Review: Truly Wildly Deeply by Jenny McLachlan

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

I was really excited to read this after loving Stargazing For Beginners, earlier this year. I literally jumped when I saw this come up on NetGalley, because no way was I getting to read two new Jenny McLachlan books in a year. This definitely followed in the same style, and there’s so much to love about it.

First of all, Annie, the main character, has cerebral palsy and uses both a wheelchair and crutches in the book. I haven’t read about that many visibly disabled characters, and this is something I hope to change in the coming year. The discussion of Annie’s disability and her mentality surrounded it was really well handled, and although I can’t speak on behalf of those with CP, I felt it was respectful and insightful without trying to tell someone else’s story.

Second, it’s set at a sixth form and the representation of that environment is absolutely spot on. For the classes and cafeteria dynamic, to the desperate need to reinvent yourself and find new friends, I absolutely loved the setting. It took me right back to my sixth form years which were a delight.

Of course, it can’t be set in a school and not have English classes as a prominent feature. Throughout the novel, Annie and the boy she sits next to, Fab, are constantly arguing about Wuthering Heights. It felt like a copy and paste of my own A level lit lessons, as that was one of the texts we studied and I hated it. Jane Eyre, now that’s a book I can get behind. But, it was great to see how the book reflected Annie and Fab’s relationship and how it inspired the final 20% of the book in a very Sara Barnard style way. (Also, the style of the moors makes the cover beautiful!)

Annie and Fab are an interesting couple, mostly because they’re not a couple for most of the book. It’s obvious that Fab likes Annie, but Annie is apprehensive to be in a relationship. There’s a back-and-forth between them about this, and some classic miscommunication that could have been resolved quicker, in my opinion, and maybe I would have liked more reasoning for Annie’s disinterest in romance. She was showing a lot of demiromantic and asexual tendencies, and I got too excited about those possibilities when they weren’t canon.

I loved the scenarios that Annie and Fab were put in, like a costume party, a Polish wedding and a date involving berry-picking. It was all cute and lovely, exactly what I want in a contemporary romance.

Annie’s  mum was something special too. Close mother-daughter relationships are my favourite thing (see Radio Silence by Alice Oseman).  She was someone that Annie actually talked to about her problems and I loved her parental prominence.

Overall, I really liked Truly Wildly Deeply, if you couldn’t tell already, and give it 4 stars. There were a few things that I didn’t gel with, and there were a few pacing issues but they didn’t take away from how just lovely this book was. If you’re looking for disability rep, a love-tolerate romance and quirky plot points, I’d totally recommend this book.

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Moonrise by Sarah Crossan

Every verse novel of Sarah Crossan’s has been getting better and better and this is no exception. She just picks the absolute best characters to write about and tells stories you don’t normally hear that mean you can’t put the book down until it’s done.

Moonrise tells the story of Joe, who’s brother, Ed, is on death row. He hasn’t seen him in ten years, and now that he’s been given a death date, he decides to move to Texas for the opportunity to reconnect with him, and get the truth about what happened the day he was arrested.

What I loved about the story was how unassuming it was. It could have been from Ed’s perspective, and been a huge mystery like The Life of David Gale, that film with Kevin Spacey and Kate Winslet. Instead, with the focus on Joe, there’s a stronger emphasis on strength and family and needing support. If you want to get angry about the justice system, watch the film instead, because while it does get mentioned, trying to save Ed is never at the heart of the book, it’s more about both brothers coming to terms with his fate.

My favourite moments of the book were Ed’s letters to Joe – the last one definitely had me tearing up – and when Nell turned up in Joe’s life because it was such a sweet and real relationship against a harsh reality that offered Joe some escape.

While the prospect of counting down the days until your brother dies sounds morbid, Moonrise strikes the perfect balance between touching and melancholy, never fully dipping into complete sadness, but never letting you forget that life is unfair sometimes.

Succinct and moving, I’m giving Moonrise 4 stars, and it’s definitely going to be something I’m thinking about for months to come!

Review: The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

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

This book completely took my by surprise, and it is easily one of the best contemporaries I’ve read all year. Actually, let’s be honest: one of the best contemporaries I’ve read ever. I haven’t been touched this much by friendship, family and faith since the Clearwater Crossing series, which is an old one from the 90s but one of my all time favourites due to it’s absolutely beautiful complex characters and range of emotion. Emery Lord managed to pack the punch of a 20 book series into 380 glorious pages. The Names They Gave Us has a beating heart at its core and I was fully blown away.

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Review: Countless by Karen Gregory

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

We’ve seen a bit of hype about this book going around the UKYA twitter-sphere, and so were really looking forward to reading it as soon as it came up on NetGalley. It’s a story of love, dependence and pressure, with a bitter sweet edge that’s guaranteed to make you feel something by the end. Let’s talk about the pros and cons!
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Hedda is young and suffering from an eating disorder without the support of her parents. She’s living in a council flat, struggling for cash, and having to go to therapy to talk through her issues. Recently, her best friend died because of her anorexia, and Hedda is still dealing with the repercussions of that disaster. Something she really didn’t need in her life were more complications, but, surprise!, she’s also pregnant.

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Review: The City Bleeds Gold by Lucy Saxon

32467656The City Bleeds Gold by Lucy Saxon
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 400
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★.5
Series: Take Back The Skies (#1) | The Almost King (#2)

First of all, let’s just take a moment to die over how beautiful this cover is. THE COLOURS. This is the third book in the Tellus series, and probably my favourite of the books so far. Each story centres on a different main character in a different country of the fantastical world, and The City Bleeds Gold follows Noah, the future queen’s almost-finance, who moonlights as Daniel, who searches for truth and justice in the lower areas of the city to bring down the big bad.

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Review: We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

25310356We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan
Genre: Verse, Contemporary
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Pages: 320
Format: ARC ebook
Rating: ★★★.5
Note: We received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

As you can see from the cover, these authors are critically acclaimed. Sarah Crossan won the Carnegie Medal for her verse book about conjoined twins, One, which Maddie adored in 2015. We also knew we desperately wanted to read this because we’re going to meet the authors at an event and this is the book they’re promoting. All we knew before going in was that it’s written in verse and the poems are from two perspectives: Jess, a mild kleptomaniac and is forced by her mother’s partner, Terry, to film her mum whenever he beats her, and Nicu, a refugee that has to start going to school where he is bullied to a horrifying extent.

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Review: When We Collided by Emery Lord

25663637When We Collided by Emery Lord
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Mental Health
Published by: Bloomsbury
Pages: 352
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★

I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

I think I have a love/hate relationship with this book. I really liked that Vivi was representing a mental illness that isn’t usually talked about, and Jonah was a sort of child carer, but I’m not a fan of needing romance to accept yourself and Vivi was the essence of a panic mixie dream girl.  Continue reading “Review: When We Collided by Emery Lord”

Fracture by Megan Miranda

9548964Fracture by Megan MirandaMegan Miranda
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Published by: Bloomsbury
Pages: 262
Format: Paperback
Rating:

I picked this book up on a whim because it sounded similar to the movie ‘Age of Adeline’, however what I got instead was a weird mix of Mara Dyer and a high school thriller.

Fracture did not leave a lasting impression. As soon as I put the book down I practically forgot it. It follows Delaney Maxwell who falls into a frozen lake and almost dies. After her recovery she gets a strange twinge in her head that means someone in the local area is going to die.

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Review: Breathe by Sarah Crossan

breatheBreathe by Sarah Crossan
Genre:
Dystopian, Romance, Sci-Fi
Published by: Bloomsbury
Pages: 373
Format: Paperback
Series: Resist (#2)
Rating: ★★★.5

I’ll admit it here and now, this was a bit of a cover buy. After reading Under the Never Sky and eventually really liking it, I thought I would give this series a try, since it seemed pretty similar! In a world where there are no longer any trees, your oxygen is controlled by Breathe and unless you’re Privileges, you lead a very restricted life. Quinn is Privileged and Bea is not, but they’re not about to let their caste dictate their friendships, together they leave the Pod and get caught up in RATS, the rebellion that wants to expose Breathe and forge a new world where everyone has the right to breathe.

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Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas23848145
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Published by: Bloomsbury
Pages: 644
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★
Series: Throne of Glass (#1) | Crown of Midnight (#2) | Heir of Fire (#3)
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

This book should be subtitled: Caleana Sardothien is dead and gone, so don’t expect anything. Okay, so I’m not this series’ biggest fan – it’s got plenty of those already – and it’s no secret that I didn’t really enjoy Heir of Fire either, however Queen of Shadows takes the biscuit. After all the hype I was reading on GoodReads I found this book to be terribly disappointing.

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