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

A Christmas Book Haul

I don’t often to book hauls, mostly because I don’t really get a lot of books in one go, but I was lucky enough to get so many wonderful books for/around Christmas that I just wanted to share them.

From Publishers

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Before Christmas I got a few exciting booking parcels in the post. One was this lovely set of It Girl books by Katy Birchall from Egmont. I loved the first two books and am excited to see what happens to Anna next. The new covers are gorgeous and I love this new design.

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I also received a copy of Wing Jones by Katherine Webber, from Walker books, which I’m reading at the moment. So many people have been tweeting amazing things about this book and I feel really lucky to have a copy.

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And finally, I have The Fireman by Joe Hill, from Gollancz. When I was emailed about this I’d just finished reading Horns and the offer of another book by Joe Hill was just too tempting.

From Nathan

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The majority of my presents from Nathan were books, which is alright by me! They were a good mix of things he knew I wanted – Noughts & Crosses which I used to borrow off my sister so never had my own copy, Goldenhand because I love The Old Kingdom series, a beautiful illustrated copy of The Lie Tree – and some new things to try as well. I’ve already read Scarlet Witch and can’t wait to get stuck into the rest of them.

From the In-Laws

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Nathan’s parents really know how to do Christmas well, and I was lucky to get a lot of books from them. The one I’m most excited about is The Call by Peadar O’Guilin, which I’ve heard great things about, and The Creeper Man by Dawn Kurtagich, as I loved The Dead House by her.

From my Mom

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And lastly, from my dear old Mom, I got The Muse by Jessie Burton. I read The Miniaturist last year and quite enjoyed it, though I’ll admit I struggled a bit as adult books aren’t really my thing. but it was still an interesting story and I’m looking forward to picking this one up.

This year I’ve decided to prioritise the books I got for Christmas, as last year some of them got lost in all the review books and new books I got throughout the year (I still haven’t read some of them…) So I have my new books in a separate pile and am going to work my way through them, alternating with review books when I have them.

I hope you all had a very bookish Christmas and that the new year holds lots of exciting things for you to read.

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

Soundtrack Saturday: The It Girl (Katy Birchall)

Soundtrack Saturday is a weekly meme created and run by Erin at The Hardcover Lover. I’ve been really enjoying making these so am trying to make it a regular thing on my blog.

Last week I chose to make a soundtrack for Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson.
This week I decided to do one for The It Girl by Katy Birchall. I thought this would make a nice change, as the books I’ve done it for recently have all been a bit dark/dramatic, and this one is a lot more fun, so I can have some upbeat songs!

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The Last Great Star in Hollywood – Meg & Dia

I’ve got my same old nose and no cheek bones

I’ve got my stomach rolls, rather bare wardrobe

They’ve got seven floors, one on the east coast

Why they grin so wide, they’ve got their visions no one knows.

Gold Girls Guns – Metric

I remember when we were gambling to win

Everybody else said better luck next time

I don’t wanna bend like the bad girls bend

I just wanna be your friend

Is it ever gonna be enough?

Anything But Me – Lindsay Lohan

Now is a never ending thing

One moment turns into another

Before I’ve had time to run from all the other ones

And it’s so hard to live a dream

When the everything that they want you to be

Is anything but me.

Mean – Taylor Swift

You, with your switching sides

And your wildfire lies and your humiliation

You have pointed out my floors again

As if I don’t already see them

I walk with my head down

Trying to block you out ‘cos I’ll never impress you

I just want to feel okay again.

It’s a Hit – We Are Scientists

I should have know this would happen from the start

This kind of function’s gonna have to fall apart

I guess before I would’ve sworn that we were friends

Maybe this problem points towards some larger trend

Good Girl – Carrie Underwood

Hey good girl, with your head in the clouds

I bet you I can tell you what you’re thinking about

You’ll see a good boy, gonna give you the world

But he’s gonna leave you crying with your head in the dirt

Proved You Wrong – Cassadee Pope

Hey, I’m breaking free just watch me walk away,

Had your hooks in me but I escaped

I don’t need excuses, done with your abuses,

Telling me that I’m not strong

Just listen to the song

Guess I proved you wrong

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