Today I’ll be reviewing a new bookish merch shop I’ve discovered at the request of the owner – Literary Book Gifts.
At first glance the website is clean, sleek and easy to use. It’s simple to navigate, letting you choose between three main categories: women, men and tote bags. The shop sells some beautiful custom T-shirts printed with designs based on famous works of literature, such as Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and more.
There’s a nice range of shirts, tank tops and hoodies, with some more general bookish designs like typewriters too.
While I have seen similar things in the world of bookish merch, I find these particular designs elegant and true to the books they’re based on. I especially love this Jekyll and Hyde tote bag and Withering Heights shirt pictured below.
Treat yo self or get your favourite book nerd something they’ll love.
You can get 20% off on anything at Literary Book Gifts with my discount code ANNMARIEMCQUEEN20
Recently, I’ve spent some time working my way through the bestseller list of YA romance fiction – everything from John Green to hit debuts such as ‘Everything Everything’ by Nicola Yoon, which was recently made into a movie.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the book. But for now I’m done with YA fiction and going back to my usual genre of world lit, classics and general gritty depressing stories that leave me in existential doubt for days afterwards. As charming as it sometimes is to indulge in the idealistic world of manic pixie dream girls (MPDGs), deep conversations under the stars and passionate, obsessive love affairs, it’s all starting to feel a bit fake. Here are the 5 biggest cliches that I think have been way overdone in YA these days:
- The Manic Pixie Dream Girl. She’s beautiful. She’s deep. She’s probably a metaphor. She’s ‘broken’ but ‘strong’ and wants to make cryptic remarks about the meaning of life on a rooftop at 3am. She’s ‘not like the other girls’ because she’s a special snowflake and apparently has the ability to understand life better than everyone else, despite being a teenager with no actual life experience. Most likely she has a mental illness that’s probably being romanticised by the male love interest. Examples: basically anything written by John Green, pretty much ever.
- The MPDGs favourite activity? Astronomy of course. Because relating everything in your life to the workings of the universe automatically makes you deep apparently. Sorry, no. It doesn’t make you deep. It makes you sound kind of egotistical and occasionally like a bad science textbook. Example: Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon
- The dead parent/sibling/relative trope. Quite often it just seems like a lazy attempt to remove the adults from the story so the author doesn’t have to write them. In reality, family relationships are a pretty damn huge part of teenager’s lives. It’d be nice to see some more YA novels accurately reflect that.
- Romanticising mental illness. This one worries me. While I have read some books which have given the topic the gravity it deserves (Laurie Halse Anderson does this excellently) I’ve also read many more that treat it as ‘teenage angst’ or an interesting quirk to make the character seem broody, mysterious and ultimately more attractive. Yeah, no. Just don’t. Being depressed isn’t sexy, it’s just extremely unpleasant and soul-destroying really.
- Instalove! Because why spend valuable pages on having the characters actually get to know each other when they could be discussing the stars and their undying love instead.
What tropes and cliches do you hate in YA fiction?
On a side note, if you want to make me super happy please go download my new novel ‘This Really Happened’ here. It’s FREE for the next four days!