Thank you NetGalley for giving me a good old-fashioned belly-laugh.
Before I give my thoughts on this, I have to confess to disliking Groundhog Day with a passion. I’m also fairly ambivalent about John Hughes’ movies…though I know them well enough to get the references here.
When Andie’s parents move her to Punxsutawney she spends the summer hanging out at the local movie theatre. Convinced she will find a boyfriend in one of the staff there (whose name has escaped me as he’s not particularly memorable, other than for being totally the wrong person for her) she is understandably nervous about her first day at a new school.
Her first day is a humdinger of awfulness. What’s worse is that she wakes the next day…and she’s back on her first day. This cycle is destined to repeat over and over.
Andie slowly starts to use her rather unusual situation to find out more about the students around her. She acquires new skills and plays some blinders worthy of their own place in an 80s teen movie.
Eventually, the cycle breaks and unless you’re VERY hard-hearted, you’ll applaud Andie all the way.
When Connell and Marianne first meet they are in school, and their lives are worlds apart. There is, however, an attraction between them and though nothing is ever shared with classmates they start a relationship (of sorts).
Each is messed up in their own way. They’re lost and wanting something. Neither really knows what, but we watch them go through time in this on/off relationship.
At varying times each finds someone else. Through university the pair maintain this relationship, but as we learn more about their backgrounds some of their quirks become a little more understandable.
Perhaps this will resonate with some, but I found the self-consciousness of the writing a little off-putting and it was, at heart, quite a miserable read. I can see how the soul-searching might appeal to some, but life is too short to waste on such a miserable situation.
It’s 2002, a year after 9/11, and Shirin has just started at yet another new high school. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped. Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments – even the physical violence she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day.
Shirin drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother. But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know her. It terrifies her -they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds – and Shirin has had her guard up against the world for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.
A book that makes you laugh, cry, rail against prejudice and many other emotions besides.
Shirin is used to moving around. She does her best not to be noticed, but as a Muslim teenager who wears the hijab she’s used to being seen and judged. Given that this novel is set not long after the 09/11 attacks, it’s inevitable that we’ll be forced to confront some pretty unpleasant behaviour and attitudes.
While the novel focuses on Shirin’s religion and how people treat her because of their assumptions about her, it is predominantly a love story.
Accustomed to being ignored or asked insulting questions, Shirin is bemused when her lab partner Ocean takes an interest in her. The pair of them together were awkward at times, but I was rooting for them from the off. Even more so when Shirin realises the one boy she gets a crush on is the high school basketball golden boy, and their relationship will bring all sorts of issues.
I think it’s safe to say this is a book I would highly recommend, and would be surprised if someone didn’t end up captivated by it. I’m particularly keen to see how those who enjoyed ‘The Hate U Give’ by Angie Thomas find it.
I wanted to wait for my physical copy, but NetGalley gave me an ARC and I couldn’t resist…so now I’ll get to read it again, soon.
This did not go where I wanted to, it didn’t do a lot of the things I hoped it would but I still fell for it hook, line and sinker.
When Arthur and Ben meet one day in New York, the chances of them seeing each other again are pretty slim. But where would the fun be in that?
Through a varied range of ingenious actions they find each other and have a date. It doesn’t work brilliantly, so they try again…and again. There’s lots of other factors impacting on their attempt to have a relationship, but they keep trying. Even when things are clearly heading into car-crash territory these two come out of things smelling of roses.
Every character in the story sparkles on the page, and this was a gooey lovely thing. For the most part. Not always – because nobody’s life could be that amazing – but it came fairly close.
Even the ending – which totally goes against what part of me really wanted to happen – was perfect.
Having lost a relative to this illness only a few months ago, there was always going to be an emotional investment in this for me.
Taylor is having to spend the summer with her family after they learn her father has pancreatic cancer. Setting aside the inevitable turmoil she feels at coping with such an event, Taylor also has unfinished business at the resort and this bothers her.
To cut a long story short, the novel is set in summer and nearly every interaction between Taylor and other characters links to the idea of second chances in some way.
The story allows us to take pleasure in the small moments, those moments it’s too easy to take for granted until you no longer have them. Matson explores the physical impact of illness with sensitivity and there were some genuinely moving moments (even if you’ve not been in a similar situation).
Alongside this we have Taylor learning to deal with her emotions and friendships. The romance is not overdone, and the growth Taylor experiences as a character felt realistic in its portrayal.
All in all, one of those books that got me far more emotionally invested than I was expecting.
A slow-build which thoughtfully explores love and relationships in a magical setting.
Over two hundred years ago the Swan sisters were accused of witchcraft and killed. In the modern day the town of Sparrow has little going for it, until the start of Swan season when the locals brace themselves for the annual attempt by these spirits to get revenge against the town that killed them.
Each year the spirits of the three wronged sisters take a life. Each year the tourists flock to Sparrow to witness these macabre events. Each year the locals brace themselves for the unease they feel necessary to atone for their ancestor’s past choices.
This year is different. Penny Thompson is determined that things need to change. When mysterious Bo arrives in Sparrow she has a difficult decision to make…save him, or save herself.
This was a magical read, and the interweaving of past and present kept me hooked in the events and keen to see how they would resolve themselves.
India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancé and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.
But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful, and big enough to change them forever…
I love it when a book delivers more than you’re expecting.
When India’s mother drops her bombshell, she’s unsure how to feel. With one action she’s gone from being a popular girl to a nobody on the social rung of her new school. India’s new stepfather has money, lots of it, and lives in an environment where your name and reputation is everything.
India’s journey in this novel is an interesting one. She slowly learns there’s more to people than they always want to present to the public, and gradually learns to trust herself.
There’s a lot in here that you need to discover as you read. The characters India meets are not without their flaws, but combined it makes for a pretty explosive read. There are some views expressed here that are never going to be okay – and they are necessary for the credibility of the characters/plot but it doesn’t make them any easier to read.
Since I blacked out, the slightest thing seems to aggravate my brain and fill it with fire’
These are the things Lux knows:
She is an Artist.
She is lucky.
She is broken.
These are the things she doesn’t know:
What happened over the summer.
Why she ended up in hospital.
Why her memories are etched in red.
‘The nightmares tend to linger long after your screams have woken you up …’
Desperate to uncover the truth, Lux’s time is running out. If she cannot piece together the events of the summer and regain control of her fractured mind, she will be taken away from everything and everyone she holds dear.
If her dreams don’t swallow her first.
There’s no doubt about it that this contemporary YA read – due to be published in early February 2018 – packs a powerful punch.
Initially, Lux was not a character to feel empathy with. Her unwillingness to engage with things and people made her hard to care about. The environment in which she cloisters herself is alien to many of us.
Yet as the story progressed I found myself falling under a spell. Desperate to know what happened, we do get answers, and they are far more topical than we might expect. All along I had an idea in which way the book was heading (which wouldn’t have been awful), but Ruffles goes for something much bolder and braver…and it pays off.
This is one book I feel it’s best to know little about before reading. It is not immediately seeking to attract your attention, but it sneaks up on you. Once I’d closed the pages I was desperate to read it again.
Wonderland and Alice’s adventures are very appealing, but what would you do if these things were real? For Alyssa Gardner, that is not something she has to worry about.
Ever since she was younger she’s been aware of the fact that she has a bond with Wonderland. She’s been teased throughout school for the rumours that she’s a descendant of Alice Liddell…but what would her peers do if they ever learned the truth about why her mother doesn’t live with them?
There’s all sorts going on here, and initially it felt a bit of a struggle to get into. Alyssa hears voices from bugs etc talking to her, and seems totally paranoid that she may be going mad (like her mother). What is clear early on is that strange things are afoot for her.
Alyssa ends up going down the rabbit hole and finds herself part of a twisted plan to end the curse on her family/sort out who should be Queen. She recognises Morpheus, the friend from her childhood who certainly appeals to her passionate inner self. But Alyssa also has to consider the love of her life, Jeb, who ends up journeying with her.
A rather surreal experience. We recognise characters from the story but there’s a ghoulish element to them…I imagine this could be turned into a great movie.
On the surface, this is a clever book packed full of graphics and interesting text to support the main narrative. But, beneath the surface, it’s a story about finding yourself, coming to accept your strengths/limitations and – in part – addressing mental health issues and thoughts about the role the internet has in our lives.
Eliza has always been introverted. She feels she doesn’t fit in with her sporty competitive family, preferring to spend her time online. Here she is not the oddball she feels in real life; here, she’s Lady Constellation, creator of Monstrous Seas…a webcomic like no other.
When new boy Wallace joins her school, she finds an unlikely ally. The growing friendship between these two was well-handled, and I liked that Zappia showed us suffering can come in numerous ways and it’s all about how we deal with it.
Of course, not everything goes as smoothly as we’d like. There are bumps along the way, but Eliza comes through a pretty tough time…smiling. For those who like their reading a little different, this will be right up their street.