Review: A Change Is Gonna Come by 12 BAME Authors!

*Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

We’ve been hearing non-stop buzz about this book since Stripes Publishing’s first YA Blogger event in February. Now, it’s finally here and we couldn’t be more excited to see the final product getting so much love and attention! If you didn’t know A Change is Gonna Come is an anthology of short stories and poems based on the theme of change, all written by black and minority ethic authors. There are some big names, like Patrice Lawrence and Ayisha Malik, but also some debut authors getting their first break!

As if that isn’t cool enough, the anthology also has diverse characters too, representing lesbian and non-binary identities, as well as OCD.

We thought we’d share our thoughts on our favourite stories!

Hackney Moon by Tanya Burne tells the story of Esther and her best friend Sam who pulls away when their peers taunt them for being lesbians.

The narration style is really unique, with a sort of direct address but not from either of the main characters, so it’s got this almost fairy-tale vibe! We loved the dialogue particularly, and the friendship group is one we would love a companion series about!

We Who? by Nikesh Shukla (*our absolute favourite*) is set after the UK vote Leave, and the main character struggles when his best friend starts to post harmful new stories, which expose that they have incredibly different political views that become destructive to their friendship.

It was quite a shock when ‘Leave’ was announced as the decision the UK had made regarding our position in the EU, and it upset so many people that this story is probably the most powerful and relatable in the whole collection. It’s difficult to watch the people around you, who you previously trusted and loved, repeating ideologies that are damaging and down right untrue. The disconnect you experience to those you once considered friends when something like this exposes your fundamental and uncompromising differences, is something I think we’re more likely to experience in this political climate. And not just in the UK, but the world.

Iridescent Adolescent by Phoebe Roy about a girl who sprouts feathers and longs to be hollow.

We adored the writing style of this story, it was magical and mystical. It’s not often that I connect to writing that is poetic in this way, but it also had some real down-to-earth moments that made it a lot – not relatable, per say, but something along those lines. It felt like a fresh take on the ‘Change’ theme, and was a real gem among other contemporary stories.

Dear Asha by Mary Bello is about Asha who’s mother recently died and so she goes to Nigeria to connect with her remaining family. She then hears some pretty dramatic news about her father that throws everything into a new light.

We really loved the setting in this and the emphasis on Nigeria culture. It was so cool that although being of that descent, Asha wasn’t really connected to it, and so witnessing her get in touch with her roots was great. This was also a short story that had a lot going, so could easily have been made into a full length novel!

A Refugee by Ayisha Malik is about a girl who is forced to volunteer at the a refugee camp by her parents and develops a strong friendship with one of the girls there, Homa.

This was such a powerful story about different experiences and how we need to open our eyes to the hardships of other people and help out where we can. The fact that Ayisha Malik managed to write such intense character development in such a short story was astounding!

Fortune Favours the Bold by Yasmin Rahman is mostly about a Muslim girl who decides to start wearing a headscarf, which splits her apart from her twin sister and also means she’s subjected to more religious prejudice.

Again, we loved the storytelling. It was a very accomplished short story, and the character had a great sense of voice. We’re really excited to see what Yasmin Rahman will produce next, because I hope she becomes a new big name for YA fiction. After this, I predict she will be a new auto-buy author, and to feel that strongly about an author’s capability to continually make me feel SO MANY THINGS just speaks to how wonderful this very short glimpse of her writing was.

Overall, A Change Is Gonna Come is a really powerful anthology that It think everyone needs to read. It exposes some fresh talent, whose careers I can’t wait to follow, and raises the voices of those who are underrepresented in the best way possible.

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Review: I’ll Be Home For Christmas UKYA Anthology!

31114205I’ll Be Home For Christmas, an anthology by UKYA authors
Genre: Contemporary
Publisher: Stripes Publishing
Pages: 384
Format: e-book
Rating: Each story rated individually!
Note: We received this book in exchange for on honest review. 

After reading  Stephanie Perkins’ Winter and Summer anthologies, it’s about time to have one full of wonderful UKYA authors! There are a few here, like Katy Cannon and Holly Bourne that we were really looking out for, but anthologies are always an exciting opportunity to discover new authors too.

Continue reading “Review: I’ll Be Home For Christmas UKYA Anthology!”

Review: Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins

25063781Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins
Genre: 
Romance
Published by: St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 336
Format: ARC e-book
Rating:
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

There’s nothing we love more than summer. The weather’s been super nice recently, tricking us into thinking we’re closer to June than we are! So, to fuel those summery vibes, we started reading Summer Days and Summer Nights, because if there’s one thing better than summer…it’s romance! Each story is individually rated, so check it out!

Who'sWho

We tried to match the couples to the authors, so here’s the key!

Continue reading “Review: Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins”

Review: Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

25689074Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
Genre: 
Fairy Tale Retelling
Published: Feiwel and Friends
Pages: 369
Format: e-book
Rating: All individually rated

Let’s go through, one by one, my thoughts on all the stories collected in the Lunar Chronicles anthology, Stars Above. Spoilers: Marissa Meyer saves the best until last!

THE KEEPER – ★★
This is a story of Michelle Benoit, when she’s given Cinder as a charge. We also get little hints of preteen Scarlet and it is the sweetest thing. I loved knowing more about her character, and what made her so important to Scarlet and the series as a whole. A worthy edition to the storyline!

GLITCHES – ★★★★
Cinder’s origin story, it does a really great job of showing Peony’s passion for her new sister, and Adri’s disgust. This is also satisfying. It deals with the root of Adri’s dislike and starts to show how Cinder is in such a subservient place at the beginning of her book. Glorious.

THE QUEEN’S ARMY – ★★
Wolf has a name??? This was also great. I’d read Glitches and this one prior to the anthology coming out, so I knew what to expect. Getting backstory to the Lunar army, and what caused such a rift between Wolf and his brother was important to understanding their actions in Scarlet. It fleshed out my knowledge of the army, and the lengths Levana was willing to go to ensure her ultimate power. It was really short, though, so probably could have been added as a backstory chapter in Scarlet itself.

CARSWELL’S GUIDE TO BEING LUCKY – 
This was one of the weaker stories. Essentially, what we have here, is a tale of high school Carswell Thorne, being all flirty with girls who aren’t Cress. Of course, he didn’t know her at this point but it disturbed me to think of him with anyone else but my precious darling. We get a bit more information about his motives for wanting the Rampion ship and being a captain, but it’s a story I could have lived without.

WHEN SUNSHINE PASSES BY – 
Again, I thought this one was weak. It’s the tale of Cress being taken to her satellite by Sybil. Nothing we didn’t already know, so it felt like a bit of a filler story. It’s a shame that the stories of my two favourite characters were the weakest, but Cress was my favourite of the main four books, so, I have that to be thankful for. Cress and Carswell are just the best when they’re together, and these two stories prove that.

THE LITTLE ANDROID – ★★
This was the story that was most disassociated from the main gang, so if you’re interested in reading a The Little Mermaid retelling, in a sci-fi setting this is for you. Cinder makes a little cameo, but all together, it was a nice retelling of the Hans Christian Anderson version that worked extremely well. No voice box in the android to reason with the lack of voice? Excellent.

THE PRINCESS AND THE GUARD – ★★★★
Now, apart from the final story, this was the one I was MOST interested in. It gave backstory for Winter, why she doesn’t use her magic power and how she got those three scars on her face (that do nothing to mar her beauty!) This is probably the story that’s most worthy of reading because I think it was one of the most excellent explanation of things we already found out throughout the series. Getting to see more of Jacin and Winter’s relationship is always a plus, and we knew from Fairest that they were close basically from birth. Such a lovely couple. What a great short story.

THE MECHANIC – ★★
Knowing what Kai was thinking when he first met Cinder was a dream of mine, and I’m glad it’s realised in this tale. It’s extremely short, but so is there first meeting, so…It was just lovely to see the little seeds of their relationship develop, and that Kai was interesting in her from the very beginning.

SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW – ★★★★
And here’s what I was waiting for. A WEDDING. OH MY GOODNESS. I was expecting it to be Winter and Jacin, immediately assuming it was a royal wedding, but I want all my babies to get married one day, so I wasn’t disappointed with any kind of union. And it was BEYOND cute. All the gang, in one place, my dreams literally came true. Marissa Meyer explained this short story as like fan fiction with her own characters, and I definitely got that vibe. Everyone deserves a happy ending, even if it’s two years after the end of Winter, and finally Cinder and her Prince are together forever after!

Review: Love Hurts by Malorie Blackman

23454354Love Hurts by Malorie Blackman
Genre: Anthology, Romance
Published by: Corgi Childrens
Pages: 576
Format: ebook
Rating: ★★★
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

Love Hurts is a collection of excerpts and short stories from popular authors that you’ve probably heard of before!
Here’s the list: Malorie Blackman, Maureen Johnson, Catherine Johnson, Philip Pullman, James Dawson, Jenny Downham, Patrick Ness, E. Lockhart, Lauren Myracle, Laura Dockrill, Gayle Forman, Markus Zusak, Susie Day, David Levithan, Lauren Kate, Tabitha Suzuma, Andrew Smith, Marcus Sedgwick, Bali Rai, Non Prat, Matt Haig, Phil Earle and Melvin Burgess.

Continue reading “Review: Love Hurts by Malorie Blackman”