HELLO THIS IS OUR 500TH POST. LOOK AT US BEING BLOGGERS WHO ACTUALLY BLOG. WE HAVE COME SO FAR SINCE I (JUDITH) STARTED THIS SILLY BLOG IN 2012. DON’T LOOK AT ME I’M NOT CRYING. I’M SO PROUD OF US. AND WHAT BETTER WAY TO CELEBRATE THAN WITH HALSEY, AMIRITE? ANYWAY, BACK TO ELLIS.
You might have lived under a rock for the past few months if you don’t know who Halsey is. (Or just not that into Tumblr, Twitter, good music, certain people on this blog, and the people they like to yell with about exciting things in the aforementioned spaces.) In any case, when I (Ellis) saw Angie mention to someone she wished there was a Halsey book tag, I crashed that conversation, and we came up with some prompts. Then Meg crashed our conversation and helped us fill in the missing spaces. Et voilà, next thing you know, Angie creates a full-blown book tag on her perfectly named new blog, Lady Knight Reads. Technically, I wasn’t tagged but I’m going to interpret contributing to the creation process as a tag of sorts. And obviously, I’m dragging my co-bloggers down with me. Also EEEP 500th post (even though I haven’t even blogged here for a year.)
Note from Ellice: EEEEEEEEEEEEEE 500 posts! *cupcakes for everyone!*
castle: your favourite queen
Judith: Do I even have to answer this question or should I just move on to the next one? Aelin Ashryver Galathynius forever and ever, until whatever end, for the rest of my life. Still, I am also forever in love with Isaboe of Lumatere, Quintana of Charyn and Elisa de Riqueza.
Ellis: Liraz of the Misbegotten, natural leader and rightful queen to the Seraphim empire. Okay, so technically not a queen but I had to mention her because I will never not be bitter about this. Quintana is out for the same technical reasons. So: Raisa ana’Marianna, Isaboe of Lumatere, Elisa de Riqueza.
Ellice: My cobloggers will be so disappointed in me on this one, but I don’t really have any contenders. Yet. I will soon, as I still plan to start reading fantasy soon. *runs quickly to the next question*
hold me down: a series you just can’t seem to quit, no matter how hard you try
Ellis: I actually don’t think I have any contenders here? It used to be Beautiful Creatures but I accidentally quit that one over a year ago and don’t really feel the need to find out what happens next. I mostly can’t quit certain TV shows. Though I’m also worried about the direction Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series seems to be going in, and I do intend to catch up on those books eventually. And after their last books, I’m no longer really excited about new stuff coming from Kasie West and Huntley Fitzpatrick, but I’ll probably read it anyway. Does that count?
Ellice: I’m not sure if this counts, but a certain book-inspired TV show immediately came to mind with this question: Pretty Little Liars. I vow to quit that insane show at the end of every. single. episode, but then… I just can’t stay away. I think “I’ll just watch a few minutes to see what ridiculous storyline they’ve come up with this time” and then I get sucked right back in. PLL, WHY can’t I quit you?! As for book series, I vowed to quit the Divergent series when a very obnoxious person spoiled the ending of Allegiant for me. Even though I know that I’ll be SO pissed at the end, I bought the series finale anyway, and I do plan to read it, eventually. To torture myself, I guess? Who knows.
Judith: I don’t really have a problem with quitting books or series that I don’t like. I might be a little too easy with that, in fact. What I do need to quit doing is buying so many books after only just liking the first book okay because then they will end up on my shelves forever and I will never want to read them. Examples: Pandemonium, Requiem, Allegiant and the entire Cassandra Clare hardcover shelf I have. I regret everything. Someone should really make my book buying decisions for me.
new americana: the fictional friend group you’d want to be your fight the apocalypse squad
Ellis: My default answer in all things squad-related is what Judith and I refer to as the Sebastian gang (though I think they’re better known as the Inner West circle?) I’m talking about Frankie, Tara, Siobhan, Justine, Tom and Jimmy from Saving Francesca and The Piper’s Son. The problem is the people who’d be most useful in fighting zombies or whatever horrors the apocalypse is going to throw our way (i.e. Jimmy and Siobhan) have gone off without a trace. Or, well, Siobhan left a bit of a trace but STILL. Soooo let’s say the Seven Realms kids, Raisa, Night Bird, and Cat Tyburn in particular. I would also feel really safe with Tesadora and her girls by my side. Or the Pack from Kate Daniels. And the Gallagher Girls, obviously.
Ellice: Ellis & Judith will love this – Taylor, Jonah, Raffy & Santangelo from Jellicoe Road by the queen herself, Melina Marchetta. With those four by my side, I’d feel pretty certain that we could survive anything.
Judith: My first thought was that I agree with Angie and would love Ismae, Sybella and Annith to fight the apocalypse with me. Then I reconsidered, and I think that I would actually have a better chance at surviving hiding behind Aelin and her
squad court. With the fire-breathing bitch-queen, two Fae warriors and a ghost leopard, I think I would have a pretty good chance at surviving, no matter how useless I would be myself.
drive: a couple that needs to communicate better
Ellice: I could probably think of several couples for this because the misunderstandings in YA often seem to be due to a lack of communication. I’ll go with the first couple that came to mind, however, since I read this book recently: Devon & Ezra from First & Then by Emma Mills. MY GOD YOU TWO. If they would just TALK to each other, they wouldn’t have had to go through that miserable prom, Ezra thinking that Devon hated him, Devon thinking that Ezra was in love with someone else.
Judith: Skylar and Josh from I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios. For the most part, these two are pretty decent at communication and I get that there is a lot of trauma involved, but JOSH, USE YOUR FUCKING WORDS AND TELL SKYLAR WHAT’S UP. That one scene in the motel especially drove me insane. )Note from Ellice: YES x 1,000,000!!!!)
Ellis: Melina Marchetta and the release date for the Jimmy book. I was going to say I couldn’t come up with anyone else (because I’m dead serious about that first one) but then I remembered Jared and Kami in Untold. People who’ve read it know what I’m talking about.
hurricane: favourite standalone
Judith: It turns out I have very few favorite standalones because they’re all getting turned into kind-of-series (Saving Francesca, My Life Next Door). Some standalones I absolutely loved, though, are Open Road Summer by Emery Lord and If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch.
Ellis: I think I’m one of the few who prefers
binging reading series to standalones. It’s so hard to choose between The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller and I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios. And that’s just looking at books I’ve read this year.
Ellice: OMG, Ellis’s answer to this question just made my life. Obviously, I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios is one of mine too. This category isn’t fair though, because I read A LOT of standalones, so I’m going to cheat and name a few more: Jellicoe Road by Marchetta, Something Like Normal by Trish Doller, and Nowhere but Home by Liza Palmer.
roman holiday: cutest contemporary couple
Ellice: Jordan & Sam Henry from Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally. I challenge you to find a cuter couple. <333
Judith: Sam and Jase from My Life Next Door. Huntley Fitzpatrick just portrayed first love flawlessly, and I will forever love these two. They’re the most adorable.
Bex and Macey from Gallagher Girls. I’m just now realising this is one of the harder questions for me because I don’t read a lot of tragedy-free things. Top 3 recommendations: Simon and Blue from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, Lydia/Seb and Emily/Charlie in Jaclyn Moriarty’s The Year of Secret Assignments, and Vanessa and Bri in Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler. (I’m only mentioning TYOSA here because while the same couples are featured in The Ghosts of Ashbury High that book is definitely NOT tragedy-free.)
ghost: most tragic break-up
Ellis: First I was going to say Lex and Driggs (Croak series, not telling you which book) but they get split up rather than having a full-on break up. So instead I decided to go with Raisa and Amon (am I the only person alive who ships them? Probably. I don’t care, multishipping is hard) because even though it was doomed since book 1 and I already shipped the other ship when they hadn’t even met yet, it was still a horribly painful experience for me. BUT THEN I REMEMBERED WHAT JACLYN MORIARTY DID TO MY CHILDHOOD OTPS IN THE GHOSTS OF ASHBURY HIGH, which let me tell you, is deeply traumatising because Lydia/Seb and Emily/Charlie are couples that have been relationship goals since I was EIGHT YEARS OLD and I did not sign up to discover Charlie has randomly moved to Singapore and Lydia and Seb broke up when I decided to continue the series FOURTEEN YEARS LATER.
Oh, and on a friendship level: Tesadora telling Isaboe her blood doesn’t carry a tune. Ha ha ha. Fuck everything.
Ellice: Veronica and Logan. OH MY GOD, THE PAIN. (Close runners up: Lorelei & Luke; Rory & Jess)
Judith: I decided to delete my original answer in favor of seconding Logan and Veronica because THIS BROKE ME.
colors: one of your faves who hurts you a lot because they make TERRIBLE decisions
Ellis: Minoo from the Engelsfors series. She made the absolute worst decisions in the last book and while I could see where she was coming from, I was also screaming in frustration. A lot. Josh Mitchell from I’ll Meet You There is also a serious contender here, especially where it concerns his coping mechanisms when it comes to his own feelings.
Ellice: Josh. Freakin’. Mitchell (I’ll Meet You There). WHY DID YOU DO THAT?
Judith: Probably Tom Mackee, because he means so well but ends up fucking things up so badly and he tries so hard and I love him so much and also TOM, USE YOUR WORDS.
strange love: character a lot of people don’t get but you absolutely love
Ellis: First of all, I just want to say that Amon Byrne is SERIOUSLY underappreciated. But my go-to answer for this one is Quintana of Charyn, who is my most beloved out of all the Lumatere characters, which is quite a feat in itself, to be honest. I’ll be the first to admit that she’s a character that grew on me, and I think part of why a lot of people struggle with her is because she’s so strange and complex. I don’t agree that she’s mad or an unreliable narrator. I actually think that Marchetta uses her perspective to play off this perception she’s actively feeding into to protect herself against the reality of who she really is, which is brilliant. I definitely do think she has demons and that she sometimes lets her paranoia take over, but I love how she’s allowed to be fierce (not the Tyra Banks kind) and unforgiving. She’s super important to me and one of my personal favourite moments is when she tells Froi she can live without him, but doesn’t want to. The other one is obviously when she says she determines her own worth, but what frustrates me is that this is often interpreted so simplistically, as if this means she doesn’t need other people or doesn’t care whether they like her or not, even though this is the same Quintana who five minutes after telling Phaedra this delights in the other women fussing over her. She’s complicated and strange and I love her deeply.
Ellice: This question is probably the easiest one for me to answer so far, believe it or not. It would have to be Reena & Sawyer from How to Love by Katie Cotugno. I’ve debated this book and defended these characters to so many people, especially when the book first came out. I’ve read a lot of reviews that have chalked Sawyer up to being a total asshole, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, and while I can’t deny that he has some major assholery moments, he also is quite REAL and actually ends up being a pretty decent guy. And Reena… well, she puts up with his bullshit for a reason, and she’s not weak at all, contrary to how a lot of reviews have portrayed her. Now I really want to reread this book :)
Judith: There are a lot of female characters I absolutely love that get so much criticism for being manipulative (Evanjalin of the Monts), arrogant (Celaena Sardothien), not badass in the typical sense (Elisa), not consistent (Aelin Ashryver Galathynius), not likeable in general (Quintana of Charyn, Reagan O’Neill, Sybella) – in other news, characters that are realistic. Honestly, what the fuck do you want? I’m sorry if you can’t handle female characters being realistic but do always find the time to swoon over assholish pretending-to-be-broody-but-actually-abuse-as-fuck male characters with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. I’m here for all girls who often get overlooked simply because they don’t feel like they have to smile to prove their worthiness, and who determine their own worth instead. All of these female characters are absolute favorites of mine, and especially with the last three, I love them because they are not likeable, per se. They’ve been hurt and bruised and broken and obviously that’s going to leave its trace, but also, they are perfect.
Also, let’s take a minute to appreciate Froi of the Exiles, whose character development is absolutely glorious. A lot of people just don’t want to give Froi a chance and that’s a shame, because he’s wonderful, and Melina Marchetta wrote his story intelligently and beautifully.
coming down: best sexy times scene
Judith: All sex scenes from Black Iris by Leah Raeder, and most specifically that one scene. I have never read a book that does sex better, and fucking hell, this was hot.
Ellis: Based on literally every single answer I’ve seen to this prompt I’m assuming the only reason I’m not saying Black Iris is because I haven’t read it yet. Because of circumstances, Coming Down is very much a Quintana song to me BUT the book that instantly comes to mind is Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler, which legit has the on-page manifestation of the with his educated eyes // and his head between my thighs lines. YUP.
Ellice: Okay, I’ve agonized over this particular question because y’all know how I love my kissy/sexytimes moments between my favorite couples. And obviously the New Adult books I’ve read lately have been insanely hot, but probably my favorite one lately? Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer– Anna Wyatt meeting a troubled soldier (aka a complete stranger) in a hotel bar. Intense flirting. Gettin’ it on in an elevator. Hitting the elevator’s emergency brake. Holy moly. *fans self*
haunting: a book or character you’re still thinking about
Judith: I’m going to go predictable and say Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. I mostly wanted to mention this book because I have a feeling that since Queen of Shadows was released, Heir of Fire is going to get overlooked a lot, because it is a lot less action-packed and a lot quieter. For me, this book was life-changing. Right around the time Celaena hit rock bottom, I did the same, and it was her healing that helped me get up a little as well. “I will not be afraid” is something I still say to myself every day, and I just can’t express in words how important this book is to me.
Ellice: I can tell you without a doubt that the book I’m currently reading, All the Rage by Courtney Summers, will be on my mind for a long. time. It’s aptly titled, because I get enraged just thinking about what Romy has to go through, and how tough she is, and how no human being should ever have to endure the shit that she does. Wow. Definitely a “haunting” read!
Ellis: Tara Finke, resident minor character in canon but major character in my heart. Just last week I was thinking of how the one-and-a-half-night stand fall-out must have been for her and how one of her worst fears came true but she picked herself up and went after other things she also wanted out of life and I started crying on the tram. Good thing I was wearing one of those huge scarfs so I could hide my face.
On the never-forget-never-forgive front: Allison Argent.
gasoline: favourite (self-)destructive character
Judith: I want to repeat my answer of Tom Mackee here, but since I have already mentioned him, I’m going to change my answer to a very similar character who hurts me just as much: Tim Mason from The Boy Most Likely To. The book itself wasn’t my favorite, but goddammit Tim, why do you hurt me so? I’m also going to have to mention Sybella from Dark Triumph because of her thoughts throughout this entire book. Oh hey, and also Reagan from Open Road Summer. I just like self-destructive characters a lot, because I can occasionally relate to them and because they hurt me.
Ellis: Give me a self-destructive character and chances are they’ll be my fave within five sentences. One of my more recent loves is Jared Lynburn, though Quintana of Charyn, Liraz of the Misbegotten, Adelina Amouteru, Ronan Lynch, Tom Mackee, and Josh Mitchell, and Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation (not a book character w/e w/e) will always have front-row seats on the fave train.
Ellice: Arcadia in The Devil You Know by Trish Doller. And damn it if she doesn’t know that she’s being stupid by going off with two total strangers, but she does it anyway and I love her a little bit for it. Even though my brain is screaming ‘NO!’ at her, I also understand her reason for being completely reckless and irresponsible after losing her mom and having to practically raise her little brother. A smart girl who just made some bad decisions–we’ve all been there.
control: best villain
Ellis: Adelina Amouteru comes to mind, but I’ve heard whispers (ha) that Lu is thinking about giving her a redemption arc in the last Young Elites book, which NO. Piper Greenmantle from The Raven Cycle is pretty awesome too. And is Manon Blackbeak supposed to be a villain? Because I love her lots and lots and lots and am waiting for the day when she’ll invite my to join her (then) Blackbeak Fourteen. OH and Tannith from The Girl at Midnight. I’m still waiting for Melissa Grey to realise Tannith and Echo is a legit ship and not just something that happened in my mind only.
Judith: I’m really struggling with this answer. I second Ellis’s question: does Manon count? Because if so, Manon Blackbeak forever and always. But I’m not really sure if she’s actually a villain. What I really like, however, if when authors or other storytellers show that being a hero or a villain is only a matter of where you stand. The 100 and His Fair Assassin show this perfectly, especially.
Ellice: Severus Snape. The guy Harry Potter fans love to hate ;)
young god: characters that secretly worship each other
Ellis: I was drawing a serious blank besides Adam and Ronan in The Raven Cycle (and actually Gansey and Ronan, now that I think about it), which seems like an obvious answer. But I think Angela and Holly from The Lynburn Legacy definitely qualify as well. And speaking of young gods: Patroclus and Achilles.
Ellice: I had a nice long answer all written, and then I saw that world “secretly.” Damn it. That completely changes my answer. I had to think long and hard about this one, but then–aha! One of my favorite friendships in all of fiction started out as enemies. Though it isn’t as much of a secret by the end of the book, Santangelo and Jonah Griggs still attempted to maintain the facade of being rivals despite the fact that they both love each other a lot by the end of Jellicoe Road.
Judith: Aelin and Aedion from the Throne of Glass series. Both of them admire the other so much that they are afraid to let each other see what they have (had to) during the ten years they were apart. It’s beautiful and precious and I love them so much.
walk the line: best retelling/reworking
Ellice: I’m cheating again (don’t tell my coblogers!!) and referencing a TV show. Sons of Anarchy was loosely based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and well, Kurt Sutter does a pretty damn good job of capturing the main themes of the original play.
Judith: I found this one a bit harder, but I’m going to have to go with Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson because it’s so beautifully tragic/tragically beautiful and I think it’s the best retelling I have read.
Ellis: THE SONG OF ACHILLES BY MADELINE MILLER. Because not only do I really love and appreciate how Miller interprets The Iliad, I also nearly worship her for the fact that she went back to a story that’s generally seen as the origin of Western literature and culture and rewrote it as a queer love story, and in the process also rewrote masculinity and the myth that “real men” rape, plunder, and claim women as their war prize. And also it’s just a really good book.
is there somewhere: otp with obstacles
Ellice: Anna and TJ from On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves. I LOVE THAT BOOK. I LOVE THAT COUPLE. So what if there’s an age difference? LEAVE THEM ALONE, DAMMIT.
Judith: Manon and Asterin Blackbeak. I know they’re technically “””cousins”””, but you can’t deny the sexual chemistry, okay?
Ellis: Bex Baxter and Macey McHenry. The obstacle is that apparently Ally Carter doesn’t see what I see. In all honesty, this will always be a Froi/Quintana modern au song for me, though. Also, what Judith said because COME. ON.
empty gold: an otp that became a notp
Judith: Oh, I have a lot of those. Most important for me were Chaol and Celaena, who I loved until I realized they were unhealthy as fuck, and then very much did not ship them anymore. Yay for natural relationship development where characters turn out not right for each other.
Ellis: Day and June from the Legend series by Marie Lu. Day really started to bother me from Prodigy onwards. Their relationship is very unhealthy and I think the Champion epilogue completely failed at fixing their dynamic and actually made it even worse. I’m also going to say Josh and Isla from Isla and the Happily Ever After, which is a good example of why it isn’t always great to analyse books you like for academic purposes. Last year, I wrote a paper on the language and translation dynamics in the Anna and the French Kiss series, and one thing that really bothered me about Josh is how he almost refuses to speak French and actually pretends he’s worse at it than he is. And I’m not saying that he will always be that way, but a main conflict for Isla in this book is to reconcile her French side with her American side and not feel like she’ll always have to choose one over the other. But being in a relationship with Josh means she has to dismiss her French identity and can’t speak French with her partner because he refuses to. And as a bilingual person this is something I think about a lot and I hate that she has to compromise something that’s so important to her because the guy she’s in love with is a dick about it.
Ellice: While I love it when my characters live happily ever after, sometimes it’s just not feasible. Just like IRL. Molly and Gabe in 99 Days by Katie Cotugno, for example, are a such a cute couple, but there’s just too much history between Molly and the Donnelly family. Her relationship with the brothers isn’t healthy, and it’s hard to move on when you’re constantly reminded of the past.
trouble: toxic relationship you ship even though you know better
Ellis: Hahahaha, Anna and Elise from Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas, which is so much greater than even a ship or an OTP. Is there honestly another way to answer this question?
Judith: I second Ellis’s Anna and Elise because yes. Also, I think that Laney and Blythe from Black Iris are pretty toxic, but they are also meant to be together forever and ever. I think their relationship works because they are both majorly fucked up.
Ellice: What they said. I can’t top that answer. The ultimate toxic relationship!
And on that surprisingly unanimous note, we tag: