Oh this book was wonderful. I’d never actually heard of this book before I read Rey’s gorgeous review of it. I’ve always been curious about YA books fr...moreOh this book was wonderful. I’d never actually heard of this book before I read Rey’s gorgeous review of it. I’ve always been curious about YA books from other countries (meaning not The Big Three: USA, Australia and the UK) because they must be out there. I know they’re out there but it’s difficult to find out about them because they never get the time of day which is such a shame because I know we’re missing out on all these beautiful YA books that are being lost in translation.
I’m thinking The Readventurer ladies need to do all the hard work do a Wall of Books of YA from Other Countries so we can all gorge ourselves on them. I wonder if they do requests? Ha..
Anyway… this book.
Lou is such a wonderful narrator and has a fantastic way of seeing the world for a girl so young. There was a lovely naiveté about Lou and how she saw both the world in which she was growing up and No’s situation. Normally in books, I get frustrated with narrators when they’re naïve because I just want to get them to open their eyes. But with Lou it provided the perfect vessel to allow Ms de Vigan to explore what it’s like to balance on that cusp of “young adulthood” in this modern world. I think thirteen is such an interesting age in your life because you’re not really anything.
There’s no way you’re a child anymore but you’re only just a teenager, and everything is changing. This is the time where your expectations and reality don’t always match up and it’s strange and it’s upsetting, but there’s nothing you can do about it.
And Ms de Vigan perfectly portrays this disillusionment that you get when you’re stumbling through this age. When you’re expected to go to parties at the weekend instead of timing how long it takes for wet footprints to disappear of the kitchen floor. When you realise it’s not “cool” to do well at school. When you realise that not everyone in the world has a roof over their head and a warm meal every day like you do. I really enjoyed watching the world change through Lou’s eyes. It was subtle, stripped back and often incredibly moving.
I’ve always said that, on the whole, YA books aimed at a younger audience are the ones that deal with darker subjects so much better than some aimed at older readers. (The 10pm Question and A Monster Calls come immediately to mind). I don’t know what it is, but I love it so much which is why I will never not read a book just because it’s on the younger side of the YA spectrum.
Not only does Ms de Vigan portray homelessness in a way that’s heart breaking but realistic, but also the subject of loss and family problems. I don’t really want to go too much into this aspect because I think it would be better to experience it first hand from reading it, but the passages describing Lou’s mother, father and their past combined with No’s history were so well-written. Even poor Lucas’ situation made me sad.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book because it was so different to anything I’ve read this year. It’s powerful in its subtlety and shows that you don’t need to clobber your readers over the head with emotion and angst to create a thought-provoking and moving book. The characters are fantastic (I had a little soft spot for Lucas. I can’t help but think a lot of authors need to take note of him because that’s how you write a lovely “bad” boy) and the tumultuous friendship between No and Lou was perfectly crafted.
Also? The ending was perfect for this story. I actually finished this book on Sunday morning and I mean morning. I woke up at half five and there was no way I was going back to sleep so I finished it and those last couple of chapters made my heart ache so much that even in my absolute knackerdness (Yes, I know that's not a word), sleep was the last thing on my mind.
Sometimes I wish for happy endings, even though I know that I would be annoyed if I got it. I think this is one of those books. I’m glad, so glad that Ms de Vigan didn’t grant me that wish with No and Me.
Some books need to be read while you’re eating pickled onion Monster Munch and I think this is just one of those books.
Let me explain.
I find pickled o...moreSome books need to be read while you’re eating pickled onion Monster Munch and I think this is just one of those books.
Let me explain.
I find pickled onion Monster Munch e a very underrated crisp. They aren’t the coolest crisps on the shelf. Not everyone thinks of them instantly when they think of a delicious savoury snack. I mean, they don’t have Gary Lineker and Lionel Richie advertising them. They can’t be dipped in…um…dip. Or at least easily. I guess you would really have to want some dip to dip Monster Munch in dip.*
But they are the kind of crisp that you would buy because you’d not had a packet in yonks and then two seconds later, you’ve eaten the entire bag (well probably half, because the other half would be all down your jumper and in your hair. Is that just me and my ability to eat Monster Munch?).
They’re underrated in the savoury snacks stakes but they’re there if you look for them.
If you squint dead carefully at the above paragraph, you will see an eversoslightly passive aggressive commentary of the YA publishing industry.
I’m going to stop talking about crisps now just in case you get confused thinking you’ve stumbled onto my secret spin-off blog called ‘Eat the Delicious Crisp” where I eat crisps and blog.
However, I have to say quickly- that there is mention of Monster Munch in this book. I’m not just hungry, I swear. This book was brilliant. I actually had never heard about it until Keren David recommended it to me in her interview. As you know, I’m a huge Keren David fan and I know her style of writing so I’m pretty confident if she said a book is good.
I didn’t actually realise how good though.
First up, I get a bit nervous when I find out a book (especially by an author I’ve never read) is about mental illness. I’m very critical about it and I’ve given up on books that have dealt with it in a pithy, flippant or sometimes downright offensive way.
This was good though, great actually. It was the perfect mix of sadness and humour without belittling the seriousness of the illness but also, just as importantly, not making it gratuitous. I know gratuitous is my favourite word for serious books but I really dislike it when an author writes a subject in a certain way because they want you to feel a certain way. Gah.
It’s not always an easy book to read because when I was laughing (and I laughed a lot) there was always a sad under tone niggling in the back of my mind. Like if you were drawing a picture and did a bit wrong but thought “Ahh, I’ll just colour over it in bright colours and no one will know” but you can still see the mistake under your colouring in. I really loved how the issues were always present, even when they didn’t seem like they were because the story was going through a more light-hearted patch, and weren’t conveniently forgotten about when the story moved on.
There are some bits that were extremely infuriating but not because of Mr Cousins’ writing ability, but because of his great ability to write teenagers. When Laurence is wearing a wig and pretending to be his mum so he and his brother Jay don’t get separated by the social services, I admit I did roll my eyes a little bit. Because, let’s face it, it sounds stupid, right?
But let’s remember that I’m an adult…. ish.
And as an adult, I’m screaming at him to go and get help, to stop hiding the fact that they’re living with cockroaches and living off Mars Bars. But that’s when I forgot he was fifteen, he was scared, he was alone and he had to look after his brother. Of course he’s going to make silly mistakes, he’s fifteen! What do you expect?
I liked how Mr Cousins seemed to find the balance between the silly and the sad. I think that’s important in books like this not because we need to water down the silly with sad or vice versa, but because it’s real. That’s what life’s like, it’s not all doom and gloom, but then again it’s not all rainbows and unicorns.
Before I go, I should probably mention Mina because she was brilliant. What? What? No I am not biased because she’s Northern and has a funny accent. I mean, Northern accents are definitely the worst… yes?
But she was great and had the right amount of love for our hero and “What on earth are you doing?” And yes, she was a sassy Northerner. I probably am a little biased.
Anyway…. this is a remarkable book and Mr Cousins is definitely an author you should be reading.
I love this series so much but I have a sad feeling that it isn’t going to be as well-loved as it deserves to be. I’m not sure why, perhaps it’s proba...moreI love this series so much but I have a sad feeling that it isn’t going to be as well-loved as it deserves to be. I’m not sure why, perhaps it’s probably because it’s more for younger young adults or because there’s no love story (unless you count Freddie, which you should. You should always count Freddie) and there’s no angst and the world isn’t complicated and edgy and it’s a magical-historical romp through Britain.
But… um… well, those are all the reasons why I adore Ms Burgis’ series. They’re so much fun. This might sound like a negative point to a few of you but when I pick up one of the Kat Stephenson’s books, I know exactly what I’m getting. I know I’m not going to be left glaring at the author photo in anger that the ending left me in tatters and I know that I’m not going to be rolling my eyes at the simpering heroine. It’s safe… but it’s the good safe. I like reading books knowing that I’ll enjoy them. And I very much enjoyed this book.
I have to admit, I didn’t get as carried away with this second book as much as I did with the first one and I think I know exactly why this is. In my review of An Improper Magick, I discussed how much I loved the relationship between the sisters (I invoked the Power of the March sisters. Which is always a good thing) and, unfortunately, this story kind of skimped on that.
Slight spoilers for the first book. I’ll tell you when you can come back.
(view spoiler)[Elissa is in marital bliss with the jittery Mr Collingwood and is only in the first few chapters of this book before she disappears on her honeymoon. And Angeline… well… well. I’ll let you find about that when you read this book. But it involves Freddie (*girly sigh*) and she’s hardly in it either. (hide spoiler)]
OK, come back now.
As much as I love Kat, I think her sisters bring the best out in her. They kind of amplify everything that I adored about her and their interactions were wonderful. I also think that this would have been a great opportunity to get to know Charles and Kat’s dad a bit more. We got brief glimpses of Daddy Stephenson but not nearly enough. I think they’re really different and unique characters and Charles always makes me laugh and, trying not to spoil it here, he had a really important part in this story… I just think it was a bit of a waste. This book got a lot better towards the end where the story seem to find its feet a bit more. I’m not sure what it was, possibly that it took me a while to find the time to read it, but it definitely lost some momentum in the middle.
But apart from that, it’s a great story and Kat’s still brilliant and the world that Ms Burgis has created is still fantastic. I can’t wait to read the next one (last one? Possibly?) and see what other mischief Kat gets up to, hopefully with more family members in tow.
And Freddie, of course. Always Freddie.
You can find this review and lots of other exciting things on my blog, Wear the Old Coat.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
So, I have to admit, I’m extremely underwhelmed by this book. I’ve never read My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece but I’ve heard it’s great. It never r...moreSo, I have to admit, I’m extremely underwhelmed by this book. I’ve never read My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece but I’ve heard it’s great. It never really appealed to me though, I’m not sure why.
But Ketchup Clouds appealed to me, really it did. I was captivated by the gorgeous cover, the wonderful title and the intriguing synopsis.
I guess you know what they say: you shouldn’t judge a book by a gorgeous cover, a wonderful title and… well, you get the gist.
This was such a disappointment. There was far too much going on, so many issues and drama smushed into a story that everything seemed to be watered down. When I’m reading a book, I’d much rather a few issues were dealt with thoroughly and completely so I can be completely invested in them as opposed to thousands, cluttering up my brain. To me anyway, it often felt that just as I was feeling one storyline, I was whipped away to try and deal with another thing.
I also had a bit of a problem with the whole letter writing to death row. In theory, excellent. In practice…. Not so much. It just didn’t seem to fit at all with the style of writing or the subjects that the story was covering. The more I thought about it, the more I thought it could’ve been a sixteen year old girl’s diary, full of angst and drama about boys and kissing. If you had taken out the references to death row and Stuart’s crime, I honestly wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.
And speaking of angst and drama about boys and kissing. Urgh…this next bit is going to be a spoiler so… just watch out.
(view spoiler)[ SPOILERS FOR THIS BOOK AND, RATHER BIZARELY, MOCKINGJAY BY SUZANNE COLLINS. I’m reluctant to call the relationships in Ketchup Clouds a love triangle, because they're not. Not really anyway. Not in the sense of usual love triangles. But it was just as frustrating. As above with not really staying long enough on one issue to really get a feel for it, it was the same with the relationships between Zoe and The Brothers (capital letters, I feel, are necessary). It felt like we didn’t get a glimpse into either relationship for me to really root for either of them.
That being said, my favourite character in this whole book was Max. And that will probably mean a lot more to people who have read this book and will, hopefully, understand why I was so disappointed at the end. I really disliked how Ms Pitcher built him up as something (crisps on his chin *sigh*) for the majority of the book just to completely tear that apart and assassinate his character. It really reminded me of Gale in Mockingjay and you know how I feel about Mockingjay. And this is my problem when it comes to having more than one love interest in a book, only one of them is going to win. And the easiest way of doing that is throwing in some flimsy (and in my opinion, unnecessary) drama that makes it impossible not to hate one of them, so you have to be on the side of the boy that the author wanted you to side with from the start.
But maybe I just have a soft spot for boys who do jigsaw puzzles.
The best love triangles, and I say this with a scowl on my face because no love should be triangular, are when you have no idea who will ‘win’.
However, I absolutely adored Zoe’s family. It’s obvious that Ms Pitcher has an eye for family dynamics and depicts them wonderfully, flaws and all. I was so fascinated by their interactions and I just wanted to get back to them when we were elsewhere in the story. It frustrated me that we only got brief glimpses of them, like you’re watching TV and the signal keeps going, coming back on when the episode has gone on a few scenes and you can’t help but think that you’ve missed something important.
I really apologise for being so grouchy in this review but I’m just so disappointed. And I’ll be the first to admit that I can be pretty brutal when it comes to books that disappoint me.
But… even though this book was not for me, I have a feeling it will be for about 97% of you.
Because that is the exact* percentage of people I know who adored The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. These two books, to me, are very similar. Both in writing style and subject matter. So if you are one of the 97% who loved Ms Nelson’s writing, then I urge you to pick this one up because I think you’ll like it.
You can find this review and lots of other exciting things on my blog, Wear the Old Coat.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Under the Mesquite by Ms Garcia McCall was one of the most underrated books I read last year. I’m not sure whether it was because I’ll always have a s...moreUnder the Mesquite by Ms Garcia McCall was one of the most underrated books I read last year. I’m not sure whether it was because I’ll always have a soft spot for well-written, beautiful verse novels, or because it was just a gorgeous and very affective story, but it’s wonderful and I would recommend it to you all in a heartbeat.
And while I didn’t have the same love for Summer of the Mariposas, I still really enjoyed it.
The Mexican and Aztec influences absolute thrum through this story, weaving all the other threads of character and plot and creating a rich and gorgeous book. Unfortunately, I have limited (read: zilch) experience and knowledge in Mexican or Aztec culture so I have a feeling that a lot of the references went over my head. And, I guess, a lot of the magic went with it. I took as much from this story as I could but I can’t help but think the reason why I didn’t love this story as much as I wanted to was because it lacked the magic that I found with Under the Mesquite.
That’s not to say that Ms Garcia McCall skimped on the detail and just threw random Aztec beliefs at you left, right and centre. They were wonderfully incorporated into the girl’s adventure but some of them just didn’t really stick with me. Also, they kind of got a tiny bit repetitive. I guess that’s one of the sad things about reading a book about a completely different culture; unless you have an already existing knowledge of it, as much as you want to it’s sometimes difficult to not see it through your own eyes that you are used to seeing your own world through.
Does that make sense? I’m not sure if it does but I can’t think of how else to explain it.
But I did learn something from this book and I will always adore stories that are steeped in tradition and folklore and superstition. There’s something so pure and interesting about them and I always want to know more. Actually, this book has a wonderful “Author’s Note” that explains more about the inspiration behind the mystical things that the sisters experience which was much appreciated and gave me a great starting point to begin to find out about the stories that are referenced in this story. All of this folklore and beliefs gave this book an incredibly beautiful “campfire” type of feel or, because you don’t get many opportunities to sit around campfires in Manchester, the kind of story your grandparents would tell you on a rainy day while you drink tea and eat ginger biscuits. If Under the Mesquite made me realise that Ms Garcia McCall could work her way around beautiful verse, Summer of the Mariposas ensured my belief that she could do the same with prose. The language was stunning and gave the book a dreamy feel to it, like when the sun’s setting and everything is painted in that glorious dusky orange colour.
“We splashed around in that cold, clear water like river nymphs, born to swim and bathe till the end of days. It was a magical time, full of dreaminess and charm, a time to watch the mariposas emerge out of their cocoons, gather their courage, and take flight while we floated faceup in the water.”
All in all, this book is lovely. It’s a story about the connections between sisters, growing up, finding out who you want to be and a gorgeous exploration of the bond between a daughter and her mother. If you’re looking for a gentle story with an important moral, then you should definitely pick up this book. And then read Under the Mesquite because it’s even better.
Although, I must warn you: if you’re hungry, you should not read this book. I swear one of these days Ms Garcia McCall is going to end up with me on her doorstep with an empty plate held out and an expectant look on my face. When she keeps talking about tortillas like that, she only has herself to blame.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers. (less)
There is something wonderful about finding someone you know you can send them e-mails in the middle of the night full of capital letters and shoddy pu...moreThere is something wonderful about finding someone you know you can send them e-mails in the middle of the night full of capital letters and shoddy punctuation and even just ‘THIS BOOK’ and know that they will understand exactly what you are feeling. Mine is Rey*. When I saw that she had picked up Creepy & Maud and loved it, I knew that unless something drastic happened (we won’t mention this book) I will love it too. So I read it and…. THIS BOOK. The first chapter of this book is probably one of the most bizarre opening chapters I’ve ever read. I was reading it while I was sat on the train and a very serious looking business man reading The Times was sitting next to me and I was so conscious that he was reading over my shoulder I sort of angled myself away from him. I was so nervous that I would rather have my shoulder rammed into by the food trolley than have Serious Man see what I was reading. I mean, how do you explain why you’re reading a book where someone has pissed in someone’s shoe? I’ll leave you with that thought.
This book is a revelation in Young Adult fiction. I’ve never read anything quite like this before and I don’t even know how to review it. As you can tell, I’m kind of dancing around actually talking about the book because it’s been about a week and I still don’t have my thoughts sorted out. I have a Kindle full of underlined words and a note pad full of sentences separated into five syllables but that’s it.
So I’ll try.
When I read the synopsis I had serious misgivings. A creepy boy using binoculars to watch his next door neighbour who is also endearingly weird as well? Urgh. The girl is obviously going to be edgy and have crazy coloured hair and listen to Indie Bands You’ve Never Heard Of and be kooky and bizarre in the best kind of way, right? But Rey and I both have Thoughts and Feelings about those kinds of girls so when she said that Maud was wonderful, I trusted her. Kinda. Not that I doubted her but usually when an awkward boy falls in love with a girl in a book she’s so quirky and different and nooneseverbeenlikeherbeforeandthey’llneverbelikeheragain and, well, yawn.
Maud is nothing of the sort. I’m actually going to start by talking about Maud because she is glorious and she broke my heart in a subtle and roundabout way.
“I live my life through a glass darkly, waiting for the light to fascinate me”
One of my major gripes with young adult fiction is when a character gets lumped with a mental illness so they’re seen as ‘quirky’. Mental illness is not, and will never be, a quirk. Nor is it tragically beautiful. As Rey said in one of our e-mails there is no such thing as ‘tragically beautiful’. It is either beautiful… or it’s tragic. Thankfully, Ms Touchell knows this and portrays mental illness and problems absolutely brilliantly. It’s never dwelled on just to make sure you realise that Sad Things Are Happening or glorified or sensationalised. It is what it is and it’s there. And that makes it all the more poignant.
“I never know the right thing to say or think and sometimes I forget where I am and say things I should not. Or say things I would not if I took a minute to step outside my own head. I like it in here. In my head, I mean. It is other people who are worried about what is going on in there. I have decided not to come out of my head. If they want me, they can come in”.
But before you think that this book is just an ‘issue’ book about mental illness, it’s not at all. Just because Ms Touchell knows how to deal with “taboo” and “uncomfortable” and “edgy” topics fantastically well, doesn’t mean that she doesn’t know how to write a hilarious joke.
Some books I find are trying so hard to make you laugh that they repeat the same joke over and over again until you’re at the point where you just want to bellow ‘YES. I GET IT.’ It’s almost like they tell the joke and pause, waiting for your laugh. Creepy & Maud doesn’t do that. The jokes are subtle and deliciously dark and uncomfortable and it takes them a while to sink in but when they do… I swear, my “I’m-on-a-train-so-I-can’t-belly-laugh-so-I’ll-just-snort-through-my-nose-in-the-most-unladylike-of-manners” came out so often I lost count.
Maybe I just have a messed up sense of humour, but I’m OK with this. There is a part about sandwiches after a funeral that is still making me laugh.
And that was down to Creepy, my little fruit loop. I have so much time for this boy. He’s strange and odd. The only way I can describe him is he’s not the kind of weirdo that you cross the road to avoid him… but that’s only because he’s hiding in the shrubbery watching you from afar, stroking a furless cat. No seriously. I won’t say that Creepy isn’t, well, creepy. Because he is. He is creepily creepy. I mean, he watches a girl from his bedroom window, there is no way that won’t be creepy. Ms Touchell doesn’t make it romantic or cute but she makes it uncomfortable and strangely captivating.
“Am I sounding creepy? Love is sort of creepy. When you fall in love, you presuppose all sorts of things about the person. You superimpose all kinds of ideals and fantasies on them. You create all manner of unrealistic, untenable, unsatisfiable criteria for that person, automatically guaranteeing their failure and your heartbreak. And what do we call it? Romance. Now that’s creepy.”
I-love-you-Cree-py. I have to talk about the writing in this book. It is absolutely stunning. I am so glad I read this on my Kindle so I could highlight to my heart’s content because I seriously think the ink in my pen would have ran out if I were to write all the quotes down in my notebook.
“But love is not rational or reasonable or logical. It is a bird’s nest made of capillary and nerve and dubious judgement.”
“From time to time, when I’m feeling sad, I draw myself reflected in his window, superimposed on him like a ghost, or a paper doll’s dress, with my gold and serpent belt. So he is looking at me and I am looking back at myself.”
“Coda: It is best to stay alert when it does not take much to make them crack.”
“At least, with blinds pulled up, she’ll get some sun. By mid-afternoon the sun will hit her window in such a way that I’ll hardly be able to see her. She’ll disappear inside refraction and glare.”
As much as I want you all to read this book, I know for a fact that some of you will absolutely hate it. This isn’t a love story. It’s a story about the love that exists in the gap between two windowpanes. You might think there isn’t a difference, but there is.
Some of you will think it goes too far. Some of you might think it’s a bit dull. Some of you might think it’s too distasteful. Hopefully, though, some of you will think it’s brilliant.
Without sounding like a cliché, I seriously think that this is an either you’ll adore it or you’ll hate it book. I wouldn’t be surprised if the ratings on Goodreads and blogs for Creepy & Maud will be evenly split. I predict that there will be lots of one star ratings and there will be tons of five star ratings. I hope there will be discussion between these two tribes, though. (I regret nothing). Seriously though, I think that this kind of discussion is exactly what Ms Touchell would want her story to encourage.
It’s obvious from the subject matter, the characters and the way this story is told that she’s not looking to be safe author who is universally loved. This book obviously wasn’t written for world domination but that makes me love this book even more.
Remember a few years ago when us Brits got together and rebelled against the fact that every year the same old same old X-Factor winner would get the Christmas number one? And there was a huge (and successful) campaign to get Rage Against the Machine’s Killing in the Name to number one? That’s what I want to do for books like this one and all the others that fly under the radar. I just want to see how many readers are out there who aren’t afraid to read something that is a bit odd and not necessarily something they’d think of reading. It’s nice to step out of my comfort zone every now and again. I wish more publishing houses took risks like this because this is what readers mean when they say they want something “different”.
And that’s why I love reading because I want to hear these stories that are simply dy-ing-to-be-told.
*When I told Rey that the beginning of my review had basically turned into a love letter to her, she asked me to write her an actual love letter. So here you go:
I’ve never really been technological. I mean, I can use a computer. I can use a phone. I can use a Kindle. Sometimes I kind of link them all together...moreI’ve never really been technological. I mean, I can use a computer. I can use a phone. I can use a Kindle. Sometimes I kind of link them all together if I’m feeling particularly frisky one day.
But when people say that they prefer Windows to Apple, I zone out. I don’t know whether I’m a Mac or a PC. The adverts meant nothing to me except omfg it’s Jeremy and Mark!* I mean, if Jeremy is a Mac and Mark is a PC, then surely they’re both as awesome as each other? Do I have to choose between them? I don’t want to. No, I refuse.
What’s Super Hans? Let’s face it, I’m going to be whatever he is. In all seriousness though, I cannot believe that this book was written by the same author that wrote Nakedwhich was such an excellent book that I can’t recommend it enough.
This book was… I don’t know. I can’t even say it wasn’t what I was expecting because it was basically exactly what I was expecting. A boy is standing under a block of flats and someone throws an iPhone off the 30th floor and it embeds himself into his head. When he wakes up from his coma he discovers that his brain is now an…iBrain (Brooks’ words, not mine). Needless to say, he’s not an ‘App-y chappy. Geddit? App….y? Never mind.
OK, so first up I’ll talk about the idea. I’m OK with suspending my disbelief when I read books. A fact, I feel, that was proven by me actually picking up this book. I understand that this story will never and could never happen. If I wanted to read a book where the science was 100% and everything was believable, I probably wouldn’t have chosen to read a book where a boy turns into an iPod….would I?
So I was OK with this and I was quite happy to read a story where everything was left a bit up in the air. Unfortunately, it seems, Mr Brooks wasn’t. There were times when this story descended into a bit of an instruction manual and it left me completely lost and it managed to yank me out of a story that I was actually really involved in. There was absolutely tons of info-dumping. And I’m not saying that in the way that most people mean it with huuuuge chunks of descriptions about a fantasy world just in case you missed that point where the author was being really clever.. I mean actual info-dumping. There is part of the iPod instruction manual in a chapter. I’m not even joking. I did try and understand the mechanics (again, literally) of what happened to Tom but…I mean… OK, I get that he can hack into people’s phones and bank accounts and stuff… but how can he create a forcefield around himself? Have I just got a crap iPhone that doesn’t do that? I have to admit it would be handy. Anyone who was annoying me I could just be like “Oh, one sec… someone’s ringing me!” and I’d whip out my phone and ZAP right in the face. The more I tried to understand… the more delirious I became. One of my notes is actually: “LOLOL. But why doesn’t he electrocute himself in the shower?”
The thing that was most frustrating about this book was that I know how brilliant Mr Brooks is at writing a great and engrossing plot. He did it in Naked and, to some extent, he did it with iBoy. If you took away the iPlot and the zapping, this book would have been so good. Seeing the gangs of South London and all the horrifying things they do through Tom’s eyes wasn’t always easy. Mr Brooks has this way of really getting into the story, into the characters’ psyches and you can be reading it, hand over your mouth, thinking “No, he’s not going to go there…” and guess where he goes? There. And I love that about him because, even though it was uncomfortable and it was realistic and brilliant.
But then iBoy got involved and zap, zap, zap and… I don’t know, it just really took something away with it. I won’t go into all the gritty details of what happens in this story but it’s so sad and so horrifying and the iPlot seemed to trivialise it almost. Which is crazy because I know that Mr Brooks can write emotions and darker subjects with subtlety and tact but this one was just way too much. Also, for extra iLOLZ… this main event of this story happened the day before my birthday.
You may be thinking why I carried on reading this book if I didn’t like it at all and that was because of the characters. When Tom was Tom and there weren’t any lowercase is lurking anywhere, he was brilliant. The perfect balance between hero and regular kid, I really wanted to get to know him and not iBoy. And, of course, I loved Lucy. What a little sweetheart. Also, Gram was BRILLIANT.
I so wish this had been a contemporary book because I know that it would have been unforgettable instead of being memorable for all the wrong reasons.
*And omfg there’s a new series coming soon. Who’s excited?!
Some of the best books I read are the ones I stumble on accidentally. I can’t even remember why I decided that I might like this book. I’m not a huge...moreSome of the best books I read are the ones I stumble on accidentally. I can’t even remember why I decided that I might like this book. I’m not a huge fan of the 70s. I have an aversion against bands in YA fiction. I’d never even heard of Kevin Brooks.
So why would I read this YA book about a fictional band in the 70s… written by Kevin Brooks? Maybe I was feeling particularly crazy that day. I don’t know, but I did and it was brilliant. Seriously, it was brilliant. If I could sum up what this book was about in one word it would be ‘passionate’. Every single character in this book is passionate about something. Well, OK, not Stan but I’m passionate about Stan so that’s OK; we’ll kind of balance each other out. Whether it’s music, drugs, punk, sex, - it seeps from the page and it’s practically impossible not to be drawn into it whether you care about it or not. This book is everything that YA should be- breathless, messy, funny, heart breaking, intriguing. OK, I was going sum up this book with one word wasn’t I? Whoops.
I loved everything about Mr Brooks’ writing. I found myself underlining so many paragraphs it got a bit daft, especially when I found that my favourite quote ended up coming pretty early on in the book. And when I say early I mean the first paragraph.
“My heart was born in the long hot summer of 1976; my life was made, my love was sealed, my soul was lost and broken. It was the summer of so many things – heat and violence, love and hate, dreams and nightmares, heaven and hell- and when I look back on it now, it’s hard to tell the good from the bad. It was all good and bad. Altogether, all at once. It was everything.”
Isn’t that one of the best openings ever? I could wax lyrical about how brilliant his writing is and how it really transported you to exactly where he wanted you but well, we don’t have all day, do we?
I have quite an eclectic taste in music but I’m not the hugest fan of punk music, which is basically what this book is about. The closest thing I am to being a punk is having a nose piercing and that one time I ripped my skirt and had to use a safety pin to save myself from an awkward situation. Punk rocker, thy name is not Jo. But it honestly didn’t matter to me because I was too busy loving this story and the characters to care. I think that’s one of Mr Brooks’ main talents. Not many YA readers could honestly say that they are true, true, true fans of punk music (and no, wearing a Ramones t-shirt from Topshop doesn’t count) but he makes sure that you’re never out of your depth. Mr Brooks has this great way of telling a story that heavily relies on the setting and the culture of the 70s without coming across as one of those pretentious music fans. You know the ones… the ones who corner you at a party and they know everything and they heard of that obscure band before you did and omg they’re so retro and how have you never heard of them? You know the ones…. The ones you want to thump? Mr Brooks is as far from that as you can get. Which, um, is good because I like to think that I’m not the kind of girl who would attack bestselling authors and also I can’t throw a punch to save my life.
Let’s talk about Naked. Normally I find fictional bands, YA or not, completely horrendous. They seem to be so cringey and fake and terribly unrealistic. But Naked?
“The sound was electrifying, stunning, the crash of chords ripping through the air like a thunderous shot of adrenalin, and when I started playing […] and the stage erupted in a blaze of lights, it all felt so good that I thought for a moment my heart was going to explode. The sound was almost too good to believe. We were so loud, so fast, so tight…. We were so there.. .it was incredible.”
I’d definitely go and see them and stand at the front and be doused in the blood/spit/bodily fluids of the nearest tattooed punk rock-…..
Hahahaha, I’m totally kidding. I’d be at the back because I’m a delicate girl who values her limbs and face. Also, I find only a certain kind of person can truly look good in a leather bra and swastika tattoos.
If, however, you aren’t too fussed about punk music please stop backing away from this book slowly. It’s not all punk and swastikas and Johnny Rotten. Do you like David Bowie? Of course you do, because who doesn’t? The Buzzcocks? Velvet Underground? Pink Floyd? THE WURZELS? Yep. This book comes with one of the best readymade soundtracks I know. See? I’m not a complete dunce in 70s music. But if I had been alive in the 70s, I like to think that I would be cool enough to be looking upwards… a bit more…. Northern. Things were happening up there. I dunno, you may have heard of them?
And while I’m talking about awesome things from the 70s that came from my neck of the woods…
“The shop was called Sex, and over the years it came to be known as the birthplace of the sex pistols. When Curtis first took me there, in August 1975, it already had a growing reputation as the place to be. It was owned and run by Malcolm McClaren and Vivienne Westwood.”
Dame Vivienne Westwood. Need I say more? Northern England sure produces the most excellent of artists… *cough* I think this book would be perfect for anyone who is interested in reading something that is a bit different from the norm. This isn’t a book set in a high school and it’s not set in a dystopian world. It is truly sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll punk rock. But the glorious thing about this book is that it won’t just interest people who are interested in the 70s or music but anyone who is interested in British and Northern Irish history as a whole. Mr Brooks sets the scene perfectly and it’s rough and it’s uncomfortable and it’s so, so good.
Anyway, enough with the setting. I think we’ve established that Mr Brooks knows his stuff. My favourite thing about this book were the characters. I absolutely loved Lili, our narrator. She was such a gorgeous, vibrant and clever heroine. I loved how she held her own in a very masculine world. She was such a caring character who, even though I didn’t always agree with the things she did, always tried to do the right thing and stand by the people she cared about no matter how close they were to crashing and burning. She was also hilarious.
“I bought most of my clothes from jumble sales and charity shops, and – as far as I remember- my hair at the time was a failed attempt at a Suzi Quatro-style layered cut, which might not have looked all that bad if I hadn’t recently attacked it myself with a pair of blunt scissors… an exercise that resulted in me resembling a slightly deranged medieval waif.”
Also she plays the guitar like an absolute beast! While I’m talking about Lili, I have to talk about something else….
I also loved the relationship between William and Lili so much. As much as I loved Curtis Ray in all his tragedy and beauty and I appreciated how magnificent he is as a character, William Bonney takes the biscuit. I just loved how he treated Lili.
“It made me feel how I was supposed to feel at my age. Excited and stupid… But stupid in a good way.”
I’m not going to talk about these two too much because I think it’s best to meet them on your own terms but I will say one thing, something that I think will sum up their relationship. On one of their ‘dates’ they walk around London discussing the genius of David Bowie and whether it was Ziggy Stardust or Aladdin Sane who had the orange stripe across their face.
If you can give me an example of a more perfect date, consider my reviewer’s bonnet eaten.
End of slight spoiler.
The only problem I had was this book was the ending. Not the ‘just before the ending’ ending which I really loved, but the proper ending. I was OK up until then. Then things got a little too neat and tied up and lovely. BUT…. After the angst Mr Brooks had put us through, a nice ending was a bit of a reprieve. Hey, I’m a Brit- I like my endings messy… don’t judge me.
Perhaps a little unrelated, I read this book on my Kindle which is such a shame because I would have LOVED to have seen the faces of my fellow commuters as they saw what I was reading. Live fast. Play dirty. GET NAKED. LOL. Anyway, this book is spectacular and you should be reading it.
Can you enjoy a book where pretty much every one of your favourite characters gets chomped on by a zombie?
I’m going to say yes because this book was b...moreCan you enjoy a book where pretty much every one of your favourite characters gets chomped on by a zombie?
I’m going to say yes because this book was brilliant.
This book was genuinely creepy and I like to think I’m made of strong stuff. Unless clowns are involved… and boats….and, like, those huge Australian bugs that Mandee and Reynje take so much pleasure in sending me pictures of when I’m expecting wallabies and koala bears. OK, actually…. Maybe I am a bit of a wuss. But one thing that struck me about this book was how atmospheric it was. I know I made a similar observation in my review for This is Not a Test, but one of the first scenes (the bit in the swimming pool, for those who have read it!) was like the beginning of a horror film. A group of kids are inside somewhere and it’s quiet. Too quiet. But they’re safe in here. Aren’t they? You get an idea of the individual characters. You have the leader, the cocky one, the cheeky two and the one who keeps looking over his shoulder. Better safe than sorry, right? And they’re all talking and sniping at each other and behaving like boys do. And none of them have noticed that something is wrong. Really wrong. And that’s where I’ll stop. I can’t describe it because I’m not a writer like Mr Higson. I mean, you’ve read my other reviews, right?
“He’d always been scared of the dark. His mum had told him not to worry. ‘If you can’t see the monsters, they can’t see you.’ Back then there had been no monsters. Not real ones. Only imaginary. Now…”
See? *shudders* [FYI: That quote is from my favourite scenes in the book. SO GOOD.]
And also, it’s bloody disgusting. It’s really gruesome. We’re talking Yancey’s The Monstrumologist gruesome.
“The skin blackened, shrivelled and split, the overripe flesh inside squeezing out. His insides had turned to mush… Arran prodded the body with his trainer. As he did so the skin popped, a stream of pus oozed out followed by a bright pink blossom of soft fat.”
I mean, that’s disgusting, right? That’s so vile. That’s absolutely horrendous.
It’s also AWESOME. And that’s not even the best bit. That comes later and eeerrrrrrgrgrghhhh it’s brilliant.
Mr Higson certainly knows how to write a story. The twists and turns were perfectly executed and, even though if you’ve ever read a zombook or a zombie film you may guess some of the twists and turns, it didn’t bother me at all. There were certain scenes and certain things that happened that had me completely thrown. Mr Higson really took the phrase ‘Kill your darlings’ to a whole new level. Or at least ‘Kill Jo’s darlings’… so, yeah, THANKS FOR THE ANGST, CHARLIE HIGSON.
I think without Mr Higson’s attention to detail with the characters this could have fallen into the ‘Oh... a zombie book? Now that’s original!’ trap. I have lots and lots of notes about my favourite characters in this book but seeing as I’ve told you that most of ‘em turn into Zombie Snacks (similar to Scooby Snacks, by the way, but more…um, living) I’m not going to share my specific thoughts and feelings. I kind of loved every single one of them. Their back stories, their dialogue, their reactions to what was happening around them, how strong they were when…things….happened. Love love love. But even though I loved a lot of the characters individually, I adored how they worked as a group. They all had their roles to play without it being cliché and box-ticky. Yeah we have the smart one and yeah we have the one who wants to go zombie hunting, and the one who isn’t sure what to do but everyone’s looking at for help? Yep, they’re there too. But it felt fresh and exciting and by the time I got to the end, I really felt like I was part of their group.
Though, that’s probably wishful thinking because I would want to be part of their group. Because, if/when a zombie apocalypse happens, I’m going to be used for bait. I know this and I’ve accepted this. But maybe if I stuck with the kids in this book I’d last a little bit longer before they dress me in a bright colour and shove me out into the street before locking the door behind me.
You know that feeling when you read the first book of a series (although, from my understanding, they don’t follow on? Just the same universe, though I may just be telling you vicious lies) and you get all excited and giddy and you look at every grown up thinking they might eat you? I have it with this book and I’m really excited to read more because if that ending is anything to go on, a lot more scary brilliance this way comes.
Oh and also; zombie monkeys. What was that? You want me to elaborate? No way. If the phrase ‘zombie monkeys’ doesn’t make you immediately add this to your reading list, I don’t think anything will.
Anyway, I’m gonna have to go because there’s this really creepy bloke just standing outside my house. I mean… what kind of grown man wears a St George’s flag t-shirt and oh my god, I don’t believe it! He’s just got his friends to come too and… nope, I’m not having this. Hold that thought… I’ll be right back.
Can I just leave it at that? Can we just call that my review?
No? You want more? God, sometimes you are the most demanding readers ever.
You will know by now how much I loved Being Billy by Phil Earle so I was practically chomping at the bit to read his next book. Saving Daisy tells the story of Daisy Houghton, who you will know if you’ve read Billy’s story. I’ve been thinking about how to class Saving Daisy and I’m failing miserably. I wouldn’t call it a sequel and, you know… I wouldn’t even call it a companion book. Actually, you know what? I’m going to use my YA reviewing power (it’s a real thing, of course it is) to say that Saving Daisy is a standalone book. Definitely*. This is Daisy’s story and no one gets a look in. And this is her time. Of course I loved Being Billy but Saving Daisy, in my opinion, was even better.
I’m going to avoid talking about the plot because it’s good to know as little as you can before reading this book. I find that this book’s shocks and twists are infinitely better when they thwack you across the back of the head completely out of the blue. If you’ve read Being Billy, you may have an inkling of what happened to her before her cameo in BB. But take that inkling and throw it out of the window because, mate, you have no idea.
This book made me laugh hysterically. This book made me so unbelievably angry. This book made me want to put The Shawshank Redemption on and weep into a pillow. This book broke my heart.
At first I thought it was the subject matter, something that is very personal to me, and I thought maybe I was just connecting to it because of that and there was a chance that I was being biased. But then I thought that I was doing a huge disservice to Mr Earle’s writing which is the main reason my heart now lies bleeding on my bedroom floor. My favourite kind of writer is an authentic writer, one that knows what they’re talking about, and Mr Earle’s writing is 100% authentic. Through my unrivalled researching skills, (like… um.. Googling him and looking at his ‘About Me’ section on his website) I found out that Mr Earle used to work as a care worker before he became a writer. And this shows. He doesn’t sugar coat the issues that children like Billy and Daisy have nor does he make them more horrifying than they are just to make a good story.
Mr Earle employs a great subtlety to his writing that made this book so affective. In the hands of a lesser writer, Daisy’s story could have got very overwhelming extremely fast. I won’t lie to you: there is a lot of angst in this book. If you’re looking for neat, happy endings and conclusions that come with a nice bow then I couldn’t recommend this book to you. You can tell that Mr Earle is a huge fan of telling uncomfortable, unforgettable and realistic books that might not always be the most fun to read… but they challenge the reader and really make them think. Which is lucky because so am I.
I always find that there is a common criticism for authors who write for teenagers and it is: how can an adult write authentically for teenagers? And I won’t lie, some authors can’t. Their dialogue is cringey and unrealistic, the issues are picked randomly and sensationalised because that’s what they feel teenagers worry about and then some authors put horrifying cultural references (*shudders*) to show how ‘cool’ they are… luckily, Mr Earle doesn’t rely on that to show that he’s a brilliant teen writer. He relies on his writing. But what about a grown man writing from the perspective of a teenage girl? Nah, he’s got that covered too. Daisy Houghton was such a glorious character and I would like to be best friends with her. Without the risk of sounding like a fruit loop (What do you mean it’s too late for that?!) I like to judge my YA books on whether I would like hang out with the main characters. And with this I mind, I would like to be best friends with Daisy Houghton. I’m not sure how I feel about getting up early to go cliff-trekking but a third of my degree was in film studies so I would be more than willing to sit and watch and discuss films while I ate an entire bag of popcorn. Actually, no… strike that. I loved Daisy so much I would share my popcorn with her, something that is unheard of. People have lost fingers for attempting to get at my popcorn*.
When I looked back at my notes to write this review I noticed that, as the book went on and we got to know Daisy more, it seemed I became more and more protective of her. One actually reads “OMG DON’T YOU DARE DO THAT.” Well… not actually… because my Kindle-typing is ridiculous and I was trying to balance standing on the train so it really read “ohk font yu dare dp tht” but the sentiment still stands.
I loveloveloved her and she will be forever one of my most authentic, genuine, compassionate, broken, favourite YA heroines.
OK, just had a skim through my review and it seems to be sponsored by the word “authentic”, but I make no apologies because isn’t that what you want in a contemporary book?
It can also be sponsored by the word: “British”, “compelling”, “horrifying”, “hopeful”, “brilliant”, “powerful”, “unflinching”, “astonishing” and “OMGWHYAREN’TYOUREADINGIT?”.
The latter, word I feel, the most apt. And of course it’s a word, so be quiet.
It’s so wonderful to find yet another British YA author who will be added to my “Read Everything They Write Even if it’s on a Post-It” list.
Oh and before I go, I just want to say that it’s really refreshing to read a YA book set in Northern England. It’s good to see that there are authors believe in THE DREADED NORTH and not that the UK just ends after you’ve left London. It may be grim up here, but as Mr Earle has shown, it proves for brilliant stories.
*Actually, there is a part in Saving Daisy, right at the end, that was so wonderful and moving and gorgeous that I rushed back to read a certain part in Being Billy and it made a lot more sense and made both books more poignant. Maybe that’s me. Maybe I’ll bribe one of you who haven’t read either of them to read Saving Daisy first and then Being Billy and see if my theory is correct. Muhahahaha.. I’m like the Dr Jekyll of YA blogging. *cue lightning bolts*
*I very nearly fell out with my best friend who dared to suggest we got salty popcorn once. I mean… urgh..
I don’t normally get scared by dystopian books. Yeah, sometimes they’re a bit..eeeehhh… but, usually, the ideas are so far-fetched and impossible that...moreI don’t normally get scared by dystopian books. Yeah, sometimes they’re a bit..eeeehhh… but, usually, the ideas are so far-fetched and impossible that I’m quite happy to shrug and think ‘Hey! Good fiction, author!”. I don’t know what it is about this book, where children can be ‘unwound’ and retroactively aborted when they reach a certain age, but it really haunted me.
Just the idea of it was so unsettling and absolutely horrid. The way the story is told (third person, present tense) has this almost clinical style to it. Normally in dystopians, it’s all about the characters. It’s about their feeling and that’s where the drama comes into it. But in Unwind, there are no dramatic scenes where the characters throw themselves against a wall and cry and how in just it is… everyone kind of just accepts things. It is how it is. And that was the most unsettling part of this book*.
I sometimes find that dystopian authors get so tangled up in a ridiculous plot and forget about the world building or get so giddy over the world building there is no plot. Of course, there are some authors that can juggle the two of them and find the right balance. But this idea got me thinking. What do you think is more important; the story or the world? I guess the world in Unwind isn’t overly different than ours, I mean there are hints that things are a bit futuristic but there certainly aren’t Districts or Factions or hover-boards. Maybe this was because Mr Shusterman didn’t think that the world was too important in the grand scale of things or maybe it was because Mr Shusterman wanted to create a world that was eerily similar to ours, to make it all the more frightening. Either way, I think Unwind is proof that if you’ve got a stellar, unique idea… you don’t need a convoluted world with complicated politics that show how clever you are to have a good story on your hands. The world he creates may be “basic”, but with the idea of unwinding embedded in my mind, I never once doubted Mr Shusterman’s imagination. Though, I think hover boards would have made this book just a little bit better.
I’m not going to go into the higher ideas and morals of this book because I don’t think this review is the place to go into my views and opinions. But I do have my views and opinions on this matter and I’m sure you do too. I think no matter which side you’re on and what you believe in, this book will still be hard-hitting and fascinating. I think it’s the evidence of a real writer when you finish a book and you have absolutely no idea where the author stands on a matter. This book feels very removed, possibly by the style it’s been written it, and it doesn’t feel preachy or has some kind of sly agenda to make you change your mind. I like that it challenges you but, ultimately, it lets you make up your own mind.
Anyway, let’s talk about the characters. I liked Connor, I loved Risa (Hurrah for a heroine is both feminine and strong!) but I absolutely adored Lev. And that’s who I’m going to talk about.
Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Connor and I really liked Risa. I think dystopian books need characters like them. They’re strong, they’re leaders and they take charge. But they’re not completely original, are they? Sure these two stand out among all the other faceless Children of the Dystopian Revolution (CDR), but they’re still a CDR. Again, don’t get me wrong, this book wouldn’t have been the same without these two and I think dystopian books need characters like them.
But Lev? He was the heart and the brains and the soul of this book. He really is a one of a kind character and I just loved what he brought to this story. He added so much more depth to it than any other character and the issues that he faced were the ones that affected me the most. I love characters that develop within the pages and seeing Lev’s journey was absolutely fantastic. For the first third of this book I thought I had him pegged. I didn’t like him because he annoyed me. I just wanted to get back to Connor and Risa. Next, OK, you have my attention Lev. I’m intrigued. And then at the end? BOOM. Consider my gob smacked.
Also, I feel like I have to give a shout out to my new best-friend Cyfi. What an absolute treasure. But that’s all I’m saying.
And before I read this book, I didn’t think anyone could make a character named Roland be sinister. HA. HA. HA. *nervous twitch* And that’s just what I think about the kids. Don’t get me started on the adults! Although I will say this- I enjoyed the nice, twisty surprise re: The Admiral. I didn’t expect that one coming at all. This book isn’t for the faint-hearted. Towards the end of the book there is one of the most horrifying scenes I’ve ever read in a YA book and just thinking about it gives me the chivvers. I know without a doubt that that will stay with me for a long time. But if you love dystopian books with brilliant characters with a unique and completely terrifying plot and one that makes you think… and, of course, if you think you’re up for the challenge… go on.
*I know there are some characters who want to change things, but this ain't no Mockingjay**. The majority of the people in this book are quite happy with the way things are. So I’m sticking with that thought.
I am not giving up on this book, just postponing it. I promise. I'm just really having a hard time reading at the moment (I know....whaaat?). I should...moreI am not giving up on this book, just postponing it. I promise. I'm just really having a hard time reading at the moment (I know....whaaat?). I should be enjoying it because, mate, it's written by E.Lockhart.
I will come back to this book and I will give it all the stars.*
I have wanted to get my mitts on a good natural disaster book since I finished Mr Mullins’ Ashfall so when I saw Monument 14 on Netgalley I practicall...moreI have wanted to get my mitts on a good natural disaster book since I finished Mr Mullins’ Ashfall so when I saw Monument 14 on Netgalley I practically fell over myself to request it. Kids? Living in Walmart? Bad things happening to them? MEGATSUNAMIS?! Yes. Yes. Yes. And oh my goodness, YES. But, ladies and gentlemen, I am officially disappointed and sad.
I thought this book was going to be how I imagine what would happen if The Breakfast Club found that they had survived an apocalypse [something I imagine more than I am willing to admit. Fan fiction is in right now, yes?] and I was so excited. Because, come on, how awesome would Molly Ringwald be in a disaster situation? Let’s just think about that for a moment.
But no. There was no Molly Ringwald. There was no peril. There were no megastunamis. There was no crazy old man who had been predicting that all of this was going to happen but who everyone ignored because he’s crazy. There was no president who was deciding who should go into the underground bunkers. There wasn’t even a Jake Gyllenhaal cameo, for goodness’ sake!
There was mention of all this scary and brilliant stuff happening in the outside world like some kind of mean “Look what you could have been reading” kind of thing… but… no. We got some kids running around doing not much and moaning about it. And then an ending where everything in the entire world happens in the space of about three pages. But I don’t want to talk about the ending because I have so many “Whaaaat? Whyyyy?! What is your reasoning for doing that apart from the fact there is going to be a sequel?!” thoughts, it’s making me sad. Also, there were still no megatsunamis. WHYYYY?
I guess this book wasn’t a complete bust, which is why I’m probably so disappointed. Because if it had been all completely awful I would have just gotten over it and struck Ms Laybourne off my list of writers that I like to read but there were great moments in this that if they had just been expanded this book would have been excellent. I probably won’t continue with this series but I’ll still be keeping an eye on what else she writes. Also, those little kids are the cutest kids in the entire world. So sweet.
I can’t help but wish I had stuck with Mrs Woolly. I bet she had adventures…and megatsunamis.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley.