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Feb 1 2015

The Weekly Blaze {74}: January 26-February 1

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Welcome back Litlets, and thanks to everyone who applied to be a Lit Up Review contributor! The deadline has now officially closed, and we’re so excited to go through all the applications. We’ll contact the bloggers we select ASAP, but while you’re waiting, you can catch up on this week’s content.

Wednesday, January 28: Willa’s Waiting on Wednesday selection of Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas: “YEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Thursday, January 29: Ten Illuminations of LGBTQ books: “We’ve already done a Ten Illuminations spotlighting diverse books, but today we’re being more specific and recommending titles with LGBTQ characters.”

Saturday, January 31: The Spotlight Book Club Presents: The Walled City Showcase: Find out what we thought about our January book club selection (and be sure to come back tomorrow to find out February’s pick).

Jan 31 2015

The Spotlight Book Club Presents: The Walled City Showcase

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The Spotlight Book Club is one of the most exciting things we do on the blog! As avid teen readers, it’s hard to find a book online book club with readers like us all over the world. Each month we choose a book, and we will give you the entire month to read it. On the last Saturday of the month we will post a selection of mini-reviews (ranging from one of us to all of us) along with (we hope) an author interview, giveaway, or something else fun! Throughout the month, you can start threads on our Goodreads group to interact with other book club members. The only rule is you can’t spoil the book for everyone else!

January’s selection was The Walled City by Ryan Graudin!


730. That’s how many days I’ve been trapped.
18. That’s how many days I have left to find a way out.

DAI, trying to escape a haunting past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless kingpin in the Walled City. But in order to find the key to his freedom, he needs help from someone with the power to be invisible….

JIN hides under the radar, afraid the wild street gangs will discover her biggest secret: Jin passes as a boy to stay safe. Still, every chance she gets, she searches for her lost sister….

MEI YEE has been trapped in a brothel for the past two years, dreaming of getting out while watching the girls who try fail one by one. She’s about to give up, when one day she sees an unexpected face at her window…..

In this innovative and adrenaline-fueled novel, they all come together in a desperate attempt to escape a lawless labyrinth before the clock runs out.

And now for the reviews!



I started The Walled City on a school night (possibly not a brilliant idea) and stayed up later than I had planned (already not good things happening) and then finished the book the next day during French class (I’m seeing a pattern here). It was absolutely incredible and even better than I had expected. The plot is incredible. Graudin does a fantastic job of switching between points of view, building tension and momentum with each chapter. You see the characters grow into even stronger versions of themselves over the course – especially in Mei Yee’s case. One of my favorite things about the book is the setting. Based on the real Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong which existed from the 50’s to 70’s, the world of the Walled City revolves around drugs, prostitution, severe poverty, and numerous gangs – especially made of children. Graudin brings the world to life in front of your eyes, subtly explaining the history of the city, using Dai as a vessel for this. It’s an incredibly well written book that I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend to fans of dystopian novels who love a heart-pounding adventure story. You can find my full review coming February 13th on Willa’s Ramblings here.


I wish I could say The Walled City starts off with a bang, but it doesn’t. The plot actually begins somewhat slowly – from the blurb, readers learn that each character wants to get out of the Walled City and that they only have 18 days to do so, but we don’t find out the reason for the time constraint until halfway through the book. Until then, the story can be difficult to get into, as we are not sure exactly what the characters are trying to do and why we should be cheering for them. However, the plot’s plodding exposition is not all bad. The author uses the beginning to craft an amazing and unique setting – like Willa said, it truly comes to life, and the fact that it is based on a real place is fascinating. Even better, when the intense action does start, it is so satisfying. If you are struggling to get into The Walled City initially, I completely understand, but I highly recommend powering through until the 50% mark – you will be glad you did. Look for my full review coming soon to my personal book blog, Forever Literary.

Jan 29 2015

Ten Illuminations {21}: LGBTQ Books

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Ten Illuminations is a bi-weekly feature hosted by Lit Up Review where we recommend our ten favorite books that fit under one topic. Inspired by The Broke and The Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday, Ten Illuminations gives you five people’s recommendations in one!

We’ve already done a Ten Illuminations spotlighting diverse books, but today we’re being more specific and recommending titles with LGBTQ characters.



Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour | Goodreads

If I had to name a favorite LGBT book, this one would be it. Why? Because although it features a romance between two females, their sexuality does not define the plot as it does in so many other LGBT novels. While books about people coming out or facing oppression are fascinating and important, it is refreshing to read this book in which a same-sex relationship is treated as a totally normal occurance.


Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt | Goodreads

This novel is technically categorized as adult fiction, but with its 14-year-old protagonist and emotional storyline, it reads just like a character-driven YA book. Set at the height of the AIDS crisis in New York City, it follows one girl as she bonds with her uncle Finn’s boyfriend after Finn dies from the devastating STD. It’s a quiet, heartbreaking story that I highly recommend if you are in the mood to shed a few tears.



20517739Far From You by Tess Sharpe | Goodreads

Far From You is a murder mystery that centers around a set of best friends and a beautiful relationship. It was one of my most unexpected loves of 2014, and I highly recommend it for people who love a good mystery, and also enjoy a touching friendship – because this one is one. It shows the good, the bad, and the ugly of friendships, and is wonderfully written.

20820994I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson | Goodreads

New competition! See how many times I can fit this book into a Ten Illuminations. In I’ll Give You the Sun, a gay relationship is explored, and it’s one of the most touching I’ve ever read about. The gay character (who I’m not going to disclose because it’s part of the plotline) was possibly my favorite in the book, and their journey was heartbreaking and very real. This book is also an incredible read for other reasons – the twin element, the BEAUTIFUL writing, and the just overall awesomeness of it. Go read this book. Now.

Jan 28 2015

Waiting on Wednesday {55}

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Waiting On Wednesday is originally hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, but we just love this meme so much we had to tag along! Each Wednesday, one of the Lit Up Review writers will post a book she is looking forward to, along with the summary and cover. You can find all of these posts by clicking on the category button and selecting “Waiting on Wednesday”, and fill up your Goodreads shelves with great books to get excited about!

21806353Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4) by Sarah J. Maas | Goodreads
Release Date: September 1st, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Sarah J. Maas’s New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series reaches new heights in this sweeping fourth volume.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.



okay I’m over the all caps.


(and I know there’s no cover let’s all just cry a lot together.)

Jan 25 2015

The Weekly Blaze {73}: January 19-25

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Hey everyone! Sorry for another slow week – Jessica and Grace both had exams to worry about. We plan to start posting more frequently as soon as we select our new contributors. If you’re a teenager who is interested, you can click here to apply to be one of those contributors – it’s a pretty low commitment, and you’d get to be part of the super-fun Lit Up Review team.

In other announcements, I (Emily) am hosting a giveaway sponsored by Candlewick Press over on my blog. Six YA titles are up for grabs, and you can enter here. It ends on Wednesday, so be sure to get your entries in!

Anyway, in case you missed it, here is our one post from this week:

Friday, January 23: Willa’s Story Gazing post about Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: “If you liked Throne of Glass, you may like…”



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