Monday, February 29, 2016

Book Review: If I Lie by Corrine Jackson

Release date: August 28, 2012
Author links: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 276
Purchase links: Amazon - Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

A powerful debut novel about the gray space between truth and perception.

Quinn’s done the unthinkable: she kissed a guy who is not Carey, her boyfriend. And she got caught. Being branded a cheater would be bad enough, but Quinn is deemed a traitor, and shunned by all of her friends. Because Carey’s not just any guy—he’s serving in Afghanistan and revered by everyone in their small, military town.

Quinn could clear her name, but that would mean revealing secrets that she’s vowed to keep—secrets that aren’t hers to share. And when Carey goes MIA, Quinn must decide how far she’ll go to protect her boyfriend…and her promise.

If I Lie was kind of a random, spontaneous pick for me to read. I found it while browsing through Scribd and while I had marked it as to-read on Goodreads years ago, I couldn't really remember reading anything about this book. With a fairly large amount of young adult books being published yearly, especially books that are not parts of series often have the fate of being somewhat forgotten. Though reading new book is AWESOME, I think the importance of reading backlist titles is important as well, because there are some true gems out there, like this 2012 contemporary debut by Corrine Jackson.

Quinn has grown up in a town where traditions are respected and the men who serve in the military are almost more than heroes - they are like saints. Quinn's own father served his country and now it is Quinn's boyfriend's Carey's turn to enter to the service. Everyone sees Quinn and Carey marrying and having a family as inevitable. That is what Quinn thought too. They have been friends for ages, and though she has noticed that Carey does not make her feel the way women in romance novels feel with the men they love, Quinn is comfortable with Carey... until he tells her a secret that changes everything.

After Carey ships off to Afghanistan, Quinn is caught kissing another guy. The identity of the guy is not clear to the little community Quinn lives in, but through one liplock, Quinn becomes the town slut. Who dare she kiss someone else when her boyfriend is putting himself in danger for his country? Unlike Quinn, the people around her are not aware of the secret Carey shared with Quinn, and though telling everyone the truth would probably make things easier, Quinn does not want to betray the truth of Carey. Then Carey goes missing and the possibility of him never making it home to tell the truth starts to look like a possibility.

If you are turned off my cheating plots, THIS DOES NOT HAVE ONE! The people around Quinn believe so, but the reality isn't so black and white. I just wanted to clear that out here because I would hate someone missing on this book just because of that. I am not quite sure what I was expecting from this novel, to be honest, but mainly I expected it to be more romantic, when actually it is more of a story of Quinn and the things she has to go through after promising to keep Carey's lie. I loved how Jackson tackles issues of Quinn's family life from her relationship with her somewhat distant father to her relationship with her mother, who walked away from her life when she was younger. The parallels the townies make between Quinn and her mother are interesting, and I loved the process Quinn goes through to prove that she is quite not like her mother in the end.

I've always been interested about the American military system and the things connected to it, especially when it comes to the portrayal of the lives of those who are left behind. Though that experience is not something I have had to go through, I would like to think that the way she writes about the things that happen back at home when a loved one is in constant danger. The fact that Quinn knows something no one else knows adds an interesting addition to the book, because as a reader, you know something most of the characters in the book don't know about and thus can form your own opinions about Carey and Quinn's situation from a better informed position than majority of the characters of the novel.

If I Lie wasn't quite what I expected, mostly because I expected a romantic tale. But if you are not looking for romance only, but rather a solid and well-written coming-of-age story, I think you should definitely check this one out! The characters are interesting and well-developed, the writing is beautiful and there were scenes here and there that really made me want to cry a little bit.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Book Review: The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

Release date: February 23, 2016
Author links: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Pages: 240
Purchase links: Amazon - Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

In Alaska, 1970, being a teenager here isn’t like being a teenager anywhere else. Ruth has a secret that she can’t hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance, with the life she’s always known on her family’s fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it’s safer to run away than to stay home—until one of them ends up in terrible danger.

Four very different lives are about to become entangled.

I fell in love with this book the moment I saw that cover for the first time last year. JUST LOOK AT IT! IT IS LIKE A PIECE OF ART! I bumped into the UK cover while looking for the purchase links for this one, and though that one is cute, I WOULD REFUSE TO BUY A PHYSICAL COPY OF THIS BOOK WITH ANY OTHER COVER THAN THE BEAUTY PICTURED HERE!

I can assure that this book is so much more than a beautiful cover though. This one was one of those books that I had a VERY DIFFICULT time putting down once I started it. The story sucked me right in, and I continually marveled in the way Hitchcock was able to intertwine the stories of her multiple narrators together.

The Smell of Other People's Houses is narrated via four alternating point of views. At the beginning, we are introduced to Ruth, who has been living with her grandmother and little sister ever since her father died and her mother checked out. Living with her strict, opinionated grandmother is not easy, and Ruth continually questions whether things will ever get better. Dora wants nothing more than escape from her home and the care of her parents, who fight and spend their days in the local bar, drinking all the little they have. Alyce dreams about a future as a professional dancer, but feels like she cannot escape the responsibilities that come with her family's fishing business. And finally, Hank and his two younger brothers don't see a future in their current home, and decide to escape, but things don't go quite as planned. As these characters try to make their lives better, their roads intertwine in interesting and touching ways.

The setting for this novel, Alaska (and Canada) in 1970s is something I have never come across before and now that I have read something set in such setting, I WANT MORE! Due to the fact that Alaska was proclaimed as a state as late as 1959, the majority of the characters in this novel have known two lives - the life before Alaska was a US state and a life after that. What I didn't know when going into this book was the fact that part of the characters are Alaskan Natives/First Nations people, which also creates an interesting differences between them which definitely adds a whole new level of awesomeness to this story.

Considering the socio-political setting of the book is also interesting, and though it is not very extensively included into this book, if you have some basic knowledge of US history, you can probably connect some events from the past to this time period. Richard Nixon was US president at the time (Ruth's friend's parents are described as Conservatives and they have a portrait of Nixon in their beautiful, pine-smelling home), The Cold War was in full force, and US was fighting a war in Vietnam. Watergate was still in a future, so in some sense, 1970 could still be seen as an "innocent" time, at least when it came to trusting the government. As mentioned, politics are not really a part of this book, so don't be worried if political narratives usually don't float your boat. For me though, while I was reading this book, it was interesting to think about what was going on in US during the time period used as a setting for this book.

While the book is narrated by four characters, there is a whole set of supporting characters that all play some kind of role in what happens. At the beginning of a book, there's a list of all the characters, and I must admit that when I saw that, I was afraid that I would get confused with such a large cast. As I started reading though, I realized that all of the characters have their own place, and it was not difficult to keep tabs on who's who. 

I am one of those people who loves YA novels that have parents that actually play some sort of role in the narrative, other than being either like "cool best friends" or never there, and I must say I was EXTREMELY HAPPY when I realized how many different kind of relationships between adults and teenagers Hitchcock has been able to include into this wonder of a book. There's the relationship between Ruth and her grandmother, one between Alyce and her father, and then there's a relationship between Dora and a family (particularly the father of that family) that takes her in when she feels like she cannot live home anymore. 

There is nothing negative I can really say about this book, except maybe that I wished it would have been longer, because I could have spend so much more time with these wonderful, extremely well-developed characters. Hitchcock's writing is extremely beautiful, the love she puts into creating the setting blew me away, and emotions I felt while reading this book felt so real and raw and honest. The moment I finished with this one, I had tears falling down from my eyes and I just felt happy and serene. The Smell of Other People's Houses gave me the best kind of reading experience a reader can ask for! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

"I Just Love Television So Much" (#1) - Which Full House Episode's I'll Be Watching Before Fuller House Premiere

I love TV. I watch a lot of TV. I like to write and talk about TV. So why not blog about it as well?

Fuller House is almost here and I am FREAKING OUT BECAUSE I AM SO EXCITED! I have blogged about Full House before, but if you haven't seen those posts, you should just know that I REALLY JUST LOVE FULL HOUSE A LOT! Obviously, the premiere of Fuller House means that I need to go back and rewatch some of my favorite Full House episodes and I thought it would be fun to make some sort of list of the episodes I watch (because I know there are a lot of people out there like me who just live for lists!). 

Full House premiered in 1987 and was on air for a total of 8 seasons. The finale of the show was aired in 1995. I wish I had the time to rewatch the whole series before February 26th and the premiere of Fuller House on Netlix, but since real-life responsibilities keep me away from a massive Full House binge, I had to go through the seasons and see which episodes I deemed worth a watch. So without further rambling, here they are...

Milka's Super Awesome List of Must-See Episodes of Full House

Our Very First Night (Season 1, episode 2)

I love Jesse, and one of my favorite things about him is the relationship he has with the girls, especially with Michelle. This early episode perfectly sets a stage for those relationships. There's also a music scene - John Stamos singing must me one of my favorite things ever! As the series develops, I especially love to witness D.J.'s growth, and I loved seeing her sassy side already in these early episodes. Also, John Stamos is wearing this red blouse that I would totally wear right now - it has buttons in the front and a longer back. 

Joey's Place (Season 1, episode 10)

Guitar? Check! Leather vest? Check! Mullet? Check! Glasses? Check. Damn, John Stamos is just so hot! One of the things I love about Full House is how it juggles with fairly large cast, and focuses on multiple characters while still producing these episodes centered mainly on one particular character, in this case, Joey. While Joey is not my favorite character (and while I think his humor is often quite idiotic, to be honest). this episode came into my mind when I started to think about my most memorable Full House experiences. Maybe it's because of John Stamos and this hot look? Or perhaps it's that scene in the garage where Joey spurts water from his mouth while D.J. watches?

Tanner vs. Gibbler (Season 2, episode 2)

So, Kimmy Gibbler is pretty much my queen! I think this episode, where Kimmy turns 12 and brings her junior high friends to the surprise party organized by D.J. resonated so well with me due to the "girl feud" that develops between the two after Kimmy leaves the party to be with her "cooler" friends. The way this "feud" is solved, with the help of Jesse and Joey, brings the characters nicely together and as a whole, this episode tells a tale of a situation that is still probably very much a part of growing up (at least I remember situations like this being part of my early teens). This episode is also when Jesse and Becky meet for the first time (I WILL SHIP THEM TIL THE DAY I DIE)! 

Beach Boy Bingo (Season 2, episode 6)

I don't know why I love these Beach Boys episodes so much, but I JUST DO! In this one, D.J. wins two tickets to The Beach Boys concert and has a hard time deciding who to take with her - Danny thinks he is the obvious choice, but also Jesse wants to go. In the end, everything is naturally solved and no one is left without a ticket - the enjoyment of the episode really comes from seeing how D.J. solves the problem and tries not to hurt no one. There's also that kickass concert scene in the end that for some reason always makes me cry. 

And They Call It Puppy Love (Season 3, episode 7)

One word: PUPPIES. I am surprised it took this long for Tanner's to get a dog, because what else could make a suburban family even more perfect? I love toddler Michelle episodes, and I think this one about her love for a dog is a really touching one! I am a huge dog person and anything with a dog usually gets to me, so it is no wonder this episode made my list. 

Those Better Not Be the Days (Season 3, episode 19)

The guys are tired for the girls taking them for granted and they decide to teach the girls a lesson by forcing them to act like adults for a day. When their plan seems to be failing, they envision what the girls will be like in the future if they continue acting they are acting. Obviously, the girls are pretty much brats, but I wanted to include this here, BECAUSE NOW WE ACTUALLY GET TO SEE LIKE WHAT THE GIRLS ARE LIKE WHEN THEY GROW UP! 

Shape Up (Season 4, episode 8)

It wasn't all fun and games for the Tanner's, like this episode from season 4 shows. After being invited to Kimmy's 14th birthday/pool party, D.J. gets anxious about the prospect of her friends seeing her in a swimsuit and decides to start dieting. She stops eating, and eventually collapses at a gym. After Stephanie, who is worried about D.J., tells the guys about what D.J. is doing, Danny tries to assure her that she is perfect and that her looks don't really matter that much to her friends. 

Fuller House (Season 4, episode 20)

There actually was Fuller House even before Netflix's Fuller House! Jesse and Becky have gotten married and they return from their honeymoon to the Tanner House. When Becky tells Jesse that he should start packing so they can move to Becky's house, Michelle gets upset and backs her stuff so she can move in with Jesse and Becky. After Jesse tells that he has to leave without Michelle, there's a scene in which they both cry (Jesse at the doorway, Michelle on her bed) and even thinking about that scene makes me want to shed some tears. Towards the end of the episode, solution to this sadness is obviously found, and it is decided that Becky and Jesse will renovate the attic space and live there. 

Captain Video - Part 1 & 2 (Season 5, episode 25 & 26)

Another The Beach Boys episode! Also, since I love Jesse, it is no wonder I love this Jesse centered episode. After being fired from The Ranger Joe Show, Jesse starts to focus fully on music again and eventually ends up recording a single. When he is offered a recording contact, he is told that his version of Forever has to be turned into a dance song. After the dance song music video fails, Jesse does a music video that suits better with his style (YOU CAN CHECK THAT BEAUTY FROM HERE!) and that video is pretty the most beautiful and cliche thing I've ever seen - it has candles, shots of John Stamos kissing babies, and so much more. 

The Last Dance (Season 7, episode 17)

This is one of the most upsetting sitcom episodes I've ever seen - WHY DID PAPOULI HAVE TO DIE? Jesse's grandfather visits the Tanner's and the family forms a bond with him. Then he dies of heart failure and Danny has to tell Michele that he has died. Michelle is obviously very upset, and by the end of the episode, it seems like only Jesse can really offer her some comfort. As I mentioned before, I LOVE the relationship between Jesse and Michelle, and here you can really see the strenght of it. 

As I mentioned, I wish I would have had time to rewatch all episodes of Full House in preparation for Fuller House! But I think the episodes mentioned in this list gave me a nice welcome back to the lives of Tanners and after watching them I must say I am even more excited about the fact that VERY soon these wonderful characters will be part of my life again!

Which are some of your favorite Full House episodes? Will you be tuning in for Fuller House on Friday?

Discussion Post: The Appeal of Spoilers

Spoilers divide opinions, there's no doubt about that. Some absolutely hate them and are ready to give the silent treatment and stink eye to anyone who spoils something for them. A couple of years ago I told a Smallville spoiler to my roommate of three years and I think that caused the only fight between us that we've ever had. It wasn't a big blowout or anything, but it was the only time I knew that she was really mad at me. It didn't last for long, since we had to make dinner together and she was hungry, but nevertheless, she made it clear to me that my spoiler wasn't appreciated.

On the opposite site are the people who do not avoid spoilers, but actually consciously go look for them. Maybe these are the people who read the last page of a book first? Or the people who read through episode descriptions from wikipedia to find out what happens in the upcoming episode of a television show.

And then there is the middle ground - the people who generally avoid spoilers, but once in a while engage in some research that might spoil something for them. I think I fall to this middle ground, especially when it comes to television shows. I admit that sometimes, while watching TV shows, I go to wikipedia and read episode descriptions - sometimes this is because I know something is going to happen and I want to find out when it happens (usually the case with romantic pairings finally getting together) and sometimes it is to keep myself interested, especially after a long binge watching session.

When Breaking Bad finished, an app was created for those who wanted to avoid spoilers. I myself watched the final episode when it aired (I stayed up til like 3 am to watch the live stream online) just to avoid spoilers. I remember the next day at university, two groups formed to the hallway before my film lecture - those who had stayed up to watch the finale, and those who hadn't seen it yet. At home, my roommate was a couple of episodes behind me and I felt like for a couple of days, we didn't talk much because she was afraid I would spoil the finale for her, while I was desperate to talk about it with someone, but knew, after that Smallville incident, that spoiling the end of the show for her would be a very bad idea.

When it comes to books, I don't really go looking for spoilers. I think book spoilers don't even circulate as much as TV spoilers, expect maybe if that book is something of the caliber of Harry Potter. I am happy to say that I was never spoiled for Harry Potter, probably because I read those books right after they came out, but I have often though about the protocol of how to talk about Harry Potter with someone who is just now reading the books for the first time. I feel like Harry Potter is such a huge popular culture phenomenon that even people who have not read the books have probably seen the movies, or at least know most of the main events that once were considered huge spoilers (the deaths of certain characters, for example). The question is: when does something turn from possible spoilers to general knowledge? 

My inspiration for writing this discussion piece was my current process of watching Veronica Mars for the very first time. Ever since I started by film studies course in 2011, I have come across academic essays that use Veronica Mars as an example in their pieces about genre studies, narrative complexity, or representation of women (and much more). Before ever seeing the first episode, I pretty much knew what is going to happen in the pilot due to an essay by Jason Mittell that analysis it in detail. And because of my active use of Tumbrl and Twitter, I knew that Veronica and Logan will become a couple. After seeing the first few episodes, I had a very hard time believing that an awesome girl like Veronica could love a douche like Logan. But I knew it was happening, and I was DYING to know when. I was so tempted to go to wikipedia and just see when they become a couple, but I didn't do it! I am now in the beginning of season 2, and once again, I am so tempted to go online and see when they get back together. As I am writing this, I am constantly thinking about it in the back of my mind. But I am trying to resist the temptation. I know they are going to get together, I am sure of that, so maybe I should just enjoy the ride and let myself be surprised.

For me, the appeal of occasionally spoiling something is most closely related to the fact, that sometimes I just need a certain push to keep going. That happened with Buffy, which normally isn't my kind of show at all. I knew that Buffy would end up together with Spike at some point, and that fact was something that kept me going. But when I started to feel like it was never going to happen, I read spoilers and after becoming aware of how long I would have to still wait, I got excited about the show again - I knew it was coming, and I was able to enjoy the process of waiting for it. The same happened with The Office - I started watching the show about a week before the finale aired in US and ended up watching over 20 episodes office per day. I knew Jim and Pam would happen and I became desperate to know when. The fact that I was able to check out when exactly I would reach that moment gave me something to look forward to, something that kept me going when after several episodes of The Office I started thinking that maybe there's something else I should watch for a while.

I've never really been angry about spoilers... that's maybe because no one hasn't spoiled Grey's Anatomy for me yet, the only show I don't want to know anything about before I can watch the new episodes myself. Although, now that I think about it, I kind of wish someone would have warned me about the death of McSteamy, because I feel like I am still mourning that.... Sweet Mark Sloan, I miss you so.

What's your stand on spoilers? Do you love them or hate them? Has something been spoiled for you because of spoilers? 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

2016 Love-A-Thon: Mix and Match

Mix and Match is the very first mini challenge for the 2016 Love-a-Thon! Though we all love books (duh, book blogs), the mission for this challenge is to feature some other things we're passionate about. The challenge: Mash-up a non-bookish hobby/passion/talent/fandom with your bookish life. For more information about this challenge and to find the link-up for this challenge, check out Stay Bookish!

I'm a film graduate and currently working on my master's degree, which is very much focused on television studies. I have been obsessed with television shows ever since I can remember, but my studies have made me into a binge watcher, and maybe more importantly, an academic/analytical watcher of television.

I love TV shows that mention books, or focus on books in some way, so I thought that for this mix and match post, I would feature some of my favorite bookish characters from some of my favorite TV shows.

Rory Gilmore is probably the queen of bookish TV characters. This Buzzfeed list featuring all books featured in Gilmore Girls includes 339 books, and there are challenges for going through this list around the Internet. You can see Rory with a book in several Gilmore Girls episodes, and I think her general attitude towards awesomeness of books and reading is something all bookish people can relate with.

Though Criminal Minds is not something I would typically watch, Spencer Reid is one of the reasons I want to keep watching. He seems to know everything about everything, and there is just something so damn likable about him. I thought the quote featured in this picture of him is something that a lot of book bloggers can relate with, since sometimes "only five books" per week can feel a bit disappointing.

Daria can be accounted as partly being responsible for my sarcasm! Not only is she insanely funny and outspoken, she also loves books and would rather stay in for the night with a good book than go out with people she cannot really relate with.

Leslie Knope is one of my favorite TV characters of all time, and in Parks and Recreation, she is known for her love for Harry Potter - she payed a $120 tuition to Hogwarts to get a wand and a diploma, she made her best friend Ann watch through a complete set of Harry Potter films and when discussing Twilight, she admits that she's more of a Harry Potter girl.

Donna is another awesome bookish character from Parks and Recreation, who is not afraid to admit her love for Twilight! She also has tendency to enjoy everything paranormal, and definitely won't shy away from steamy romances either, like can be seen from the picture.

If I would have had more time, this list definitely would have included characters like Ben from Parks and Recreation, President Bartlett from The West Wing and Liza from Younger. But for now, these will do.

Who are some of your favorite bookish characters from TV and/or films?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Midmonth Obsessions (#5) - February 2016

We have already passed the midpoint of February, but I didn't have time to write this until now, but here is is, a couple of days late. February ALWAYS go by so fast and I can't believe that in a bit over a week it is already March. My last week of 3rd semester kicks off on Monday and after that my schedule eases up a little bit. HOPEFULLY THEN I CAN GET OUT OF THIS HORRIBLE READING SLUMP I'VE BEEN IN FOR THE WHOLE MONTH! If you have any recommendations of books that have taken you out of reading slumps, please let me know.

1. My postcolonial theory and media culture course

I have been taking a class on postcolonial theory and media culture since January and I can honestly say it has been one of the best classes I've taken during my almost five years of university education. It has opened up new concepts, introduced me to some amazing television and film content, and the discussions in class have been really interesting. We have talked for example about multiculturalism and humor, orientalism and stereotypes. Next week will be the last week of this class and we'll focus on black femininity/feminism - our task for Tuesday was to watch Beyonce and Nicki Minaj music videos, so that's my plan for the weekend!

2. Veronica Mars

I have been meaning to watch this show for ages! It is so often mentioned in academic essays and articles about complexity in television (which is something I focus on in my master's thesis) and I feel like I knew quite a bit about it even though I had never watched it. I just started season 2 last night, and yes, I DO LOVE IT! At the beginning, I had a very hard time understanding how Logan can become someone Veronica can love, but oh my, I SEE IT NOW! 

This means that there are now two fictional Logan's in my heart

3. Gilmore Girls Revival

Speaking of that other Logan... GILMORE GIRLS IS OFFICIALLY BACK AND FILMING! And we will get the new episodes already this year! As you might guess from the gif, Logan is my guy and I hope he and Rory will be endgame! Milo Ventimiglia will be back for three episodes, which has gotten the hopes of Team Jess members up, but it seems that the Life and Death Brigade will be back for two episodes, so it would seem logical that Logan is back for at least two episodes too (HOPEFULLY MORE!), because why would the L&D Brigade be there without Logan? I was tweeting about this a couple of nights ago, speculating that L&D guys are back for some sort of Yale reunion, or then more ideally, for Logan's bachelor party and Rory & Logan's wedding. 


I have been planning my Fuller House marathon for months now, and I can't believe it is almost here. My semester ends next Thursday (since I don't have classes on Friday) and I plan on going grocery shopping Thursday after class, so I can dedicate Friday to just watching Fuller House and crying happy tears because those episodes are probably going to be epic!

5. Sam Hunt

I've been listening to this guy since 2014 when his album was released, but I never knew what he looked like until earlier this week! I usually just listen to music from Spotify and honestly I'm not big on music videos, so there are a lot of artists I know by their music, not by their looks. But oh man, this man is a looker. Seriously, look at him. HIS MUSIC IS PERFECT AND HIS FACE IS PERFECT.

6. Broad City is BACK!

If you are not already watching Broad City, what are you doing with your life? I've had Younger as my Broad City substitute (YOUNGER IS BRILLIANT TOO, CHECK IT OUT!) but it is nice to have the comedic brilliance of Abbi and Ilana back! Their chemistry on screen is INSANE and I love how the show focuses mainly on their friendship rather than romance etc. I could watch this show on repeat for weeks and still not be bored.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (#57) - 10 Songs I Wish That Were Books

For more information about Top Ten Tuesday click here

While looking through the upcoming topics for Top Ten Tuesday a while ago, I instantly got excited about this one as a result of which I've actually been thinking about the songs I want to include here for weeks now. So often, I hear a song and wish the story the lyrics tell would be a book or a movie, so this topic feels like it was made for me. 

I will include links for Youtube so you can listen to the songs in case you want to! :)

1. Skin (Sara Beth) by Rascal Flatts

I must admit that even thinking about this song makes me want to tear up a little. I am a huge Rascal Flatts fan and Skin (Sara Beth) is one of the first songs I heard by them. I think the story this song tells is so beautiful and effective and something that really leaves a mark on you. There are a lot of YA involving a cancer story line, but this song would definitely work as an inspiration for one more such story.

2. Fireflies by Ron Rope

I heard this song for the first time while watching a short film made by one of my university friends, and while everyone else in the group thought this song was horribly cheesy and sappy, I fell in love with it. Ron Pope's voice is beautiful, and the lyrics tell a story I would definitely want to know more about.

3. John Wayne Gacy Jr. by Sufjan Stevens

So.... THIS SONG IS PROBABLY MY FAVORITE SONG OF ALL TIME. My English teacher played this for us in high school when we were discussing poetry because the lyrics really are like poetry - so damn poignant, powerful and beautiful! I will never grow tired of this song, and though it is pretty depressive, I think it is also absolutely beautiful. Sufjan Stevens is perfection and the music video for this one is DEFINITELY WORTH A WATCH!

4. See You Tonight by Scotty McCreery

So, I LOVE country music (as you can probably see from this list) and I often think country music lyrics would make AWESOME YA contemporaries. I am obsessed with Southern guys and Southern US as a setting for books/movies/tv shows, and I can just imagine how awesome of an inspiration this song would be for example for a romantic, swoonworthy NA novel (maybe written by someone like Cora Carmack). The music video for this song features a soldier and I WOULD DEFINITELY BE UP TO A STORY ABOUT A SOLDIER AND THE GIRL HE LOVES. 

5. Cinnamon Hearts by Eva & Manu

Eva & Manu are a SUPER COOL Finnish duo (check out the music video - Manu is SO FREAKING HOT!) and Cinnamon Hearts is just a super funny and catchy song that always reminds me of summer. There's nostalgia and summer romance in the lyrics, and I think this would be an awesome inspiration for a contemporary novel set in the 90s. 

6. It's You by Ryan Cabrera

THIS SONG IS SUPER SAPPY. PROBABLY ONE OF THE CHEESIEST SONGS I'VE EVER HEARD. I remember having this on my Creative Mp3 player during my exchange student year in US back in 2007-2008 and listening to this song in school bus while thinking about my first crush who eventually became my boyfriend for a while. Because of those nostalgic teenage feelings, this song will always be VERY meaningful for me. 

7. Say Yes by Elliott Smith

Even thinking of Elliott Smith makes me want to cry because seriously.... SUCH A TALENT WAS LOST WHEN HE DIED! There were so many songs I could have included on this list, but I decided to go with Say Yes because it is one of the first Elliott Smith songs I ever heard and the song that really made me fall in love with him. 

8. A Million Years by Teddy Geiger

Another song that I had on repeat during my exchange student year. I used to play this bad boy on repeat for a while and when I was thinking about this list, this came into my mind. I would LOVE to see this song used as an inspiration for a YA contemporary from a point-of-view of a male character.

9. Cop Car by Keith Urban

Another country pick and one of my current favorites. This song would make an amazing YA contemporary set in the South. I almost feel like writing that story myself because really, it could be AWESOME! Also, I have a major crush on Keith Urban. 

10. When You Look Me In The Eyes by Jonas Brother

Yes, I went there, I included Jonas Brothers here, because really, JONAS BROTHER 4EVER! Jonas Brother got really big during my time in US and of course, as a life long fangirl, overnight I turned into a big Jonas Brothers fan as well (I probably hauled 50 magazines with Jonas Brother pictures back to Finland when I had to come home!) There are several JoBros songs I love, but ever since I first heard When You Look Me In The Eyes, it has been my favorite. I cried hysterically when I saw Jonas Brothers performing this song live. 

Which songs would you wish were books? Are any of my picks your favorites too?