There is no one word that can describe just how good of a read Boys Don't Cry is. This book is one of the few thaReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
There is no one word that can describe just how good of a read Boys Don't Cry is. This book is one of the few that should be read by every teenage boy in the world - it's packed with life's lessons and I'm sure I'm not the only one who says that this book is a thought-provoking and a reflective read.
When Dante Bridgeman finds the biggest surprise in his life lying in a baby buggy, to say that his life is turned upside down is an understatement. Suddenly, he is no longer a typical student waiting for his A level results and university, but a single father to an eleven-month baby, Emma. With his ex-girlfriend and the baby's mother Melanie suddenly MIA, he finds his future veering dangerously towards the unknown. The changes in Dante's life - every minute details - is well described and highlighted. I'm familiar with the difficulty of babysitting, but not quite with the difficulty of single parenting. Dante's narration is vivid and so real it's almost like a first hand account. Nothing quite gets to you than the voice of someone who has really been there - I got that from Dante. His sacrifices opens the reader's eyes to the reality of being a parent - single, teenage or otherwise. His concerns starts from the basic (what about university? How do I stop her from crying?) and evolves to the bigger (will I be a good father? How will I provide for Emma?) questions. I am a lot like Dante in situation (A level results, university...) but it is his questions that makes him so normal, so average. That, more than anything, makes Dante real. His actions, his thoughts and his words show his flaws, but it also channels his growth as a person, as a brother, as a son and as a father to Emma.
Interspersed with Dante's life changing moments are his brother Adam's. My heart went out to Adam in this book - he's a cheerful lad who is neither ashamed nor afraid of his sexuality. The challenges that face him are not the easiest ones to face nor read. Despite that, he has an indomitable spirit that rises up and faces these challenges head on. Of course, Adam has his share of challenges, but with his family's support never once leaving his side, Adam's strength is clear for all to see. I'm not sure who between him and Emma I find more adorable - but both of them are near top of the list of characters I love hugely.
There are varying sub plots in the book in support of the main plot. These elaborates more on the characters and are very well ingrained with the narrative. Mostly, they are resolved and I am one happy reader with how everything turned out. The secondary characters are involved in these subplots and are also very important as they are foils to and frame the protagonists. Quite simply, I have no complaints! It's my first Malorie Blackman read and I sure will check out more of her works.
Boys Don't Cry is an eye-opener, a complex novel that is one of the few which effectively thrusts the reader into issues that matter most in the big world. It made me cry, it made me think and it made me want to read so much more. I love this! ...more
Jenny Downham's second offering is one very emotionally-exhausting read. While the book is nowhere near life chanReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
Jenny Downham's second offering is one very emotionally-exhausting read. While the book is nowhere near life changing, it can be aptly called a powerful book with an equally strong narrative, simply because it is capable of leaving its readers with very strong, very conflicting emotions. A fantastic read, this one.
I don't see You Against Me as a romance novel. At least not primarily so. This book revolves around the characters trapped in extraordinary challenging circumstances. For Mikey and Ellie, romance is part of these circumstances, and for these two love is both extraordinary and challenging. Their differences is highlighted quite early on in the book - not only are they on opposing sides of a criminal court case - Ellie is also privilege and Mikey is far from being so. The former is known as a shy, reserved girl, the latter more of a dangerous person with a bad boy streak. Their journey towards each other is remarkable for anyone in their shoes and I'm not saying so because I'm a romantic at heart. The road is not paved and many sacrifices must be made, but together, they learn to explore emotions foreign to them, realise the value of the finer things in life and experience the bittersweetness of first love. They both fight for and find courage - a value so very strong in the book.
Beyond the romance however, there is the looming backdrop of the court case - Ellie's brother Tom is on trial for sexually assaulting Karyn, Mikey's sister. This is where the book becomes inherently powerful - the effect of what happened on both families is truly heartbreaking. It is not only Tom and Karyn whose lives are turn around by it, but everyone's. Although we often symphatise with victims most forget their families and friends are heavily affected too. You Against Me reminded of the extent of such tragedy, because is chronicles every sacrifice, every suffering of Tom's and Karyn's families. It is blunt, honest and a true-to-life depiction of what happens when it happens - it does not sugarcoat the harm a tragedy like this can inflict to both party. There are of course two sides to every story, and You Against Me presents those sides in very concrete details. I was increasingly intrigued by what exactly happened on that night and can never make up my mind as to which version was the truth.
It didn't hit me at first that You Against Me is set in Britain, until tea (what else could it be?) is mentioned. I've always had a pleasure reading YA books set here, but of course the value of a book is beyond the beauty of its setting. This book in incredibly well written. The narrative is true to the characters and conveys genuine emotion to the readers. There is an extensive character development to support every complex detail of the plot.
If any, my complaints would only be that it became slightly predictable towards the end. Perhaps I was expecting the answers all along, but it seems rather typical of the twist to happen. I was also dissatisfied with the conclusion of the novel, the ending being abrupt, and vague.
However. This should stop you from reading You Against Me, because it is still utterly and absolutely fantastic. ...more
Such a hilarious book - I've been howling with laughter since the first few pages! Emma's totally and completely nuts - she sought audience with the kSuch a hilarious book - I've been howling with laughter since the first few pages! Emma's totally and completely nuts - she sought audience with the king to force her husband to attend to his husbandly duties, which, in her (completely lacking and innocent) knowledge, means sharing the bed - literally. When her second husband Amaury is faced with the challenge of showing her what exactly happens between a husband and a wife on their wedding night, she thinks his extra appendage a deformity, wonders at the lack of toes at the end of it and how it can grow like it does. Such a classic humour. I love it!...more
This book should be a staple in every secondary school library - not only is it the perfect book to empower teenaReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
This book should be a staple in every secondary school library - not only is it the perfect book to empower teenage girls, it will also teach the boys out there a thing or two about what not to do! I'd love to see this on the big screen too - I mean, remember that song from Hot Chick : "Boys are cheat and liars, they're such a big disgrace..."? That song surfaced in my mind while I was reading this!
Ladies, admit it - at some point in our very colourful lives, we thought it best to swear off boys completely...or at least tried. How wonderful it could have been nursing a broken heart with not one, not two, but a whole club of girls who has been through the exact same heartache! Penny Lane's Lonely Hearts Club started as a one-person club, but its universal representation glues together ready to empower themselves and be there for each other. I wish there was a club like this when I was in school, because I'm sure it would have been needed - but since I did not have one, what a joy to read about it now!
Lonely Hearts Club is more than just a novel about swearing off boys or Venus alienating Mars. There is a strong theme about dedicated friendships, extending one's helping hand to others, trust and reconciliation and discovering who you truly are.
Penny is a great narrator and an inspirational person. I admire how strong she really is - I realised that while I thought I was strong, Penny stood defiant in cases where I would have just gone pliant and stupid. Her conflicting emotions and thought-process are recognisable, and her openness very admirable. Her friends Tracy and Diane are alive in every girls' heart and her fellow club mates make one cool club! The solidarity and support they all give to each other are more than a girl's dream. And of course, I think I should mention the boys too. You'll meet the jerks, the flirts, the mysterious, the cheaters, the ex-es and the swoon-worthy male specimen in the Lonely Hearts Club too - the girls will guide you through, worry not, and I'm sure you'll love the boys that do pass the inspection!
One other strong theme in the book are The Beatles. There is a lot of crazy Beatles references, and Penny's parents are the number one fans. It's hilarious!
Lonely Hearts Club is a meaningful book - girls, you have to read this book! Boys - don't worry, if you behave we still adore you :)...more
I used to shun Regency romance novels, preferring instead highland and medieval romances, but Karen Hawkin's TheReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
I used to shun Regency romance novels, preferring instead highland and medieval romances, but Karen Hawkin's The Abduction of Julia is a really good book that I think reading it might have led me to warm up to the sub-genre. It seems it only occured to me that the rigid etiquette of the ton and the double standards of their actions, not to mention the innumerable marriages of conveniences sets the scene for an endless array of hilarity and romance!
A marriage of convenience is exactly what ties Julia Frant and Viscount Alec Maclean to each other. Bound to a vow to his late grandfather, Alec finds himself eloping with and agreeing to marry Therese Frant, daughter of the Earl of Covington. To prevent his inheritance from going to the hands of his cousin Nick, he fulfills the demands in the will of his grandfather. Unfortunately, instead of Therese he finds his carriage carrying her cousin, the overprotective chaperone otherwise known as The Frant Dragon. Plain and spectacled, Julia does not catch his attention, until he finds that she was, once upon a time, the daughter of the other Earl of Covington. Hence begins the marriage and their attempts to engage with the ton and avoid scandals... not.
Not only have I warmed up to regency romances with this book, I appear to have also developed a penchant for regency romance revolving around marriage of conveniences! There is something absolutely delightful about regency wives and husbands fluttering about hiding their feelings for their loved ones, and I found that in The Abduction of Julia! I must say, the characters are every bit as loveable as the plot. Alec and Julia are both oblivious to each other's feelings, resulting in very comical but very romantic misunderstandings, which they make up for with some memorable scenes. I love Julia's transformation from plain to beautiful - it's highlighted, but not in a way which leads the readers to think that Alec's attraction it dependent on her beauty. It is clear from the start that it is her fiesty and compassionate attitude that pulled her to him. Alec can be insistent, insensitive and impulsive at times, but he carries the emotion in this book - quite a lovely character! The secondary characters deserve an applaud too, because they are a very entertaining bunch, from Edmund the excessive chatterbox to Burroughs, the old butler who never falters to bring Alex his warm glass of milk every night!
Despite the lovely characters and the fun plot, I found several loopholes in The Abduction of Julia. Firstly, there was a lack of detail surrounding the ton - I am fascinated by the ways of society and while I thought the book would focus a bit on it, it only passes over the detail very fleetingly. Secondly, the climax was not very thrilling, as it plays safe and stays on the romantic side. Finally, the ending is unsatisfactory and I did not feel that there was a resolution. Such a shame for a novel so fun!
Nevertheless, The Abduction of Julia is a wonderful indulgence in regency romance. Romance lovers would love this!...more