My last post on The Loony Teen Writer

IT’S OKAY, FOLKS. I’M NOT LEAVING YOU. Well, I am, but it’s for the best.

If you haven’t already had a peek, here’s where you can find my new blog.

It’s going to be so much fun. The launch post for it will go up TOMORROW, and there’ll be a giveaway, a tag and lots of excellent fun. I’ll transfer the last of the comments, and let Bloglovin’ and WordPress know to move my followers.

I’ll also be during a URL redirect, so if you type in, you’ll automatically be sent to

If all works out, that is.

And now for the obligatory reflection on my time here.

It’s been over two years, people. 2014 was the year I started book blogging for realsies – before that it was just half-hearted attempts at giving people writing advice. Now I’m fully a part of the book blogging community and you’re never going to get rid of me.

Being self-hosted means that I will have HEAPS more features, and it will look more professional, and I’ll have more freedom. Plus, The Loony Teen Writer is a name that will not always apply, since this year I turn 18 (GASP) and shortly after that I won’t be a teenager anymore.

When I made this blog I didn’t think it would last long enough for that.

Loony Literate is a name I can commit to.

It’s not TOO different, so hopefully people won’t get confused. And there’s some nice alliteration.



And it can mean lots of things. I could be a loony who’s literate. Or I could be literate in lunacy.

Plus. Luna.

This post is going on a lot longer than I planned, so let’s wrap it up.

I hope to see you all at my new blog!!!


Paris Photos and Other Announcements

And that adventure was to Paris.


Here was the extent of my French:

Merci, sil vous plait, pardon moi, numbers up til 10, the days of the week and the months of the year.

So it was lucky most people spoke English. But anyway, it was an AMAZING three days. Seriously, guys. French bread. You have no idea.

Here are some photos!

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Top left: weird French keyboard. It’s AZERTYUIOP instead of QWERTYUIOP.

Top right: brilliant European parking

Bottom left: crepes!! This guy let us take a photo of him.

Bottom right: some tower thing.

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The many views of the Eiffel Tower. On the bottom left is me with my sisters (from left to right, me, Sophie and Caitlin). It’s night in that photo but I had to edit it so it wasn’t so dark.

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Left – the Seine

Right – one of those Love Bridge things, where you put a padlock on and throw the key into the water. Sadly we didn’t get to the actual bridge (we were on a river cruise).

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Views from the Eiffel Tower! We couldn’t go right to the top because it was under construction, but it was still breath-taking. The number of steps came every so often – it was more than 600 to get to the second level, and they were STEEP STEPS, GUYS.

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Parisian markets! Bread and fruit and vegetables and seafood and clothes and sweets (“bonbons”) and SO MUCH STUFF. It was amazing.

So that’s Paris. My last couple of travel updates will be happening once I’m over at my new blog, Loony Literate.

Which reminds me. This is my last post before my LAST POST. EEK. The launch will be next Wednesday, the 28th of January, which is also my first day of school. As I’ve said before, there’ll be a giveaway and a blog hop/tag thing. It’s going to be great.

So what else have I been doing while I’m here?

– Freezing my butt off

– Reading stuff for school

– WRITING stuff for school

– Eating amazing food

– Spending time with my family

– Starting to plot an epic fantasy for some weird reason

– And also a contemporary about a British girl who goes to an Australian boarding school

– Don’t ask me why

– Also I have bought like a whole new wardrobe. Because I brought spending money and I can’t help myself. Also I’ve bought five books. Fitting everything into my suitcase is going to be interesting

– NEVER FEAR, THOUGH. The recap and photos for the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London…they’re coming. I’m going to have a whole Harry Potter WEEK. It’ll be brilliant.

– Oh, and disclaimer – all the Paris photos were taken by my mum. I couldn’t be bothered taking any so I just stole hers.

So tell me, guys – have you booked your tickets for Paris yet?

YA Characters I’d Name My Children After



Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week there’s a different Top Ten list. It’s a great way to find and connect with other awesome bloggers.

One day I would like to create some minions of my own.

Once my nanna even gave me a deadline. “Emily,” she said, “I’d like great-grandchildren by the time I’m seventy.”

Well, Nanna, you’re seventy in like three years so I don’t think that’s going to happen.


BUT for when it does happen, I have some excellent names from stories that I’d like to give to my spawn. I was even named after a book character, so maybe it’ll become a family tradition.

Anyway, this week for Top Ten Tuesday we were given a freebie, so this is the one I chose from the archived ones!

Alice – from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I actually think Alice is a really lovely name, and she’s such an excellent character.

It’ll be awkward if I ever publish Wanderland (my Alice in Wonderland retelling), though, because that’s the main character’s name.

A bit narcissistic.

Oh well. As if I care.


Lyra – from The Northern Lights by Philip Pullman








I’m a big fan of names that start with L, as you’ll see. And Lyra is so pretty.

Celaena – from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

This is such a pretty name, too! It totally doesn’t suit her, but also it kind of does.

Don’t mind me. It’s Friday night and I’ve been scheduling about five billion of these posts.



Liesel – from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I know it’s a German name and I’m not German, but it’s so PRETTY and I like it more than Lisa for some reason (maybe that’s not even the equivalent…ignore me).

Katniss – from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Okay, fine, this one’s a joke.

Please don’t call your kid Katniss.




Luna – from Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling

AKA one of my favourite characters in the history of ever. Not that I’d ACTUALLY call my kid Luna (it’s too commercialised with Harry Potter) but I still think it’s a really beautiful name.

Arya and Nasuada – from Eragon by Christopher Paolini

No matter how much people hate on Eragon, I love it, and I love these characters, and I don’t even care what you think.

Eowyn – from The Lord of the Rings series by J R R Tolkien

I quite like the name Arwen as well. Names starting with A, E, L and C are my favourite. Celaena starts with all four so it must be amazing.



Albus – from Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling

As if.

I wouldn’t put a child through that torture.




Would you name a human child after a book character?

The Books That Have Taught Me Something

books that make me smart

They say you learn something new every day.

Books are where I learn the most, I think. And I learn from EVERY book I read, but some more than others.

Note: most (if not all) will be contemporaries.

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Night Vision by Ella West

This is about a girl with XP (Xeroderma Pigmentosum, apparently). Basically, she’s allergic to sunlight. I hadn’t even known this EXISTED let alone how you would deal with it, so this was a really, really interesting read.

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Pretty much all of Jodi Picoult’s books have courtroom scenarios, and these I found really interesting. I also learnt a lot about organ donation.

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

The only fictional book where I have actually LEARNT something about writing (as opposed to every other writing character just being like “I wanna be a writer” and never doing anything about it). I learnt about the publishing world, the agonies of titles, and the lengths writers are willing to go for research.

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Hope in a Ballet Shoe by Michaela and Elaine DePrince

I loved this book, and I learnt about both 1) ballet and 2) war-torn Sierra Leone. You don’t often get characters from places other than America, England or Australia (or at least not in the books I read) so the diversity here was really lovely to see.

Dead Ends by Erin Lange

This one taught me a lot about Down syndrome, and the way we “other” disabled people. Also taught me a lot about bullies, and how they’re not always the most horrible people on the planet.

Head of the River by Pip Harry

I learnt more than I ever have about rowing, about athletes in general, about the reasons people turn to drugs. That was really awesome.

Not the drugs.

I’m doing well here.

code name verity it's kind of a funny story wintergirls

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

It’s a miracle I got anything from this considering how hard I was bawling, but it did teach me a lot about World War II and spies and Nazis and LOTS OF THINGS, basically.

Maybe I should rethink my aversion to historical fiction.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

This is one of my favourite books of all time. I learnt SO much about mental illness and psychiatric hospitals.

Also I just really wanted to put this book on my list because I love it.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Gah, this book. It made me cry, seriously. I know these are all kind of depressing things so far and it’s not going to end with this one. It’s about anorexia and I’d never read a book about anorexia before, so it hit me harder than I expected.

Also: Laurie Halse Anderson is amazing.

Do you have any books that have taught you something really important/life-changing/earth-shattering??



Two Dark Fairytales by Neil Gaiman

Okay so I have two books to review today.

sleeper hansel and gretel

I thought I’d review them together since, you know, they’re both dark fairytales and they’re both by Nail Gaiman and they both have pretty pictures.


Author: Neil Gaiman

Illustrator: Chris Riddell

Source: I bought it!


 A thrillingly reimagined fairy tale from the truly magical combination of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell – weaving together a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty with a thread of dark magic, which will hold readers spellbound from start to finish.

On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future – and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems. Twisting together the familiar and the new, this perfectly delicious, captivating and darkly funny tale shows its creators at the peak of their talents.

So first of all this is an absolutely beautiful book.

CAM00632There’s no way my crappy camera quality can do it justice, but seriously: the illustrations, the hardcover, it’s all just beautiful. It’s a perfect book for a gift to someone, or a book to have on a stand.

I bought it for myself because we all deserve presents now and again.



So basically it’s a retelling of both Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. It was really interesting how these two worked together and how something entirely new was created. There were also some interesting twists that I didn’t expect.

Though there are some more mature themes, kids a bit older could easily love this book, and of course adults as well (never too old for fairytales).

Oh and did I mention the illustrations??

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Not going to lie, the beautiful illustrations were my favourite part of this book. Sure, the story was good, but if it was just plain text, it wouldn’t have got more than a three…possibly less. So yay Chris Riddell for bumping it up somewhat.

Rating: 4/5 Wonderkitties


hansel and gretel

Author: Neil Gaiman

Illustrator: Lorenzo Mattotti

Source: I bought it!


Best-selling author Neil Gaiman and fine artist Lorenzo Mattotti join forces to create Hansel & Gretel, a stunning book that’s at once as familiar as a dream and as evocative as a nightmare. Mattotti’s sweeping ink illustrations capture the terror and longing found in the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale. Neil Gaiman crafts an original text filled with his signature wit and pathos that is sure to become a favorite of readers everywhere, young and old.


Okey dokey so we go from beautiful black and white illustrations to…uh, smudged ones. You can hardly tell what most of the pictures are supposed to be showing.

But I didn’t come here to rant.

If you’ve never read Hansel and Gretel, I totally recommend this edition.

However, it is not a retelling as such. It’s basically just the same story with slightly more creepy illustrations and a few interesting tidbits. But that’s all they were: TIDBITS.


Ha. See what I did there?

Unlike Sleeper and the Spindle (which I read first out of these two), nothing stood out as really original or different or Neil Gaiman-esque. Plus the pictures weren’t as pretty. It’s not my kind of style, I guess.

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I did like the section at the end, though.

CAM00641It basically tells you how the story started, and how it’s changed since then. Also it talks about similar tales and other creepy fairytales…which is EXCELLENT because technically I’m reading this as research for a thing I’m writing at school.

Dark fairytales FTW.



In summary, though – not much of a retelling, very dark illustrations, but pretty good as fairytales go.

Rating: 3/5 Wonderkitties



Announcing My New Blog!

Hi everyone! So this is very scary and exciting. I’m moving blogs! Many of you will know that my dream has been to move to self-hosted, and because of an excellent series of events, I decided I couldn’t wait until the end of this year.

So I took the plunge. Being self-hosted means I have way more freedom, I have a dot com URL, and I can use plugins like CommentLuv so I can see all of your lovely posts.

Anyway. I’ll talk more about that later.


loony literate

It uses the theme I won from Ashley @ Nose Graze, (it’s called Vintage Flowers) and the tutorials on her site are the only reason I could even do this! I’m terrible at technology.

So it’s not ready to launch until I get back to Australia (I have to figure out a giveaway and a tag/blog hop to spread the word) but you can take a look at and be gobsmacked by its awesomeness (haha).

I would have left it a bit longer to tell you. Unfortunately, though, I installed a plugin that linked to my new blog, so some of you have already seen it. Yeah, good one, Emily.

Hopefully, all my email followers will transfer over, and I’ll do a URL redirect on this blog, so it should go…pretty smoothly. I’ll just have to remind everyone that it’s Loony Literate instead of The Loony Teen Writer.


What do you think of the name??

Oh, also.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to reply to the comments on the posts I’ve missed. Because, you know, I’m organising the new blog AND enjoying myself in England (who decided that combination was a good idea?? Oh yeah, my impatience). But I HAVE read all of them and I’m impressed by how many people commented on Negative Reviews Don’t Mean You’re a Better Reviewer. This is why I love the book blogging community – for the most part we’re so nice!

So I’ll comment on THIS post, and the ones I’ve scheduled, and then there’ll be a final wrap-up post here, and then you guys will be commenting on the new blog.

To all those who have moved to self-hosted – how long did it take for things to settle down? What was the hardest thing?



Ten 2014 releases I wanted to read…but didn’t



Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week there’s a different Top Ten list. It’s a great way to find and connect with other awesome bloggers.

Quite a few books were released in 2014.

And by “a few” I mean about three million and five. Okay, not really. But how can you expect me to read ALL the books that come out? It’s impossible! Here are some, though, that I really wanted to read:

masquerade ask again later the museum of intangible things

Masquerade by Kylie Fornasier

Aussie authors FTW. Somehow I just never got around to this one…2015 for sure!

Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas

Because it sounds utterly fluffy and great. Plus, it has that whole two-possibilities alternate-universe thing, which is cool.

The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder

This was one of the contemporaries I had in 2013 for “anticipating in 2014,” and I never quite got around to it. It’s about a road trip, and I LOVED The Probability of Miracles, so I really want to read this one.

i'll give you the sun snow like ashes love letters to the dead side effects may vary

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I wasn’t a huge fan of The Sky is Everywhere, but I’ve got to admit the cover of this one drew me in.

Snow Like Ashes by Sarah Raasch

Because EVERYONE seems to love this one.

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

I don’t know what happened with this one. I got it from my birthday from the lovely Cait, and never got around to reading it.

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

This one I OWN, and it’s here in England with me, so hopefully I’ll be reading it soon! If I haven’t already by the time this is posted.

cruel beauty to all the boys i've loved before don't look back

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge


To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

This one sounds so funny and cute and I need more of that in my life. Plus I think there’s a second one coming out in 2015?

Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

This girl’s written about a million books, so I’m assuming she’s good. Plus my sister keeps pestering me to buy this book so that she can read it.

Are there any books you had the best intentions of reading, but…well, never got around to it? It’s okay, this is a no-judge space (you should see my TBR).

Photos from London and Cambridge + Exciting Announcements

We’ve been doing some exciting things lately. We went into Cambridge to do some shopping and see the sights, then into London for some touristy things.


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These are two colleges in Cambridge. Very impressive.

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Lollies (well, “sweets”) galore. The guy in the top right is making fudge.

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So Heffers is this great book shop unique to Cambridge (and it was cheaper than Waterstone’s!). It was 3 for the price of 2, so I got these ones. All the Bright Places was just…amazing.


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So here we’ve got some pics of Big Ben and the London Eye and Westminster Abbey. It was a pretty gloomy day, but we rugged up.

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This was at Trafalgar Square. You can see my sisters trying to clamber up onto the lion. Also – a Candy Crush bus!

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This is outside Buckingham Palace. It was very exciting. This motorbike ZOOMED into the middle and halted the traffic, and this cavalcade went past from the Palace. Who knows? The Queen might have been coming past!

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Top left: The Australia Gate of the Buckingham Palace. We’re famous!

Top right: the Palace itself. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see the Changing of the Guard. Plus, the guard we DID see kept yawning.

Bottom: fancy schmancy gates. I need some of them for my house.

Exciting announcements!

So CHANGES are coming to the blog. Change isn’t always good, but this time I’m hoping it will be. If you stalk my Twitter you may have an inkling of what those changes may be, but for now I’ll be a bit sneaky about it.

Let me just give you three clues.

1) It will involve a giveaway and a blog hop.

2) It’s been one of my goals ever since I got a blog


3) It’s caused me no end of frustration. BUT THAT’S OKAY. It’s working quite well now.

That was probably way too easy…

But anyway, this will all be happening once I get back to Australia in about two weeks, so get excited!

Negative Reviews Don’t Mean You’re a Better Reviewer

There seems to be this weird idea that negative reviews are worth more than positive reviews.

It’s not everyone. And by and large the YA community is pretty good at NOT being condescending/snobby/toffee-nosed. But then sometimes I see reviews dismissing the opinions of people who like a book. Like:

“This book is awful and I don’t see why anyone would willingly read it. Everyone who likes this book is an idiot.”

I mean, I’m exaggerating a BIT, but it does happen, and it makes me so mad. Just because you write a negative review doesn’t mean it’s a BETTER review than a positive one. When did we all get so negative? Sometimes when I watch movies I go on Rotten Tomatoes and check out the reviews, and they are so snarky.

Thank goodness our community isn’t like that for the most part.

And it makes me feel sorry for the authors.

Even one mean review can throw out a ton of positive ones, which frustrates me because negative reviews should NOT have more weight.

That’s right, T Swizzle, you tell ’em.

I don’t write negative reviews all that often.

I would much rather flail. And I always make sure to say that other people might like it.

Negative reviews definitely have a place, and I’m not saying we should only write positive reviews – not every book is made equal, and there’d be no integrity to the system if we gave everything five stars. Plus, negative reviews can be entertaining. But when you’re insulting the author personally, or dismissing the opinions of people who DO like that particular book, then I have a problem.

And don’t even get me started on the people who dismiss YA as a whole.

Okay, calm. Calm.

I guess what I’m saying is don’t let one negative review stop you from wanting to read a book.

Or even LOTS of negative reviews. When I read The Jewel this year, it was after reading lots of one- and two-star ratings. I really enjoyed it. But sometimes I do make the mistake of taking the negative reviews into account more than I should.

There’s this weird habit where I look at the average rating on Goodreads, and if it’s below 4, I seriously reconsider wanting to read it.

LIKE. WHAT EVEN, EMILY? Afterworlds is rated below four, and I LOVED that book to pieces.

In my opinion, anyway, negative reviews shouldn’t mean you’re a better reviewer, or hold more weight than positive reviews.

What do you think?


Hope in a Ballet Shoe: for fans of Mao’s Last Dancer

hope in a ballet shoe

Author: Michaela and Elaine De Prince

Genre: memoir/auto-biography

Published by: Allen and Unwin

Source: received for review (thanks, A&U!)


Orphaned by war, saved by ballet.

Growing up in war-torn Sierra Leone, Michaela DePrince witnesses atrocities that no child ever should. But there is hope: the Harmattan wind blows a magazine through the orphanage gates. Michaela picks it up and sees a beautiful image of a young woman dancing.

And then Michaela and her best friend are adopted by an American couple and Michaela can take the dance lessons she’s dreamed of since finding her picture.

Life in the States isn’t without difficulties. Unfortunately, tragedy can find its way to Michaela in America, too, and her past can feel like it’s haunting her.

And yet, today, Michaela is an international ballet star.

A heart-breaking, inspiring autobiography by a teenager who shows us that, beyond everything, there is always hope for a better future.

Yay dancing!

I don’t know what it is about ballet, but I’m kind of obsessed with reading about it. Not that that happens often – Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin is pretty much the only book I’ve read. There needs to be more fiction!!mao's last dancer 2

So I ended up comparing this to Mao’s Last Dancer pretty often.

I guess that was inevitable. They’re both about dancing and they’re both memoirs and they’re both about kids who grow up in difficult circumstances before coming to the US. But it’s not like I’m going to say one’s better than the other. Both are amazing.

Anyway so this is the story of Mabinty Bangura, also known as

Michaela De Prince.

Reading of her story before she went to America was…really sad, actually. And these things are still happening all over the world – it’s easy to forget that. But what I loved was Michaela’s steadfast determination to become a ballerina.

What I also loved was the family aspect (which we need more of in fiction, by the way – yes, I’m going to keep saying it).

Michaela’s parents, and her sister Mia? Oh my gosh. I was crying in some of this book. What they’re willing to do for each other is incredible. Honestly it kind of made me want to adopt a kid when I’m older.

Then again watching The Hundred Foot Journey made me want to open a restaurant so you never know what a story will make me do.

Michaela is an incredible role model for girls everywhere.

That’s what I’d tell Michaela if I ever met her. That I admire her dedication to becoming a ballerina, despite so many tragedies and mishaps along the way.

And racism is a big one.

Michaela begins to notice that all the ballerinas are white, and everything in the ballet world is fitted around that. I can’t even imagine how discouraging it would have been to never see someone like you in the world you wanted to be a part of.

And I know I’m going off-topic, but this is why representation is important. People reading Hope in a Ballet Shoe can see that someone else is like them – they’re not alone.



Sorry guys. I keep forgetting this is supposed to be a review. I’ll get off my soapbox now.


There’s quite a bit of ballet terminology in this one.

I did ballet for like two years – so I know pretty much nothing. I did a dance to Care Bears, people. Care Bears. I had a red tutu with a love heart sewn onto the front. It was brilliant.

But it didn’t hinder my understanding at all. So that was nice.


Actually I wish there could have been more of the dancing part.

The trouble I’ve always found with memoirs is that you never really become PART of the story – there’s a lot of telling. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I guess it’s why I’m a fiction person rather than non-fiction.

Overall, though?

A beautiful story about loss, and hope, and following your dreams. Highly recommended.

Rating: 5/5 Wonderkitties