” I might be a disappointing student, without many close friends, with a life of mediocrity waiting for me back home – but I will always have this.
In an otherwise mediocre life, we choose to feel passion ”
Alice Oseman is one of the greatest writers of our time. Big claim, but nonetheless true. Both Solitaire and Radio Silence managed to hit me in ways I hadn’t expected to be hit and yet so subtly. Prepare for a film reference now: her work reminds me of the Cornetto Trilogy co-written by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, who once described their films as having “a Trojan horse element” in the sense that each one has an honesty and relatability hidden in them. Do you see where I’m going here? Alice’s novels have this same element; you go in expecting a YA mystery, a podcast-based adventure, a boy-band book, but by the time you’ve finished you’re sobbing.
So what this long-winded introduction is trying to say is that I was very excited for this book, and it truly did not disappoint!
What’s it all about?
“For Angel Rahimi life is about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything she loves – her friend Juliet, her dreams, her place in the world.
Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band with his mates is all he ever dreamed of doing.
But dreams don’t always turn out the way you think and when Jimmy and Angel are unexpectedly thrust together, they find out how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.”
“Judge people on what they have control over. Judge them on the way they treat their friends, or whether they persevere when they can’t do something… Be careful not to confuse a beautiful face with a beautiful heart”.
This book was kindly sent to me by Walker Books, but this has no impact on my review!
When ‘Truth or Dare’ slid through my letterbox and into my hands I have to admit I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t really know anything about the plot and I’ve never actually read any of Non Pratt’s other works (much to the dismay of my friend Jasmine who convinced me to buy Trouble, which I have only read one chapter of!) So seeing as I had some free time and a new book I thought I’d dive in blind – and boy, was it worth it! I read it in just a handful of days because it was so addictive; never was there a moment of boredom and I just thoroughly enjoyed it!
‘Truth or Dare’ is a contemporary YA novel that deals with family, friendship, and love – but really that doesn’t even scratch the surface.
Here’s a quick review of One by Sarah Crossan; a Contemporary YA novel written in verse! I really enjoyed reading this book despite the intensity of the plot. Crossan takes on a really interesting subject matter and presents it in a unique and stylish way. Have you read One? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments!
I wanted to take a bit of a spin on my usual Book Reviews and I have to admit I’ve really enjoyed being a bit more creative with my videos here and on my YouTube Channel. Be sure to let me know what you think of it and if I should do more like!
I thought you deserved a bit of an explanation regarding my sort-of withdrawal from blogging, reading and the like. However as I also wanted to share with you the 5 books that I’m super excited to read and have been helping me to persevere through school recently, this mashup video was born! Also to everybody going through exams of any kind at the moment, keep doing what you’re doing and I wish you all the best!
This video is a little bit different to my normal ones so please let me know what you think by commenting, liking, or let me know via Twitter!
Am I Normal Yet? is a YA Contemporary novel about Evie, a sixteen year old girl suffering with OCD, trying to get through her first year at college, get off her medication, and lead a “normal” life. Already sounds like a great book tackling serious topics, right? Well add to that the incredible themes of feminism and friendship and you get one unbelievable story: that’s Am I Normal Yet? in a nutshell.
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With three main characters – Evie, Amber and Lottie – each having very unique and relatable traits it’s extremely difficult to NOT love them all. Despite this book being the first in a trilogy with each book focusing on each of these three fabulous individuals, this book manages to delve into enough depth so that it doesn’t feel that way at all. You really care for them! The girls are such good friends, they are so close and supportive of each other whilst retaining the right amount of secrets and small arguments to emulate a real friendship. Their mutual belief and love for feminism is so wonderful. Am I Normal Yet? acts as both a ‘Welcome Brochure’ and ‘Guide Book’ to feminism; this is probably the main reason everybody should read this fantastic book. The characters explore everything to do with feminism from sexism in the english language to the Bechdel Test! Why would you not want to read about that?!
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Holly Bourne uses structure in such a distinctive way which works brilliantly well regarding the subject of OCD. Often people are unaware of the ‘compulsions’ and so by interrupting the flow of narrative it really feels like you’re in the head of Evie, which is really powerful! Also the way the storyline breaks up every now and then in order for the reader to follow Evie’s trail of thought a bit better is effective as well as amusing – although admittedly it isn’t to everybody’s taste.
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This book encompasses so much; friendship, mental health, feminism, humour, and emotion. A whole lot of emotion! Evie’s voice is so easy to relate to and the descriptions are amazing. This book has so much to say and it says it all so well; it never feels like you’re being force-fed all of these truths. Of course it isn’t perfect, because nothing is, but this certainly comes quite close in my opinion.
“Everyone’s on the cliff edge of normal. Everyone finds life an utter nightmare sometimes, and there’s no ‘normal’ way of dealing with it… There is no normal.”
This book was the first read for my online book club UKYA in the Rain. You can watch our discussion for it here!
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while (or happened to have stalked my posts at some point) then you’ll know that I am a HUGE fan of Web Series, and recently I stumbled upon Social Medium! This intriguing web show all about Beatrix Beckett, a physic who can communicate with the other side through gadgets, gizmos and social media, instantly caught my eye. Little did I know that later that day I would be able to say I had binge-watched the Origin Story, Season One and along the way found an absolute new favourite series.
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The videos are all fairly short – making binge-watching a breeze! – yet each one still manages to pack a punch. They’re uploaded in a very unique way; each episode is made up of a number of different parts which are all different videos. By doing this the creators are able to make the most effective, brilliant and frustrating cliff-hangers! But what I love most about this show is it’s humour. It’s quite subtle but has yet to fail to make me smile with it’s interesting and bizarre stories of ‘Match.com demons’ and ‘Soul eating sirens’! Beatrix herself is just the sweetest and is so passionate about ghost hunting, it’s really lovely to watch. However for me the character of Zola, Beatrix’s sarcastic cyber-genius best friend, stands out the most. Played by the fabulous Kate Hackett (who stars in one of my other all-time favourite web series) her skepticism, wit and references – “What is the air velocity of an unladen swallow?” – are just incredible and add so much to the show!
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A huge thumbs up to Brian Newlin for fantastic stories and scripts; I love how there are various different cases going on but one big mystery – involving cupcakes, who’d have guessed that?! – running through the entirety. I can’t wait to see more, I will be sat here desperately waiting for the big reveal! I highly recommend checking this series out if you love ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night!
This is UKYA in the Rain’s first meeting in which we discuss Holly Bourne’s Am I Normal Yet? We talk about the fabulous book, feminism, mental health and a whole bunch of other random things!
Next time there will be more people joining the discussion, and you can too!
To find out more about the book club you can click on the ‘Book Club: UKYA in the Rain‘ page above!
Check out the wonderful Kiara at her (amazing) Instagram and blog, A Nerd and her Books!
Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick
Dangerous Lies follows Stella Gorden, recently put into witness protection. You watch her as she tries to deal with her new shadow of danger and tries to cope with the aspects of her new life, including the handsome cowboy-next-door Chet. Only problem is that in my opinion there’s only so much coping that can be explored in a book before it gets boring. The plot felt quite lacking; particularly around the antagonist Danny Balando and his “vicious thugs”. They were pretty much absent until the very last pages! I went into this book expecting a thriller and got a romance in the end. However the romance was done exceptionally. It was just so cute ! And thankfully there was just enough realism along side the adorableness for me. This is the same for the characters. To me Stella was a bit annoying, but that made her more real. And don’t get me started on Carmina, Stella’s “foster mom”. She was by far the best character; so caring and independent at the same time, a wonderful mother and a kick-butt detective!
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I overall enjoyed Fitzpatrick’s writing style; it was a great balance between easy reading and gripping ‘WHAT-HAPPENS-NEXT’. But in my opinion it was a little inconsistent, sometimes I had to keep turning pages because it was either so sweet or so shocking but at some points I really struggled to keep going, but I think that has more to do with personal preference than anything else. The ending is definitely the best bit, there are some incredible twists and really edge-of-your-seat moments. Oh and of course there’s a brilliantly romantic scene thrown in there too! This last section just stood out to me, I wish it had been a little bit longer.
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And I have to mention some of the themes the book explored, they were really lovely. Fitzpatrick looks at family and more importantly what it means to be a family. Stella goes through so much and is so unhappy at times but from that she found her own family and her own happy ending. Really it’s all about hope I guess, leading you forward.
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Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick is published 10th of November, 2015.
Eeny Meeny by M. J. Arlidge
“There are countless moments in the average life when you have to decide whether to open yourself up or bury yourself deep. In love, at work, among your family, with friends, there are moments when you have to decide whether you are ready to reveal your true self.”
Whilst I was reading this book I absolutely adored it! I raced through it so quickly as I just had to know what was going to happen. However looking back I definitely have some issues with it. The predominant being the characters, or more precisely the excess of characters. The main crime involves (don’t worry this isn’t a spoiler) kidnapping two people, trapping them without food or water and leaving a gun with one bullet as their only hope of escaping; due to this there are a lot of characters. Each pair get their own little story and there were quite a few pairs. Add to that all the members on the police force such as DI Helen Grace and Mark Fuller and then also a couple of family members, friends and journalists like Charlie Brooks and you’re going to find yourself a little lost. The reason this didn’t really work was that in a crime thriller the pace is quick, you don’t have enough time to get attached and so often you’re not as horrified by some of the pretty horrific things that take place.
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The story in itself is very enjoyable. Ignoring all the deviations due to the mass of characters the plot was intense and gripping. The crimes that took place were truly horrible to read – that’s a good thing! – and for the most part it was a really clever read! M.J. Arlidge makes spectacular use of deception, there’s a particular ‘thing’ that is purposefully misleading and it was brilliant when it was finally revealed. It had a really good pace and you’re not spoon-fed clues which in my own opinion is a bonus. The writing style was consistent and enthralling, the chapters are very short and tend to switch POV which ,depending on how they were done or who it was talking, could be both highly entertaining or plain irritating.
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Despite the surplus of characters and minor inconsistencies I really did enjoy this book. I would recommend it to crime thriller lovers as long as they’re not particularly squeamish as this is definitely ‘dark and twisted’! It might not be the best book you ever read but it’ll certainly be a lot of fun!