If you met me now, head in a book, flying through the pages surrounded by overflowing bookcases and untidy piles of paperbacks on the floor, you wouldn't assume there was ever a time I didn't like reading. Well, I have a confession to make. I used to HATE reading.
I suppose, since my parents and older brother are massive bibliophiles, it was part of my rebellious phase to abandon my shelves, covering my modest collection of books with better-loved items such as perfume, make-up and pretty scarves - any ideals my parents had of me following in the bookworm family footsteps long forgotten. Then something strange happened.
I got into a difficult relationship, I became more withdrawn (I'm a huge introvert and love my alone time, so it was pretty hard for me to become even more withdrawn), I lost all of my friends and as I sat for hours pondering where my other half was, or why he wasn't answering his phone for the fourth night running, with no friends to turn to for guidance - I needed an escape. Something to take my mind off what he could have been doing or arguments we had had and take me into another world altogether. I started reading free books on my iPhone - finding comfort in fantastical landscapes, brooding heroes and friendships that seemed too perfect to be real. Being a lover of anything horror/thriller/remotely psychopathic, I also found comfort in spooky books, the gorier the better. I was never happier than when I was curled up in bed, a gorgeous-smelling candle burning, my fairy lights twinkling away getting lost in a book.
My addiction grew from there. For around a year, I was reading free ebooks, finding ways to get my hands on cheap copies of books I had seen online - not yet ready to give into my new found obsession. Slowly, I started buying more and more books, some on my iPhone, later moving on to my iPad, some in paperback or hardback, I just couldn't stop. Then, I discovered the world of Booktube and oh my, was that a damaging experience (for my bank balance!) I suddenly realised there was a whole world of books I had no idea were out there and I wanted to read them ALL. I began writing my own reviews, on Amazon, Goodreads and on my personal lifestyle blog at the time, which eventually turned into my very own Booktube channel. Over the coming years, my love for books grew and grew and whilst some things got dropped along the way (I found my Booktube channel far too cringy to keep on the interwebs and my blog became a thing of the past without me even realising) other things were created - and YA Love Magazine was born.
I wanted to share my love of reading with the world and what better way to do it, than to connect with other book lovers online. I created YA Love Magazine as a safe platform for YA readers of all ages to come together to talk about books, and I'm pretty damn proud of what it's become. Books are so powerful and I cannot explain the things I have gained from being a ferocious reader. YA is a particular favourite of mine as I feel the genre contains so many lessons, topics and themes that just can't be duplicated anywhere else. I feel comfortable reading YA and want to encourage more people - particularly young people - to read more books.
To this day, I find comfort in reading. No matter what the book is about or how it makes me feel, having a book in my hand is one of the best possible feelings. I'm never happier than when I'm browsing the book stores - staring at all of the gorgeous covers, day dreaming about all of the wonderful stories that they hold. It's true that books can change lives and although my obsession came from a time where my heart was well and truly breaking, I made it into something beautiful.