writing style that really engages you as the reader. Em also laments about the fact that this author hasn't really written much else (aside from a short story and potential new book?!). Of course, there are some hilariously accurate tangents (apparently books with feathers are guaranteed to be successful, guys) mixed in with some straight-up fangirling that will hopefully leave you wanting to pick up this strangely gorgeous book.

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    024: Duologies

    We're incredibly excited to be talking about one of the more recent trends in YA right now: duologies. It seems like every series these days has been reduced to just two books, and so we wanted to talk out our thoughts here on ANC. We start off talking about our general feelings about duologies and the trend that's been on the rise. Willa and Emily seem to more fans of companion novels than straight up series, which is interesting to hash out. After, we dive straight into the books, and bring up a wide array of duologies. Some have been complete for years, others more current, and then some that haven't been published yet (we're looking at you, Blood for Blood).

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    023: One Book, All the Ships- Multiple Ships in Books

    We're diving into a beloved topic inspired by Six of Crows: multiple ships! We talk about our feelings on multiple ships within books and series, along with some of our favorite SoC ships (though don't worry, we keep things pretty vague to avoid any spoilers!). We all love a good ship, and so we talk through that. We even break out the dictionary definition of shipping, for all you new shippers out there. After, we delve into some of our favorite books that feature multiple ships. There's much fangirling to be had as we get to talk about some of our favorite relationships across all genres in YA. Prepare your fangirl-y hearts, because there's a ton to love within this episode.

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    022: Books We're Dying to Have

    In this episode, we talk a lot about Em's feelings about Six of Crows and why we so desperately need the sequel, Crooked Kingdom, which comes out next month (thank goodness!). It's been a long wait for me and Willa, and we talk about the pain of having to wait for a year for the sequel. We then dive straight into some upcoming releases that we're absolutely dying to have. We cover a wide range- some books are coming out next month, others in 2018, sequels and standalones. Make sure to keep your Goodreads list pulled up because we know you'll be running to add these amazing sounding books to your TBR.

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    021: Let's Talk ACOMAF- A Special Episode

    So, we're really changing things up with today's podcast episode and doing something totally different with today's episode. Both Willa and I (Aneeqah) absolutely adored Sarah J. Maas's latest book, A Court of Mist and Fury. However, Emily, who is not really a fantasy fan, hasn't read it and probably won't ever read it in the forseeable future. Because we just had to fangirl some more about this book, we decided to bring you a more off-the-cuff, more fangirly special episode in which we just talk about the gloriousness that is ACOMAF.

    We divided this episode into two parts: the non-spoilery and the spoilery. The first part is the non-spoilery talk, where we discuss our general thoughts about the book, how much we adore Sarah J. Maas's gorgeous writing, and the expansion of the series, among other things. We then announce the beginning of the section with spoilers, so those of you that haven't read ACMOAF (which we highly suggest you do) can turn us off. For the rest, stay tuned for a ridiculously animated, enthusiastic, and hilarious discussion all some of the gorgeous nuances of this book and of course, talk about some of the awesome ships in this book.

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    020: Books That Are Tough to Get Through

    We're continuing our discussed of the lovely The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry by talking about books that are tough to get through. This has varied for each one of us, and we talk about what exactly makes a novel hard to get through. We spend a bit discussing pacing in novels and how that can affect our enjoyment of a novel (hint: Aneeqah is all about that plot, while Willa and Emily are not). Really, it all comes down to engagement, among a few other things. After that, we dive straight into talking about some of our favorite books that started off as really tough to read in the beginning for whatever, but were totally worth getting through the rough beginning. Contemporary, fantasy, historical, we've got it all in this episode- so make sure you ready up those TBRs. (Also, Emily proposes we do a roast, Willa wants to roast me, and I threaten to cut everything out from the end of the podcast. Stay tuned till the end to hear things get a bit... intense at the end.) We hope you love this episode as much as we do!

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    019: Religious Diversity

    If you're going to listen to just one episode of A Novel Chat, listen to this one.

    I'm not even going to lie: this might be one of my most favorite episodes of A Novel Chat. Like ever. It's got it all. We go super in-depth and personal about a topic most people aren't really talking about in the YA world: religious diversity in novels. From discussions about how we perceive different religions and how important we think talking about this subject is, we go through it all in this episode. I, Aneeqah, get pretty dang fiery in this one too, which is always fun. We talk about the importance (or lack of belief!) of religion in our lives, and then move on to talk about the importance of empathy in building better relationships between people of different faiths. Then we move on to an incredibly diverse list of recommendations- even with some fantasy thrown in there. This episode has one of the best combinations of seriousness, depth, passion, humor and our lovely slightly-off-topic ramblings that has made it to the top of my personal favorite lists.

    We hope it'll top yours too.

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    018: #QuietYA, Backlist Books, and Underrated Novels

    We're talking about a new book, The Passion of Dolssa by the lovely Julie Berry. It's quieter release, with not a ton of buzz, which is why we decided to talk about quieter books and the awesome #QuietYA hashtag. We kicked off our discussion talking about our thoughts on reading quieter books. It's interesting because although we all read a variety of books, and I myself gravitate towards newer releases, we all agree that it's important that we as book bloggers and book advocates spread the word about books that aren't incredibly mainstream. It's a particularly interesting discussion, as we talk about why some books may be bigger, why Willa reads debut authors, among other things. We then dive into the discussion on books! Once again, there's a good mix of pretty much all genres, and this crazy Inception-esque book Willa throws in at the end, so make sure you add the books to your TBR with the list below.

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    017: Books to Pick Up This Summer

    Happy Monday everyone!

    For our last episode of the month, we're switching things up on the podcast and doing something not directly related to our book of the month. Instead, we're talking about a topic super relevant to us right now: summer books! We start the discussion by discussing just what we classify as summer book (spoiler alert: Willa's definition is pretty different from ours!). But mainly, we focus on lighter and super engaging reads for the sake of this show! We then dive into some awesome recs to help fill your beach bag or keep you company on a lazy, hazy summer day. We cover a wide array of genres, so regardless of if you're a seasonal or mood reader, you'll be sure to find the perfect new read. (Also, we totally talk about Jellicoe Road- so if you're curious about what I thought about Willa's beloved book, stay tuned!).

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    016: Guilt vs. Innocence

    We're changing things up here today on le podcast. We're talking about a deeper, more 'theme' like concept on the podcast: guilt versus innocence. We start off our discussion talking about how much we all love this theme in literature. I mention that I love when it blurs the line of character motivations- sometime you don't really know why a character is doing something (is it guilt or something else?). Em mentions that she loves unlikable character, and I agree, saying that reading helps engender empathy. We then dive into talking about the wide array of books with guilt vs. innocence as a theme. One intereting thing is that this theme can be found across almost all genres, so there's huge mix in this episode. There's light books, creepy books, mysterious books, some really, well, strange books, and I even manage to throw in some fantasy and time travel books! Overall, this is definitely a different episode with some hilarious tangents (why Willa hates on Finding Dory, the world may never know), but it's sure to make you think.

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    015: Multiple POVs

    This week, we're continuing our discussion on The Walls Around Us with our topic of multiple POVs. The book itself actually features two different alternating narratives, with Violet and Amber. We kick off our discussion talking about why we do or don't like multiple narratives, and discuss that it truly needs to be done well if it's going to work. Also, I can't help but mention that villain POVs = the absolute coolest, yo. We then dive into our discussion of books, starting with TWAU. Willa specifically mentions that she had mixed feelings with the narrative of this one, and that it could have been done better. Yet, most of the books we talk about have multiple narratives that are done fantastically. It's, as per usual, an excellent mix of contemporary, fantasy, and even more. With some additional tangents, and laughs, hopefully you'll smile and laugh along with us (even amidst what's happening in the world <33).

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    014: Magical Realism

    It's June, which means we're discussing a new book, and our book for June is The Walls Around Us! We're especially excited about this book because it's so different from everything we've talked about up to this point. This book, by Nova Ren Suma, can be classified under magical realism (especially with that ending!), and that's what we're discussing today. Each one of us has an interesting story about our relationship with this genre (ranging from love to full on hate), and we share our takes on magical realism as a whole. Em and Willa also share their definition of magical realism, and we talk about how the line between MR and other genres is really pretty blurry. Regardless, we forge on to a discussion about some of our favorite magical realism books, some heavier, some lighter, and I even sneak in a middle grade rec in there! ;) Overall, it's a fun-filled episode about a genre that isn't always talked about in YA.

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    013: To Trilogy or Not to Trilogy

    Today's episode is our last about The Winner's Curse and a long awaited one for sure. We delve into all things trilogies in this one! In the first part, we discuss why we like trilogies, and what issues we have with them. We discuss how trilogies used to be quite popular, but that they've gone down in popularity. Along with a discussion of trilogies' formulaic nature and the oh-so dreaded Middle Book Syndrome, we also talk about how (some of us, haha) like trilogies. After that, we dive into talking about various series we both loved and didn't love, trilogies and not. Some series we agree should be shorter, others we could read forever (cough cough The Winner's Curse COUGH). In the end, you'll find some excellent recommendations for books you can add to your (probably ever-growing) TBR, and have a few laughs at our slightly off-topic segue-ways (thanks, Willa).

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    012: That Slow Burn Romance

    This week we're talking about those good ol' slow burn romances (a favorite among us podcasters, apparently!). We delved into all the reasons we love slow burn romances, and center our discussion first on insta-love, and our mutual dislike of insta-love. We made a distinction between insta-love and insta-attraction and why the difference between the two is important. I mention that I love slow burn romances because they're realistic, because romances take time to develop. After that, we dive into our favorite books with slow burn romances. We cover a wide array of novels, anything from contemporary, magic realism, and of course, the ever-present fantasy novels we love so much. Sorry, not sorry for talking about A Court of Mist and Fury for like 10 minutes (a real sorry to Em, though, who hasn't read this book yet). As always, it's a fantastic mix of excited fangirling, book talk, and slightly off-topic discussion.

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    011: Cover Changes and Series Transformations

    We started off this discussion talking specifically about the major cover drama that went down with the cover for The Winner's Kiss, the final book in the Winner's Curse trilogy. We talked about a few of the things we like to see in covers, and a few we absolutely don't (including faces- not a favorite for neither Em nor me). After, we delved into some pretty intriguing discussions about books with covers we like and dislike. We cover a lot of ground with this episode, covering cover changes we thought were major improvements, cover changes we could do without, newly released covers, and at the end, we talk about one of my all time favorite covers. Of course, we manage to weave in our normal humor and Willa's off topic ramblings (which according to a Very Official Twitter Poll, people actually enjoy?!). I manage to slip in Six of Crows once again (I'm getting pretty good! ;)). Overall, another hilarious yet interesting podcast topic, one a little lighter than the heavier topics we've been covering.

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    010: The Intricacy of Politics

    Today we're delving into a variety of discussions about politics. It's a huge topic in The Winner's Curse, as we discuss in the podcast, given Kestrel's background and life. She's a political schemer at heart, so we get a huge glimpse into the political life through the book. We start off the podcast talking about precisely why we love politics in general (warning: Em and Willa are apparently quite passionate about this), and I chat a bit about my recent love for international politics. We then dive into a discussion about some of the books we adore that feature politics. It's an excellent mix of modern, historical, and fantasy books, with books both light and heavy, short and long. It's quite the mix, so you're sure to find something new to pick up that will keep you intrigued from start to finish. Complete with our usual mix of meanderings (we even mention a Twitter poll about Willa getting us off topic- keep an eye out for that), this episode will (very hopefully) leave you laughing and thinking about politics at the same time.

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    009: Complex and Morally Grey Characters

    Today, we reveal our newest book of the month: The Winner's Curse! The last book came out in the series recently, making it perfectly binge-worthy (which is exactly what we all plan to do, post-AP exams). We talk about our love of The Winner's Curse, especially of the main character, Kestrel, and her complexity. We delve into a discussion about why exactly we like complex characters, and what we feel they add to YA books as a whole. Then comes the fun part: book recs! We spend a lot of time in this one fangirling about some of our favorite books (as well as yelling at Em for not having read a lot of said books, in fact). It's a fascinating mix of fantasy, contemporary, and historical novels both old and new- so you're sure to find at least one new book to read from our list!

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    008: Therapy and Communication

    In episode 8, Willa, Emily, and Aneeqah wrap up their discussion about Tamara Ireland Stone's Every Last Word with a discussion about therapy (a topic we may or may not have decided on air in the last episode). They kick it off discussing about how therapy is viewed in society, and how that view has changed. Willa also notes the importance of understanding that there are, in reality, a lot of different types of therapy and we also get into an epic discussion about school counseling. After, they delve into a discussion about some of our favorite books that deal with therapy (some of which don't perfectly fit in, but hey, they do their best here on a Novel Chat). Overall, it's another hilariously poignant episode they can't wait for you to listen to.

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    007: The Portrayal of Mental Health in YA

    In episode 7, Willa, Emily, and Aneeqah delve into all things mental health. They talk a little about Sam's OCD from Every Last Word, and discuss the importance of mental health being portrayed (well and accurately, of course), in young adult books, and even how the media is affecting people's perceptions of mental health. In addition, they go in depth on a variety of different topics and YA books about them. In this episode, you'll find recs for books with anything from depression to eating disorders to books with characters that don't even explicitly have a mental disorder (though it's implied). It's a very fascinating subject, and all three of them tried our best to stay sensitive to the topic, while also encouraging a thorough discussion. Also, of course, there are some funny moments (sorry not sorry for calling Willa out in this episode) (and what even was that emoji Willa and Em were talking about?!) interspersed with some truly intriguing topics.

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    006: Bullying and the Importance of Perspective

    In episode 6 of A Novel Chat, Aneeqah, Emily, and Willa delve into all things bullying. Inspired by scenes of bullying from Every Last Word, they delve into a discussion about the bullying each has seen, the importance of understand different perspectives, and why they think bullying should be discussed in YA. They then delve into recommendations, each giving different novels that are wildly unique, showing how diverse each person's experiences can be. Intermingled with serious discussions about various types of bullying are hilarioius, slightly off-topic discussions about anything and everything, and of course, Willa and Aneeqah managed to weave in their favorite novels, Six of Crows and Jellicoe Road. Overall, this episode is memorable for both its depth and its hilarious tangents.

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    005: Poetry and Verse

    In today's episode, Aneeqah, Willa, and Emily dive into a new book of the month: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. The novel features some heavy topics, and one of the main motifs of the story is poetry. The main character, Sam, start to really unravel who she is amongst her own problems, such as the OCD she faces, through a secret poetry club she discovers. So, the ladies talk about the poetry they have encountered in novels, and also discuss poetry from their fellow peers. They dive into a discussion about what makes poetry and books written in novels so great. Then, they discuss some of their favorite novels featuring poetry or written in verse, all with the classic mix of humor, depth, and just a touch of sassiness.

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    004: Author Accessibility

    In episode 004, Willa, Emily, and Aneeqah delve into author accessibility as a result of the Interwebz. Ever since JK Rowling got a Twitter, it's been a lot easier to connect with her as a person. So, taking that, they talked about some of their favorite moments in which we got to connect with authors online (of course we got super fangirl-y), discussed some of the pros and cons of having increased access to authors, shared some of their favorite authors to follow across platforms, and also somehow managed to have some fun side moments thrown in, as per usual (A Novel Chat merch, anyone??).

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    003: Fantasy and Family

    Willa, Emily, and Aneeqah delve into the importance of family in fantasy YA novels in particular, and the effects that can have on character development, among other things. They also talk about some of their favorite fantasy novels that feature family relationships, and put out their call for wanting more families in fantasy YA novels (they feel so strongly about it, we did it twice, yo). They touch a little on the relationships found in contemporary novels, as well. And of course, there are epic fangirl moments and hilarious thoughts woven throughout their conversations, as they always are.

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    002: The Boarding School Trope

    In this episode, Aneeqah, Willa, and Emily delve into the oh-so typical boarding school trope seen in Harry Potter and a variety of other young adult novels. They talk about their opinion in general of the trope, the good, the bad, and examples of other novels. It's an interesting look at a common element seen in young adult literature.

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    001: YA Books We Think Will Be Classics

    In this inaugural episode, Aneeqah, Willa, and Emily dive into their first book of the month: Harry Potter! Inspired by its classic potential, they dive into a discussion about what makes a book classic-worthy, and then discuss some of the books they believe will eventually become classics.

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