Speechless, where to start - how to write anything that doesn't possibly spoil things for other readers???!!! This was such a phenomenal book well worSpeechless, where to start - how to write anything that doesn't possibly spoil things for other readers???!!! This was such a phenomenal book well worth the year long wait. I didn't want to put it down, I felt all the feels with this one and the ending wow I can't wait to find out where things go next as I have no idea!
A proper carefully crafted review will be out shortly - though its going to be a hard one to write! Totally need to vent about this book with other fans now!...more
A simple refreshing contemporary novel that takes part at sea and on the coastal shores of Hobart Australia. This story sets itself apart and also addA simple refreshing contemporary novel that takes part at sea and on the coastal shores of Hobart Australia. This story sets itself apart and also adds itself to a great list of diverse YA novels coming out recently by introducing the reader to the concept of life without hearing and the use of sign language in the central plot and romance between our main characters Will and Summer.
The story is a clean and refreshingly simple one told from alternating chapters between our protagonists Will and Summer and the two strike up an unlikely online friendship over a mutual interest in Jessica Watson and her solo sailing voyage at only 16 years of age. Summer lives in Will’s old town – Kettering and feeling homesick after being away sailing with his dad for the past year, Will is excited to chat online with another teen who recently moved to his old home. Summer has never been sailing and is fascinated with the concept hoping someday she will have the opportunity to learn.
When Will’s dad gets a great job opportunity back near Kettering the two move back to Tasmania. Will and Summer’s new blossoming friendship meets its first hurdle when Will soon realises that Summer is deaf and has never mentioned it to him during all their correspondence. Feeling hurt and betrayed it takes awhile before they get past things and Will starts to understand that communication with someone who doesn’t hear is still possible and if anything much easier that he realised.
As their friendship grows he undertakes an AUSLAN course to learn sign language as his interest is piqued and the friendship slowly blurs the lines into romance as they spend more and more time with each other.
The characters are interesting though I found Will to be possibly a bit unrealistic – he was certainly very different and much more mature than any 15 year old boy I met when I was in high school. His best friend was much more in line with my memories of boys in high school in any case, perhaps I just didn’t meet the rights ones :)
The story culminates with the kids sailing around a nearby island without adult supervision and while there is a few bits added in to make things a bit more dramatic overall everything runs quite smoothly. In some ways you want more action but in others I like that this is a bit more realistic to normal life making this a really relatable book for teens.
The one thing that I really found frustrating was that there was no quotation marks when the characters were talking which is found slowed me down as it sometimes made it difficult to realise that someone was talking not just thinking something. Perhaps I’m just picky :)
Aside from this small grammatical/aesthetic issue I enjoyed this fresh simple love story and think this one will be make a great summer read! ...more
I’ve been struggling a little bit with middle grade reads of late and this one was no exception. While it took me quite awhile to get into the story aI’ve been struggling a little bit with middle grade reads of late and this one was no exception. While it took me quite awhile to get into the story after getting through a hefty chunk of the book I was quite intrigued to see how this one went and finished it off quite quickly.
After a quick prologue in Orkney to set the scene of what is to come, you are introduced to our main character Sam;- a typical 12 year old boy battling some anger issues, or so he thinks. The first quarter of the book introduces the reader to Sam’s current life and friends and then very quickly turns things upside down as he soon realises that things aren’t quite what they seem. Sam along with his two best friends are soon embroiled in the battles of another realm – Orkney where Sam holds the key to breaking a age old curse and saving not only Orkney, but Earth and the other Norse realms as well.
If you are a fan of fantasy this book is a bit like a comfy and familiar pair of pyjamas. While the story and world is new many of the ideas and the novel outline is quite comparable to other well known middle grade favourites such as Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. While I wouldn’t put this book quite in the same league – it definitely felt a bit clunky and it didn’t grab me in quite the same way, I think it will still be a hit with the tween and teen readers looking for a good fantasy/adventure series.
The journey Sam takes is an interesting one and while he doesn’t really change or grow in the novel he does learn some important things about himself and is put into some interesting predicaments. Torn between his two bloodlines – his mother was a witch while is father is a son of Odin, you expect him to make some pretty life changing choices. These sadly seem to be glossed over or not quite so anguish driven as they possibly could be which is this books biggest let down. I also felt that the story was very black and white with the witches being “bad” and the people of Orkney and Odin being “good” however I really feel in these children’s and young adult novels that its the shades of grey and the realisation that life isn’t quite so simple that makes things interesting.
I was incredibly frustrated with how little people trusted Sam in the novels. They had vast expectations of him dropping everything about his life and fixing the curse however I didn’t feel that he was treated well in the slightest. It made it very hard to cheer him on in his journey because part of me simply couldn’t care if everyone on the planet dropped dead the rudeness and lack of understanding was inexcusable. His band of friends were great and I also would have liked to see them developed as individual characters in a bit more detail, you go a couple of chapters from their perspectives but not enough to really bring them to life.
The ending of the novel was incredibly well done and the battle scene was very descriptive but not overstated making it enjoyable. I also liked the way the story played out with how to break the curse and the inclusion of the Norse Gods in assisting at the final battle. A fun read and I think a real winner for the fantasy fans here! ...more
This is my first book by Patrick Ness and it was seriously so good I have to prioritise reading some of his other works now! Its a hard book to classiThis is my first book by Patrick Ness and it was seriously so good I have to prioritise reading some of his other works now! Its a hard book to classify as its really a contemporary novel but has a definite vein of paranormal running through it with much talk of “the chosen one” and other paranormal scenarios.
The book centres around a group of totally normal teenagers who are hanging out for graduation. The protagonist Mikey worries a lot, and is from a family with a lot of societal issues including a sister who previously suffered from anorexia and his dad is still suffering from a large problem with alcoholism. While Mike has his own battle with OCD and anxiety to contend with, things aren’t looking too badly for him as he has a solid best friend, is in love with the figurative girl next door, Henna who he’s never had enough guts to ask out and also has two totally awesome sisters whom is he very close to.
While this group of kids are trying to get through the final remaining weeks of school and graduation, there is a second story that is fleshed out at the beginning of each chapter and alluded to within the main story. This is the story of the “indie” kids. Its the story that would normally be the story arc of your YA book while characters like Mikey get a bare mention or are edited out entirely as irrelevant to the plot. This story is about immortals taking over their little USA town and contains death, betrayal, great love, and major paranormal battles. In this novel however its confined to probably a few pages at most and only really gets a mention when it affects our main characters who constantly wonder if they are going to get to graduate before the school is blown up again, or which indie kid is going to go missing next.
In all honesty not much actually happens in this book, but I don’t really see that as a bad thing, its heavy in all the right ways on the dialogue meaning you get great character insight to this coming of age story. The main thing the book does focus on are family and friendship.
There is a lot of family drama for Mikey to sort out and his family are all central characters to the book. Mel is his older sister who nearly died from an eating disorder a couple of years prior meaning she now is finishing school in the same year as Mikey. These two are incredibly close and there is an undercurrent of worry and sadness that they are both off to colleges on other sides of the country after they graduate. His younger sister Meredith is upheld by the family as the only one not to be a total screw up and is a bit of a child prodigy. All 3 siblings are very close with both Mel and Mikey being very protective over her and taking her out for dinner and to her millions of additional afterschool activities. Their parents are definitely considered disappointments to them. Their mother is running for senate and is seen as very tough and uninterested in anything that isn’t in her best interests and their father is an alcoholic who can barely keep it together for important events and photo ops.
Friendships are also important and a large element of this novel. Mikey’s best friend Jared could have been an indie kid but is so desperate to be normal he does everything he can to keep away from it all. Jared is so grounding to Mikey and is a large help with his anxiety and OCD. This friendship has been through a lot and always held together though Mikey has constant anxiety over how much he needs Jared while not feeling like Jared gets anything from him in this relationship. Continuing on the great levels of diversity in this novel, Jared is also gay and this is central to the story though these two are not in a relationship. Mikey is also totally in love with his friend Henna and spends large portions of the book trying to get up the courage to take things to the next level. Its complicated and messy and this romance is really real and sweet.
It was such an easy read and even though not a lot happened to these totally average everyday kids I wanted to know more about them and was really sad when the story ended. I also loved how they did flow through and alter the course of the indie kid/immortal drama weaving the two stories together at the end. I simply loved this story, it was unique, diverse and beautifully written. Considering how dialogue focused it was I have high hopes its picked up and turned into a film – I would love to see it on screen.
A big two thumbs up and 5 stars from me – I’m off to find a copy of More Than This now!
Also last sidenote, make sure you read the acknowledgements I loved finding out about how some of the characters got named, and his friend’s business cards gave me a giggle! ...more