ALL ABOUT MIA – Lisa Williamson

5/5

One of the best UKYA contemporary releases in recent years.

All About Mia focuses on Mia as we see her develop from this self-centered teen into a more mature teen/young adult over the course of this story. What’s so likable about her is that she isn’t perfect; she’s very much her own character and she’s very real, and that is something that is so important for teens and young adults to connect with. To top off an awesome book, Lisa Williamson’s writing style is flawless and touches upon so many important/diverse topics in such a way that it isn’t thrust in your face like many other books can be – in this book there are hints of feminism, multiculturalism and relationships to name a few.

I didn’t expect to love this book quite this much, but honestly I couldn’t put it down! Mia is such a lively character who literally leaps off the page – whilst I probably have more in common with Grace, I could totally relate to Mia, and I think that everyone (whether or not they’re the middle child, or even have siblings) can understand how she’s feeling and why she acts like she does. We get to learn so much about all three sisters, who are all at different stages of their teen years and all have feelings that we can all connect with or remember from being those ages.

It’s been a fair while since I read this book, and I still think it’s a firm five star read that I would highly recommend.


Thank you to David Fickling books for my copy of this title!
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LOOKING FOR JJ – Anne Cassidy

5/5

One of my favourite books of all time from my personal Queen of Teen Crime.

Looking For JJ starts with the story of Alice Tully, a 17 year-old girl living and working in Croydon. She seems to have it all – a job she enjoys, a loving boyfriend, prospects for university, a caring home…but all is not as it seems and we soon learn that Alice is hiding a dark secret.

Flash back 7 years, and we are introduced to Jennifer Jones, a 10 year old girl living a very dysfunctional life with her mother, a model of sorts, and struggling to deal with growing up in an environment where she is left to fend for herself. Jennifer is quiet, reserved and seemingly innocent, but all that changes when she and two friends go out to play…but only two of them return.

This book crafts the story of JJ perfectly – it’s so hard to actively dislike the young girl who we know does a terrible thing. It’s a book that makes you question rapidly judging people and whether we should give people second chances. The writing is exquisite, grips you from the get-go and draws you into the lives of the characters in such a way that it really does feel as though you know them. I can’t recommend this book highly enough!

NO SAD SONGS – Frank Morelli

4/5

A heartfelt story of family, friends and life.

Following a family tragedy, 18-year-old Gabe LoScuda suddenly finds himself thrust into the role of caregiver for his ailing grandfather. Between the shopping trips and the doctor visits with Grandpa, Gabe and his friend John try to salvage their senior year, meet girls, and make the varsity baseball team. It doesn’t take long for Gabe to realize that going to school and looking after a grandfather with Alzheimer’s is more work than he ever imagined.

And when long-lost Uncle Nick appears on the scene, Gabe soon finds that living with Nick and Grandpa is like babysitting two grown men. Aside from John, the only person who truly understands Gabe is Sofia, a punk-rocking rebel he meets at the veteran’s hospital. When these three unlikely friends are faced with a serious dilemma, will they do what it takes to save Grandpa? If there’s a chance of preserving the final shreds of Grandpa’s dignity, Gabe may have to make the most gut-wrenching decision of his life—and there’s no way out.

As soon as I heard the details for this book, I just knew I had to be involved in the blog tour and read this title! Perfect for fans of Jennifer Niven, Jandy Nelson and Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, No Sad Songs touches upon so many aspects of Young Adult fiction that I, and many other readers, love, such as friendship, crushes and an emotional rollercoaster!

I have very rarely come across a book that focuses on the very common illness of Alzheimer’s, so this was a very interesting yet heartbreaking subject to read about. That said, the warmth that comes off the page doesn’t make this a depressing book to read, and rather it serves as an important book in YA to highlight what so many young people go through when relatives have this illness. No Sad Songs focuses a lot on how important it is to live in the present and to not focus on the past, and how life can throw all sorts of curve balls at us.

Finally, I must stress how beautiful Frank Morelli’s writing style is – this book was such a good read because of it! I found it so easy to get into and the characters really came to life; Gabe especially is a very interesting and complex character who has had to go through so much and yet continues to soldier on. His life is turned completely upside down and you can’t fault his resilience.

If you’d like to read No Sad Songs, and I highly recommend that you do, then you can get your own copy here: Amazon UKAmazon US.

 


Thank you to Neverland Blog Tours and Fish Out Of Water for the eBook of this title, and for the opportunity to be involved!

FLOORED – Various

4/5

Floored brings together some of the queens of UKYA (Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson, Tanya Byrne and Eleanor Wood)

I am a sucker for a good UKYA contemporary, especially when you throw in names such as Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne and Lisa Williamson; I just know it’s a book I will love! So, imagine my delight when I discovered that Floored is a thing and so it was the first book that I sent a begging email for since starting blogging! Despite not getting a copy, I was super lucky to get one straight away through NetGalley (thank you Macmillan!) and bumped this straight to the top of my TBR!

Floored is told from the perspective of six characters, and a narrator. What adds to its charm is how you don’t know which author wrote which parts – this makes for a fun game of “guess the author”! I loved how seamlessly the story seemed to flow between narrators and how all of the different writing styles complimented each other perfectly.

A key thing that makes Floored such a success is how relatable it is; the book spans several years and we “check-in” with our characters once a year, and so we see how in the space of a year so much can change when you’re in your teens and going into early adulthood. It’s during this time that our characters really develop and our friendships are evolving and you are beginning to realise what’s truly important. Floored is all about the ups and downs that these years can bring and it captures this perfectly.

I think that the only thing I really didn’t like was the bringing in of political parties to the story. I think that an unfair light was cast upon one party over another, especially when you consider the character narrating at the time, and this is something that put me off giving this book a higher rating.

Nevertheless, overall this book is a solid 4 stars – it tackles such a range of topics with some very likeable characters. Everyone will find some way to relate to what these narrators go through, you’ll see your positives and your flaws. I’d definitely love to see more collaborations from this group in the future!


Thank you to Macmillan via NetGalley for the eBook of this title!

WWW Wednesday: 13th June 2018

Good evening! I’m spending my night in bed watching The Kissing Booth for the umpteenth time on Netflix (it’s AWESOME. I can’t wait for the book to arrive!) and then I shall continue with my current read…

What are you currently reading? 

I GOT APPROVED FOR FLOORED! So of course I’ve ditched everything else I’d planned to read and have started this one! It’s a collaborative novel from some of the BEST authors in YA and I am so so happy to get approved so quickly on NetGalley!

differently normal
What did you recently finish reading?

The last book I finished was the wonderful Differently Normal by Tammy Robinson. I was on the blog tour for this one on Monday, and I’m so glad that I got involved because it was such a good read! I’d definitely recommend it.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I have a load of contemporaries waiting for me on NetGalley so I shall most likely plod my way through those now that I’m free from uni work!

DIFFERENTLY NORMAL – Tammy Robinson

4/5

A heartwarming and heartbreaking story of first love, family and autism.

So, today is my stop on the Differently Normal Blog Tour which I’ve been very excited for, especially since finishing this book as I really did love it so want to shout out about it!

Differently Normal is a dual narrative YA book from the perspectives of Maddy and Albert (Al-bear), and it tells of their different home lives and how their worlds collide in a beautiful love story. However, as the suggestion that it’s for fans of John Green and Jennifer Niven suggests, this book will break your heart and throughout you’re just waiting for something to fall apart, but you don’t quite know how! I did not expect the ending at all, even when I was nearly finished with the book!

One key aspect, and one that makes me wonder whether Tammy is writing from experience, is that of Maddy’s sister Bee’s autism, epilepsy and learning difficulties. Bee is such a loveable little girl, although her condition makes her demanding to look after – she’s got such complex needs, and, if it wasn’t for the fact that I know people with these conditions, I wouldn’t have realised just how connected the conditions are. In addition, Maddy is such a selfless character that she’s highly admirable and one who you want to aspire to be like; her love for her sister shines through and that sisterly bond she shares with Bee is an important part of the story.

I loved the story of how Maddy and Albert meet and become closer – it’s really cute, not without its difficulties, and it isn’t a case of instalove which was very refreshing! The two of them are so different yet so similar which made their relationship very believable and the timeline of the story seemed to fly by.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book for people who love a good contemporary YA book that’ll drag you into the world of the characters and who really jump off the page. I found that I was wanting to get back to reading as often as possible just to be with Maddy and Albert and find out what happened next!


Thank you to Little Brown UK via NetGalley for the eBook of this title, and to Sophia Walker for the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour!

WWW Wednesday: 30th May 2018

Hello! I’m sorry for the lack of posting this week – I just haven’t had the energy to do anything really! But I’m back this week with another WWW Wednesday post.

What are you currently reading? 

I’ve just started Differently Normal by Tammy Robinson, which comes out on 7th June. I’m really liking what I’ve read so far so watch this space!

What did you recently finish reading?

I think the last books that I finished were My Box-Shaped Heart and two more additions to the Little People, Big Dreams series – Georgia O’Keeffe and Harriet Tubman, which were beautiful as always.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I think I’m going to try to read The Summer of Us by Cecilia Vinesse. I’m hearing such good stuff about it that I can’t wait to get to it!

Mental Health Awareness Week 2018: Book Recommendations

So, this is after all a book blog and so I would like to spend some time recommending my favourite books that deal sensitively and effectively with mental health. If you want to almost guarantee that I pick up a book, just add that it’s got something about mental health – I’m sold! Here are some of my favourites:

The Goldfish Boy – Lisa Thompson
OCD

You can’t really get away from how much I love this book if you follow me on social media! The Goldfish Boy is a middle grade mystery where the main character Matthew has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and it’s honestly the best portrayal of OCD that I’ve ever come across. Obviously OCD affects people differently, but for me this book was perfect as mine manifests in the same way as Matthew’s. What surprised me most is that it’s not an own-voices book; Lisa has done such an incredible job of writing about OCD.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
Anxiety

For people with anxiety, this book is perfect to show you that you’re not alone; it’s an illness that can strike anyone, can be totally out of the blue, but it is something that you can survive and it’s okay to have bad days; “Little victories are everything.” There are wonderful people out there who will help you and support you.

Girl in Pieces – Kathleen Glasgow
Depression/Self Harm

Girl in Pieces is filled with such raw emotion, but not to the extent that it is an uncomfortable or triggering read, and, although this is an extreme case of depression/self-harm, it’s one that sheds a very realistic light on the issue. For people who have experienced this, the book is inspiring and easy to relate to, but equally it’s enlightening for people who do not know much about the mentality behind self harm and suicide.This book shows how you can hit rock bottom but it IS possible to carry on and survive despite all the stuff that life can throw at you.

Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
Depression/Suicide

This book is controversial, but I’m firmly in the camp of people who LOVE it. Whilst I do appreciate the flaws that people mention, for me the book is more about how the things people say and do can impact so much on others rather than about the suicide and morals of the tapes. It’s about knowing how the little things we do can have a massive effect on other people; you never know what’s going on in someone else’s life.

See You In The Cosmos – Jack Cheng
Schizophrenia

The first book I’ve come across that deals with schizophrenia, this is one that’s completely unputdownable! Whilst the subject of mental health isn’t the main focus of the book, we see the effect that someone’s mental health can have on those around us.

All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven
Bipolar

All I will say is have a box of tissues handy if you’re planning to read this one! One of my favourite ever books, All The Bright Places totally deserves all the hype surrounding it although it will break your heart. Whilst coming across as a book about suicide, it focuses on the effects of bipolar disorder.

I Was Born For This – Alice Oseman
Anxiety

This one subtly tackles the topic of anxiety and of how utterly terrifying a panic attack can be; whilst mental health isn’t at the forefront of the book, it’s definitely an underlying theme.

Under Rose-Tainted Skies – Louise Gornall
Anxiety

A beautiful own-voices novel, Under Rose-Tainted Skies has such a fantastic representation of anxiety and agoraphobia. It shows just how debilitating living with anxiety can be and how it’s not simply a case of being a bit of a worrier.

Worries Go Away – Kes Gray
Anxiety

One of my absolute favourite picture books, the story is simple enough that for younger children it helps them to open up about things that are worrying them, but it’s also so good and meaningful that older children and adults who suffer from worries or anxiety can relate to the little girl and the feelings she’s experiencing and learn how to cope from this book too.

We Are Young – Cat Clarke
Depression/Suicide

We Are Young touches upon the devastating effects that depression and bipolar can have. Cat Clarke writes about mental health issues perfectly, and We Are Young is no exception.

 

WWW Wednesday: 2nd May 2018

How is it already May?! I’ve had to focus a lot on uni this week so haven’t had a chance to read much, but I’ve still read a bit!

we are young

What are you currently reading? 

I started We Are Young by Cat Clarke today, so far so good! I love her writing style and it’s so easy to get in to her books. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this latest title which comes out tomorrow!

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What did you recently finish reading?

This week I read a picture book – Monty and Sylvester, which was alright! I also half read How To Write a Love Story by Katy Cannon, which also comes out tomorrow, which, whilst it started out pretty good, ended up being way too fluffy for me!

What do you think you’ll read next?

I want to read Skylarks by Karen Gregory next, and give Wingbound by Heather Trim another go as I’m more into fantasy at the minute than I was when I first started it!

WWW Wednesday: 25th April 2018

It’s that time of week again – hello and happy Wednesday! This has been one of my favourite reading weeks this year…you’ll see why!

What are you currently reading? 

I’ve just started How to Write a Love Story by Katy Cannon, and whilst I’m not far into it it’s pretty good so far! It seems like a fairly light contemporary. 


What did you recently finish reading?

I finished Legendary this week and OMG! It was even better than Caraval and I just want to experience the magic all over again!

What do you think you’ll read next?

I have a load of May releases to get on with so probably one of those! I’m tempted to start We Are Young by Cat Clarke next.