Review: Marly’s Ghost by David Levithan

23898966Marly’s Ghost by David Levithan
Genre: Contemporary, Retelling, Romance
Published by: Electric Monkey
Pages: 166
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★
Other: Two Boys KissingEvery Day

Marly’s Ghost is what David Levithan calls a ‘remix’ of Charles’ Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’, except at Valentine’s Day instead of Christmas. The basic premise is that Ben’s girlfriend Marly died and now he can’t connect to the celebrations and feels he’ll never love again. So Marly’s ghost visits him in the middle of the night, and tells him he’ll be visited by three ghosts. Can you guess who? That’s right! The ghosts of Valentine’s Past, Present and Future.

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Review: Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan

17616412Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan
Genre: Contemporary, Magical Realism, Romance
Published by: Penguin
Pages: 358
Format: Paperback
Rating: It varies, but ★★★.5

When it comes to David Levithan I find that his co-written works are always the best, and Invisibility continues to prove this theory right. I absolutely loved the first 150 pages or so. They were so well written and I was completely absorbed by the characters and the situation. However, I do agree with the majority of the other reviews that this book lost its way in the middle, and began to feel like something completely different. Still, I really liked the magical-realism element, and I think you can explain away the majority of the strangeness to the situation. It’s still worth giving a go, and here’s why!

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Review: You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina Lacour

29848950You Know Me Well  by David Leviathan and Nina Lacour
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Published by: Macmillan’s Children’s Books
Pages: 256
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★

I have come to expect a certain reading experience from David Levithan’s co-authored books, and I have to say that this was no exception. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing depends on how much you like to be surprised. I personally like it when an author’s books can be distinguished between one another by using different character types or different settings or ways to create plot/tension. So, although You Know Me Well fits perfectly into the David Levithan canon, maybe that’s not a good thing. Nina Lacour, on the other hand, had a jaunty style that was very similar to Levithan’s but they had their differences. I’m still not sure how I feel about her writing, but my previous experience of her work is limited to the short story she submitted to the Summer Days and Summer Nights anthology, so we shall see…

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Review: Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

20453480Two Boys Kissing by David Leviathan
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQ
Published by: Electric Monkey (Egmont)
Pages: 239
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★

This book was in my sixth form’s library, and I just never got round to reading it while I was there, which I obviously regretted because as soon as I spotted it in my local library I was checking it out without a second thought. All I knew about it was that it’s pretty much a staple in any list about LGBTQ YA and that was reason enough for me to want to read it. I’ve read a lot of David Levithan so far, and have found that I’ve enjoyed his co-written works with Rachel Cohn more than his own stuff, but I thought I’d see how it went.

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Review: Every Day by David Levithan

every dayEvery Day by David Levithan
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Published by: Electric Monkey – Egmont
Pages: 371
Rating: ★★★★.5
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

‘Every Day’ was an impulse read. The cover is orange. Orange is my favourite colour – what better reason is there for picking up a book? I didn’t know much about David Levithan’s writing style when he flew solo, having only read his work in collaboration with Rachel Cohn, but I can say, without doubt, I enjoyed this stand-alone the best!

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Review: Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

22717418Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Genre: contemporary, romance, LGBT
Published by: Electric Monkey (Egmont)
Pages: 238
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★
Where to find: Goodreads | Amazon

I’ve already read Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares and Naomi and Ely’s story was probably my least favourite of the three. I couldn’t connect with the characters as much, and I just din’t really like them. What I did like, that was different to their other co-written works, was the added perspectives of the eponymous character’s friends. If you liked A Little Something Different you would probably like this style of writing!

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Review: Are We There Yet? by David Levithan

18343374Are We There Yet? by David Levithan
Genre: Contemporary, Family
Published by: Alfred A. Knopf
Pages: 215
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★.5
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

I picked this book up because I have been thoroughly enjoying David Levithan’s co-written works with Rachel Cohn, and I decided that in 2015 I wanted to read more of his novels. When I saw a wild David Levithan book appear in the library, one that I hadn’t heard of no less, I jumped on the chance to read it.

Are We There Yet? by David Levithan is the story of two brothers who really misunderstand one another. They’ve grown apart as they’ve gotten older, and when their parents send them on a holiday to Italy they don’t know how they’re going to cope.

The character development was progressively good. I didn’t like where the brothers started but I really liked how their relationship changed and evolved into something new. There was a lot of miscommunication between the brothers, and the age gap didn’t help matters, so it really made me thankful that I’ve grown up with a sister who’s the same age (high five, Maddie!) I don’t think I’ve read much about brothers before, there always seems to be sister relationships in novels, but you don’t often hear of two brothers – if you do please recommend the good ones! – and Levithan analyzed the differences between the different sibling relationships and it was really eye opening. I’d say that because of Maddie I don’t really know much about different gender sibling relationships. People always ask Maddie and I ‘what’s it like to be twin’ and we can only ever respond with ‘we don’t know any different!’ But those same people would then proceed to look at us strangely if we asked them ‘what’s it like to have a younger brother?’ or something along those lines.

I can’t say that I preferred one brother to the other, because it really depended on what either David or Elijah were doing. I wouldn’t say I connected with either of their personalities, but the relationship they shared was what made me keep reading! They were in Italy – Venice, Florence, Rome – and I really liked hearing about all the different landmarks. I was particularly interested in Florence as that is the focus of my History coursework that I start in January.

Apart from visiting a few landmarks, and getting their hearts broken there wasn’t too much plot. It probably isn’t the book for you if you like a fast paced adventure read, but if you like the family-centric novels then pick this one up straight away! It’s a great ‘brothers version’ of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Are We There Yet? has not put me of Levithan’s writing at all, in fact I can’t wait to get my hands on more! However, I’m only going to give this book two stars comparatively to his other works.

Apart from visiting a few landmarks, and getting their hearts broken there wasn’t too much plot. It probably isn’t the book for you if you like a fast paced adventure read, but if you like the family-centric novels then pick this one up straight away! It’s a great ‘brothers version’ of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Are We There Yet? has not put me of Levithan’s writing at all, in fact I can’t wait to get my hands on more! However, I’m only going to give this book two stars comparatively to his other works.

Review: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Dash and Lily’s B10264464ook of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Published by: Knopf Books
Pages: 260
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

David Levithan and Rachel Cohn are quickly becoming some of my favourite authors. I read Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist relatively recently and really enjoyed it, and picked up Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares for the Christmas Booktubeathon (a book with red and green on the cover) and boy, am I glad I did!

There’s something about the way that Levithan and Cohn construct their characters relationships, so that the book is equally just about Lily, just about Dash, and just about the two as an entity. There wasn’t a perspective that I liked more than the other, because both sides were engaging and heartwarming to the point of making me a giggling mess. I was so surprised to read that the authors didn’t plan out every single detail and circumstance. They literally just passed chapters back and forth as if they were Dash and Lily themselves. I admire that style of writing, no plan. Simply go.

I loved how there were certain things that linked Dash and Lily together, one of them would mention something they did, and then it would pop up in the next character’s chapter. A little bit of dramatic irony never hurt any one! What I also loved was that the family and friends of Dash and Lily aren’t explained fully – yeah, their backstories crop up, but we’re quite a way into the story and Boomer shows up and he’s a main character! It makes it seem as if you’re really looking into someone’s life.

Dash and Lily’s story got progressively less about the book and more about the people. There was some amazing character development in this book…perhaps not development in Dash’s case, but they both ‘found’ themselves. You could see that they were both concerned with the way they were presented on paper versus ‘real life’, which added an interesting dynamic of self-discovery that you don’t often see talked about in YA. The book was more than just two kids finding romance, it was more about them realizing that they were unique and that was okay. I really appreciated the profound way they talked about ‘the girl/boy in your head’, it was an interesting concept that got me thinking.

Dash’s wordiness, and Lily’s endless family connections, how every secondary character had a purpose, and the unique settings around New York really made me fall in love with this book. There was also a little cameo reference to Nick and Norah, and you know I love a good cameo!

Overall, I would give Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares four stars, because I really did enjoy the story, but I was disappointed with the ending. The build up was good, but then it cut out about two chapters before I wanted it to! I will definitely be picking up Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List, and any subsequent co-written works!

Christmas Recommends

As the Christmas season is upon us, and those of us that are enjoying the toils of school are soon to be released into the world of holidays, we thought it would be good to recommend our five favourite Christmassy reads (in no particular order!)

let it snow1. ‘Let It Snow’ by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle
This is a super cute collection of short stories that are all linked, like ‘Love Actually’. The authors’ writing styles really compliment each other and all the characters are so well developed in a short amount of pages.  My favourite story in the collection was probably Maureen Johnson’s, the first in the anthology, and I hope to read more of her work soon!

My-True-Love-Gave-to-Me2. ‘My True Love Gave to Me’ edited by Stephanie Perkins
Basically, this in another anthology filled with short Christmas stories written by everyone’s favourite authors. They’re so sweet an quick to read, perfect for falling in love, as the tag line says. These really get you into the Christmas mood, without a huge commitment to 400 pages as they’re not all interlinked.

dash and lily3. ‘Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares’ by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Christmas just seems to be the season to read collaborations. The book is set in a wintery New York and is about two unsuspecting teens finding romance. What’s not to love? Again, this is a quick read, but full of laughs and anecdotes, you can’t help but feel cheerful the whole way through.

Fangirl4. ‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell
I chose ‘Fangirl’ because I think there’s a real emphasis on the importance of family and communicating with them, which is a great message for the Christmas season. All Cath is in a completely new environment, her family and love interest offer her comfort and security. A tear-jerker, but the most adorable and relatable book ever written.

divergent5. ‘Divergent’ by Veronica Roth
This might seem like an odd choice because there’s nothing Christmassy about it at all. I mean, a war between factions, with murders, conspiracies and battles? Not exactly all merry and bright. However, I think it’s the perfect book to take you somewhere completely new. It will absorb your whole mind and make your heart race – something to keep you completely occupied on a Christmas afternoon.

Review: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

NIN2Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Published by: Knopf Books
Pages: 208
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★.5
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

I picked up Nick and Norah mostly because it was only 188 pages long, and I needed a quick read to get that satisfaction of actually reading something. And I was pleasantly surprised! I wanted something light and fun that I could just pick up and put down. I needed good writing to make up for some of the most recent books I have read that I have not enjoyed, and I thought Nick and Norah was a safe bet.

I got way more than I anticipated. I was hooked from the first page. Nick was probably my favourite out of the two because Leviathan’s writing style was so poetic and beautiful. Everything was so circular and clever and I loved every minute. Norah’s perspective was also really wonderful, and I liked how free and teenager-y the dialogue was. I believed that the characters were real people. There was swearing, there was sexual references, and it felt real. Nothing about this book glamorised teenage-hood, and that was partly what made this books so enjoyable.

I liked that it was just about these two characters who were so unique, but also so similar. There was quite a cast of characters, but they felt like they were significant, not just written for the sake of being written. The plot was very simple – two teenagers who spend a day together, and try and get to know each other whilst also trying to get over someone else – but it was executed well.

I wasn’t really a fan of everything Norah said, and sometimes their conversations seemed a little forced, but I suppose they were meant to. What I can’t believe, most of all, is that this book was written in 2006 and yet I’ve barely heard anything about it! I known they made a movie adaptation, but after watching the trailer and thinking “that’s not how it goes!” I don’t think I’ll be watching it.

I thoroughly enjoyed Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist  and would recommend it to anyone who wants a quick read that will make them laugh and get lost in the story. I think I’ll give the book 3.5 stars, because I did enjoy it, but the middle dragged on a bit and I think the resolution could almost have come a lot earlier in the story line. But it was only 188 pages, so I can’t complain too much!