Browsing Tag:


  • Articles, Books

    Goodreads: A Guide


    What is Goodreads? 

    Goodreads is a website where you can discover new books based on your personal preferences. Because it has so many awesome features, people might be overwhelmed and not really come back to the website. I have been on Goodreads for around 4 years now, and have enjoyed it more each and every year. I am here to explain some of the features and activities that Goodreads has. 

    What are some key features of the website?

    At the beginning of making your account, you can choose which genres you normally enjoy. From there, you will receive recommendations based on this. You can change your preferences at any point after establishing your account. You can add your friends on the website, so you can keep up with what your friends are reading. You can also see their reviews of each book if they choose to review it. This can give you an insight into what people around you may enjoy, and give you inspiration for your next read!

    Each time you want to read, are reading, or have finished a particular book, you can record it on your account. You can even record what page you are on, or what your percentage of completion is. You may also comment about whatever is on your mind, creating a sort of virtual book club that you and your friends can enjoy. You can also follow your favorite authors, and they may share opinions on books they have read as well. You will from time to time get emails about recommendations, but thankfully your inbox will not be infiltrated as they are only sent about a couple times a month. They also have annual choice awards for the best books determined by readers of the website. They have giveaways, quizzes, trivia, and a creative writing format where you can write your own stories.

    My Favorite Feature

    Besides having a book club within your friend group, you can connect with people on the website who love the same books as you and discuss them. You can have a q&a with authors who have opened a forum on the website. To add on to all of this, Goodreads can find local events based on your location revolved around book signings or events/conferences that an author will be speaking at. And finally, my personal favorite: The Reading Challenge.

    Each year, Goodreads has a system that can keep track of the books you have read that year. At the beginning of the year, you can start with a goal of a number of books to read during that year. You can choose anywhere from 1 to 1000. This can motivate you to read while adding a friendly competition between you and your friends to see who can read the most. 


    Clearly the pros are that there are so many awesome features to partake in on the website. You can go to it anytime you need book recommendations and it is there. Because so many users are on, you can get backed up reviews from the quantity of reviewers. This is a simple way to keep in touch with possible friends who have moved away or you have lost touch with. It is an easy-going safe website that anyone of any age can use. 


    Because there are so many features, it can get confusing. The website also could be slightly easier to use because there are so many different tabs when it could be more organized. The aesthetic of the website is quite bland however it can give a calming bookstore feeling. 

    What are the takeaways?

    With Goodreads, you have the ability to connect with people and share ideas and opinions about your favorite (or not so favorite) books. You can log on at any time and participate! You can have a bit of competitive fun using the features with your friends, and it can get you into the habit of reading. For students, it can help with assigned reading during the summer or during the school year. You can get awesome recommendations based on the books you have liked and disliked, and continue to recommend to others! There are some many features that have so many benefits. It is right there in the name! I hope you choose to check it out and make an account. You definitely won’t regret it! I hope you all are having a great summer. Good reading!

    Check out the website yourself and find your next book to binge read. But, if you can’t find anything there check out our list of 12 Summer reads!

  • Books

    What’s on Your Book Shelf?

    What’s on Your Book Shelf?

    by GirlSpring intern Sarah Vice

    You may be exhausted from all the in-class readings that your teachers assign, but do you still take the time to read for pleasure? There are scientific studies that support the idea that reading for pleasure leads to higher reading levels. This also improves test taking abilities when a reading comprehension test is in question. If you have not taken the ACT yet, or exit exams for the school you are in, then there is still time to prepare. It does not all have to be literature books and academic journals. Try reading a fiction novel, a comic book, a murder/mystery novel, or something that might peak your interest.

    In turn, reading for pleasure can give you a boost in confidence to follow your dreams. It not only benefits your reading abilities, it also dips into your personal life. Some of my favorite book authors in middle school were James Patterson and Stephenie Meyer. Patterson always had a unique selection of stories to follow, one being completely different from the next. I would get so into the stories that I would finish one book in less than eight hours and be onto the next one.

    In high school, I became more interested in authors such as Sarah J. Maas, Suzanne Collins, and Becca Fitzpatrick. The stories were more for my age and delved deeper into the science fiction/fantasy genre. The leads in my favorite books were always female, and they gave me the courage to want to fight for what I believed in. The authors themselves had me pursuing a writing career of my own. I liked to look at the author’s biographies on the backs of each book and envision that I could some day achieve the same goals.

    Find an author or main character that gives you purpose. Try to imagine yourself in their shoes, then imagine what they would do if they were in yours. The kind of power it gives you to run free with your imagination is incredible. And while you are enjoying an entertaining story, with possible new role models, you’re improving your reading comprehension.

    If you are not into reading anything other than what is school designated, then check out these book recommendations and see if they might interest you:

    • Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
    • Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
    • The Women’s Murder Club series by James Patterson
    • Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
    • Matched by Ally Condie

    Here is also a link to a description of how reading can affect your reading comprehension as well as your personal life:

  • Articles, Tips

    8 Things to do This Summer when You’re Bored!



    I know you’ve been looking forward to it alllll year long, but now that it’s here you don’t know what to do!  Regardless if you’re taking classes, working, or staying busy- summer definitely allows more free time than the rest of the year. If you’re struggling on what to do this summer and find yourself bored one day, try one of these simple yet fun activities!

    1. Get some exercise! Whether it be walking through your neighborhood, buying a gym membership, or finding a new trail to run on, exercise can be a good hobby to pick up over the summertime. You’d be amazed how much better you feel about yourself if you just start walking around your neighborhood a couple of times a week. Plus having quiet time yourself is a must over the summer!
    2. Read a new book! Or an old book. Or a book you’ve already read 5 times! Even if you have summer reading assignments, getting on top of them early in the summer will make the rest of your summer less stressful! Go to a bookstore and find one that speaks to you and dive into it!
    3. Write in a journal. Sure, it seems old-fashioned, but writing your thoughts down can be extremely helpful and therapeutic to some people! Plus, this way you can go back in a couple of months (or a couple of years!) and read the exact way you were feeling, in your own words. Pretty cool!
    4. Make goals for the upcoming school year! Whether it be doing more homework, studying more, finding new friends, or whatever you want, try to write out some goals you have for the upcoming school year! This way, once summer ends, you will be right on track for the beginning of the new school year.
    5. Explore your city! This can be an adventure you can take with your parents, siblings, or friends! Try and visit somewhere (even if it’s just to eat) that you’ve never been to before! You never know what you might find!
    6. Find a new hobby! Try and find an activity this summer that you really enjoy doing! It could be collecting items, scrapbooking, or even a new sport! You have time to work on it all summer, and then if it is a hobby you can bring into your school life, you’ll be prepared once school rolls around! If it is a sport, buy some practice equipment and get the best you can during the summer months so that you’ll do great in school tryouts!
    7. Try a new recipe! This one can be a little bit more tricky than the others, but still fun! Get on pinterest and see if you can find any cool recipes that stick out to you. Then, go with your mom to the grocery store and let her help you find the needed ingredients! Come back home and try to make a new recipe! Just remember, even if you mess up, it’ll be a memory!
    8. And last but not least… Nothing! If you can’t find anything to do this summer and find yourself bored, just try to soak it all in! For the rest of the year you’ll have school and holidays and you’ll be non-stop busy! Giving yourself time to relax, even when you’re bored, can be a good thing. Just think once school starts how much you’ll wish you were bored!
  • Articles, Books

    12 Life-Changing Books You Have to Read This Summer

    “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas

    This New York Times bestselling YA novel was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. An unarmed black teenage boy, Khalil, is killed by a police officer. Starr Carter, his best friend, must deal with both the grief of losing a close friend as well as the stress of being the only witness of the incident. This book is heavy, real, and powerful. It’s painful to read, but will further open your eyes to the importance of the BLM movement.

    “Once and For All” by Sarah Dessen

    If you’re in the mood for something a bit lighter, Sarah Dessen’s next summer hit comes out on June 6. Dessen is the queen of heartfelt summery books and Once and For All is no exception. Louna is the daughter of a wedding planner and completely distrusts love. So, when she meets the very charming Ambrose, she’s suspicious, but maybe he’s just the one to change her view on love. This is classic Dessen; light, fun, and will leave you feeling happy and warm.

    “History is All You Left Me” by Adam Silvera

    Adam Silvera’s sophomore novel, History is All You Left Me, is one of my favorite recent reads. Teenager Griffin just lost his ex-boyfriend and best friend Theo after a drowning incident. Griff must deal with the loss of the both the love of his life and his best friend alongside his worsening OCD. Told from the perspective of both before and after Theo’s death, History is All You Left Me is heartbreakingly honest and painfully real. This book will make you rethink your philosophy on forgiveness; after all, “people need people”.

    “Queens of Geek” by Jen Wilde

    Two words: Nerd conventions. This is the geeky, queer book of our dreams. Best friends Charlie, Taylor, and Jamie attend SupaCon together, a convention that unexpectedly changes their lives. Charlie, a YouTube star, has just broken up with a costar of her first movie, and runs into a girl she’s had a long-time crush on. Taylor, who is autistic and has an anxiety disorder, deals with her feelings for Jamie. This fluffy, nerdy book is perfect for cosplayers and convention-lovers.

    “Geekerella” by Ashley Poston

    If you like the idea of books set at nerd convention, make sure to also check out Geekerella by Ashley Poston. This Cinderella retelling follows Elle, a huge fan of the classic sci-fi series Starfield. She enters a cosplay contest to win an invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with an actor in the new Starfield reboot. Actor Darien Freeman attends cons as the new Starfield star, but he misses how exciting cons used to be before he was famous. Now, they’re awkward and tedious, but he meets a girl (Elle?) who reminds him why he loved fandom in the first place. Isn’t this every fangirl’s dream?!

    “The Tightrope Walkers” by David Almond

    This YA book has been pretty under the radar, but it’s one of my favorites. It follows the story of Dominic Hall, born and raised in Northern England. The atmosphere that David Almond was able to create in this book is amazing; somehow, I really felt like I was in Northern England, like I could see and feel the cold air and mist. The Tightrope Walkers is very much a character-driven novel; there isn’t much of a plot besides watching Dominic grow up. It’s so simple, but it’s also so beautiful. His story shows how you can have a plan for your life, but the people you meet will always affect you and your choices. Nothing always goes the way you think it will, but that’s just life. This book has really stuck with me after I finished it and I really recommend it; it’s very different from other young adult books, but it’s worth it.

    “Simon VS the Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Albertalli

    “A List of Cages” by Robin Roe

    This book follows Julian, a high school freshman who lives with his abusive uncle after his parents died, and Adam, a senior who was Julian’s foster brother for a short time. Julian and Adam are reunited at school; while Adam is excited about seeing Julian again, Julian has grown detached and distrustful of others. Through trying to rekindle the relationship they once had, the two boys demonstrate how important it is to have friends and family who truly love and care for you. A List of Cages packs an emotional punch — make sure you have some tissues nearby when you read this one.

    “We Are Okay” by Nina LaCour

    Nina LaCour is one of those authors where I just know I’m going to enjoy whatever she writes. We Are Okay did not disappoint. Once Marin leaves for college, she doesn’t speak to anyone from back home, including her best friend Mabel. Marin just isn’t quite ready to face what happened over the summer — that is, until she is forced to when Mabel comes to visit. This book is so soft and quiet; it reads like falling snow. The plot feels very subtle and is more character-driven, which I love. It’s just such a nice little story about dealing with your past so you can finally move on to the future.

    “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros

    If you’re wanting to venture outside of the YA-sphere, The House on Mango Street is perfect for you. It’s a literary modern classic, but it’s also a coming of age story of a young girl — something a lot of us can relate to. Set in Chicago on Mango Street, Mexican-American Esperanza recounts her experience of growing up poor in a place she does not love. The short chapters act as little vignettes of her life, slowly showing how she is growing and losing her innocence. The writing is what makes this one of my favorite books of all time—it’s so beautiful and lyrical, it’s basically poetry. Cisneros does not hold back; what Esperanza goes through is brutal, but her coming-of-age journey is an important one that I believe everyone should experience.

    If you haven’t yet, you must read Albertalli’s first book Simon VS the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Simon is gay, but no one knows yet. He isn’t necessarily afraid of coming out, he just doesn’t want it to be a big deal (and his family will make it a big deal). While everyone is clueless about his sexuality, there is one person who knows—a boy named Blue who Simon emails frequently. Simon doesn’t know Blue’s real identity, but does know he’s falling for whoever Blue is. When I read Simon, I literally couldn’t put it down — I immediately fell in love with Simon and rooted for him the whole way. This book just made me so happy and warm. It’s movie is also currently being filmed, so make sure you read the book first!

    “When Dimple Met Rishi” by Sandhya Menon

    Continuing the theme of swoony romances, When Dimple Met Rishi, which releases May 30, is one you don’t want to miss. Dimple, a recent high school graduate, is excited for the summer because she’s heading off to a summer program for web developers. The trip comes at the perfect time as Dimple needs a break from her mother who’s planning to find Dimple the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Rishi, a hopeless romantic, attends the same summer program because his potential future wife, Dimple, will be there. Opposites clash in this adorable, summery romance.

    “Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting It Done” by Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser

    Need a break from fiction? Check out Girl Code, a memoir about two teens who meet at Girls Who Code summer camp and create a video game that goes viral. Andrea and Sophie share their inspiring story and some inside information about the tech industry. These two amazing young girls show how if you believe in yourself and lean on your creative side, anything really is possible.