I was really keen to read this book as soon as I read the blurb. My long term plan post finishing my degree is to work in a library where I get to wor...moreI was really keen to read this book as soon as I read the blurb. My long term plan post finishing my degree is to work in a library where I get to work with teenagers, I thought this would be a really useful addition to my personal library.
The first thing I must say about this book is how very accessible it is. It is aimed at teenagers and the adults around them, the book is written in a way that both groups will find interesting and helpful but never feel talked down to or overloaded with information. Relevant scientific research is included wherever it is relevant, this again is discussed in a great manner, there’s no need to have a scientific background to be able to understand it.
The book covers six key areas; Emotions, Sleep, Risk-taking, Gender differences, Mental health issues and Brain development in older teens. Each section includes a case study, a description of what’s going on in the teenage brain, some theories of why the teenage brain might work the way it does, some useful facts and hints to help teenagers and parents survive this stage, and a quiz or activity to do. I really liked this structure, I’m sure different readers will particularly like different sections but by presenting the information in a range of ways there will definitely be something for everybody.
I’m obviously no longer a teenager myself, nor a parent of a teenager, but I found it fascinating to be able to think back to my own teenage years and my experiences (and those of some classmates) and finally understand why some people acted the way that they did.
I think this is a really valuable book, since reading it I’ve recommended it to a number of friends who work with teenagers. I know I’ll be referring back to it for years to come.(less)
This is the first of the companion novels to Pushing the Limits, it focuses on Beth - Noah's friend and housemate and introduces Ryan, a baseball star...moreThis is the first of the companion novels to Pushing the Limits, it focuses on Beth - Noah's friend and housemate and introduces Ryan, a baseball star in the making.
I have to admit, when I read about the dare element of this book I was really worried. I generally find that books with secrets like this leave me so stressed out as I read, and so I end up not really enjoying the book. I was so pleased to find that this part of the plot didn't play out as I'd expected it to, and so I could just enjoy the reading experience.
The majority of this book is set at a different school, in a different town, to Pushing the Limits so there's a whole new lot of characters to get to know. Beth makes numerous trips back home though, giving us time to catch up with Echo and Noah, and with Isaiah.
This isn't a perfect book, but the writing is so good that I was completely swept away by the reading experience and can happily overlook things that might have been gripes in a weaker book. I'm completely in love with this series, I think it's the closest a series of books have got to making me feel the way watching Friday Night Lights did.(less)
Regina is the focus of this book, once a member of the highest and meanest tier of school, some pretty awful actions mean her position changes overnig...moreRegina is the focus of this book, once a member of the highest and meanest tier of school, some pretty awful actions mean her position changes overnight - she's now at the very bottom of the pile and number one target for her former co-conspirators. The opening of the book, the incident that causes this downfall, is hard to read and leaves you wondering what else is going to happen in this book.
The book is all about the social structure of high school, particularly the more toxic aspects of it. The teenagers in this book are not nice, they have few if any redeeming qualities. Their actions are brutal, and the consequences are far reaching. All of this makes the book a gripping, but unpleasant read - the tension levels at times made me feel sick with nerves. Never once though was I put off, this is such a strong novel, it's hard, shocking and oh so very real. It's been a couple of weeks since I read it, and still I'm thinking about aspects of it - truly a book that gets under your skin.(less)
I have enjoyed every one of Zoë Marriott’s books that I’ve read, and when I heard her new project was The Name of the Blade an urban fantasy trilogy I...moreI have enjoyed every one of Zoë Marriott’s books that I’ve read, and when I heard her new project was The Name of the Blade an urban fantasy trilogy I was really excited by the prospect. The early reviews for the book were brilliant, so I sat down to read it with pretty high expectations.
I fell in love with this book within the first couple of dozen pages. The characters grabbed my attention, and I was instantly drawn into their world – I did not want to put this book down for anything!
Mio, the leading lady, is a wonderful character. I loved how well rounded she is, whilst she’s strong and capable, smart and quick, she’s also real – she’s flawed, she makes some really stupid decisions, and she’s imbued with the singlemindedness that can come with being a teenager. I really, really love her – it’s so nice reading a character who feels completely genuine, and one that you think you’d be quite happy to spend time around!
There are a number of key supporting characters, I felt like I got to know them all well – they weren’t purely there for Mio’s benefit. I could happily have read many more stories of her times with her grandfather in particular, this was such a lovely relationship. I also loved the friendship she had with Jack, and how this evolved once Shinobu, the warrior boy, and Hikaru, representative of the London Kitsune, joined the mix. The dialogue between this group is just my kind of thing, the banter is balanced well with the sense of everyone having their role to play.
This is the first book of a trilogy, and as such has to establish the world, who the key players are and what’s at stake. I found this to be done really well, whilst there’s plenty of information to get across it never feels expositiony, there’s plenty of action and plot progress with some fantastic fight sequences. The air of mystery and creeping sense of peril grows throughout the book, keeping you turning the pages as fast as you can read them.
I loved the way Japanese mythology is woven into the plot, and how cultures are woven together. I found there were many things in the book I’d never come across before, and they were so interesting to read about. I ended up making a note of a few of them to read more about once I’d finished the book.
This is such a great opening to what I think is going to be a brilliant trilogy. I don’t tend to read a lot of urban fantasy, but when I do I always love it. This book is definitely right up there with some of my favourites. I can’t wait for the other books (even though I know I must)!(less)
Holes is one of those books that has lurked on my “so guilty I haven’t read it” list for far too long so I knew it was going to be one of my choices t...moreHoles is one of those books that has lurked on my “so guilty I haven’t read it” list for far too long so I knew it was going to be one of my choices this weekend. Now I’ve read it, I only wish I’d read it sooner, and then re-read it and re-read it. What a pleasing read it is, looking at the long list of awards it won I can’t say I’m remotely surprised.
The main plot following Stanley and his trials and tribulations at the juvenile work camp combined with the minor historical plot featuring Kissing Kate Barlow work so well together. I was completely gripped and felt completely invested in what was happening.
I loved every minute of this reading experience, I’ll be urging anyone I know who hasn’t read this book to give it a go.(less)
Wow. What a book! It tackles a pretty big and tricky topic, and it does it so well. I paused a few times to marvel at how well balanced it was, you ge...moreWow. What a book! It tackles a pretty big and tricky topic, and it does it so well. I paused a few times to marvel at how well balanced it was, you get to see both Chris and Imran’s sides of the story. The book’s written in such a way that you feel like you have an understanding of why they, Imran in particular, make the decisions that they do but whilst it tries to explain things it never tries to justify them.
Structurally this book’s quite complex, there’s the storyline of what’s happening the day the book is set and then there’s the storyline of what happened to the two boys from the time they were boys right up until the day the book is set. These two storylines are skilfully woven together, and told from both perspectives so the reader really gets a sense of the characters and their relationships.
There’s a real sense of peril throughout the book. The opening chapter sets up an end point for both storylines and I found as I got further and further through it my heart started racing a little faster, wondering how it was all going to resolve.
All in all, an impressive read, and one that’s made me determined to read more by Alan Gibbons. (less)