Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher)

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

Publisher: Penguin

Pages: 288

Release Date: June 1st 2009

Summary (from Goodreads):

You can’t stop the future. You can’t rewind the past. The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school one day to find a mysterious box with his name on it, outside his front door. Inside he discovers a series of cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker – his classmate and crush. Only, she committed suicide two weeks earlier. On the first tape, Hannah explains that there are 13 reasons why she did what she did – and Clay is one of them.

If he listens, Clay will find out how he made the list – what he hears will change his life forever.

Review:

Thirteen Reasons Why is everywhere at the moment: the new TV show on Netflix has made it spread all over Twitter and into the news as well. So when this popped up on Netgalley I decided to see what the fuss was about.

I’m really conflicted about this one. I’ve been watching the series on Netflix around the same time so some of that is probably going to bleed into this review.

I think my problem with this book – and the show too – is how cool Hannah comes across. I know a lot of people have said it glamourises suicide and I tend to agree. Hannah has made herself immortal by recording her life story and forces others to listen to it after her suicide. I think it makes it sound like an attractive option to impressionable young people, rather than the last desperate act of an unhappy girl.

I also hate the fact that Hannah does this at all. Yes, she does acknowledge that ultimately it was her choice to end her life. But sending out tapes saying everyone on there is a reason she died is pretty cruel, especially to Clay. I understand that people need to be held accountable for their actions and to understand how everything they do can affect someone, but I felt this was a selfish way to get her message across. It’s a bit ‘eye for an eye’ – you ruined my life so now I’m going to ruin yours.

So I had some pretty big problems with the plot and theme of the book. But I also didn’t really like the format. I’m not sure the tapes really worked. I kept wondering how Hannah recorded them: did she write everything down and plan what she was going to say beforehand? Or did she just do everything off the top of her head? Either way, it just didn’t read naturally to me: it as too stylistic and that brought me out of the story.

I also didn’t feel like the present day story was particularly interesting. In fact, I could basically have done without it. It was more distracting than enlightening to have the occasional interruptions from Clay. I don’t feel they added much to the story: if they were needed, I think there should have been more happening than Clay just walking around listening to tapes.

This has all been pretty negative so far but I’ve still given three stars, mostly because it kept me reading. I did want to know what happened to Hannah and what all her reasons were, even if I didn’t agree with what she was doing. The book also made some interesting points on the treatment of women’s bodies: a small, seemingly insignificant (to other people anyway) action sets off a chain of events that turns Hannah’s body into a commodity to be talked about and used by others. There’s an important message there but I think some of it got lost in everything else. I feel the book was kind of style over substance, with the idea of using the tapes coming before everything else.

3

Book Review: The Fallen Children (David Owen)

Publisher: Atom

Pages: 240

Release Date: May 4th 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):

Young people on the Midwich Estate don’t have much hope for their futures. Keisha has lived there her whole life, and has been working hard to escape it; others have just accepted their lot.

But change is coming…

One night everyone inside Midwich Tower falls mysteriously unconscious in one inexplicable ‘Nightout’. No one can explain what happened during those lost hours, but soon afterwards Keisha and three other girls find they’re pregnant – and the babies are growing at an alarming rate.

As the news spreads around the tower its residents turn against them and the situation spirals toward violence. Keisha’s life unravels as she realises that the pregnancy may not have just ruined her hopes for the future: she might be mother to the end of the world.

Review:

I haven’t bought many books lately (I have such a backlog to get through as it is) but whenever I heard about this one on Twitter I knew I had to get it.

I didn’t realise where it took its inspiration from (The Cuckoos of Midwich/The Village of the Damned) until my partner watched the latter and told me I should write a book telling the story from the women’s point of view. The next day I went out and bought The Fallen Children and realised David Owen had already beaten me to it – and done a hell of a job.

I really love the idea of updating this story to make it reflect challenges young people face today. There’s an introduction by the author that had me loving the book before I even started it. I don’t really fall into the young person/16-25 category anymore but I am part of the millennial generation and we do get a bad rep. I’m sick of being told we don’t work hard enough or it’s our fault we can’t buy houses because we buy too many avocados, and any of the other ridiculous things that come up.

Rant over, on to the book.

We see the story from several points of view: Keisha, Morris and Siobhan in the first half, and Keisha, Morris and Maida in the second. It was interesting to see the different ways they all reacted to the unexpected pregnancies, especially the girls. While Keisha and Siobhan feel violated over what happened to them and how they’ve lost control of their lives, Olivia is torn because she always wanted a child and Maida feels she is part of something special. I think I’m more on Keisha and Siobhan’s side, but it was good to get a different perspective on things.

Morris, on the other hand, takes it all in his stride, after the initial shock. I found it odd how much he wanted to play happy families and ignore how and where these babies came from. His character frustrated me so much: sometimes he was so sweet and I knew he was trying hard to do what’s best, and other times his actions made me want to scream at him. I found Maida’s story one of the most interesting, especially after the children are born. She’s the one who really appreciates their powers, loves them and believes they’re special.

While I appreciated the message, I thought it was delivered a little heavy handedly sometimes, with a lot of speeches and ‘moments’ towards the end. But it does make you think about the expectations put on you, and that you put on others. I loved the diverse range of characters and felt it really reflected, in a positive way, a part of society that is often looked down upon. The sci-fi element of the book is tense and keeps you reading but it’s the reflections on real life that really hit home.

I loved this book and I hope you’ll read it and love it too. As an added piece of awesomeness, it’s available in over 360 different colours and they’re all beautiful.

4

Book Review: Like Other Girls (Claire Hennessy)

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Pages: 288

Release Date: May 25th 2017

Summary:

Here’s what Lauren knows: she’s not like other girls. She also knows it’s problematic to say that – what’s wrong with girls? She’s even fancied some in the past. But if you were stuck in St Agnes’s, her posh all-girls school, you’d feel like that too. Here everyone’s expected to be Perfect Young Ladies, it’s even a song in the painfully awful musical they’re putting on this year. And obviously said musical is directed by Lauren’s arch nemesis.

Under it all though, Lauren’s heart is bruised. Her boyfriend thinks she’s crazy and her best friend’s going through something Lauren can’t understand… so when Lauren realises she’s facing every teenage girl’s worst nightmare, she has nowhere to turn. Maybe she should just give in to everything. Be like other girls. That’s all so much easier … right?

Review

Ah where to start with this one?!

I guess right at the beginning, which would be the title. Plenty of people have ranted about the ‘not like other girls’ cliche that pops up a lot in YA and real life. The blurb admits it’s a problematic thing to say, but I don’t think it’s enough to just admit it. Lauren really annoyed me in her attitudes towards other girls. In one of the opening scenes, she describes the girls around her as either make up obsessed bitches or nerds. It’s such a stereotype and got my back up straight away. Girl’s school isn’t that black and white (trust me, I’ve been there).

Secondly, Lauren’s transphobia really put me off her. I tried to be understanding of her point of view, and I know it can be hard to understand when someone close to you comes out as trans (especially someone you fancied) but her attitude just sucked. I get that this was addressed in the book towards the end but I’m not sure it was enough. I appreciate that a lot of characters did call her out on it but she never seemed to see how awful she was being.

On to the pregnancy storyline. This was brutal. I know things work differently in Ireland but I have to say, I had no idea how bad it is. It’s insane to me that a woman can’t choose what happens to her body, especially in terrible circumstances (Lauren’s incest-rape thing being a prime example). This is such an important story to tell, especially with how things are in Ireland at the moment. This fictional account is heartbreaking, but it’s even more heartbreaking to think women are going through this in Ireland right now.

So, slightly conflicted on this one. Despite my problems with it, I did speed through it and it does deal with some important issues. I’m all for flawed characters, I’m all for unlikeable characters, but I think Lauren just wasn’t for me.

3

Book Review: Release (Patrick Ness)

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Publisher: Walker Books

Pages: 287

Release Date: May 4th 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.

Review:

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Patrick Ness fan and I was incredibly grateful to receive a proof copy of Release. I’m always so happy to get proofs but for one of my favourite authors, it felt even more special. Massive thanks to Walker Books for the copy!

Release follows one day in the life of Adam Thorn, a gay teenager from a religious family with a pervy boss, a wonderful boyfriend and best friend, and a guy who once broke his heart. We see him move between these people in his life as they day takes unexpected turns with news, confrontations and revelations. Alongside this, there’s a kind of odd, magical realism story happening about a ghost, whose quest for release touches Adam’s day.

Patrick Ness just writes YA so well. Adam is a character I could read so much about, it’s kind of sad we only get to see one day in his life. It shows the kind of things a young gay teen can come up against, especially when coming from a very religious family. Adam struggles with comparisons to his brother, who is infinitely better than him because he’s definitely straight, whereas the family have a worried question mark hanging over Adam. It’s so sad to see religion get in the way of their relationships, especially when it makes Adam question if his love is true love, or if he’s even capable of true love.

There were a few terrible things that happened to Adam throughout the day and it really made me feel for him and root for him. He received blow after blow and I couldn’t help but feel angry on his behalf, or blink back tears at some scenes. Ness’s writing is just beautifully sad and each scene tugged at the old emotions in one way or another.

The storyline with the Queen, the spirit and the faun were a bit harder to follow. While I enjoyed them, it’s the kind of thing that I always worry I’m not getting, that it’s too deep for me to understand and I’m only reading it on some shallow level. I tried not to worry about that and just enjoyed it for what it was, and I loved the way everything came together at the end. It was a perfect moment and made me smile.

To criticise, I really want to know what happens to Adam next! There are so many questions around his future and I want to see where he goes, how he deals with the obstacles this book threw up, if his parents can put everything aside and love him for who he is. It’s frustrating not to know, but it shows what a wonderful character he’s created for me to care so much.

This is another winner from Patrick Ness. He constantly surprises me with the books he writes: they’re all so different from each other, but all written with beautiful prose and compelling characters. This is a wonderful addition to my Patrick Ness collection and I hope you all enjoy it too.

 Copy of an art exhibit

Book Review: The Sign of One (Eugene Lambert)

Publisher: Egmont UK

Pages: 400

Release Date: April 7th 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

ONE FOR SORROW, TWO MEANS DEATH.

In the Barrenlands of Wrath, no one dies of old age. Kyle is used to its harsh laws, but the cold-blooded separation of identical twins and execution of the ‘evil twists’ at the Annual Peace Fair shocks him.

When Kyle himself is betrayed, he flees for his life with the reluctant help of Sky, a rebel pilot with a hidden agenda. As the hunt intensifies, Kyle soon realises that he is no ordinary runaway, although he has no idea why. Fighting to learn the hideous truth, their reluctant, conflicted partnership will either save them – or kill them.

Review:

I saw this book tipped as The Maze Runner meets The Fire Sermon and that didn’t really make me want to read it as I didn’t particularly enjoy either of those books. However, I was sent the sequel to review and thought I’d get the first book (via a birthday present from Nathan) and give it a go.

I’m really glad I did. I see where the comparisons come from with those two books, but this was so much better to me. It was like everything I wanted from those two books but didn’t get with them.

In Kyle’s world, twins – or ‘idents’ – are seen as a curse and kept away from the rest of the world until they prove which is normal – a ‘scab’ – and which is a ‘twist’ – an evil imitation of a human. After an attack on the way home from the Annual Peace Fair, Kyle’s world is turned upside down as he’s forced to become a fugitive, pursued by the Saviour’s Slayers for reasons unknown to him.

Kyle was a great character. I really liked the first few chapters at the Peace Fair, where we were introduced to a lot of the ideas of the world without it being too info-dumpy. Kyle’s reaction when he first sees a twist and how he’s pressured by his friends was just a really good scene.

Sky’s character was really interesting too: she didn’t feel like the stereotypical ‘bad ass’ girl that you often get in YA these days. She had her motivations and I was pleased that she didn’t let the romance between her and Kyle get in the way of her goal. The romance didn’t feature too heavily, which suited me, and it was nice to see two characters not lose their heads just because they like each other.

To criticise, I guess this did feel a little paint-by-numbers dystopian at times: evil tyrant oppressing everyone, special main character who can change things, group of rebels fighting for a better world. It’s been done before but there’s enough original material in this to make it interesting and make me want to read the sequel.

If you’re into your dystopian then this one is for you. I’m really excited to see where Kyle and Sky go next in Into the No-Zone.

4

Book Review: Waiting for Callback (Perdita and Honor Cargill)

Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK

Pages: 346

Release Date: January 28th 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

When Elektra is discovered by an acting agent, she imagines Oscar glory can’t be far away, but instead lurches from one cringe-worthy moment to the next! Just how many times can you be rejected for the part of ‘Dead Girl Number Three’ without losing hope? And who knew that actors were actually supposed to be multi-lingual, play seven instruments and be trained in a variety of circus skills?

Off-stage things aren’t going well either – she’s fallen out with her best friend, remains firmly in the friend-zone with her crush and her parents are driving her crazy. One way or another, Elektra’s life is now spent waiting for the phone to ring – waiting for callback.

Can an average girl-next-door like Elektra really make it in the world of luvvies and starlets?

Review:

I’ve heard a lot about this book and followed Perdita Cargill on Twitter for a while, and now I’ve finally gotten round to reading the book.

Elektra wants to act and when she signs with an agency, she thinks her dreams are about to come true. But it’s hard balancing auditions with school work, best friends and boys, and even harder when you’re constantly waiting for something to happen.

I really enjoyed this book. I think I felt quite a personal connection with Elektra and her story. I did a lot of acting when I was younger and always dreamed of getting an agent as a teen like Elektra does. While that didn’t happen, I still managed to get some paid work and did a few short films and music videos and it was all such an amazing experience. I wish I’d had a list of ‘won’t dos’ like Elektra as some of the stuff I’ve done I hope no one I know ever sees… (nothing rude, just embarrassing!)

So I really got how Elektra felt about acting, the nerves and the waiting and imagining each little thing you do is going to be your big break. She was also relatable as an average teenage girl too: the usual worries about spots and body images, best friend falling outs and wondering if this hot guy likes her. She had her funny clumsy moments too but it wasn’t too over the top and slapstick, which I appreciated.

I was rooting for Elektra all the way through, whether that was in her acting career, snagging the boy she liked or patching things up with her best friend. She made mistakes and learned from them and you definitely saw her grow as the book went on. I thought the relationship between her and her parents was wonderfully captured – probably something you want to nail when you’re a mother-daughter writing team, and they really did.

Now I’ve finished that I just want to go straight on to book two and see what happens to Elektra next. This is a fun, light-hearted read, perfect for YA fans and especially those with a passion for acting themselves.

4

Interview and Book Review: The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat (Coral Rumble and Charlotte Cooke)

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

Publisher: Wacky Bee Books

Pages: 32

Release Date: April 4th 2017

Summary:

Two children and their imaginations set sail from their living room on a voyage around the world! Read along as they spy an extraordinary array of characters doing even more extraordinary things…? With bright, fresh illustrations and a playful style, this rhyming book, based on the classic Edward Lear poem The Owl and the Pussycat, is a wonderfully quirky adventure.

Review:

This is a fun and inventive take on the popular nonsense poem The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear. I love that it’s written and illustrated by a mother and daughter team – it’s so cool to do things like that in a family!

I read this with Little Moore as soon as it came through the door, and he’s had it before bed several times too. The gentle rhyming and pastel colour scheme mean it works great as a bedtime book.

In this book, the owl and pussycat are two dressed up children who are having an imaginative playtime with a cardboard box. They meet lots of colourful and quirky characters on their journey and Little Moore loved pointing at all the different creatures. It’s a fun one to read aloud and I’m sure it’ll become a favourite with Little Moore as he grows older.

The illustrations are really beautiful and perfectly capture the words of the story and bring it to life. I loved the colour scheme – it’s different to a lot of the more cartoony coloured books on his shelves and that makes this one stand out.

This is a really great addition to Little Moore’s shelves and I hope you’ll check it out!

4

Interview

I’m super excited to have author of The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat on the blog today for an interview. Welcome Coral!

  1. What made you want to write a book based on The Owl & The Pussycat?

Charlotte – my daughter and the illustrator of Owl and Pussycat – suggested it as she loves the poem.

  1. Are you a big fan of the poem?

I love the poem, too, and have done since childhood. It creates wonderful and wacky images, and has an enchanting musicality.

  1. Are there any other nonsense poems you’re particularly fond of?

The Jumblies is my all time favourite.

  1. Would you rather go to sea with an owl or a pussycat?

Great question. I suppose it would depend on whether I wanted the benefit of wisdom or the protection of an expert scrapper!

  1. What would you take to sea with you? Honey? Money? Or something else?

Perhaps it would be good to have a flare gun.

  1. What’s your favourite picture book?

I have many favourites, it’s impossible to choose, but Where the Wild Things Are is glorious!

  1. What’s the hardest thing about writing a picture book?

Getting the unity of vision to work, between writer and illustrator, is the hardest part. It was very easy to work with Charlotte!

And a few quick fire questions to end with:

 

  1. What are you reading now?

The Other Half Lives, by Sophie Hannah

  1. Favourite book as a child?

The Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton

  1. Favourite writing drink/snack?

Chocolate or nuts (or both)

  1. 5 desert island books?

The Bible, of course.

The complete works of Shakespeare, goes without saying.

Far From the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy – it was my first encounter with romance

The Understudy, David Nichols – makes me laugh out loud

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres – makes me laugh, cry and luxuriate in the wonderful landscape.

  1. Favourite place to read?

In the bath, or on a beach.

  1. Any hidden talents?

I love football, and can still score the odd goal.

  1. What fictional world would you love to live in?

I’d love to be a companion to one of Jane Austen’s heroines. I’m sure it would give me great amusement.

Thanks to Coral for joining me here today! You can find out more about Coral and Charlotte and follow the blog tour below.


About the Author

coralpic

I have worked as a poet and performer for many years and I’m proud to have my work featured in Favourite Poets (Hodder). I have three published poetry collections of my own and have contributed to more than 150 anthologies. I am also one of the writers of the popular Cbeebies programmes ‘Poetry Pie’ and ‘The Rhyme Rocket’. I have given workshops in some fairly unusual venues as well…the grandest of which being Buckingham Palace!

Website: http://www.coralrumble.co.uk/

About the Illustrator

charlottepic

I was thrilled and proud when my picture book The Adventures of the Owl & the Pussycat was highly commended for the Macmillan Children’s Prize in 2010. Since then I have gone on to illustrate many other picture books and I enjoy making the occasional card too. When I’m not in my studio I’m usually outside running or playing referee to my two kids.

Website: http://charlottecookeillustration.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/charlottecooke

Follow the Tour

owl and pussycat banner5

Monday 1st May

An Awfully Big Adventure

 

Tuesday 2nd May

Emma’s Bookery

 

Wednesday 3rd May

Luna’s Little Library

 

Thursday 4th May

Maia and a Little Moore

Sew Many Books

 

Friday 5th May

Live Otherwise

Library Girl and Book Boy

 

Saturday 6th May

Get Kids into Books

OBC Mini Book Reviewers

 

Sunday 7th May

A Little But A Lot

Varietat

 

Monday 8th May

Mum Friendly

Book Monsters

 

Tuesday 9th May

Tales of Yesterday

Wonderfully Bookish

 

Wednesday 10th May

Sam’s Book Corner

V Family Fun

 

Thursday 11th May

Acorn Books

A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

 

Friday 12th May

Big Book Little Book

Fiction Fascination

 

Saturday 13th May

Linda’s Book Bag

Me, Him, The Dog and a Baby

 

Sunday 14th May

Rhino Reads

Readaraptor

 

Book Review: The Opposite of You (Lou Morgan)

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

Publisher: Stripes Publishing

Pages: 224

Release Date: May 4th 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):

Bex and her identical twin sister Naomi used to be close. They used to be able to finish each other’s sentences, used to know exactly what the other was thinking. They were a matching pair.

And then something changed.

But Bex didn’t even realise until it was too late. When Naomi walks out of the house the night before their last GCSE exam and doesn’t come back, Bex has to think hard about how to find her.

What happens next will force Bex to unpick their shared history and the memories, following Naomi’s trail through their family, their past and all the way to the blinding lights of the Hemisphere music festival. Everything she thought she knew is called into question.

With her worries dismissed by their parents and ignored by her friends (and with Naomi’s friends nowhere to be found) the only person Bex can trust is a stranger – Josh – as she tries to piece together a picture of the person she thought she shared everything with. Naomi’s been leading another life, one Bex doesn’t recognize… and it’s led her straight into the path of Max: someone else who is not what they appear.

As Bex chases Naomi, she realizes it isn’t just whether she can find her twin: it’s whether she knows her at all.

And whether she still wants to.

Review:

Bex and Naomi are identical twins who’ve grown up to have very different personalities: Bex has friends, wants to be an artist and is the good twin, while Naomi is constantly getting in trouble and her life seems to be a bit of a mystery. When she disappears the day of their last GCSE exam, Bex delves into Naomi’s secrets to try and find her before she gets herself into too much trouble.

This was a really interesting little book. It felt very short and I did wish there was more of it, especially towards the end, when everything felt a bit crammed in there. It’s told from dual perspective of each twin, with memories from their past in there too.

Naomi was the ‘bad twin’ who fought with their parents and always seemed to get into trouble. I wasn’t particularly keen on her at first but as the book went on and her character developed I began really sympathise with her, although she made some really dumb decisions in the book and sometimes I just wanted to shake her! She struggles to find her identity, something we all go through in our teen years, but made doubly hard when you feel your twin slipping away from you.

I loved the exploration of the connection between the twins and how this was leaked out through their memories of their childhood. It was great how Bex rediscovered this with the reader – it worked well with the plot rather than feeling contrived. She realises that she may have pushed her twin away without realising it, even though in her mind at first it was Naomi who started rejecting her first. It was interesting to see their different points of view and the way they viewed the same memories.

This is a really fast paced book that you’ll definitely fly through. I found it more of a character piece than plot driven and I really loved getting to know the twins. I hope you will too!

4

Book Review: Girlhood (Cat Clarke)

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

Publisher: Quercus

Pages: 342

Release Date: May 4th 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):

Harper has tried to forget the past and fit in at expensive boarding school Duncraggan Academy. Her new group of friends are tight; the kind of girls who Harper knows have her back. But Harper can’t escape the guilt of her twin sister’s Jenna’s death, and her own part in it – and she knows noone else will ever really understand.

But new girl Kirsty seems to get Harper in ways she never expected. She has lost a sister too. Harper finally feels secure. She finally feels…loved. As if she can grow beyond the person she was when Jenna died.

Then Kirsty’s behaviour becomes more erratic. Why is her life a perfect mirror of Harper’s? And why is she so obsessed with Harper’s lost sister? Soon, Harper’s closeness with Kirsty begins to threaten her other relationships, and her own sense of identity.

How can Harper get back to the person she wants to be, and to the girls who mean the most to her?

Review:

I received a copy of this via NetGalley, then a physical copy arrived in the post too. Result: I read it twice as fast and sped through it in just two days. It just kept me turning the pages, so if I wasn’t glued to the actual book I was racing through it on my Kindle app.

Harper’s haunted by guilt from her twin sister’s death, and despite her tight-knit group of friends at her new fancy boarding school, she knows they can’t understand. But when new girl Kirsty turns up and admits she’s lost a sister too, Harper feels she’s finally found someone who can relate to her. But something about Kirsty doesn’t quite add up.

This was a real page turner. I’m not sure what it was that got me so gripped – the excellent characters, who were diverse and relatable, or the mystery behind Kirsty, or the guilt and sorrow in Harper’s relationship with Jenna and her death – but whatever it was, I just really enjoyed this book.

I did have a few gripes with Harper, as she did seem a bit naive when it came to Kirsty: I feel my warning bells would have gone off a lot sooner. But Kirsty was a very good manipulator. I also felt Harper didn’t behave great towards her friends, even though I saw where she was coming from with the whole privilege and not coming from money thing. At least she did eventually recognise she was being a bit of an arse.

Despite that, the friendships in the book were really lovely: the opening scene where they’re having their start of term midnight feast was a really excellent display of their relationships. I loved the boarding school setting too: like Harper, I always wanted to go to St Clare’s, twin or no twin, and I’m jealous she got to go!

The thing I enjoyed most was the ending. The climax was really tense and I had to read it in one sitting as I just needed to know what was going to happen. It surprised me too, in the best of ways. Without saying too much, I’m glad that Kirsty wasn’t just treated as a villain who gets her comeuppance: it was a lot more complicated and heartwarming than that and a real highlight of the book.

This is the first book I’ve read by Cat Clarke but I’ll be sure to check out her other works now. Her characters are rich and complicated and she writes the kind of thing I’d loved to have read as a teen.

4

April Wrap Up

For half the month I’ve been getting through my backlog of review books, but towards the end of the month, I started going back to birthday and Christmas books. There’s just not enough time to read all I want to!

What I Read

Naondel by Maria Turtschaninoff

Room Empty by Sarah Mussi

Here Be Dragons by Sarah Mussi

Labyrinth by Jim Henson and A. C. H Smith

The Circus by Olivia Levez

If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak

Ms Marvel Vol. 2: Generation Why

I Have No Secrets by Penny Joelson

The Opposite of You by Lou Morgan

Girlhood by Cat Clarke

The Sign of One by Eugene Lambert

Waiting for Callback by Perdita and Honour Cargill

Book Post

The book post slowed down a bit this month, giving me a chance to catch up, but I still had a couple of fabulous books come through:

The Adventures of Owl and the Pussycat by Coral Rumble and Charlotte Cooke

(Thanks Faye Rogers/Wacky Bee Books)

Girlhood by Cat Clarke

(Thanks Hachette Kids!)

What I Wrote:

After doing so well for the first three months of the year, I’ve given up tracking what I’m writing. But I’m still writing, and that’s the important thing! Now I’ve left my first draft alone a bit I’ve returned to it and am reading through, making notes and editing. Good news is it’s not as bad as I thought! Bad news is there’s still a lot of work to do. I’m enjoying it though, and that feels good.

What I watched:

TV

We watched the first season of Outcast, which was really good and has made me want to read the comics more. We went straight on to Legion, which was a bit weird and I wasn’t sure at first, but the ending was incredible and all the actors were just amazing. We’ve started watching Green Wing now, which is an old favourite of mine and never fails to make me laugh.

Films

I sat down to write what we’d watched this month and came up with one film…not like us at all! My sister came for a sleepover and we watched Knock Knock, an Eli Roth film. I’m a big fan of his but this wasn’t one of his best. Keanu Reeves was wooden (surprise!) and the plot was a bit meh. There were some fun moments though and the ending gave me a chuckle.

What I Did

This month I was lucky enough to see Garth Nix at the Oxford Literary festival. It was amazing to meet an author whose books I’ve been reading for so long! It was also my birthday, but this was a bit low key as we all came down with a vomiting bug – the perfect birthday present! We made up for it with a trip to a children’s farm – Little Moore loved pointing at all the animals and I loved feeding the goats.

What Little Moore Did

Little Moore has another two teeth and is moving around more than ever. He’s really into everything and it’s hard to keep him entertained sometimes, especially when all he wants to do is explore the kitchen cupboards (note to self: do more baby proofing). We went to a local farm and he enjoyed pointing at all the animals and watching me feed the goats. He’s also started trying to join in with hand actions when we do nursery rhymes and screams and claps when we finish. So cute!