Book Review: The IT Girl – Don’t Tell the Bridesmaid (Katy Birchall)

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

Publisher: Egmont Publishing

Pages: 304

Release Date: January 12th 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

Romance is in the air!

Preparations for the Wedding of the Century between Anna’s dad and super famous actress Helena Montaine is in full swing (all Anna needs to do is escape having to wear the biggest meringue of a bridesmaid dress that EVER existed.)

And not only that but Anna, her friends and her ACTUAL BOYFRIEND (definitely requires shouting), Connor, are about to go on a school trip in romantic Rome.

So as long as Anna can avoid doing something like falling face first in the Trevi Fountain, nothing could spoil this perfect pasta-filled moment. Could it?

Review:

Just before Christmas I got a lovely surprise from Egmont in the post: the new IT Girl book, plus the first two with their gorgeous new covers.

Anna is back and getting ready for the big day: her dad’s marriage to superstar Helena Montaine. But before that she needs to survive two weeks on a school trip in Rome without making a fool of herself.

Anna is just as goofy and fun as ever. She gets herself into stupid situations, and messes up normal ones with her clumsiness or by saying something…odd. But that’s why we love her and it wouldn’t be the same if she changed. There were some great laugh out loud moments: Anna’s the kind of character that you just want to be friends with. I struggled sometimes with her naivety but hey, I’m old and wise (not really) so I’ll put it down to that.

There’s a lot of romance talk in this book: not just the big wedding, but Anna’s soon to be step sister and her boyfriend have some problems, and Anna and Connor struggle being apart in Rome. Although I loved their pairing in the previous books, it just wasn’t there for me this time. Maybe it was the distance but I found myself shipping her and a certain other character, which I thought would never happen! I won’t say anymore but I was happy with the way everything turned out again.

This is a lovely addition to the It Girl series. It’s nice to read something lighthearted and funny because it’s not my usual kind of book. I love Anna’s nerdy realness and she’s a character I’ll treasure.

4

Book Review: Girl Out Of Water (Nat Luurtsema)

Publisher: Walker Books

Pages: 320

Release Date: June 2nd 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

A thoroughly British teen comedy starring a hilariously flawed heroine with a quip for every occasion – perfect for fans of Holly Smale, Rae Earl and Jenny MacLachlan. Lou Brown’s life is going down the pan. Best friend Hannah sailed through the Olympic time trials and is off to her fancy-pants new swim training school, while Lou’s own failure to qualify leaves her without a hobby – or a friend. As Lou tries to navigate her post-swim world, a chance encounter with three boys with stars in their eyes takes her life in a surprising new direction. One that leads to a crazy world of underwater somersaults, talent show auditions, bitchy girls and one great big load of awkward boy chat.

Review:

I won a copy of this book in a giveaway at Luna’s Little Library so big thanks to her 🙂

Lou Brown is destined for great in the swimming world, until she messes up an important race and is cast aside by her coach. Her best friend Hannah is off to the swimming camp she should be at and she’s stuck in school with no friends and no hobby, until three of the popular boys ask her to coach them in underwater swimming for a TV talent show.

I connect with Lou from the very first page, and that’s probably something to do with my own swimming past. While not at Lou’s standard, I started swimming from a young age, swam in competitions for my local team and trained several times a week until I permanently smelt like chlorine. I gave it up when I was younger than Lou to focus on other things (though I wouldn’t have gotten as far as Lou – apparently I was too focused on my strokes being perfect instead of going fast!) This book just set off nostalgia in me as I remembered my own endless hours poolside with frizzy hair and friends who only recognised me in a swimming costume.

Nostalgia aside, this was a really fun book to read. Lou made me laugh a lot, although her actions were so cringey at times in made my toes curl!  She grows throughout the book, from a focussed swimmer to a girl with boy problems to coach of a strange new underwater sport. There’s a great lesson here in not being defeated: although Lou didn’t make it into the camp, she learned that there was more to her than swimming and that it wasn’t the end of the world, as it can feel at that age. As she receives some increasingly worrying texts form Hannah she also learns that getting what you want isn’t always a dream come true either.

One of my favourite things in the book was Lou’s family. Her parents are divorced but living together while her dad finds a job, and Lou is sharing a room with her older sister Laverne. It’s great to see things like divorced parents in books (another thing I can relate to) and it not be the end of the world either: people get divorced, a lot of the times it’s for the best, and life goes on. Her family played quite a bit role in the book, which was good to see as often 15 year olds seem to be doing whatever they like with no parental consequences, whereas this book rang truer to real life.

This was a fun, easy to read book with a lot of hilarious moments. A definite summer hit!

4

Book Review: The IT Girl – Team Awkward (Katy Birchall)

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

Publisher: Egmont Publishing

Pages: 320

Release Date: January 7th 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

The brilliant sequel to The It Girl. Hilariously funny and deliciously romantic – perfect for fans of Geek Girl and Louise Rennison. If everything Anna does is going to be seen by more than 10 million people, then she’s determined to find something that she’s really good at. Everyone else seems to have a ‘thing’ – especially the new girl at school, who’s been distracting Connor with their shared love of art. Luckily the school sports day is looming, and Anna is limbering up! What could go wrong?

Review:

I really enjoyed the first book in the It Girl series last year, so when I saw the sequel on NetGalley I knew I had to have it!

Team Awkward sees Anna up to her usual shenanigans – being awkward and clumsy and generally misinterpreting things to get herself into all kinds of mishaps. She really is Little Miss Adorkable and you can’t help but love her for it, even if she can be frustrating at times.

All you favourite characters are back – including Anna’s hilarious pet dog, Dog – and there’s a couple of new faces to get to know and enjoy too. The main focus this time is the impending school Sports Day and Anna’s determination to prove she can be a good role model, after ‘It girls’ are labelled as basically worthless by the press (the irony there being that it’s the press who make them famous for doing nothing anyway, for reporting on when they do…nothing).

I love the non-stereotypical family Anna has going on as well. As someone who has divorced parents, who then remarried other people (and then one of them broke up again) it’s good to see something other than your typical mum, dad, sibling thing going on. Plus Anna’s family is so ridiculous you can’t fail to smile at them.

I think this is a great read for young teens – again, it reminds me of the Confessions of Georgia Nicholson books that I loved so much as a teenager – some real laugh out loud moments with plenty of heart behind it too. Perfect for fans of the series or for those looking for something fun and easy to read.

4

If you enjoyed this, you might like the first in The It Girl series

Book Review: The It Girl (Katy Birchall)

Details:Publisher: Egmont

Pages: 352

Release Date: 7th May 2015

Blurb (from Goodreads):

Everybody wants to be a famous It Girl. Don’t they?

Anna Huntley’s aims in life:

1) Must keep my two lovely new (and only) school friends by not doing anything in usual manner of socially inept dork and outcast.

2) Train Dog (my labrador) to high-five. This is probably the most ambitious life goal on this list.

3) Do not set the school’s Deputy Queen Bee mean girl’s hair on fire (again).

4) Work out whether 2) and 3) constitute being socially inept or outcastish.

5) Go to Africa and give out rice.

6) To hide in a cupboard FOR LIFE with Dog now Dad is engaged to one of the most famous actresses EVER, the paparazzi want to spash my face all over the papers and everyone in school (and The World) is soon to discover the level of my social ineptitude.

7) Is rice a bit done now? Maybe I can give out chocolate in Africa too. I do like chocolate. Must work out how to do it from the cupboard…

Review:

I was lucky enough to win this book in a competition over at the lovely Tales of Yesterday, so big thanks to Michelle, Katy Birchall and Egmont for that. I’ll admit to being a bit sceptical going in, as this just didn’t sound like my kind of book, but a few pages in I found I was really enjoying it.

A large part of this is probably me relating to Anna so well. I’m massively nerdy (only a lot less embarrassed by it) and also (lets be honest) probably as weird and unpopular as she is too. I guess the difference with me is that I don’t mind all of this, and have embraced that, whereas Anna really wants to change these parts about her, to hang out with the popular kids and not be so damn weird.

I felt a little disconnected from the plot at some points, and I’m going to put this down to an age thing. As a 24 year old, I’m pretty comfortable with who I am now, but I do remember what it was like to feel awkward about yourself and wish to be ‘normal’ like other people. I just felt Anna was being a bit silly wanting to hang out with people that blatantly only liked her because of her new found minor celebrity status – this naivety irritated me and I couldn’t really see the justification in some of her decisions.

So I had some minor plot/character problems, but as a whole I really enjoyed the book.

Anna is chatty and funny and her antics did make me laugh out loud a few times (embarrassing when you’re reading on the bus on the way to work…) The book’s written really well, with the story told, not just through Anna’s narrations, but her notes passed in class, the lists she doodles for herself and emails between her family and friends. It was great to have these little slices of something different in between the narration and I hope it’s something that will be continued in the next book(s) – I hope there’s lots of them!

This is a lovely, light hearted comedy with some important themes on staying true to yourself and knowing who you are. As an old(ish) person I wasn’t as keen on this aspect but I think younger readers will find it both interesting and helpful as they struggle to navigate their own teenage lives. The book reminded me of the Confessions of Georgia Nicholson which I read as a teen, so anyone who’s read them is sure to love this.

4
Check out my soundtrack for The It Girl here