I received One Of Us Is Lying in exchange for an honest review
One Of Us Is Lying was an entertaining, quick read which perfectly captures the murky world of High School – a great guilty pleasure read with a little more depth. Five students enter detention. Only four leave alive.
All the stereotypical High School characters are here – the successful jock, the prom queen, the brain and the rebel. The only character who is a slight enigma, an outsider, is Simon, a character who dies within the first chapter. But why did he die? Who is a culprit and who is a victim? Using Simon’s death as a catalyst, the author casts a tale of High School secrets and lies. Continue reading
Patrick Ness is an author who has been on my TBR list for years. I’ve heard so many great things about him, so I treated myself to a break from the Netgalley books to pick up one of my own – The Rest Of Us Just Live Here. But, in the end it left me with some mixed feelings.
The premise is an original and intriguing one – the idea of taking your typical YA fantasy and turning it on its head; instead of following the character at the heart of the action, this story instead focuses on the outsiders. But, what I quickly realised, is this essentially makes the story just a standard YA contemporary tale instead. While there’s plenty of action going on with vampires, ‘the Immortals’ and a precious amulet, this activity is sidelined to small snippets which appear at the beginning of each chapter, while the main focus is on Mikey and his group of friends who are living their own lives, watching the aftermath of the ‘indie kids’ encountering ‘the immortals’ from a distance.
This clever concept ironically pokes fun at stereotypical YA novels, whilst being one itself. But once I settled into the unsettling way this novel does things, I found it excelled at both. The background action is fun, there’s echoes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a general sense of nostalgia for this genre. But the strongest thing that really carries this novel is the characters Ness has created in Mike, his sister and their friends Henna and Jared. These characters have all the typical teenage problems and then some, but they’re relatable and entertaining and the strength of their relationships is touching. I finished this book a few weeks ago and the characters still feel as strong as real people.
This wasn’t exactly the epic tale I was perhaps anticipating from such an established author, but it is well-written, quiet novel about friendships, relationships and growing up, set against an original backdrop. Ness is clearly a talented author, and I’m excited to go back and read some of his other novels.
I’ve heard nothing but good things about Rainbow Rowell but I tried her adult novel Landline a few years ago and couldn’t see what the fuss was about. I’m so glad to say I finally get it. Eleanor and Park was such a touching tale of love between two high school misfits, it was impossible not to enjoy and I whizzed through it in just a couple of days.
A modern day high school Romeo and Juliet, Eleanor and Park meet on the bus to school. They’re both from very different backgrounds; Park lives in a nice house with his parents who are still very much in love, whilst in Eleanor’s house there is never quite enough to go around – she doesn’t even have a toothbrush. But her financial problems pale in comparison with her abusive stepdad.
Park struggles being a half Korean kid in a predominantly white neighbourhood, but he grew up in town and he gets by just fine with his friends on the edge of the ‘cool’ crowd. When Eleanor turns up on the schoolbus, with her wild red hair and bizarre clothes, he thinks she’s a disaster waiting to happen. He can’t understand why anyone would draw attention to themselves that way, when he’s spent so much of his life keeping his head down and trying to fit in. Continue reading
I received Caraval in exchange for an honest review
I was drawn to this book due to its inevitable comparisons to The Night Circus and – while the similarities with my favourite book are only slight – I’m so glad I gave this young adult fantasy novel a try. I don’t read much YA and, as I started Caraval I wasn’t sure how I was going to get on with it – there are some cliches and there’s a very strong romance angle right from from the off which was a little too much at times – but it’s also incredibly fast-paced, engrossing and addictive.
“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest things you’ll ever find to magic in this world.” Continue reading
I received Our Chemical Hearts in exchange for an honest review
The Goodreads summary for this book reads: ”John Green meets Rainbow Rowell in this irresistible story of first love, broken hearts, and the golden seams that put them back together again.” And this is one of those rare cases where the blurb is pretty much spot on.
Our Chemical Hearts isn’t a hugely original tale – it felt strongly reminiscent of other novels in the genre, particularly Jennifer Niven’s All The Bright Places and Paper Towns by John Green. But while there’s echoes of other stories I’ve read, this debut author has a voice all of her own. I whizzed through this book in just a day or two – it’s the type that will have you laughing out loud in some places, but also break your heart just a little in others. Continue reading
I received The Thousandth Floor in exchange for an honest review
This book was the perfect guilty pleasure book for me. Packed with perfect but shallow protagonists and petty, ridiculous dramas, Katharine McGee has weaved a thoroughly addictive, enjoyable tale in The Thousandth Floor.
In McGee’s futuristic New York, the majority of Manhattan has been taken over by a gigantic tower block, one which not only houses apartments but shops, schools, streets and entire communities. The higher the floor, the more wealthy the occupants. Right at the top, on the thousandth floor, is the Fuller family which includes Avery Fuller – a girl who is genetically modified to be perfect, and resents it bitterly. The story follows Avery and a couple of her privileged friends – Eris and Lena – alternating narratives to convey the life of these elite teens. Continue reading
I received My Favourite Manson Girl in exchange for an honest review.
“All of those girls were children of America, reckless children. Heartless children. Cruel children who hated their parents. They confused love and hate, death and life.”
Fifteen-year-old Anna feels like everything is going wrong in her life. So she steals a credit card, and runs away from home to live with her sister in Las Vegas, where she’s immersed in the weird and wonderful world of celebrity, sunshine and secrets.
This book was surprisingly clever and multilayered, whilst still offering a YA easy read suitable for teens. I was a little surprised to be reading about a protagonist as young as 15, but Anna is portrayed well. She is realistically immature, she makes some questionable decisions, but she’s sympathetic and doesn’t ever verge into plain irritating.
Her sister, Delia, is equally well-written; in some ways she’s a stereotypical self-centered LA actress living on a diet of clean eating and yoga, but she’s got a vulnerable side. In a city filled with beautiful people, everyone has insecurities and, through Delia, the author creates a believable, sympathetic portrayal of a struggling actress grasping for that big break. Continue reading
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
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Cecelia Ahern has always had a knack for weaving unique, heartwarming stories with humour, charm and – on occasion – a touch of magic. For me she reinvigorated the genre of ‘chick lit’ or romantic comedy, so when I heard she was taking on a new genre – and a very popular one at that – I was so excited to see what she could do with it.
Flawed is the author’s first foray into YA dystopian. The society she creates is one striving for perfection; one where not only crimes are punished with imprisonment, but those who make moral or ethical mistakes are also held accountable and have to present their cases to the Guild. Making one error of judgement can lead to being deemed Flawed – painfully branded with an ‘F’ for all to see, and forced to live a minimalist life of isolation complete with curfews, meagre rations and judgement from others. Continue reading
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
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The YA dystopian genre is a busy one, but when I read Red Queen last year I really felt Victoria Aveyard had bought something new and a little different to the market. Unfortunately, reading Glass Sword, I didn’t feel that as much.
Glass Sword feels very different to Red Queen, and the disparity between the novels took some getting used to. Red Queen is spent mainly in the confines of the palace – a setting I loved – as Mare learns about her abilities and the reader learns about the disparities of the dystopian world. Glass Sword takes place all over the fictional world Aveyard has created. There’s very little prelude and the reader is thrown straight into the heart of the action. Mare has been betrayed and cast out by the silver royalty, and so sets out to build an army of ‘newbloods’ like herself – people with red blood and powerful silver abilities. She travels with exiled prince Cal, her childhood friend Kilorn and captain of the Scarlet Guard Farley to recruit members from the list given to her by SIlver trainer Julian. Continue reading
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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“Together, we’ll survive this. Together, we’ll be strong enough to face whatever comes our way. This is where it ends.”
This Is Where It Ends tackles the controversial topic of high school shootings, an all-too-frequent phenomenon which has gained plenty of media coverage in the last few years. The story’s shooter begins his rampage at 10.05am and the book spans the harrowing hour which shapes the students of fictional school Opportunity High forever. It’s a bold move for a debut, and the fast-paced timespan makes for a tense, compulsive read.
The story is told from four different perspectives; all students at the school, all connected in some way to the perpetrator. Two of the narrators – Autumn and Sylvia – are locked inside the school auditorium where the events take place, which the others – Claire and Tomas – are outside, doing their best to help. Continue reading