READ WITH PRIDE – Lucy Powrie

101174561_566394664253132_7106082077390068894_n4.5/5

RELEASED: 28/5/2020
PUBLISHER: Hachette
GENRE: Young Adult, Teen, Contemporary, LGBT

The much anticipated second book in The Paper & Hearts Society series by Booktuber Lucy Powrie. Will you be the next recruit for The Paper & Hearts Society book club? For fans of Holly Smale and Super Awkward.

Olivia Santos is excited for her last year at secondary school. But when a parent complains about LGBTQ+ content in one of the books, the library implements a new policy for withdrawing books. Olivia is distraught – she’s demisexual and knows how important it is for all readers to see themselves represented.

Luckily, she’s the mastermind behind The Paper & Hearts Society book club, and she knows exactly what to do: start a new club, find ways of evading the system, and change the policy for good!

With two book clubs to run, exams to prepare for, and a girlfriend, just how long will it be before Olivia burns out? After all, creating a book club and trying to get the #ReadWithPride hashtag to get noticed is going to take a lot of energy.

Sometimes, when you’re in too deep, it’s up to your friends to look out for you…

One of my favourite debuts of all time was Lucy Powrie’s The Paper & Hearts Society, so naturally I was VERY excited to read Read With Pride on that basis. I’d connected so much to the characters in book one and really had “found my people”. That possibly was the one hesitation I had going into Read With Pride; I wasn’t sure how much I’d connect to how the characters were feeling; I’m not from the LGBT community. I definitely need not have worried however; this book was so inclusive and covered such a variety of characters and the issues raised were ones that I wholeheartedly agreed with the indignation that Olivia felt!

The key theme that the book starts with is the completely absurd rules brought in at her school that requires parental permission to read books that have LGBT themes – that kind of control and oppression is wrong! I’m fortunate that I’ve never had my reading limited by themes or age appropriateness – I’ve always been free to make my own choices about what I read and to assess their suitability for myself. I can’t even begin to imagine how it must feel to be told you can’t read something because it contains things that someone else has deemed inappropriate without good reason. I fully understood where Olivia was coming from.

I also really connected to Olivia in how she takes on too much! It was really important how Lucy highlighted that sometimes you don’t have to do everything yourself and that you can rely on others to help! Despite not featuring as much in the story, The Paper & Hearts Society really rallied round Olivia at her time of need and they showed how strong their friendship is – they really are a good bunch!

Overall, I really did enjoy Read With Pride! I did miss Tabby a lot as she’s really my favourite member of the society, but it was really interesting to see things from Olivia’s perspective and to see how actually I did have a fair bit in common with her! Yet again, Lucy’s writing was brilliant and made you want to keep reading, and was approachable to readers from the teen market upwards which is something I really love to find!

ASKING FOR A FRIEND – Kate Mallinder

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RELEASED: 04/06/2020
PUBLISHER: Firefly Press
GENRE: Teen Contemporary Fiction

A feel-good YA story from the author of Summer of No Regrets about valuing the friends that value you. Agnes, Hattie and Jake travel on the school bus together but don’t know each other well. They plan a week in Weston as a ‘study break’ before exams but none of them admit the real reasons they need to get away. Agnes must find her sister. Hattie can’t bear being home now all her friends have ghosted her. And Jake is afraid he’s ill and has absolutely no idea how to tell anyone. Thrown together, what will happen when the secrets start to spill out?

I always find that there’s a bit of a gap between children’s books and young adult, and that there is definitely a lack of just teen fiction. So, when I was given the opportunity to read Kate Mallinder’s latest book Asking For A Friend, I was very keen to read this one as it seems to be the perfect “tween” book and something light yet fulfilling.

I certainly wasn’t disappointed, and flew through this book! I just loved the writing, the story, the characters and everything about it; it was easy to get stuck into and had plenty to make me want to keep reading. I love how it wasn’t too heavy on the life stuff whilst still having very much real characters who did face their own individual challenges, and I love the message of friendship. The three main characters were all so different and yet they fit in with each other perfectly!

Going back to the friendship theme, I think that makes this such an important book to read. It really showed how you can find friendship in the most unlikely of people, and how those friendships can be the most rewarding. Like the synopsis says, it’s important to value the friends who value you, and this is such an important message to carry through life and I love how, with this book, it’s a very accessible message that such a variety of readers can access. Asking for a Friend is approachable to such a wide range of readers; it’s not a daunting book to pick up but it’s still thought provoking, it has different characters from different backgrounds and both male and female perspectives, and it covers thoughts that many of us deal with growing up.

Immediately after finishing Asking for a Friend, I purchased Kate’s first book, Summer of No Regrets and I very much look forward to reading that too! I’ve definitely found a new favourite author who I will go to whenever I want a book that I can escape into!

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Thank you to Firefly for sending me the eBook of this title, and to Kate for having me on the blog tour!

LOVE FRANKIE – Jacqueline Wilson

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RELEASED: 30/04/2020
PUBLISHER: Penguin
GENRE: Teen Fiction, Contemporary

Frankie is nearly fourteen and teenage life certainly comes with its ups and downs. Her mum is seriously ill with MS and Frankie can feel herself growing up quickly, no thanks to Sally and her gang of bullies at school.

When Sally turns out to be not-so-mean after all, they strike up a friendship and are suddenly spending all of their time together.

But Frankie starts to wonder whether these feelings she has for Sally are stronger than her other friendships. Might she really be in love?

Frankie doesn’t want Sally to just be her friend. She wants her to be her girlfriend. But does Sally feel the same?

A few days ago I received a very exciting email saying that Penguin had approved my request to read Love Frankie by Jacqueline Wilson! I’ve been a massive fan for YEARS since I first read Glubbslyme and I’ve always been keen to read every one of her books. Admittedly, I’m a bit more old school and haven’t read some of her newer books, but Love Frankie immediately stood out as a fine return to her more teen content (my faves!). So, it didn’t take me long to pick this one up from the time that I received it.

I immediately was hooked; Frankie is such a likeable character and I found that I couldn’t wait to keep reading. I found that the story was a fantastic way to explore all the complex emotions that come with being a teenager, and even as an adult I could really relate to the different characters in the book. There were so many different themes that were touched upon sensitively, there were bright moments and there were tough moments. The main theme of sexuality was handled very well and I particularly liked how the characters were so different in their approach to it – it made it feel very real and showed how people’s reactions can be so different, whether they are the person with those feelings or whether they’re on the outside.

I think it’s so important that books like Love Frankie exist, especially from authors such as Jacqueline Wilson. It’s such an approachable look at growing up, discovering new feelings and diversity. I felt that it really normalised feelings towards the same sex in a way that was approachable and I could imagine quite realistic. I felt that I could relate to the feelings Frankie was facing; first love is first love regardless of gender, and that Jacqueline, as usual, really captured what it’s like to be a teenager and have all these different feelings and emotions and challenges.

I’d highly, highly recommend Love Frankie, particularly to fans of Jacqueline’s teen books such as Kiss and Love Lessons. It made me feel very nostalgic to my early teen years reading those books and I think it’ll introduce a new generation of youngsters to her wonderful books!


Thank you to Penguin via NetGalley for the e-book of this title.

 

NO BIG DEAL – Bethany Rutter

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RELEASED: 08/08/2019
PUBLISHER: Pan Macmillan
GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary

It’s not my body that’s holding me back. It’s more of a problem that people keep telling me it should.

Meet Emily Daly, a stylish, cute, intelligent and hilarious seventeen-year-old about to start her last year at school. Emily is also fat. She likes herself and her body. When she meets Joe at a house party, he instantly becomes The Crush of Her Life. Everything changes. At first he seems perfect. But as they spend more time together, doubts start to creep in.

With her mum trying new fad diets every week, and increasing pressure to change, Emily faces a constant battle to stay strong, be her true self and not change for anyone.

No Big Deal is a warm, funny inspiring debut YA novel from Bethany Rutter: influencer, editor and a fierce UK voice in the debate around body positivity.

I wasn’t too sure at first as to whether I wanted to request to read this book before publication; I’m not a huge fan of the cover (it just isn’t something I’d pick up off the shelf and it’s pink…) and books about weight can be a bit hit and miss for me. However, I am so so glad that I did decide to hit that request button and grateful to the publisher for sending it to me!

From the very beginning I was hooked; Emily is a brilliant narrator and it was so easy to get lost in this book. On the surface it ticks all the boxes for a great YA contemporary, but it goes so much deeper than that with the whole body image storyline. Add to that there’s a whole host of interesting and diverse characters who didn’t just fit into their stereotype.

The main theme of body image is handled brilliantly and in a way that isn’t triggering. It’s about acceptance and feeling comfortable in your own skin rather than about trying to change yourself and be someone you’re not. The thing that really pushes this over to a 5 star book is this aspect because it promotes positive body image and this is something that’s extremely important to get across in YA books at a time where teens and young adults do tend to struggle with these issues. However, I do love that it also showed how negative body image can be something that impacts upon later life. This really is a book that I could’ve done with when I was younger, but even now I’ve found it to be so beneficial in making me feel more comfortable about myself!

I’d find it quite interesting to hear what a male’s take on this book would be; whilst it is very much catered for young females with its narrator and themes, without giving too much away there are aspects where it touches upon how guys respond to girls and how a girl’s body image can be impacted upon by their reactions and what they do and don’t do/say.

It’s without hesitation that I give this book five stars; days after reading it I still can feel its impact and would love to read it again in the near future! Highly, highly recommend.


Thank you to My Kinda Book via NetGalley for sending me the eBook of this title!

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK 2019 – Body Image and Books

I didn’t realise that the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is Body Image, and this is such a good theme to get everyone thinking and talking about! Personally, I’ve really struggled with body image for well over 15 years, and it’s led to disordered eating and depression on many occasions, and I’ve also seen the destruction it can cause to people’s lives first hand. Most people will at some point not feel good enough, or feel insecure about their body, and I think that raising awareness of how it is normal to feel these things but how to cope with those feelings in a safe way is really important.

One way that awareness can be raised is, of course, through books. Young Adult fiction in particular is fantastic for showing struggles with body image at a time when our bodies are changing and many issues arise. I’m going to share below some of the titles that have really helped me to understand that I’m not alone in feeling so insecure over the years. I will say, however, that if you’re triggered by anything to do with eating disorders then please do use your judgement on whether reading these books is right for you. Also, there is definitely a lack of books about male body image out there! All of the books I’ve read have been about girls and that’s not to say that boys don’t have difficulties too, because they do. If anyone has suggestions of ones that I’ve not come across, please do mention them in the comments!

Wintergirls (Paperback)Wintergirls – Laurie Halse Anderson

A beautifully written and riveting look at anorexia from acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson. Cassie and Lia are best friends, and united in their quest to be thin. But when Cassie is found dead in a motel room, Lia must question whether she continues to lose weight, or choose life instead.

Mates, Dates and Chocolate Cheats – Cathy Hopkins

When Izzie returns from the school trip to Italy, she tries to put on her jeans, but they won’t do up! It looks as though she has put on eight pounds since Christmas and all her clothes have become very tight. Izzie then goes into the horrible spiral of becoming obsessive about her weight.

Girls Under Pressure - Girls (Paperback)Girls Under Pressure – Jacqueline Wilson

Magda is tall and glamorous, Nadine is willowy and ‘gothic’. And Ellie . . . well, Ellie is just plain normal. The three girls have been best friends forever, but now Ellie is convinced she’s fat, Nadine wants to be a model, and Magda worries that her appearance is giving guys the wrong idea. The pressure is on for them to change the way they look – but can they learn to love themselves, just the way they are? 

Second Star to the Right – Deborah Hautzig

This is an honest and moving account of a girl in the grip of anorexia nervosa. On the face of it, Leslie is a normal, healthy, well-adjusted fourteen-year-old girl. She goes to a good school, has a great friend in Cavett, and a mother who loves her to the moon and back. She should be happy, yet she’s not. She would be, she thinks, if only she were thinner. But ‘thinking thin’ becomes a dangerous obsession and Leslie’s weight drops to five stone, threatening to destroy her and the whole fabric of her family life. Only by realizing that this condition is an illness – and one that has its roots in a deep problem – can Leslie hope to survive.

Holding Up the Universe (Paperback)Holding Up The Universe – Jennifer Niven

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed ‘America’s Fattest Teen’. But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to see who she really is. Since her mum’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for EVERY POSSIBILITY LIFE HAS TO OFFER. I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 
Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the art of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his own brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone. Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game which lands them in group counseling, Libby and Jack are both angry, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world – theirs and yours. 
Jennifer Niven delivers another poignant, exhilarating love story about finding that person who sees you for who you are – and seeing them right back. 

Just Listen – Sarah Dessen

I’m Annabel. I’m the girl who has it all. Model looks, confidence. A great social life. I’m one of the lucky ones. Aren’t I?
My ‘best friend’ is spreading rumours about me. My family is slowly falling apart. It’s turning into a long, lonely summer, full of secrets and silence.
But I’ve met this guy who won’t let me hide away. He’s one of those intense types, obsessed with music. He’s determined to make me listen. And he’s determined to make me smile. But can he help me forget what happened the night everything changed?

Eleanor & Park (Paperback)Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she’s never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried.
Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and – in Eleanor’s eyes – impossibly cool, Park’s worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by.
Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose.
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor & Park is funny, sad, shocking and true – an exquisite nostalgia trip for anyone who has never forgotten their first love.

kayleigh

 

 

Six for Sunday: 12th May 2019

Hello and happy Sunday! It’s so weird; I haven’t had to wear a coat today and it’s been so warm. I’ve had a nice day with my bestie celebrating her birthday! Six for Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by A Little But A Lot! Today’s theme is:

The Ever Growing TBR: 2018 books I want to re-read

  1. img_3179Legendary – Stephanie Garber
  2. I Was Born For This – Alice Oseman
  3. i stop somewhereSunflowers in February – Phyllida Shrimpton
  4. Death in the Spotlight – Robin Stevens
  5. To Kill a Kingdom – Alexandra Christo
  6. The Exact Opposite of Okay – Laura Steven

Some of my all-time favourite books came out in 2018, all listed above! I really hope to get around to rereading all of these at some point!

kayleigh

 

WWW Wednesday: 8th May 2019

Good evening! I’ve had a really good reading week this week; I’ve had a few days off work and have found a few titles that have really caught my imagination and have been ones that I just haven’t been able to put down!


What are you currently reading? 

FINALE! It’s finally in my hands and it’s beautiful! I’ve only had a chance to read about 20 pages so far, and already I’m loving it.

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What did you recently finish reading?

So far this month I’ve read Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly, and I’m so glad that I finally made the time to read this wonderful retelling! I also read Owen and the Soldier by Lisa Thompson which was beautiful, and Malamander by Thomas Taylor. Fun fact – he illustrated the original Harry Potter books!

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’d like to read some more of my new books next – I have a fair few to choose from!

kayleigh

STEPSISTER – Jennifer Donnelly

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RELEASED: 15/05/2019
PUBLISHER: Hot Key
GENRE: Young Adult, Retelling, Fantasy

‘In an ancient city by the sea, three sisters – a maiden, a mother, and a crone – are drawing maps by candlelight. Sombre, with piercing grey eyes, they are the three Fates, and every map is a human life . . .’ Stepsister takes up where Cinderella’s tale ends. We meet Isabelle, the younger of Cinderella’s two stepsisters. Ella is considered beautiful; stepsister Isabelle is not. Isabelle is fearless, brave, and strong-willed. She fences better than any boy, and takes her stallion over jumps that grown men fear to attempt. It doesn’t matter, though; these qualities are not valued in a girl. Others have determined what is beautiful, and Isabelle does not fit their definition. Isabelle must face down the demons that drove her cruel treatment of Ella, challenge her own fate and maybe even redefine the very notion of beauty . . . Cinderella is about a girl who was bullied; Stepsister is about the bully. We all root for the victims, we want to see them triumph. But what about the bullies? Is there hope for them? Can a mean girl change? Can she find her own happily ever after?

From the instant that I began this book, I was enchanted. Jennifer Donnelly’s writing style is exquisite and feels very poetic as she effortlessly switches between character focus. In Stepsister, we follow the story of Isabelle, one of Cinderella’s ugly sisters, towards the end of the fairy tale we all know and love. It’s about what happens when Cinderella finds her happily ever after.

Oddly enough, I really liked Isabelle as a character – even from the beginning! She came across as a victim in her own way, but underneath there’s a strong young woman. Throughout the book, we see her develop and discover herself, as well as see how, contrary to popular belief, beauty does not define a person.

I loved how this book was a little bit of a fantasy story whilst being very realistic, which makes it a perfect read for so many different types of reader. We meet a whole host of wonderful, and not so wonderful, characters who really come to life, and some remind me of my favourite fantasy leads whilst others could’ve been drawn straight from the history books. I highly, highly recommend Stepsister for anyone who’s after a book that will stay with you long after you’ve finished it and captivate you whilst you read it.


Thank you to Tina at Hot Key for sending me a copy of this book!

THE PAPER & HEARTS SOCIETY – Lucy Powrie

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RELEASED: 13/06/2019
PUBLISHER: Hachette
GENRE: Young Adult Contemporary, Teen

A brand new series from Booktuber Lucy Powrie – about what happens when you give up on trying to fit in in and let your weird out! It’s time to join The Paper & Hearts Society …

Tabby Brown is tired of trying to fit in. She doesn’t want to go to parties – in fact, she would much rather snuggle up on the sofa with her favourite book.

It’s like she hasn’t found her people …

Then Tabby joins a club that promises to celebrate books. What could go wrong? EVERYTHING – especially when making new friends brings out an AWKWARD BUZZING feeling all over her body.

But Olivia, Cassie, Henry and Ed have something that makes Tabby come back. Maybe it’s the Austen-themed fancy-dress parties, or Ed’s fluffy cat Mrs Simpkins, or could it be Henry himself …

Can Tabby let her weird out AND live THE BEST BOOKISH LIFE POSSIBLE?

Ok, so I’m going to be honest; the main reason I wanted to read this book was because of it being written by the lovely Lucy Powrie (if you’ve lived under a rock in the book world, she’s a booktuber and creator of #ukyachat and is just generally a very good bookish person to be aware of!) and because I wanted to support her and to not be the only person not reading this book. The synopsis, whilst fairly good, just sounded too…happy for me. But,

OH. MY. GOD.

I hold my hands up; I was wrong. So completely and utterly wrong.

The Paper & Hearts Society is now one of my favourite books of all time, and if I can throw it at people and make them read it I will. Yes, it was fluffy and happy, but it also had all the feels that make a perfect teen/young adult book! This is exactly the book that I needed when I was a teenager. It makes you feel like you belong and captures exactly how it feels to be a teenager or, in my case, an adult who still feels like a teenager!

The Paper & Hearts Society members are like a little family of people who I instantly took to and they all bring something unique to the group. Please hear me out on the next bit; I’ve tried to word it right! The one thing I was worried about going into this book was having heard about the diversity and I wasn’t sure how that was going to be handled – I like diverse books, but I don’t like it to be the sole focus of the book or character. Personally, for me, it needs to just be a fact of life that doesn’t detract from the main story but adds depth and realism to the characters.

Lucy has mastered this perfectly.

I love how you get to know a character without any judgement and the diversity that’s included in the story is written sensitively and in a way that just makes it normal and accepting, which is how it should be.

So, what are the main things that I took away from this amazing read? Number one has to be the fact that it’s okay to be different and unique and to be passionate about something that you love! Secondly, you have no idea what people go through behind closed doors. Take the time to get to know people, and try not to judge too quickly. We all have our own battles and sometimes not everyone can see that. Finally, books! Above all, this is a book about books for bookworms and I saw books I love, and books I hate, feature throughout this book. It really reignited my love of books.

Now, if you don’t mind me, I’ll be impatiently waiting by my postbox for my preorder and my Paper & Hearts Society member pin to arrive…


Thank you to Hachette via NetGalley for approving my request to read this title!

UNCONVENTIONAL – Maggie Harcourt

unconventional4/5

RELEASED: 01/02/2017
PUBLISHER: Usborne
GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary, Teen

Everyone’s a fan of someone…

Lexi Angelo has grown up helping her dad with his events business. She likes to stay behind the scenes, planning and organizing…until author Aidan Green – messy haired and annoyingly arrogant – arrives unannounced at the first event of the year.

Then Lexi’s life is thrown into disarray. In a flurry of late-night conversations, mixed messages and butterflies, Lexi discovers that some things can’t be planned. Things like falling in love.

Six conventions, a girl with a clipboard, a boy with two names – and one night that changes everything.

Unashamedly romantic, this is a clever and funny story of love in unlikely places form the author of Waterstones’ reader’s favourite, The Last Summer of Us.

You know that a book is something special when it opens up with the dilemma of having the wrong inflatable palm trees delivered! And from there it just got better.

Unconventional was such a unique novel in the way that it was literally all about books and loving books and authors, with bits that were funny, bits that made you cringe, romance, friendships, family and lots of meaningful quotes to take away (as my friend had to listen to on the phone as I read through all my favourites!). Honestly, I tabbed so many things in my copy!

It’s not an overly soppy love story, but it’s fluffy in the most perfect way which does make it stand out because it wasn’t overly heavy like many YA novels and I felt really contented whilst reading this. I was totally absorbed into the world of book conventions and Lexi’s life revolving around these conventions – I really want to go to one now! Despite being set over these six conventions, you really got to know Lexi and she was such a real and honest character that you can’t help but love her!

“Everyone’s a fan of somone…” – I’m definitely a fan of Unconventional.


Thank you to Stevie at Usborne for sending me a copy of this book!