Author: Louise O’Neill Publisher: Quercus Release Date: 3rd September 2015 Genre: YA, Contemporary, Feminism Pages: 346
It's the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O'Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident. One night, there's a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.
The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can't remember what happened, she doesn't know how she got there. She doesn't know why she's in pain. But everyone else does.
Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night. But sometimes people don't want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town's heroes...
This book was a fantastic, well-written story of Emma O’Donovan – an eighteen-year-old girl who goes to a party and gets gang-raped by four of the most popular boys in her small town. When she wakes the next morning, lying on her front porch in serious pain, she can’t remember what happened the previous night. It’s only when the pictures of her emerge online that she remembers the real truth. “They are all innocent until proven guilty. But not me. I am a liar until I am proven honest.” This book was so amazing to show what society is really like, how they just brush over the victim in rape cases, e.g. Brock Turner SMH. Anyways, what I liked most about this book is the fact that O’Neill made the victim a despicable person. For me anyways, when I started the book, didn’t particularly like Emma as a person, I thought she was a vain and horrible person.
That’s what makes this book fantastic… it makes it harder to feel sorry for the victim for a bad person, but that shouldn’t be the case. Even if the victim, like Emma, is a bad person – NOBODY DESERVES TO GET RAPED. NOBODY. EVER. I felt really sorry for Emma’s friends in the story and I hated Emma’s parents ngl. Her dad just didn’t understand that she was raped and she was telling the truth. The whole town of Ballinatoom didn’t even believe her because her rapists were seen as the town’s heroes and idols.
Like I can’t gush about this book enough. I’m sad to say it but it’s needed. It’s so terribly needed and so important for every member of every generation to read it because they need to understand. We need to talk about rape. Anyways, I’m gonna end this review with some lines I found amazing and I hope this will have convinced you to read this and enjoy it like I have.
““My body is not my own any more. They have stamped their names all over it.””
““I am not falling apart. I am being ripped at the seams, my insides torn out until I am hollow.””
““What's wrong with what I'm wearing?" "I don't know, Em." Bryan takes a gulp from his water bottle. "It's a bit slutty, isn't it?" I stare pointedly at the FHM poster Blu-Tacked on the wall opposite the bed, of some topless model, one finger in her mouth, the other hand reaching into her knickers. "That's different.””
So, like, obviously, it goes without saying that this book deserves 5 [million] stars out of 5.
Author: Ali Benjamin Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books Release Date: March 10th 2016 Genre: MG, YA, Fiction Pages: 343
Suzy is twelve when her best friend, Franny, drowns one summer at the beach. It takes two days for the news to reach Suzy, and it's not something that she can accept: Franny has always been a strong swimmer, from the day they met in swim class when they were just 5. How can someone all of a sudden, just no longer be there?
Suzy realizes that they must have got it wrong: Franny didn't just drown - she was stung by a poisonous jellyfish. This makes a lot more sense to Suzy's logical mind than a random drowning - cause: a jellyfish sting; effect: death.
Suzy's journey to acceptance is quiet - she resolves to either say something important, or say nothing at all. But it's also bursting with bittersweet humour, heart-breaking honesty, big ideas and small details.
What can I say about this book? Well, to put it simply, I just adored it. I was reluctant to read this at first because I hadn’t heard much hype about it nor did I think I’d be interested in a MG book. But I’m so glad I gave it a chance because it was a really lovely read.
“It's peculiar how no-words can be better than words. How silence can say more than noise, or a person's absence can occupy even more space than their presence did.”
Benjamin’s style of writing is unique and perfect. Maybe it was because it was MG, but her writing style flowed easily and it was simple to read. The plot and storyline is a unique one that I’ve not read anything like before. Suzy, a girl who chooses not to talk since the death of her best friend, goes on a journey herself to find out what truly caused her friend’s death. Franny, her friend, died due to a drowning incident. Yet Suzy cannot bring herself to believe this. Franny was an excellent swimmer so she turns to only one conclusion: death by jellyfish.
“The thing you and I understand, Jamie, is that having venom doesn’t make a creature bad. Venom is protection. The more fragile the animal, the more it needs to protect itself. So the more venom a creature has, the more we should be able to forgive that animal. They’re the ones that need it most. And, really, what is more fragile than a jellyfish, which doesn’t even have any bones?”
And to end this review of a really great book, I’m going to talk about Suzy herself and how great of a character she is. She’s just so sweet and loveable and you can’t help but feel for her throughout the majority of the book. She’s only twelve and she’s lost her best friend and at the same time, she’s suffering at the hands of bullies. Her confidence and determination to find out what happened to Franny are some of her best traits, and the fact that she chooses not to speak adds to her character.
Also, I shouldn’t have to even say this in this day and age, but thank you Ali Benjamin for the LGBTQ+ representation in Suzy’s brother and his boyfriend. They weren’t in a lot of it, but at the same time I wasn’t expecting any at all, so thank you. It definitely made the book more. realistic.
Publisher: Stripes Publishing Release Date: 22nd September 2016 Genre: YA, Short Stories Pages: 384
The UK's top Young Adult authors join together in this collection of new stories and poems on the theme of home. Contributors include: Tom Becker, Holly Bourne, Sita Brahmachari, Kevin Brooks, Melvin Burgess, Katy Cannon , Cat Clarke, Juno Dawson, Julie Mayhew, Non Pratt, Marcus Sedgwick, Lisa Williamson and Benjamin Zephaniah. GBP1 from the sale of every book will be donated to Crisis, the national homelessness charity.
I think it’s quite obvious from the books that I’ve read that I was really excited to get this book. I feel like I’ve been saying I’m excited for this book repeatedly in my last few blogs, but I can’t help it, I just am really excited about lots of books, lmao… Anyways… the main authors I was looking forward to reading in this were HOLLY BOURNE (AKA MY QUEEN), LISA WILLIAMSON and my recently discovered new favourite NON PRATT! It’s hard to talk about this book without going into too much detail about each and every individual story. If I had to pick my top three it would honestly be Lisa Williamson’s, Non Pratt’s and Juno Dawson’s! I know, I know, Holly’s name isn’t in my top three and I feel like I’m saying the biggest sin right now but her story just didn’t do it for me. I found it (not dissimilar from a few others, might I add) to be a bit boring. I think my problem with it is that maybe I wanted more because I didn’t really feel like it told a story with a beginning, middle and end. Anyways, I’m going to STOP myself right now from slating Holly Bourne because she is a cinnamon roll and does not deserve it. Overall, I was a bit disappointed with the stories because most of them I found to be too short but I think that his kind of anthology is a great way to discover never-before-read UKYA authors! Like for example, I’ve read nothing by Cat Clarke before but now I’m more than ever eager to get my hands on The Lost & the Found!! Yeah…so, it was a small tiny bit disappointing but some of the stories hit home for me (Juno) so I’m glad that I read it. Also, it put me in a real Christmassy mood so only 11 months to go!!!
I’m gonna give this 3 stars out of 5, although my Goodreads differs :/
Author: Brian Conaghan Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens Release Date: 1st January 2015 Genre: YA, Contemporary Pages: 320
Dylan Mint has Tourette’s. For Dylan, life is a constant battle to keep the bad stuff in – the swearing, the tics, the howling dog that escapes whenever he gets stressed. And, as a sixteen-year-old virgin and pupil at Drumhill Special School, getting stressed is something of an occupational hazard.
But then a routine visit to the hospital changes everything. Overhearing a hushed conversation between the doctor and his mother, Dylan discovers that he's going to die next March.
So he grants himself three parting wishes: three ‘Cool Things To Do Before I Cack It’.
It isn’t a long list, but it is ambitious, and he doesn't have much time. But as Dylan sets out to make his wishes come true, he discovers that nothing – and no-one – is quite as he had previously supposed.
A story about life, death, love, sex and swearing, When Mr Dog Bites will take you on one *#@! of a journey . .
I really, really enjoyed this book. When Mr. Dog Bites tells the story of Dylan, a sixteen year old who suffers with Tourette’s. When he finds out he’s going to die in March, he compiles a list of things he wants to do before he dies with the help of his best mate, Amir. On this mission, he treads on a path of self-discovery and learns a lot of new things on the way. I really enjoyed this because it was so. funny. At points I had to put it down because I was laughing so much. I think Conaghan did a great job writing Dylan, because he’s a main character that is so relatable and asks the stupid questions just like any teenager would. I thought the plot twist at the end of the book with Dylan’s mum was an excellent idea too. There were a few moments when it started to drag out about, but it picked itself up quickly soon afterwards. Overall, I’m going to give it 4 stars out of 5 because it was a really entertaining and hilarious book that I really enjoyed. Now that I’ve read all of his books, I’m super super excited to meet him again this February (and then March, too!)
Author: Emily Barr Publisher: Penguin Release Date: 12th January 2017 Genre: YA, Contemporary Pages: 303 pages
Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora's brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend's boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora's fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.
With little more than the words "be brave" inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must "be brave" if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.
This book really intrigues me from when I first heard about it back sometime in November or December, so I was excited that it was being released so soon in the year for me to get my hands on it. I really liked the idea of this, and how it dealt with the protagonist’s amnesia. I think it was portrayed really well and although it did get really repetitive at points, it actually added to the book because it made Flora’s amnesia really realistic. Also, I think Barr really was capable of capturing what amnesia is actually like and one of my favourite paragraphs that I think sums up the entire book is:
“The inside of my head is out of control. It is on fire. It is snowing. It is a wild jungle. It is an Arctic wilderness. It is everything that has ever happened and everything that ever will happen, all at once.” I think this really just captures the rush and excitement and craziness of this story. I fell in love with Flora – I think she was a great main character, and very cute and lovely and most of the time I just wanted to reach into the book itself and wrap my arms around her and tell her everything will work out.
Unfortunately, the beginning of the book didn’t sell it for me immediately. The majority of the first half I found to be quite a struggle to continue on with because I found it quite boring. I think I started really to get interested when Flora leaves for Svalgard in search of Drake.
The book’s plentiful supply of plot twists made up for this, however. I felt my jaw was dropped after every second page. A thoroughly enjoying read and one that portrayed a character with amnesia really well.
Author: Katherine Webber Publisher: Walker Books Release Date: January 5th 2017 Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance Pages: 384
Jandy Nelson meets Friday Night Lights: a sweeping story about love and family from an exceptional new voice in YA. With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing Jones is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing's speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants. I was so excited for this book’s release. I think it was around November time when I heard about it, or seen a few people with ARCs of it, but as soon as I heard about it I knew I needed it. Ask anybody who knows me––as it edged closer and closer to the release date it was all I talked about. This was the first new release on my list for 2017, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Wing Jones is such an exceptional, unique character. I loved the diversity in the book and the romance that creeped up on you throughout the novel, and one that Webber orchestrates so easily that you have no other choice but love them together. “But almost all the models in magazines are white.” The setting –– in Atlanta, during the 90’s –– really, really added to the book’s atmosphere too. I don’t think it would have been as good as it was if it had been set in any other time period. Webber setting it during the mid 90s was an excellent idea.
Also, I really urge you to pick us this book and read it because you will love LaoLao and Granny Dee, probably just as much as I did. They’re fantastic and different and downright hilarious characters that probably were my favourite aspect of this book.
Author: Alice Oseman Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books Release Date: February 25th 2016 Genre: YA, Contemporary Pages: 410
What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?
Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.
But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.
Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past… She has to confess why Carys disappeared…
Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.
It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.
Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.
Okay. I don’t even know where to start with this book. Radio Silence is the story of Frances, a studious, hardworking student. When she meets Aled Last, twin brother of Carys, a girl from her past who ran away, they immediately click and realise they’re like the same person. She starts to feel closer to him than she has to anyone ever before, and vice versa in his terms. Their friendship only continues to grow and grow over their common interest in a podcast known as Universe City. That is until, the trust between them is broken after a mistake Frances unintentionally makes. I think there’s no way to pinpoint the exact moment my obsession and adoration for this piece of perfection began, but there’s been a few lines along the way that have changed. My. Life. Literally. “I just sort of want to say something before we continue. You probably think that Aled Last and I are going to fall in love or something. Since he is a boy and I am a girl. I just wanted to say – We don’t. That’s all.” Never before have I seen a book that portrays a boy-girl friendship in such a perfect way, without any hit of chemistry or sexual tension between them. I loved the fact that this book was overridden with diversity. With a bi main character (which is a very rare thing), a major demisexual character, more than one gay character and absolutely no hint of a straight couple, Oseman perfectly captures what the real life is like –– that it’s not always straight people. And the way she explores some of the character’s sexualities is done so well and I admire her for this. “I wanted so badly to ask him. But that’s the one thing you just can’t ask. You’ve just got to wait until they tell you.” Ugh, I just loved loved this book so much and I’m so sad it’s over. The diversity was not the only thing I thought was fantastic in this book. I also loved the element of mystery regarding who Radio Silence and February Friday were. I loved how Oseman really connects with this generation by including texts, and Facebook messages, and tweets and even conversations and posts on Tumblr. This book is certainly not one that I’ll be forgetting soon, and one that is without a shadow of a doubt gonna appear on my favourite books of 2017. (If it’s not there, you’ve got full entitlement to slap me across the face because I will obviously not be thinking.) I would give this book 20 stars if I could. But unfortunately, 5 is the maximum, so Alice Oseman, 5 stars is certainly what you’re going to get.
This was such a beautiful story about two lovely girls. The plot was fast-paced and full of every problem you could imagine that left me hungry for more whenever I put it down!
Ruby and Kaz are your typical teenage best friends who both have boy troubles. And they go to a music festival - Remix - to try escape them, but it turns out they're going to have a harder time hiding from their problems...
I love Pratt's style of writing too - it's easy, understandable and moves along simply. The last page especially really got to me.
Overall, I really really enjoyed this read and I shall soon be trying to get my hands on Unboxed and Trouble :)
Anyways, I'm gonna give this a definite 5 stars out of 5!
Well. Wow. I'm in shock. What an epic way to conclude the series. I was gonna give this 3.5 stars because in all fairness, it was a very tough read. But the ending left me breathless so I felt I had no choice but to give it the 4 stars it deserves.
Monsters of Men is a heart-stopping and engrossing finale to the Chaos Walking trilogy.
I just can't believe I have to say goodbye to Todd and Viola now and when a certain character came back, I was over the moon.
A really different, unique and enjoyable read and I'm glad it was my first read of 2017.