YouTuber of the Week: polandbananasBOOKS

Welcome back to CelebMix YouTuber of the Week, a weekly post in which we discuss one of our favourite content creators on the lovely platform of YouTube. Last week, we talked about the lovely Jessie Paege. Now, introducing the latest YouTuber of the Week: polandbananasBOOKS, also known as Christine Riccio!

Who is polandbananasBOOKS?

Christine Riccio is one of the most well-known people in a community on YouTube called BookTube, a place where anyone can start a discussion about anything to do with books. The popularity of BookTube has skyrocketed in the past few years, and Christine, who created her book channel in 2010, was one of the pioneers of this community. On her channel, Christine mainly reads, reviews, and makes funny videos about YA novels.

Since the beginning, Christine has been posting videos in her “booktalk” series, which are discussion videos formatted so spoilers are easily avoided. The first section of the video contains Christine’s general thoughts about the book, possibly a brief synopsis, and her rating out of 5 stars. She then encourages viewers who haven’t read the book to leave the video, and she goes into a detailed “spoilery” discussion of her thoughts and opinions on particular aspects of the book.

Booktalks might be a staple on Christine’s channel, but she also posts a wide variety of bookish content. She reviews current book-to-movie adaptations, makes videos with popular YA authors, collaborates with her friends and family, and discusses some of her other interests such as TV shows and the musical Hamilton.

Christine actually began posting YouTube videos on her comedy channel, polandbananas20. She made short comedy sketches and vlogs unrelated to books. Now, her comedy has been integrated into her main channel, as she is well-known for making funny sketches about everything from how to avoid spoilers to re-enacting scenes from Twilight.

Christine is also a member of the popular book discussion group Booksplosion, along with fellow BookTubers Katytastic and Jessethereader. The group selects one book each month- usually a new release, but it can be any book of their interest. They invite their audience to read along with them, and then host a livestream on YouTube discussing each of their thoughts about the book. The trio is a dynamic group of friends that connected through their common love of books and talking about them on YouTube. Now, beyond the monthly livestreams, they host various live events and panels, interview authors and actors in book adaptations, and so much more.

Outside of reading, Christine recently dove into the world of writing! For the past year, she has been in the process of writing her first book, a contemporary novel. She has been documenting her progress on YouTube in a series called “The Book Writing Chronicles”. She’s still in the early stages, but we can’t wait to eventually see the finished product!

Why should you watch her videos?

Simply put, if you like reading YA books, talk about them nonstop, and don’t mind a bit of comedy sprinkled in, you will probably like Christine’s channel. Whether it’s Hamilton or Harry Potter, Shadowhunters or Sarah J. Maas books, Christine is a fan of a lot of things. She’s unapologetic and passionate, and expresses much of the same emotions and uncontrollable fangirling we experience while reading. Her reviews of books and movies provide useful information and potentially expose the viewer to a new perspective, all while opening up a discussion among her audience.

Christine’s comedy and energetic personality add a fresh twist to the usual hauls, reviews, and unboxings that are seen quite often in the BookTube world. She’s isn’t afraid to be real and get little silly or laugh her head off with her friends. With over a third of a million subscribers, it’s clear that people appreciate what she’s doing!

BookTube is quite a tight-knit community, and Christine has built close relationships with both her audience and many other BookTubers. Because everyone has the common interest of books, it’s easy to connect and have meaningful conversations and debates about the books everyone’s reading. Christine’s channel almost acts as a hub for YA book lovers. If you need someone to have serious bookish discussions with, give you recommendations, or just to fangirl with, it’s rather likely you’ll find them stopping by Christine’s channel.

In case you need any more convincing to jump into the world of polandbananasBOOKS, here are 5 of Christine’s must-watch videos.

1. Mourning Period

Have you ever read a book that leaves you wondering what you even did with your life before it? Christine perfectly captures the feeling of being unable to function after reading a story that will now consume your life. All you want to do is dive back into the world of that one book with the characters you got so attached to. No other book seems interesting enough to even bother reading. This is what Christine calls “the mourning period”. We can relate a little too much.

2. Booktalk with XTINEMAY

We’ve already explained how Christine’s book reviews work, but we had to put them on our must-watch list. Everyone should experience the sheer energy and passion that goes into a Booktalk with XTINEMAY at leat once. So, pick a book you’ve read from the long playlist below and see what Christine thinks about it!

3. Literal Book Titles

In this series, Christine takes some well-known books and gives them some more… accurate titles. Our favourite might be the literal title Christine made for “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”: “Four wizards compete in a three wizard tournament. Scandal!”

4. Why PolandbananasBOOKS?

At this point, you probably have some questions about Christine’s username, polandbananasBOOKS. It’s definitely eccentric and unusual. Well, we’re gonna let Christine explain the reasoning behind her screen name. Her origin story, if you will. Hint: she’s not from Poland.

5. How I Became a Reader

In this video, Christine explains what influenced her to get into reading as a child. Some of the factors explain a lot about how Christine got to where she is today as a reader. She gets emotional towards the end while explaining just how much books and reading changed her life, and how reading shouldn’t be brushed aside or deemed unimportant. While telling her stories, she cleans out her bookshelves and gathers books to donate to charity.

Have we convinced you to start watching Christine yet? If so, you can subscribe to her channel here, and follow her on GoodreadsTwitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook.

Thank you Christine, for always being so passionate about books and spreading your joy of reading to everyone. We can’t wait to see what exciting bookish things and writing endeavours you will get up to this year!

That wraps up this week’s edition of YouTuber of the Week! Check back on Sunday to see which creator will be featured next. Catch up on the previous YouTuber of the Week articles by clicking here!

Are a fan of polandbananasBOOKS? Which one of Christine’s videos is your favourite? Let us know on Twitter @CelebMix.

Written by Annemarie Cutruzzola

Canadian arts & culture writer and journalism student.