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Discussion Personal Reading | I’ve Grown Out of Middle Grade

Growing Out of Middle Grade Books


I’ve been reading a lot of different genres of books but I’ve noticed that I’ve essentially stuck to YA with the occasional adult novel.

A while ago I tried to pick up a book that was pretty much geared towards middle schoolers (and younger) and I realized that all the characters felt much too young for me. It was before my blog grew and it was one of the very first DNF reviews I’d ever written. That book was the first Copernicus Legacy novel, The Forbidden Stone. I remember that a lot of my complaints had to do with how young the characters were.

Looking back, I think I should’ve realized right then that I had grown out of MG novels. But it took a few more attempts for me to realize it.

After reading The Forbidden Stone, I picked up about three more MG novels. Those were The Blood of Olympus, The Rithmatist, and The School for Good and Evil. While I didn’t mind reading the last one, the other two were very difficult for me to enjoy.

I loved the Percy Jackson series. It was one of my favorite series back while I was in middle school. I followed Rick Riordan’s writing like he was a god (bad pun sorry xD). But by the time Mark of Athena came out, things were changing for me. I’ll be the first to admit that MOA was my least favorite book in the second series. I was starting to realize that I didn’t actually like his writing style or humor all that much. And when I read Blood of Olympus, the things that I originally found funny had devolved into something that I found… definitely not. I have some unpopular opinions regarding his series and maybe I’ll make a post about it someday but for now, I can just say that I probably won’t be following his upcoming Norse mythology series.

For Sanderson, I really need to read some of his books for older readers. The Rithmatist had one of the most juvenile romances I have ever read and made me cringe. It just screamed “little kid” to me.

By the time I really began to critically review every book I read, I had long since grown out of MG novels. The humor, relationships, and characters were written for people much younger than I. Sometimes I can get over that but other times, it becomes overwhelming to the point that I can’t.

What really gets me is when I am no longer able to enjoy the plot. I’m pretty logical when it comes to reading and I am definitely capable of suspending my disbelief. However, with MG novels, a lot of them don’t have logic. I can’t make myself read it without thinking that it’s dumb.

I know that there are a lot of adults that enjoy MG novels and maybe one day I’ll grow back into it. But for now, I like reading YA because a lot of times I’m at a similar age as the characters and I can relate to them. I think that a huge reason that I’m not super into MG anymore is because of how big a difference there is with YA.

One of the hardest things that I’ve had to do with growing out of MG is that I don’t even know if I consider my old favorite books as favorites. When I read them, I had adored them and instantly labelled them as favorites. Now, I’m hesitant to do so because I know that if I go back and read them again, I might not enjoy them as much.

I’m also scared that once I get older, I’ll end up growing out of YA and I really don’t want that to happen. I started reading YA back in seventh to eighth grade before I even knew what it was. Right now I love YA a lot. I don’t want that to change. Becoming interested in YA and the online book world was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself and I know that if I end up losing interest in YA, staying active in the blogging community and with other bloggers will become more difficult. On top of that, I love the amount of emotion and how every book I pick up can have so many opinions attached to it.


So this was pretty much just unorganized word vomit that unintentionally ended up being about me. The original purpose was to talk about growing out of certain books. Oops. I’ll rewrite this post to be less about me sometime haha!

Anyways, it obviously happened with me but have any of you guys grown out of MG, a genre, or anything else?

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The Scorpio Races: It’s a Standalone Novel?

When I finished this, I seriously wasn’t ready to let go. I liked it a lot even with all of it’s issues and the only thing I could think of when I finished it was that I could not wait to read the sequel.

(Come to me nooooow)

So the next afternoon when I got back from school, I went on Goodreads to mark this book as read and hopefully find the sequel. It was all dandy before I learned that there was no sequel.

Hold up

Um what?

When I had started this book, I had already knew that it was loved by a lot of people. And of course, since I kind of grouped Stiefvater into the same group as Armentrout (which is one where they simultaneously write the books for like five different series) I was under the assumption that The Scorpio Races was a series. I’d rarely even found a standalone fantasy novel in YA so it was kind of mind-boggling when I learned that there wasn’t a sequel.

At this point, I wasn’t willing to give up. Nope. I was going on a journey to figure out the truth.

And this journey ended pretty quickly once I went on her site.

No. That’s the short answer. The long answer is maybe when I’m 60 and feeling very nostalgic, I will write something called RETURN TO THISBY that won’t be as good as the original, but will please both me and lovers of Scorpio. But like I said. It’ll be in 30 years. I wouldn’t hold my breath. I’d very much like to return to the world, but wouldn’t unless I had a very definite story to tell.

Which then triggered my disappointed tears.

I respect her decision though. Nobody should be forced to write another novel if they don’t think it’s write. I know that a lot of authors have been to pushed to make their series longer just so publishers can profit more. So the fact that Stiefvater gets the right to make this decision is really good.

So after this, I began to think about it. In retrospect, The Scorpio Races had much better closure than a lot of other standalone novels. There’s a sense of finality at the end that doesn’t exactly make me cry for a sequel as much as other novels. Of course that doesn’t mean I don’t want one (that would totally defeat the purpose of this post) but if Stiefvater never writes one, I think I’d react much better than I would if, for example, the final Harry Potter book never got published.

But that made me want to wonder. A lot of times people will lament over the lack of sequel. Finishing the book doesn’t completely tie up all the loose ends. So what makes a book a good standalone? Is there any point in a series where it becomes unnecessary to continue writing more?

Obviously the short answer would be whenever the story ceases to need it. When a story is done and there is no more to it. Of course that threshold is a hold other discussion for a different day.

But what would you define as the perfect standalone novel?

E-books vs. Print Books

This is a pretty cliche topic but I do think it’s something that defines a reader.

Reading habits vary from reader to reader and of course, opinions do too.

I’ve had friends that read exclusively from Kindles or Nooks. You can instantly access hundreds of books and it’s so much more convenient to carry around. If you’re a fan of classics, a lot of them are free (although translations can sometimes be a little sketchy).

I’ve had other friends, that don’t own an e-reader. They borrow books from the library or buy them from the store. Of course, they are much bigger but there’s a certain novelty with having it in your hands.

I’m a fan of print books. I always will be. I love the scent of new books and the way the paper feels in my hands. The covers and the designs of chapter headers and pages on the book… I love it all. To me, it’s not something that translates well on to e-readers. I feel like e-readers are cold and they aren’t as fun to cuddle up with on a couch. There’s a monotonous clicking sound or a glare of light on your face. I like being able to relax on a couch and have a book in my hands.

I don’t have an e-reader. But I’m thinking of getting one, if only to help with my blogging in the future. For one, it makes reading e-galleys so much easier. I usually read books off of Netgalley on my laptop and it is such a pain. It’s probably the reason that I always end up trying to finish four books before they all simultaneously expire on the same day XD

Obviously there’s nothing wrong with preferring one over the other. But I have a couple of opinions on each. Why I prefer them or how I can see it’s benefit.


Electronic Readers

Pros

  • Portable
  • Can hold hundreds of books without having to take up more space
  • Easier to get e-galleys
  • Depending on your model, you may not need any type of lighting to read
  • Can easily look up definitions and take notes on certain parts
  • Nobody has to know what you’re reading if you don’t want them to
  • You can hide it under the covers more easily at night if you’re reading when you’re supposed to be sleeping.
  • Cheaper books
  • You can buy a lot of books with a $25 gift card
  • Pretty cases

Cons

  • Can feel cold and impersonal. Especially if you’re cold and then you touch it. Then you get even colder.
  • You don’t see the wear and tear (if you’re one of those people that like to have beat-up books)
  • If you drop it, it could die
  • Needs recharging. “DANGIT IT DIED! I WAS ON THE LAST CHAPTER!”
  • Depending on the e-book, stylization, fonts, colors, etc, may not show up. To me, it loses a sense of personalization.
  • YOU CAN’T SMELLLLL IT
  • No special additions like posters or limited-edition bookmarks
  • Downloading issues or technical difficulties
  • If you get mad, you can’t abuse an e-reader

Print Books

Pros

  • Each book looks different
  • Hardcover or paperback? Pick which one you want
  • You can fold the pages to mark your spot. (I can’t do that. It makes me cry.)
  • You can see how much you’ve read it simply by the condition of the book.
  • They look pretty on your shelf.
  • They have distinctive smells!
  • Authors can sign them
  • Limited edition gifts, covers, etc.
  • Designs and formatting are unique
  • Can be gifted
  • Collectable
  • Citations are easy because of page numbers.
  • You don’t have to buy every book

Cons

  • Take up a lot of space
  • Not portable. (Unless it’s a tiny mass-media paperback)
  • Requires adequate lighting to read
  • Cannot be in contact with water. Ever.
  • Easily damaged by improper care or clumsiness
  • Can be pricey
  • If you lend them to people, they might come back half-dead
  • If the library doesn’t have it, you end up having to buy it
  • No privacy about what you’re reading.
  • If nobody buys the book at the bookstore, the novels themselves may be wasted.

These were just a few of the good and bad things I thought of for each book format. Which do you prefer?

The First Twenty Pages

Recently one of my friends checked out a book from the library. She meant to pick up the popular classic, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury but accidentally snagged his other novel, Farewell Summer (now that I look at the Goodreads, I realize that she got the third book in the series). She started reading and a few minutes later, while talking to another person, casually mentioned that she was going to go back to the library to return the book and get the book she actually wanted. Now this usually wouldn’t faze me in any way. I understand that it wasn’t the book she wanted. But what really inspired this post was that right after saying that, she said that the book was weird and that she didn’t like it.

Now I was surprised. I said, “But you literally just started the book.”

And she replied saying the writing was strange.

“How much have you read?”

“Like twenty pages. I can usually tell if I like a book based on the first twenty pages.”

Cue my gasping.

Donghae Gasp

Okay okay I know a lot of people can drop a book after twenty pages. But personally, I have to give it at least 50-100 pages before I can warrant giving up.

Anyways, it started this argument where she would quote some of the writing and I’d rebut it with some completely asinine reason that it’s not bad. Then the other girls at the table joined in. Two of us said that you could totally judge a book on 20 pages while the other two didn’t.

Well it made me wonder something. Can you accurately judge a novel based off of the first twenty pages?

As someone who read a lot, I argued that you couldn’t.

One of the girls said that only exception was Harry Potter because “it’s Harry Potter!”

Me:

leo what is this fuckery

While Harry Potter is a series that I like, it does not mean it can be exempted from the “20 pages and drop rule”. If I’m perfectly honest, the first time I tried to read Philosopher’s Stone, I could not bring myself to care about Hagrid delivering Harry onto the Dursley’s doorstep. It was only the second attempt at reading it that made me a fan.

So of course I tell her that that is a terrible reason.

Since then, I have considered my opinion and identified why I thought this way. And most of them are from my experiences reading.

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