Book Review: Unspeakable (Abbie Rushton)

Details:

Publisher: Atom
Pages: 279
Release Date: February 5th 2015
 

Summary (From Goodreads):

 Megan doesn’t speak. She hasn’t spoken in months.

Pushing away the people she cares about is just a small price to pay. Because there are things locked inside Megan’s head – things that are screaming to be heard – that she cannot, must not, let out.

Then Jasmine starts at school: bubbly, beautiful, talkative Jasmine. And for reasons Megan can’t quite understand, life starts to look a bit brighter.

Megan would love to speak again, and it seems like Jasmine might be the answer. But if she finds her voice, will she lose everything else?

Review:

This is the second book I’ve read this week about someone being unable to speak due to a traumatic event (the other being If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch). Both were very different but enjoyable.

I enjoyed the slow build of this book. While I can’t claim to have exactly guessed the ending, I had a pretty clear idea of why Megan wasn’t talking, but that didn’t bother me. It was an enjoyable ride to see the friendship with Jasmine blossom and be teased with the hints of the events that led to Megan’s silence.

The thing I like the most about this book was the fact that, while it contained an LGBT relationship, it wasn’t solely what the book was about. While I do think it”s important and helpful to have books that focus on someone coming out or exploring their sexuality, I love it when it’s just a natural part of a book. Because why shouldn’t it be?

This was another book where the little details really added up to create a beautiful, clear picture of characters and settings. I felt that Megan living on the scummier side of an otherwise lovely village added to the isolation that her muteness caused. Megan’s mum was a really well fleshed out character with all the signs of a mother putting her foot in it even as she tries to help and do what’s best for her daughter. Jasmine as a character may seem a little larger than life, but as a drama type myself (though not quite such a chattery, flamboyant one) I’ve come across Jasmines in real life before and know what a breath of fresh air they can be. Their relationship might seem like a convenient one (the chatterbox and the mute) but it grew organically and they felt suited to grow close as friends and more.

This is a slow burner that I didn’t want to put down, and one that I would have loved to read as a teen (and one I’ll be passing on to my younger sister to read). I’m trying to read more diversely this year and this book the first, enjoyable step in that direction.

My Verdict:
 4

Book Review: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl (Paige McKenzie)

*I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Details:

Publisher: Weinstein Books

Pages: 304

Release Date: 24th March 2015

Summary (From Goodreads):

Based on the wildly popular YouTube channel, The Haunting of Sunshine Girl has been described as “Gilmore Girls meets Paranormal Activity for the new media age.” YA fans new and old will learn the secrets behind Sunshine—the adorkable girl living in a haunted house—a story that is much bigger, and runs much deeper, than even the most devoted viewer can imagine…

Review:

As a pretty big horror film fan, I’ve read surprisingly few horror novels (not including a massive amount of Goosebumps books in my younger days). So I was pretty excited when I read about this book, even though I’ve not seen any of the videos from YouTube.

Sunshine Girl reads like a classic modern horror film with plenty of suspense to keep you guessing all the way through and give you a chill as you read. I might not always think of classic modern horror as a particularly interesting one to watch (these days plot lines and twists are pretty generic and a bit tiresome) but reading it was a different matter.

Sunshine is a likeable character and her strong relationship with her mom makes the breakdown even harder to bear. There are some really unsettling interactions with her that make you feel genuinely disturbed: when her mom drinks coffee that Sunshine can see is still bubbling it’s so hot, or when she eats raw chicken. As the mom’s possession increased I felt tense every time Sunshine had to go home and be alone with her, knowing that something awful was probably about to happen.

For horror fans like me the plot could feel a little predictable – move to a new creepy house, hear ghosts and such, investigate and find an expert to help, eventually defeat the ghosts – but there’s so much more to the book that this that I didn’t care if it felt like I knew where it was going. It had enough personal touches and quirks to make it a thoroughly enjoyable read and one that I’d recommend to anyone who loves to be creeped out. I’ll definitely look out for more in the series.

As a side note: I read this at the bus stop one day and was feeling pretty unnerved and then I realised someone was standing very close behind me and I nearly screamed. This book gets you on edge!

My Verdict:

4

Book Review: The Token: A Breed Apart (Natasha Rogue)

 *I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
 
Details:

Publisher: Fido Publishing
Pages: 301
Release Date: 2nd December 2014
 

Summary (From Goodreads):

Callie Michaels isn’t pretty or popular, but her singing more than makes up for all she lacks. And as long as she focuses on what’s really important, she can survive high school. But how can she focus with all the drama? Between her best friend’s odd issues and a daily dose of weirdness from the social elite, she’s starting to wonder if she’s the only normal one around.

Just as her life begins spiralling out of control, the answer comes to her in a dream. In exchange for a token of blood, a demon will give her everything she desires. She says “yes.” From that point on, she finds herself changing, becoming something far from normal. Something dangerous.

No one is what they seem—least of all her. While the supernatural creatures around her struggle to maintain their humanity, Callie slowly loses hers. She doesn’t even know what’s important anymore. Friendship, the future, love? And is there anyone who can make her care?


Review:

I started off really enjoying this book: the writing is strong, the characterisation is excellent and I really felt connected to Callie, the main character as she approached old friend and long time crush James. Sadly though, I found the book started off a lot stronger than it ended and I lost interest in the plot fairly quickly.

This book has everything from demons to magi to (were)panthers (apparently the were implies half human, which they are not. Although they spend most of their time as human…) I’m not opposed to the idea of werepanthers – I’ve watched a lot of True Blood and I loved their werepanther story line – but this one just irritated me more than anything. It felt too much like another weird paranormal romance where people from different species can love each other despite their differences, and I’m just not interested.

The Breed – the not-so-humans who turn into giant cats and such – are far too careless when they talk and give themselves away so easily I’m surprised Callie’s never guessed their true nature before. And they are constantly fighting for dominance and staking their claims over girls, which also really irritated me. I understood the animal mentality of it but it felt a bit too close to the kind of 50 Shades of Grey/dominance thing that’s in a lot of terrible romance/erotica novels these days (harsh comparison I know, but that’s what springs to mind).

The ‘bad guy’ in the book is constantly changing – James, Amy, Nick, Tammy – and while this could have been a good move to keep things exciting it just didn’t work. Somehow through all of it I knew the point was that the demon was the evil one, not anyone else and that just got rid of any tension that should have been building.

While I didn’t enjoy the plot, as I said, the writing was very good and I did make it to the end of the book. It might not be for me but I can see it being right up someone else’s street, hence the rating below.

My Verdict:

3