Book reviews

Book Review | Every Day by David Levithan

This book was unlike anything I’ve read before and I’ve read a lot of books.

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The idea of someone waking up in a different body every day was enough to get me hooked. But this someone happened to be a teenager who got to experience the life of a different teenager every day. This gave the novel the chance to explore legit every teenage issue from gender, identity, mental illness, body image. It is incredible how many ground this novel managed to cover.

Levithan has this amazing ability to give his protagonist such a distinct voice, despite being in a different body, the perspective is always the same. The character development was so complex. You understood the protagonist’s need for love and comfort and a chance at a normal teenage experience but there was always the fact that his body would change.

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What I love about this novel is that it really makes you think. It makes you think about how much the inside matters but also about how much the outside matters. It makes you think about the experiences we have living in the same body every day and how we take most of them for granted. How we forget that everyone is living in their own world. It makes you think of how ginormous the universe really is.

I must admit, at the beginning I thought this novel was going to be another sappy love story but I was hooked. I was hooked because I wanted to see who he would wake up as next. I was hooked because there’s this cult war going on in the novel. I was hooked because you could never tell how the novel was going to end. Related image

And I wanted more so I read the companion novel from the girl’s perspective.

About the book 

 

Book news, Discussion

2017 Reading Matters Public Day Recap

So that super exciting thing I did on Sunday?  I’m finally here to tell you about it

Sunday June 4 was the public day for young readers and budding writers to meet some famous names such as Jennifer Niven, A.S.King, Jay Kristoff. It was an absolutely enthralling experience to get to pick these writer’s brains and just breath the same air as them.

Today I’m here to do a recap post followed by detailed discussions on what gossip, fun and banter took place at each panel/workshop

The Speculative Fiction Panel

I had the pleasure of arriving hella late to this but I did manage to catch the end where Jay was talking about how to get boys to read more and how to encourage young people in general to leave their phones and grab a book. There was also some really great talk about what speculative fiction can do for the reading industry so keep an eye out for that post

Writing Strange Workshop with A.S.King

When I first read Everybody sees the Ants back in 10th grade, I had a dream that I would get to talk to the author about it one day. Now King lives in the US and I in Australia so I did not know how that was going to happen but boy did I dream. So yes I had the most exciting time learning how to write with one of my favourite writers and I cannot wait to share all the amazing tips!

The Contemporary YA Panel

Most definitely the highlight of my day! Some of my most favourite faces on one panel talking about the fastest growing genre in YA world! Again lots of great discussions on writing and of course some great insider goss and news about secret projects! Get keen for this one folks!

So yea, that was my hectic but totally worth it day spent at the State Library of Victoria. I hope you guys are as excited as I am!

Book reviews

Book Review | Thanks for the Trouble

Title: Thanks for the Trouble

Author: Tommy Wallach

Genre: YA Contemporary

Synopsis 

28383534Parker Santé hasn’t spoken a word in five years. While his classmates plan for bright futures, he skips school to hang out in hotels, killing time by watching the guests. But when he meets a silver-haired girl named Zelda Toth, a girl who claims to be quite a bit older than she looks, he’ll discover there just might be a few things left worth living for.

From the celebrated author of We All Looked Up comes a unique story of first and last loves.

 

Okay so I absolutely whizzed through this one, it was short but it was also adventurous and exhilarating.

You know when you’re just stuck in a rut and you need a refreshing book to get you out of that rut? Thanks for the Trouble did that for me. But it also made me think a lot deeper into things.

Having met Tommy now I could pick out his inspirations behind writing this novel the way he did (It was inspired by films surprise surprise). But I could also understand his ideas about teenage love and time and life.

Written in the form of a college application Thanks for the Trouble takes you on this journey condensed into one weekend where there is diversity through our handicapped protagonist, I mean having a protagonist who couldn’t speak out into the wide world must’ve been really challenging but was done really well. There’s also Zelda who is so insightful and she makes you question the darkest parts of yourself, about moving on and Zelda’s just the kind of person who’d walk into your house and give you a wake up call with the question what are you doing with your life?

I could go on and on about the characters but the story itself is so good you know? I mean the entire universe of adolescent mishaps is captured in this novel, at times i felt this novel’s writing echoed John Green or Stephen Cbosky’s novels. We have the whole Parker coming of age by confronting his fears about his father’s death and his mother’s inability to move on and his ideas about love.

The ending. As with all the Tommy Wallach novels I’ve read (a total of two) the ending remains ambiguous. And I really like the message he’s trying to send about high school relationships and, I’m starting to feel like I appreciate realistic albeit cynical endings to the typical boy ends up with girl endings.

Rating

5

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Book reviews

Book Review | The Yearbook Committee

Title: The Yearbook Committee

Author: Sarah Ayoub

Genre: YA Contemporary

Synopsis: 
26241526Five teenagers. Five lives. One final year.
The school captain: Ryan has it all … or at least he did, until an accident snatched his dreams away. How will he rebuild his life and what does the future hold for him now?
The newcomer: Charlie’s just moved interstate and she’s determined not to fit in. She’s just biding her time until Year 12 is over and she can head back to her real life and her real friends …
Read More at Goodreads 

 

To be perfectly honest, I am quite impressed with this book, I mean my expectation going in was a light contemporary read about love and life (stereotypical much?)  however, the Yearbook Committee is about so much more: Mental illness, bullying and psychological stuff-ups that I can’t even begin to describe and yet, they are so prominent in high school.

The Australian high school hierarchy is captured so accurately, it was refreshing after reading endless American novels about cheerleaders. The voices of the characters weren’t too distinct I must admit however, the dialogue was very well written and although the character journeys weren’t so obvious, it added an element of reality. I mean we don’t all turn from bullies into superstars in the span of 300 pages do we?

The writing felt a bit basic I must admit but it was suitable to the events in the book because I was always worried it would turn too melodramatic. The down-to-Earth way the book is written meant that events weren’t too predictable and the element of surprise in the end was delivered perfectly.

The Yearbook Committee just does such a great job of encapsulating the problems Australian teenagers face from winning scholarships to drugs while at the same time, it addresses larger societal issues such as living with a disability or broken families.

Rating

5

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Book reviews

Book Review | How Hard Can Love Be?

Title: How Hard Can Love Be?

Author: Holly Bourne

Series: Normal #2

Genre: Contemporary

Synopsis 26255907

Amber, Evie and Lottie: three girls facing down tough issues with the combined powers of friendship, feminism and cheesy snacks. Both hilarious and heart-rending, this is Amber’s story of how painful – and exhilarating – love can be, following on from Evie’s story in Am I Normal Yet?

All Amber wants is a little bit of love. Her mum has never been the caring type, even before she moved to California, got remarried and had a personality transplant. But Amber’s hoping that spending the summer with her can change all that.

And then there’s prom king Kyle, the guy all the girls want. Can he really be interested in anti-cheerleader Amber? Even with best friends Evie and Lottie’s advice, there’s no escaping the fact: love is hard.

 

Upon reading the first book in the series, Am I Normal Yet? and absolutely LOVING it, I knew I had to pick this one up.

Holly Bourne has this honest way of writing and contextualizing her characters that you can’t help but relate to their situations and feelings. Especially as a teenage girl going through the ups and downs of hormones and society, I find that Holly absolutely nails the feelings associated with boy problems and the pressure that young women feeling in terms of body image and being admired by men.

While the first novel focused more on the individual and how your mind can destroy you, this one focuses more on how your environment and the way you deal with problems can equally destroy you. There are the darker aspects of alcoholism tackled in the novel, family troubles and abuse but also issues dealing with self-confidence. One of the messages the novel leaves you with is that it is never a good idea to bottle up your emotions, Amber’s natural reflex to push people away almost destroys her in the end.

Of course there are the lighthearted bits of camping and bonfires and road trips (I’m totally up for an American road trip!). A classic Holly Bourne novel also contains feminism and educational chapters on Female Chauvinist Pigs. Aaaand we can’t miss the cheesy snacks can we?

How Hard Can Love Be? in addition to looking at friendship and travel and romance also tackles alcoholism and abusive relationships, moving between one end of the spectrum and another from the perspective of a teenage protagonist it makes for the perfect contemporary read.

Rating

 4

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Book reviews

Book Review | Anna and the French Kiss

Title: Anna and the French Kiss

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Genre: Contemporary

Synopsis 

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

This was a re-read for me. This is the kind of book that you could read over and over, memorize all the lines and events and everything and never get sick of the cuteness!

I cannot find a fault in this book okay dispute me.

Anna’s character development always gets me, how she goes from this reserved almost non-risk-taker to this confident  kick-ass protagonist that is sure of what she wants. Although the revelation she has about her character is a bit rushed I still like how she actually ends up being better you know.

Etienne, the love interest, oh sweet lord. Okay so at the start he’s misleading and a cheater but he comes around, we have to give him that. He realises his mistakes and takes steps to set things right

The book is obviously very romantic because Paris! It is also realistic as it explores friendships and a high school environment (although a little stereotypical)

You also get a virtual tour of Paris reading this so kudos for that!

Rating

5

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Book reviews

Book Review | To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

Title: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

Author: Jenny Han

Series: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before #1

Genre: Contemporary

Page Count: 288 pages

Synopsis :To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all

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This book was so freaking cute let’s establish that. Having read Jenny Han’s work previously and not liking it, I was skeptical going into this but I can confirm this was one entertaining read.

I consider myself a dreamer like Lara Jean so it was easy for me to relate to the events in this book which was fun. I’m sure people with sisters will also relate to this book because of all the different dynamics of a sisterhood being explored in this book. Seriously it made me want to have a sister (not really tho)

It’s quite a light read so I found it easy to whiz through. I like the quirky fashion references throughout the book, I mean Lara Jean’s style has me dreaming, so cute and chic.

I like all the relationships being developed in this books, I mean it didn’t just center around the love interests but also families and friends.  There were these funny moments which had me laughing out loud. At times I felt the book was predictable but there were these unpredictable aspects which threw me off and i loved it!

The book finished off on an open ended note which has me dying to run out and start reading the sequel!

Rating

4

 

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Book reviews

Book Review | Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe

Title: Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe

Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz

Genre: YA Contemporary

Page Count: 368 pages

Synopsis 

Dante can swim. Ari can’t. Dante is articulate and self-assured. Ari has a hard time with words and suffers from self-doubt. Dante gets lost in poetry and art. Ari gets lost in thoughts of his older brother who is in prison. Dante is fair skinned. Ari’s features are much darker. It seems that a boy like Dante, with his open and unique perspective on life, would be the last person to break down the walls that Ari has built around himself.

But against all odds, when Ari and Dante meet, they develop a special bond that will teach them the most important truths of their lives, and help define the people they want to be. But there are big hurdles in their way, and only by believing in each other―and the power of their friendship―can Ari and Dante emerge stronger on the other side

Aristotle and Dante was a real eye opener as to what it’s like growing up especially for boys and from a sixteen year old’s perspective (aka me) growing up sucks, which is why I could relate to this book so well.

Plot

The story is very in line with all those coming-of-age classics and it is just beautiful. I think the book did a very good job of establishing the fact that everyone has their own struggles especially teenagers (not biased at all)

I don’t have much to say about the plot except that it was steadily paced and I liked how the book was divided into sections to represent various things (it’ll make sense if you read it

Characters

The characters are the heart and soul of this book. Ari is a very realistic teenager who feels angst and confusing emotions until finally he learns to control and accept these feelings and emotions. However, sometimes it did get difficult to understand Ari’s emotions and why he felt the way he felt about certain people. I think it was just part of this thing called growing up

I like the whole family dynamic of the novel as well. Often in YA the parents tend to just not exist basically but this book did quite the opposite. It was understandable because growing up has a lot to do with becoming independent from your parents and coming to terms with them.

One of the things I loved about this novel was that every character was explored and illustrated well, I mean from Dante’s mom to Ari’s aunt.

Writing

Going into this book I thought there would be alternate POVs between Dante and Ari but nope, it’s all from Ari’s perspective. I would’ve loved to read Dante’s POV but hey you can’t have everything. In many ways, it felt like the author was telling his own story about growing up which just felt so personal and amazing. One complain would be that while following the dialogue it sometimes got difficult to distinguish the voices as in who was saying what.

Rating

4

 

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Book reviews

Book Review | Girl Online

Author: Zoe Sugg 
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 352
Synopsis:

Penny has a secret.

Under the alias GirlOnline, she blogs about school dramas, boys, her mad, whirlwind family – and the panic attacks she’s suffered from lately. When things go from bad to worse, her family whisks her away to New York, where she meets the gorgeous, guitar-strumming Noah. Suddenly Penny is falling in love – and capturing every moment of it on her blog.

But Noah has a secret too. One that threatens to ruin Penny’s cover – and her closest friendship

 

Filled with humor, adorable romance and life’s deeper issues there is no doubt that Girl Online is written extremely well by Zoe herself.

I’ve been following Zoe’s channel Zoella for about a year now so there was no way I was not going to read her book. It still feels unreal holding the book in my hands and I can only imagine how surreal ti must be for her.

Starting with the positives. I knew I would instantly like this book because of one factor: it involves blogging, our main character Penny blogs about her life and the issues she is having much like Zoe’s blog. There are funny light hearted moments but there are also some serious issues.

Of course the most prominent issue that Zoe wanted to raise awareness for was anxiety. By showing the protagonist’s battle against anxiety and panic attack as well as the methods you can control such things Zoe has created a novel which will inspire many teens to overcome their challenges.

There are also other teenage problems such as cyber bullying which reveals the dark side of the internet cough haters cough. Penny experiences friendship issues such as falling out and I absolutely adore her best friend Elliot who’s parents aren’t okay with his sexuality. All these things make the novel so relate able to myself and many teenagers who face similar issues.

Okay now onto the romance, I was physically giggling and awwing at the cuteness overload between Penny and Noah (the male protagonist). Although the bomb shell was pretty predictable (people who’ve read the book know what I’m on about) but I still love how everything came together in the end.

The characters in the book were supposed to be in their late teens but at times it felt like they were thirteen to be honest. Not that there’s anything wrong with that I just feel like this novel was aimed at a younger age group or maybe I’m just a mature reader?

Girl Online as Zoe’s debut novel is a fun quick read which is just a nice little package of teenage problems, romance, blogging and the simple cute things in life really.

Rating

3

 

~infinityreads

 

Book reviews

Me and Earl and the Dying girl- Book review

Author: Jesse Andrews
Genre: Young adult, humour, contemporary
Pages: 295
Published: March 1st 2012

 
Definitely one of the strangest books I have read so far.
I mean that in a good way. It took me 2 and a half days to whiz through this thing because It was just so amazing and I’m about to tell you why.

 
Summary:
Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.
Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.

 
I have been eyeing this book at my local bookstore for the longest time and finally when my friend gave this to me as a present (thank you!) I couldn’t resist but read it immediately.

 
Side note: Let’s take a moment to appreciate the cover, it truly is a creative genius.

 
Get this, Me and Earl and the Dying girl was hands down the most realistic and honest book I’ve read this year. Nothing was sugar coated like “oh this is a teenage book so we have to be careful”, no there was cussing and there was fart jokes and I loved that about this book.

 
The author was really frank like at the start of the book he tells you that this isn’t some deep book about dying and falling in love and that people should just pick up a different book if they were expecting those things. I like that, I like fair warning and honesty.
Our main character Greg is this hateful, clumsy guy and he is hilarious. I loved how Greg was flawed and he wasn’t your typical YA hottie who gets the girls with his shyness, instead Greg is this typical teenage moron who doesn’t know what he is doing with his life. His voice is SO strong, I honestly felt like I was in his head, literally seeing things from his perspective. This is one of my favourite aspects of the book: Greg’s characterization and his humorous dialogues.

 
Greg has this friend or should I say “co-worker” (as Greg likes to describe him), his name is Earl. Earl is just this err unique kid. Some of the things he says leave the reader like wtf and that just makes it that much more hilarious. Greg and Earl like to make movies together and they are whacked up movies, I love how this book is just so out there with the crazy ideas.

 
The “dying girl” is Rachel. I honestly feel like she wasn’t present as much in the book but I did like her overall, especially her snorting at Greg’s jokes (just writing that makes me giggle, gives you an idea of how funny the book is huh?)

 
The format of the book also makes it an appealing read because most of it is in script format (see picture below). This format avoided the whole “he said”, “she said” which can be a waste of words honestly. It also made it a quick read. Also, there were lists in the book and I like lists.

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Me and Earl and the Dying girl by Jesse Andrews was an honest, humorous and light read. It escaped my mind throughout the book that this was a work of fiction because it was just so down to earth. I enjoyed this book very much and highly recommend it.

Rating

5