When I was asked whether or not I would like to review Dandelion Clocks, I jumped at the chance. There seems to be a flood of recent YA books tacklingWhen I was asked whether or not I would like to review Dandelion Clocks, I jumped at the chance. There seems to be a flood of recent YA books tackling the tough subject that is cancer, and this book is another of those. Thankfully, I think that Dandelion Clocks does add something new to this market, and it's something that's definitely worth checking out, especially for those on the 'younger' side of the young adult genre.
Dandelion Clocks is a book that is said to appeal to fans of authors such as Jacqueline Wilson, Cathy Cassidy or Annabel Pitcher. With this suggestion, you'd assume that it's a book written specifically for middle grade children, and I can easily say that yes it is, but it I would certainly not hesitate to recommend this book to any older teen or even to any adult. I was very pleasantly surprised with the complexity that this book had, the author has proven to have such a wonderful ability of reaching across to different age groups. Though the content matter is treated so carefully that it's accessible, older readers should also appreciate many of the hidden complexities, including the relationships, in this book.
As aforementioned, this is a book that includes many more issues than the main one of cancer. Our very realistic and likeable protagonist, Liv, deals with multiple issues in this book and I commend Westcott for managing to handle them all so well, with a great sense of care and authenticity. In this novel, another focus is on Liv's brother who has Asperger's Syndrome - this was also fascinating to read about because it taught me about the effect of Asperger's on daily life and it was fantastic to see how Liv helped her brother to try understand some things that those with Aspergers find challenging - in fact, I'd say that this issue is probably rightly explored with the same amount of focus and poignancy as the cancer storyline.
What stood out to me most with this book is that it's a real coming of age story for Liv. I enjoyed seeing her subtly mature in accordance with the things around her. I liked seeing how she dealt with everyday issues, such as friendships at school. Most of all I found it interesting to see how her experience shaped her and had an effect on her and helped on the way to forming her identity and maturity. For her age, Liv seemed very mature for her age and that is another reason why I believe the older YA fans will like this book.
Overall, I was very pleasantly surprised by this Dandelion Clocks - I didn't expect to love it as much as I did (for age reasons). I would have never guessed that this was Westcott's debut novel because quite simply, it is written with such a lot of care and talent. If you like the sound of the blurb/synopsis of this book, don't hesitate in picking it up, whoever you are - I am positive that you'll enjoy it. Rebecca Westcott is definitely an author to watch, and I'll definitely pick up her next offering! ...more
Just when I thought I was maybe growing 'out' of young adult books, along came Cammie McGovern, and alongside her came Amy and Matthew, reminding me eJust when I thought I was maybe growing 'out' of young adult books, along came Cammie McGovern, and alongside her came Amy and Matthew, reminding me exactly why I fell in love with YA in the first place.
Amy and Matthew seems like a book that was written for me - it contains everything I love and most importantly, two imperfect protagonists who were easy to admire from the very beginning. Both characters have diagnosable 'disabilities', Amy has Cerebral Palsy and Matthew has OCD. Though both conditions can be very disabling, the characters certainly don't just sit back and let their problems dominate them, which is probably the main reason why I admired them so much. Their lives are undoubtedly affected, as anybody who has (or who has had) an illness will know, and it that's certainly a largely covered issue in the book, but I absolutely loved, and was so relieved, that the personalities of the characters were at the forefront. I enjoyed seeing how the two characters leaned on each other and how their relationship helped improve their wellbeing.
Amy and Matthew learn a lot about themselves through each other and this creates such a perfect chemistry between the two and it's something very special. Amy and Matthew are, quite simply, perfect for each other. If I was Amy, I would love a guy like Matthew, and if I was Matthew, I'd love a girl like Amy. I don't think that anybody could deny that. The two characters are really quite different and that is patly why they work so well together. Though Amy is less physically able than Matthew, she's perhaps slightly stronger emotionally, where as Matthew is more physically able but has a harder time with his emotions. I was very interested to see what Amy was really like, what she really thought and felt, as she seemed like, and was, a very complex person. I can only imagine what it must be like to be in her situation, but I think that McGovern portrayed her amazingly well. I liked seeing how both characters changed throughout the book - I was particularly impressed with Matthew's improvements and recovery.
As someone who has both chronic physical pain and mental illnesses, from what I understand of Amy and Matthew's issues, they were described well and I am glad that their issues were portrayed in a very frank, but not hyperbolic way. I sympathised with them, but didn't pity them. It is good to finally be able read a book about real people with real issues, trying to lead a normal lifestyle.
I hope it's clear how much I loved this book! It's difficult to write in a review, as you really do have to 'meet' Amy and Matthew through reading. I can not thank McGovern enough for getting me back into this genre and reminding me of everything I love about contemporary YA. Amy and Matthew is definitely one of the top YA books out there at the moment. Move over, The Fault In Our Stars and make way for Amy and Matthew! ...more
Deeper is a book that has had a lot of really rave reviews and as someone wanting to check out the offerings in the recently highly popular New AdultDeeper is a book that has had a lot of really rave reviews and as someone wanting to check out the offerings in the recently highly popular New Adult genre, I knew that this would have to be one of those definite to-reads for me. Deeper is a book that deals with and portrays what seems to be a real problem today, an issue known as 'Revenge Porn'.
Deeper explores the life of Caroline, a college girl who has had sexual pictures of herself posted all over the internet, thanks to her ex-boyfriend, Nate. This behaviour is known as 'Revenge Porn'. I've never read any books on this subject before, but it seems like a very modern issue that we really should be reading about - it's certainly not something that is rare in our technology-obsessed society. I can't say that I've ever thought about the issue of revenge porn, but this book really brings to life how it easily it can happen and how easily things are shared amongst people. Caroline finds all of her life has been negatively affected by the photos, and we see how near-impossible it is to remove one post from the internet. I think that the author, York, has done a fantastic thing by bringing this topic to life and writing it realistically.
As you'd expect, Caroline isn't having the best time at college, but things start to change after she sees a guy she doesn't know all that well, West Leavitt punching Nate. Despite his shady reputation, Caroline is intrigued by West and begins to spend time with him, their chemistry building each time they meet. We learn more about West, and it's easy to see why Caroline is so attracted. We find out that West is from a poor, unstable background and works his hardest to ensure his young sister is safe and cared for, he is absolutely devoted to her, their relationship feeling more like one between a father and daughter. When West is at college, working on making a better life for his sister, he makes bread during the night and sells home-grown weed with freshly baked muffins. West is absolutely irresistible, both physically and personality-wise throughout this book and it's completely understandable why Caroline is so attracted to him. We get to read from West's POV throughout the book, which I found equally as interesting as Caroline's POV, if not more.
As for Caroline herself, I neither loved nor disliked her, she was a character that seemed like an average girl of her age - I don't think that she had any extreme personality traits or eccentricities, but I think that this actually benefits the way that the issue of revenge porn - it was easy to connect with her and imagine her situation. I did admire the fact that she was proactive and did something about her situation, and didn't just shy away from reality. I liked her to-the-point contributions.
I have to say, there were a few things that I had to adjust to in this book - I can't deny that I found some of the phrases/sentences quite cringe-inducing at points, but after adjusting to the book and York's writing, it didn't bother me so much. Naturally, being a new adult book, the book is full of sexual tension and well, the rest, and I really don't think anybody will be disappointed in that aspect - York really has excelled herself there! Again, some of the phrases felt a little crude which put me off, but I did adjust to the writing.
Overall, I can see why Deeper is already globally popular and I for one have certainly been left wanting more West! I admire York for both tackling such a big issue and creating a story that I could really engage with. I will be looking forward to learning more about Caroline and West and sharing their new experiences in the next book!...more
Salvage is a book that has had many positive comments and quite a bit of excitement revolving around it, especially here in the United Kingdom, so I wSalvage is a book that has had many positive comments and quite a bit of excitement revolving around it, especially here in the United Kingdom, so I was very excited to receive a copy for review. Salvage is a young adult book with interesting subject matter, exploring an interesting story. I usually really enjoy books about real life issues, so I was really hoping that I'd love this one.
I really liked the idea behind this book. We are introduced to Cass, our female narrative, as her adopted family has started to break up. As her father is a well known politician, the story hits the newspapers, one including a photograph of Cass. This is when we're introduced to our male narrative, Aidan, who despite having not seen her for years, almost instantly recognises his long lost sister. As Aidan contacts her, a lot of his history unravels and we read through the complexities of both Cass and Aidan's lives and learn a bit more about their past. In Aidan's eyes, Cass received the best adoptive middle-class parents possible, whereas he himself had more problems, partially due to issues with his birth mother's partners and also with his own emotional/anger problems.
Cass was a reasonably likeable character, she wasn't anything special which worked to the novel's advantage, it's easy to imagine her as someone you know and it was great to see her as a regular daughter to her adoptive parents, rather than simply seeing her as an adopted child - it just seemed like a 'normal' family dynamic. I can't say that I loved Cass, because there wasn't anything about her that particularly enamoured me, but I found her simplicity to work well, especially when paired with perhaps the quirkiest member of her school, the desirable and individual Will. I really liked Will ask he did seem to have an edge to him - he didn't go out of his way to be different, he simply was and he was also a very loveable character and if he was real, I would definitely like to have a friend like him.
Aidan was a much more interesting character to me and he certainly had, or at least remembered, a much more unstable beginning, living with some abuse and also, understandably, going through periods of time where he found it difficult to control his own emotions. Aidan is now living with his girlfriend and her son, a family relationship which is explored in the story and possibly the most interesting exploration, in my opinion. It was interesting to see how Aidan coped when bringing his past and current life together, and seeing how he and Cass both differed yet bonded.
Overall, Salvage was a well written and easily to read book that I would recommend to teenagers and fans of realistic YA. I think that the book was written simply and modestly enough to attract young teens, but perhaps it's a little too simplistic or modest for those older young adult fans who prefer a little more complexity. The story is interesting enough to hold your attention throughout, though I admit that I did find it a little too predictable to enjoy the 'big reveals' towards the end. Nevertheless, I can see why this book has been given great praise as it is exactly what it offers, a page turner which will attract young adults who enjoy reading about gritty real life issues....more