Review: Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer

33806020Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer
Genre: 
Contemporary
Publisher: Canongate
Pages: 368
Format: e-book
Rating: ★★
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

If there’s ever a reason to pick up a book, it’s to find out why half the characters are spontaneously combusting without rhyme or reason. The quirky plot drew me in, but the voice drew me out.

Mara Carlyle is our narrator. She’s hyper aware of the this role, calling chapters ‘things you should know’ and the like. I can forgive the story telling being dramatic – hey, not everyday is it that someone blows up in front of your face – but there was something about the narration that felt a little over the top. Maybe it was the humour, a joke gone too far. Not in the crude sense, where you just start gritting your teeth because something fun became something prejudice, but where every humorous moment, or observation is drawn out with one too many examples.  Continue reading “Review: Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer”

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Review: Stargazing for Beginnings by Jenny McLachlan

32021893Stargazing for Beginnings by Jenny McLachlan
Genre: 
Contemporary
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★★
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

As soon as I saw this book, it caught my eye, I’m a sucker for stars and anything space-based. As soon as I read the synopsis, I knew it was a book I’d have to read immediately, dropping all responsibilities to be truly absorbed by a book.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a contemporary like this. My first instinct is to compare it to the writing of Holly Smale and the characters of Katy Cannon (AKA the recipe for Maddie’s Perfect Book.) I was even more delighted that, by the end, I could add YA Cathy Cassidy book to my list of comparisons. Stargazing for Beginners was perfectly made, and here’s how I think it was done! Continue reading “Review: Stargazing for Beginnings by Jenny McLachlan”

Review: The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas

32187354The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas
Genre: Contemporary
Publisher: MacMillan Children’s Book
Pages: 224
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

This was the perfect book for us to read after finishing the Geek Girl series by Holly Smale. Grace had the same style quirks as Harriet, and even though she wasn’t spurting facts left, right and centre, there was that same sense of frivolity and fun that Geek Girl omits. If you love that series, it’s guaranteed you’ll get on well with Grace and co.

Grace has Asperger’s. Grace, and everyone around her, deals with this because it’s completely normal. I’ve read a few Own Voices reviews of the book that talk about how good it is that Grace isn’t seen as a ‘problem child’ or ‘weird’ by other people, and that’s one of the reasons this book is so good. Many books that are dealing with the non-average teenager will make whatever makes them non-average into their whole personality. Have an eating disorder? Well, you might as well be called Anorexia. Have depression? Well, looks like all you’ll be feeling is depressed. Grace is the complete opposite of this, and that’s beyond refreshing. Some of her teachers don’t even realise she has Asperger’s. It’s not an excuse for her behaviour – it’s just something she lives with.  Continue reading “Review: The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas”

Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertali

32596757The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertali
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 300
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★★

Simon Versus the Homo Sapiens Agenda was one of my favourite books of 2015! We recommended it in our Romances for Valentine’s day video because it’s light-hearted and cute, so when I got the chance to read Becky Albertali’s next book, of course, I leapt at the chance!

This was also one of my most anticipated releases of this year, and I think a lot of people are going to be using it as their choice for ‘under represented body type’ in the Diversity Bingo!

Continue reading “Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertali”

Review: Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley

30525432Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley
Genre:
Contemporary, LGBT
Publisher: HQ
Pages: 384
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★

I don’t even know how to put into words how disappointed I am with this one. It just…fell flat. The setting did nothing to enhance the story (and was void of any kind of adult supervision, which was unrealistic for the type of trip they’re on), the social activist thread came way too late in the story for me to be convinced it was Aki’s passion, her hidden backstory with the music school was over emphasised and came to nothing, there was so much unnecessary drama based on lying about stupid things.

Continue reading “Review: Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley”

Review: Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten

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Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten
Genre: Thriller, Contemporary
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★

So, I was sold on Beware That Girl as soon as I saw it being compared to ‘Pretty Little Liars’ and ‘Gone Girl.’ Hot Key also said that Elle Fanning was rumoured to be in the movie, and if that isn’t enough of a reason to want to read this book, then I don’t know what is! This book was unexpectedly good! It was somehow in my comfort zone but also not, simultaneously! However, I would ignore the ‘it’s this mashed up with this’ because Beware That Girl is its own separate thing that deserves to stand on its own.

Continue reading “Review: Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten”

Mini Review: Optimists Die First by Susin Nielson

30335560Optimists Die First by Susin Nielson
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Anderson Press
Pages: 272
Format: ARC Paperback
Rating: ★★★
Note: I received this book from Anderson Press in exchange for an honest review 

really, really liked We Are All Made of Molecules, it was an astonishingly good read that I wasn’t expecting. So, when Optimists Die First came through the letterbox – also unexpectedly – I was really looking forward to seeing whatever Nielson wrote next. And while I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as WAAMOM, it was still a delightful read full of quirky characters and plenty of intrigue!

Continue reading “Mini Review: Optimists Die First by Susin Nielson”

Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

30849412The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Genre: Contemporary
Published by: Penguin
Pages: 320
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★★
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

On the cover of a sampler I received of this book, is the little sticker ‘The YA Debut of 2017′. That’s a big claim to make and a lot to live up to, but I definitely see how The One Memory of Flora Banks lives up to that claim, after finishing the whole thing and needing to sit in silence for a second to absorb what I’d just read. It was powerful, it was special and one I can’t wait for other people to read! Continue reading “Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr”

Review: The Memory Book by Lara Avery

30316954The Memory Book by Lara Avery
Genre: 
Contemporary
Publisher: Hachette
Pages: 357
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★.5
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This was one of the books that everyone was hauling at YALC, so when it came up on Netgalley, it was an instant request! The premise sounded so intriguing but somehow it both exceeded and didn’t meet our expectations.

Continue reading “Review: The Memory Book by Lara Avery”

Review: A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom

31279174A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom
Genre: 
Contemporary
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 400
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★.5
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

After quite liking Eric Lindstrom’s debut Not If I See You First, I was really intrigued when his second book came up on NetGalley. The premise sounded so interesting, and I’m always geared up to add another book about mental health to my TBR. But, it turned out that Mel’s bipolar disorder was the only thing that kept me reading the book, and there were a few other things that almost caused me to DNF…for the first time ever. Continue reading “Review: A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom”