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!

MELT MY HEART – Bethany Rutter

106052525_614989135777850_1269167581591187008_n4/5

RELEASED: 23/7/2020
PUBLISHER: Macmillan
GENRE: YA Fiction, Contemporary, LGBT

Melt My Heart is a hilarious and inspiring coming-of-age YA novel from Bethany Rutter: influencer, editor and a fierce UK voice in the debate around body positivity.

Lily Rose is used to people paying attention to her gorgeous twin sister, Daisy. But even though Lily loves her own fat body, she can’t shake the idea that no one would ever choose her over Daisy – not when they could have the thin twin.

That is, until she meets Cal, the gorgeous, sweet guy from New Zealand who can’t seem to stay away. The gorgeous, sweet guy who also happens to be Daisy’s summer crush.

Lily can’t seem to figure out why she isn’t as into him as she should be. She should be head-over-heels in love, not missing time at the ice-cream shack with her life-long best friend, Cassie. Not wondering what Cassie is getting up to with Cal’s friend Jack, or what she’s thinking about when they’re alone . . .

With University threatening to tear Cassie and Lily apart at the end of summer and Lily desperately trying to keep Cal a secret from Daisy, summer is set to be far from relaxing.

Last year, one of my favourite releases was No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter. So, I was very excited to see that there is a new book coming out from Bethany this year! Again, I requested it as soon as I saw it and, again, I wasn’t disappointed!

The thing that I absolutely love about Bethany’s books is how the sensitive topic of body image is discussed so positively and in a way that’s accessible and non-judgemental. In Melt My Heart, our narrator Lily clearly has some insecurities over being a bigger girl, but it’s not the sole focus of the story and it’s doesn’t define her and we also see how body insecurities affect everyone.

I also love in Melt My Heart that it’s set during that strange period between sixth form and university, and that it also challenges whether university is the right option for everyone. Just because someone’s seen as “university material” doesn’t mean that it’s the path they have to take, and that’s something I wish I’d known back when I was 18!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book; there were some really interesting storylines taking place and I loved getting to know the characters! They’re definitely ones that I’d love to revisit a few months later to see how they’re getting on!


Thank you to MyKindaBook via NetGalley for the ebook of this title!

VIPER – Bex Hogan

93312764_169711937551231_6814093020772301007_n5/5

RELEASED: 18/04/2019
PUBLISHER: Hachette
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy

Marianne has been training to be the Viper for her entire life – to serve and protect the King and the citizens of The Twelve Isles – but to become the Viper and protect the islands she loves she must find the strength to defeat her father.

An immersive and swashbuckling new fantasy trilogy perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas and Leigh Bardugo.

He will make me a killer.
Or he will have me killed.
That is my destiny.

Seventeen-year-old Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, defender of the Twelve Isles.

But the reigning Viper stands in her way. Corrupt and merciless, he prowls the seas in his warship, killing with impunity, leaving only pain and suffering in his wake.

He’s the most dangerous man on the ocean . . . and he is Marianne’s father.

She was born to protect the islands. But can she fight for them if it means losing her family, her home, the boy she loves – and perhaps even her life?

A brave heroine. An impossible dilemma. An epic new fantasy trilogy set on the high seas.

I am writing this review as I sit here with a massive book hangover thanks to Viper! I can’t believe that, despite owning this book for a year, I hadn’t read it up until now, but seeing as book two has recently come out and other bloggers have been raving about this series I thought I really ought to make the time to read it. And my god am I glad that I did!

I’ve discovered a new favourite YA fantasy series and I am hungry for more!

I’ll start by saying the two words that persuaded me to push this to the top of my reading list – Pirates and Assassins. The two types of characters in a good YA fantasy that tend to make for good reading. And Viper didn’t disappoint. Full of a vast array of characters from all walks of life, the good, the bad and everything in between, there’s so much to make you want to keep reading, and you want to know how the characters are going to turn out because this book is full of intrigue and twists and you just don’t know how things are going to end up!

The plot is gripping and makes you want to turn every page, right up until the end. Bex’s writing is just so easy to get lost in and the world really comes to life without it being overly descriptive. I was very impressed with how the world and story was built up despite it not being a massively long book and this is what makes it so much more engaging! I just loved everything about it!

I can’t recommend this book highly enough, and am so so glad that I finally picked it up! Perfect for fans of To Kill a Kingdom and Throne of Glass, Viper is the start of a fantastic trilogy and I can’t wait to voyage on!

 

ALL THE THINGS WE NEVER SAID – Yasmin Rahman

all the things we never said4.5/5

RELEASED: 11/07/2019
PUBLISHER: Hot Key
GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary

16-year-old Mehreen Miah’s anxiety and depression, or ‘Chaos’, as she calls it, has taken over her life, to the point where she can’t bear it any more. So she joins MementoMori, a website that matches people with partners and allocates them a date and method of death, ‘the pact’.

Mehreen is paired with Cara Saunders and Olivia Castleton, two strangers dealing with their own serious issues. As they secretly meet over the coming days, Mehreen develops a strong bond with Cara and Olivia, the only people who seem to understand what she’s going through. But ironically, the thing that brought them together to commit suicide has also created a mutually supportive friendship that makes them realise that, with the right help, life is worth living.

It’s not long before all three want out of the pact. But in a terrifying twist of fate, the website won’t let them stop, and an increasingly sinister game begins, with MementoMori playing the girls off against each other.

A pact is a pact, after all. In this powerful debut written in three points of view, Yasmin Rahman has created a moving, poignant novel celebrating life. All the Things We Never Said is about friendship, strength and survival.

As soon as I saw a table of this book in a bookshop, I was drawn to it. With a bold cover, I couldn’t resist picking it up, and, when I saw the subject matter, I decided immediately that it was something that I’d be interested in reading. My favourite YA contemporaries are UKYA, based on mental health and very much character driven. All The Things We Never Said screamed all of those.

I was not disappointed at all when I started reading as I found myself drawn in to the stories of the three girls. I loved the author’s note at the beginning which really set the tone for the book, and then as I learnt more about why Mehreen, Olivia and Cara had joined MementoMori I really began to connect and empathise with the characters.

One thing that I did love was how the characters were diverse but it wasn’t the sole focus of the story and it didn’t define the character entirely. Yes, Mehreen’s religion was an important factor, but she was so much more than just that and was such a real character that, despite me being from a totally different background, I could really relate to her. I found it to be the same with all the characters and that was something that I think Yasmin really hit the nail on the head with. (I do hope I’ve phrased all of that correctly!)

The only thing that I personally wasn’t too keen on was the typeface for Olivia’s chapters. I found myself skipping ahead and I didn’t really understand why it was written in such a way! That was the only thing that really hindered my total enjoyment of the book. Nevertheless, I would still highly recommend this book, and I’ve also got the audiobook to love and enjoy as much!

Before I sign off this review, I would just like to highlight that there are a lot of triggers in this book which people who are a bit more vulnerable to those kinds of books may struggle with. Topics touched upon, besides suicide, include self-harm, rape and severe anxiety and depression. I personally was okay with all of these and found that they were handled very sensitively and not in a way that made for uncomfortable reading – I have found books on these topics triggering before but All The Things We Never Said was so well written that I still found enjoyment in the reading experience of this one.

Overall, I would definitely say that it’s worth getting a copy of this book, and of the audiobook, and I can’t wait to see what Yasmin writes next!

WWW Wednesday: 5th February 2020

Hello and happy Wednesday! Half way through the week already…just two days to go!

What are you currently reading? 

I’ve just started the second Kissing Booth book by Beth Reekles. I loved the first (and the Netflix adaptation) so can’t wait to see what’s in store!

heartstopper volume 3

 

 

 


What did you recently finish reading?

I’ve read a few books over the past week or so – All The Things We Never Said by Yasmin Rahman, The Sky Is Mine by Amy Beashel and volume three of Heartstopper! I loved all three, but am desperately awaiting volume four of Heartstopper now!

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m not too sure; I’m kind of feeling in a YA contemporary mood at the minute, so we shall see!

kayleigh

THE SKY IS MINE – Amy Beashel

the sky is mine

RELEASED: 6/2/2020
PUBLISHER: Rock the Boat
GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary

Izzy feels invisible. Trapped under the weight of expectation and censored by shame.

Her mum Steph and best friend Grace have always been there to save her. But with one under the control of her stepfather and the other caught in the throes of new love, Izzy is falling between the cracks.

As threats to her safety grow, Izzy wants to scream. But first she must find her voice.

And if the sky is the limit, then the sky is hers.

[This book contains material which some readers may find distressing, including discussions of rape, coercive behaviour, domestic violence and abuse.]

I heard about this book quite a long time ago and loved the sound of it! However, when I went to pick it up I realised that it had themes of domestic violence which is an automatic no for me usually. That said, I knew there must’ve been a reason that I requested a copy of The Sky is Mine in the first place so I decided to give it a go, and I’m so so glad that I did!

It’s been a loooong time since I read a book in one sitting, and this was surprisingly one of those books! I simply couldn’t put it down; I just had to know what happened as I turned every page and I was completely hooked. I’ve read books that cover similar themes before, and I’ve kept reading despite feeling incredibly uncomfortably purely because I wanted to know that everything worked out okay. With The Sky is Mine, I kept reading because I wanted to know how everything worked out, of course, but I also cared about the characters and felt that, although it was an accurate portrayal, it didn’t leave me feeling awful as I read it. There were some lighter moments and that made all the difference which is what I loved about The Sky is Mine; despite having some pretty heavy themes, it didn’t feel like a heavy book to read and the topics were handled sensitively and very well. I did like the fact that it was focused on coercive control too; whilst that’ll hit home with a lot of readers, it, again, was handled in a way that made it informative and realistic without being horrid to read about.

I don’t want you to go away thinking that this is solely a book focused on domestic violence, however; there are themes of friendship, romance and just the general difficulties of being a teenager! Izzy was such a good main character; she was very realistic and relatable, and many of the difficulties she faces throughout the book are the kinds of emotions and feelings that so many young people face. 

The Sky is Mine is a brilliant example of what makes for a deep yet enjoyable UKYA read, and I’m very excited to see what Amy writes next!


Thank you to Rock the Boat for sending me a proof of this title.

SEVEN GHOSTS – Chris Priestley

5/5

RELEASED: 15/10/2019
PUBLISHER: Barrington Stoke
GENRE: YA, Ghost Story

Jake and the other finalists in a writing competition have been invited to a stately house for a tour like no other. As their guide leads them through grand rooms, hidden nooks and magnificent grounds, they hear the stories of seven ghosts who haunt the halls. But strange shapes and shadows follow Jake as he journeys through the house and with each tale that Jake hears, he begins to feel more uneasy. All is not as it seems and soon Jake will discover that something is very, very wrong … Old ghosts are stirred-up for Halloween in this spine-tingling, multi-narrative horror. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+

It’s been a while since I’ve sat and read anything more than a picture book in one sitting, but Seven Ghosts just gripped me from the very beginning! I expected to like this book because I do love a good YA ghost story and I know that Chris Priestley is an example of a fab author for these books, but what caught me off guard was just how much I loved it. I finished Seven Ghosts and immediately wanted to pick it up again and revisit the story!

This review will be short and sweet because I honestly think going into this book knowing as little as possible is the best way! It’s so well written and the story flows perfectly keeping you gripped throughout. It’s chilling and spooky and makes for the perfect Halloween read. I will definitely be picking up Seven Ghosts every year to read in October, and I highly recommend that if you’re after a good scary YA book that you do the same!


Thank you to Kirstin at Barrington Stoke for sending me a copy of this book!

Top Ten Tuesday: 3rd June 2019

Hello! Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. It feels like ages since I’ve done one of these! This week’s topic is:

Books from my Favourite Genre – YA Contemporary

  1. All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven
  2. I Was Born For This – Alice Oseman
  3. Girl in Pieces – Kathleen Glasgow
  4. The Year After You – Nina de Pass
  5. Sunflowers in February – Phyllida Shrimpton
  6. Damage – Eve Ainsworth
  7. Red Tears – Joanna Kenrick
  8. Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
  9. A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  10. The Exact Opposite of Okay – Laura Steven

I could go on! I love YA Contemporary and feel as though I’ve missed so many amazing books off! Have you read any of these?

kayleigh

NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD – Claire Hennessy

1/5

RELEASED: 14/07/2016
PUBLISHER: Hot Key
GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary

What happens when you give in to the voices in your head? Annabel is dead. And she’s not happy about it. Despite having strived to be ‘lighter than air’ back when she was alive, the consequences of that yearning haven’t quite sunk in yet. Julia Jacobs is fat. Which Annabel immediately notices when she’s assigned as Julia’s ghostly helper (don’t even think about calling her a guardian angel). And as her helper, Julia’s problem seems pretty obvious to Annabel. Fat = problem = unhappy. Sorted. The only trouble is that whatever is causing Julia to overeat is hidden deep within her. Annabel will have to get to know Julia to uncover this secret and ‘fix’ her. Annabel can become the voice of reason, Julia’s source of strength. Except. . . all this time spent in someone’s head has got Annabel thinking. Not just about food, but about her family too. And that maybe happiness can mean more than eradicating all the flesh from your bones.

I’ll be honest, I did not finish this book. In fact, I only made it a few chapters in. However, I feel as though I can review this book because I didn’t DNF it because I wasn’t in the mood for a contemporary or a book about eating disorders. Quite the opposite! I really fancied reading this book and wanted to give it a go. It tied in perfectly with Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 being on the theme of body image and so I honestly wanted to connect to this book and, for want of a better word, enjoy it.

Nothing Tastes As Good should come with MASSIVE trigger warnings; I don’t even have an eating disorder (I’ve had a lot of issues with food and body image, but never to the extent that many people suffer) and I found it so uncomfortable and triggering to read. I get that eating disorders take over your life and distort your perception of yourself and others, but to have to read a book where the narration is like that little voice that’s in your head telling you you’re not good enough is not a book that I want to read, and it’s not one that I can recommend at all.

In the wrong hands, this book has the potential to be dangerous.

I’ve read triggering books for all kinds of mental illnesses before or situations that I personally find triggering, and I’m not one to shy away from hard-hitting books, but this book takes it a step too far and, from what I read, it makes the reader not feel good enough. It’s very rare that I don’t give a book a good shot, but for the protection of my own mental health I had to put this one down.

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