Book news

The Things We Can’t Undo | Blog Tour

I had the chance to interview the lovely Gabrielle Reid whose new novel hits shelves really soon so go grab yourself a copy!


There’s no backspace key for life’s decisions.

Samantha and Dylan are in love – everyone knows it. So it’s no big deal when they leave a party for some time out together. But when malicious rumours surface about that night, each feels betrayed by the other. 

Will Sam make a decision she can’t take back?


What was your main motivation behind writing the novel?

I wanted to start conversations, and I wanted those conversations to really consider things from more than one side. Without going into too much detail, I’ve had some personal experiences that made me particularly passionate about the topic of consent and how inadequate “no means no” is for teaching it. Several years back, I think it was around the time of the Steubenville High School rape case, I was discussing sexual violence on a parenting forum. One comment stuck with me, along the lines of “ask a roomful of men if they’ll rape a woman and you won’t find many who will say yes. Ask them ‘would you have sex with a girl so drunk she can barely stand’ and suddenly you get a much uglier picture of what guys will admit to”. At the time, I had a baby son (and no daughters yet), so I found myself thinking very seriously about the perpetrators and whether better education could have prevented them from doing such a terrible thing to that girl.

It was hard for me to empathise with the perpetrator. Really, really hard. Before I sat down to write the book, I disliked my main character, Dylan, and was prepared to write a story where he got thoroughly smacked down for his actions, but in trying to keep it realistic, that’s not the story I ended up with. I think that’s a good sign, though, because I want this novel to be the catalyst for conversations – ones that go deeper than ‘he got what he deserved’ and right to ‘how did this happen? What did he fail to understand?’. I hope I don’t excuse Dylan’s behaviour or suggest that the consequences he faced were in any way comparable to the suffering Samantha (his girlfriend and victim) experienced, but at the same time, I want his story to be a warning to young men, their parents, teachers and girlfriends. Because it really is that easy to become a rapist.

If there is one key thing that you would like readers to take away from this book, what would it be?

That even if you think you’re a good person – even if you are a good person – your decisions can have devastating consequences, so take your choices seriously and don’t stop paying attention to how those around you feel. In my book it isn’t just Dylan who makes a decision that seriously hurts a number of other innocent people – Samantha, as well as her best friend, Tayla, respond to the crime in some drastic ways that cause a lot of pain to each other, family and friends etc

There are many budding authors out there who might be curious about the publication process so, tell us a bit about your experience getting published

The number 1 thing I guess is that it was long! There were years of writing before getting to a complete first draft, then years of editing and pitching before getting an agent. And in the end, that book isn’t the one I’ve now had published! I consider it my “apprenticeship novel” and I don’t regret the time I spent on it, because that’s where I learnt better writing, where I found an amazing writer’s group, and where I built the first positive connection with an agent. But if I hadn’t moved on to the next thing, I wouldn’t be here now. Since then I’ve continued with that same writer’s group and gleaned bits and pieces of knowledge about publishing short stories, writing query letters, how to spot a dodgy publisher… too much to share here in one go, but I’m more than happy to chat to anyone who has specific questions!

I’ve talked in a little more detail on my blog (link below) about what led me to Ford Street and what it’s been like working with my publisher, Paul. I think the process for me was a fair bit quicker than I’ve heard from other writers at major publishers, but I’m not really sure why, except that we didn’t have advance proof copies before a complete print run. There are a LOT of people involved, even with a very small publisher. I thought about it one day and it’s no wonder authors only earn a small portion of the RRP, as those books are also helping the publisher to recover the costs of a structural edit, copy edit, designer/formatter for print, cover design, printer, delivery, warehouse etc. Not to mention the retailer and all their staff! Each step was exciting for me though, as it took me one step closer to publication.

What made you drawn towards writing in the young adult genre?

I kind of fell into it, really. My first book I set out to write as adult fiction, but as one of the two protagonists was sixteen (the other was in his 70s) many people suggested it was at least a young adult crossover. When I started writing The Things We Can’t Undo, I found the words and voice came to me much more naturally, and I sought out a writer’s group of other YA authors. I’ve been writing seriously since I was a teenager, so some of my earlier stories were very YA in nature, including two novels I never finished. Then I worked as a high school teacher, and married another. I led youth group and mentored teen girls at my church; teenagers have always been a part of my life. I found those adolescent years were the ones that really defined who I am – that was when I developed my own faith, I settled into writing and creative pursuits as a real passion, my mental illness reared its ugly head, I established friendships that still last today etc.

Do you have any other projects underway that readers can look forward to?

I do, but none in the publication pipeline yet! I’m writing one that deals with eating disorders (another illness I unfortunately have firsthand experience with) and a social justice issue that is very important to me. I’m also thinking of reworking that “apprenticeship novel” into something different and more YA in nature. It’s about a young girl trying to connect with her biological father, who has early onset Alzheimer’s disease.


FOLLOW THE AUTHOR

Website and blog: www.justkeepreiding.com

Twitter and Instagram: @reidwriting

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006986329392

Book reviews

Book Review ! Amelia Westlake

 

33296203Two very different girls, and one giant hoax that could change – or ruin – everything.

Harriet Price has the perfect life: she’s a prefect at Rosemead Grammar, she lives in a mansion, and her gorgeous girlfriend is a future prime minister. So when she risks it all by creating a hoax to expose the school’s many problems – with help from notorious bad-girl Will Everheart, no less – Harriet tells herself it’s because she’s seeking justice. And definitely not because she finds Will oddly fascinating. 

But as Will and Harriet’s campaign heats up, it gets harder for them to remain sworn enemies – and to avoid being caught. As tensions burn throughout the school, how far will they go to keep their mission – and their feelings for each other – a secret?


This is THE social justice book of the year

Amelia Wetslake had me in her grips from the first line of the book. It’s witty, it’s emotional but most of all it is relevant.

In an over-saturated market, it is often difficult to come across a book that has something to tell you, something to leave you with. I came out of this book feeling like I had learned a thing or two. It teaches you to stand up for what is not right and it teaches you to be courageous but most of all it teaches you to be kind

The setting of a high school is so cliche but this book puts a twist on this by adding a bit of sleuthing and a bit of romance. What I enjoyed the most was how you could sometimes feel like you were having a conversation with the author herself. The book does an amazing job of portraying how today’s youth actually have opinions about some of the most important topics.

In terms of character development, the book puts across the message that no one is ever how they seem as in there is always more to a human being than what meets the eye.

The stand out point of the novel is definitely the dialogue within the novel itself and the dialogue it encourages. Readers such as yours truly are left with an urge to sit people down and just talk about capitalism or male privilege

I cannot recommend this book enough

Amelia Westlake released on 1 April 2018 and can be found across the book world!

Book news, Book reviews

Book Review | The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

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Xiomara has always kept her words to herself. In her Harlem neighbourhood, her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But X has secrets. Her feelings for a boy in her bio class, the notebook full of poems that she keeps under her bed- and a slam poetry club that will pull those secrets into the spotlight. Because in spite of a world that might not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to stay silent. 

 


As soon as I heard that this book was written in all poetry format I wanted to get my hands on it.

The beginning of the novel absolutely grips you in, X has this prominent voice that travels beyond the pages and you’re immersed in this world where this girl is trying to find herself and break stereotypes and just be herself.

The author sets the scene beautifully by capturing the diversity of the neighbourhood, the history of X’s parents, her background and her standing on religion. This book is like a neat little package of diversity and I love it.  One of the things this book did really well is that it managed to put every character into the spotlight through X’s poems so no one felt like a sidekick

In terms of the writing itself, it is moving and creative and fresh. Yet, it’s still not the kind of book you wanna finish in one sitting because every page makes you think. X’s story makes readers reflect on their own experiences trying to find themselves and about how if you’re passionate about something you should just go for it.

The only criticism I have is that the plot could have been paced better. I mean there is the build up to the drama, then everything goes down and then bam everything is resolved. I would’ve loved if there was more focus on how relationships were reconciled because that’s often where readers find completion. Some issues were left unresolved, so I’m sensing a sequel?

The Poet X released on 6th March 2018. I would highly recommend grabbing a copy. Thank you to Hardie Grant Egmont for providing me with one!

Book news, Cover to Cover

Cover to Cover | Turtles All The Way Down

Look what’s making a comeback in 2018! oh yeah cover to cover baby

This time I decided we’d check out some cool covers of this book that’s been going around the internet lately and you might wanna check out my review here as well

The English Edition

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The classic cover that tends to grab your attention straight away because of that bright orange spiral but also because they wanna make sure John Green’s name stands out haha. It’s one of those simple but effective covers

The German Edition

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This cover keeps true to the spiral theme but this time we have actual turtles! The blue pattern in the background is also pretty cool and gives it this abstract feel

The Portugese Edition

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I love love love the shade of orange they’ve used on this cover. The cute drawing of the diner which holds significance in the novel is lovely too

The Swedish Edition

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A lot going on in this cover but it seems like they’ve literally taken buzz words out of the novel and illustrated them to create a cover. Pretty cool tho

The Polish edition

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This one is a little bit different to the rest. I actually really like the artwork, not sure how much it holds true to the novel but yeah nice

 

Book news, Book reviews

Book Review | Turtles All The Way Down

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I feel like John Green always delivers a unique addition to the coming of age genre. This wasn’t my favourite book ever or anything but like any other John Green book, it left its mark

The protagonist Aza is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Right from the beginning the reader can tell that a lot of research and meticulation went into creating this character with all these problems. She almost felt too flawed at times but maybe that was the point. This book allows you to get inside the head of someone who is literally struggling with their mental health on a cellular level. It’s not an easy task to put yourself in someone’s shoes so deeply and Green does that beautifully.

In terms of the plot itself, while the mysterious disappearance does attract you at the beginning, you soon realise that it is not the main attraction of this novel. I think the message Green was trying to send across by making the mystery secondary was that in real life mysteries aren’t all that grand. This isn’t a dramatic thriller novel after all. It does however, work as an element of intrigue throughout the whole novel.

In comparison to Aza the rest of the characters felt quite flat, like they were placeholders. I really didn’t feel the overwhelming romance shining through. I did however, enjoy the perspective that the novel gives you. I mean you’re always going from being close to Aza on a cellular level to zooming out and seeing the story as a whole.

 

Book reviews

Book Review | The Messenger

After reading the Book Thief and absolutely loving it, I knew I had to pick this one up.

Set in generic Australian town, the novel explores concepts of love, loss and identity through a very unique perspective and mechanism.

Ed is a messenger. This means he receives one card from a deck on which are instructions he has to follow in order to make people’s lives better. What I liked about this novel is that it tells you that doing even the smallest things for people can make their life better than you can imagine. The book teaches you how to treat people, especially the forgotten ones in our society.

Ed had a clear and distinct voice from the start and he was a realistic character. I mean as with any other 19 year old he was lost and confused and of course in love. I also like how he wasn’t superhuman, I mean for the most part he was an average aussie bloke. 19057

I absolutely powered through the book because of the fact that it was so gripping, I mean you’re constantly asking yourself what the next card will be. I like how in the end, the book comes full circle and Ed has to fix his own life. The ending was truly very inceptional. Some might call it a bizarre book to be honest but I just think it presented philosophical concepts in an interesting way.

Rating

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About the book  

Book reviews

Book Review | Another Day

So after I was completely blown away by Every Day, it was only natural that I read the companion novel.

One of my concerns was that Rhiannon’s perspective and voice would not be different from the protagonist’s in Every Day. I was so wrong. Rhainnon has such a quiet, complex perspective on the world. Levitahn does a brilliant job of creating three dimensional characters, you feel like you’re a part of their lives.

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This novel again made me think of how we end up living the same life every day and take so much for granted. But this novel also created a realistic setting where sometimes I felt frustrated with Rhiannon.

The novel so beautifully portrays teenage love and heartbreak and the need to hold onto something even if its damaging for you. It explores the fact that mental affects even the most ‘normal’ people

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It was good to see how Rhiannon perceived the protagonist changing bodies every day. This gave rise to her prejudices and her perceptions about race. Because the reality is that people are flawed and prejudice does play a role in it. It was also interesting to see how her perception on attraction changed day to day as well. 18459855

Rating

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About the book 

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, life

The Place for YA At University

Something happened today.

You see, up until this point I felt a lack of reading culture at my university. It was an absence that continued to plague me and I couldn’t help asking myself?

How do these people not love books?!

Don’t get me wrong, I have found a few mutual friends who share a love of books but at a larger scale people tend to be more concerned with socialising and surfing facebook than generating thoughtful discussions on books.

Don’t get me wrong, I respect other people’s ideals but sometimes I feel like we as a society tend to be promoting a more extroverted ideal more than the notion of taking time to yourself and immersing yourself in reading or a more though provoking exercise.

Why is that?

On a more happier note, I did find a little nook at my university which is dedicated to leisure reading. The sight of shelves upon shelves of YA books warmed my heart like nothing else ever could and ever will.

Book news

5 Debut Novels To Look Out For in 2017

Are you sicking for waiting for the next novel to come out in an evergoing seven book series? Well to cure that time of anticipation, I’ve compiled a list of ten debut novels that you might wanna check out in 2917

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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This novel was inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement and is soon to be converted into a motion picture so you better get on it folks.

One of us in lying by Karen McManus

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Five kids walk into detention . Four of them walk out alive. This is a murder mystery surrounding four stereotypical high school kids and boy do I wanna know who killed Simon.

Cold Summer by Gwen Cole

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Okay so this one is about time travel and I am already sold. Twenty-first century vs World War II? Um hell yes especially because our protagonist gets listed as a casualty in World War II so how is he still alive now?

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti

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So this one again is a murder mystery except our protagonist immerses herself in the world of the dead Lizzie Lovett which includes taking her boyfriend

#famous by Jilly Gagnon

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This seems like a very light and fun read about boy meets girl and instagram and I’d be down to read it.