Unfortunately I didn't particularly like this book. I thought I was picking up a teen thriller (with a slightly unusual cover!) and while it is tryingUnfortunately I didn't particularly like this book. I thought I was picking up a teen thriller (with a slightly unusual cover!) and while it is trying to be a teen thriller, that's not what this book is. I wish this book wasn't written in the way it was at all, hiding what the book is really about in order to do a shocking reveal in those last few pages. Even the elements of mental illness were kept under wraps like being LGBT or a mental illness are things to be deeply ashamed. I knew from the first few chapters what Lauren's secret is AND who might end up sending her sinister presents so I read most of this story thinking 'why? Why tell this story in this way? Trying to make out that either Lauren did something terrible in the past or was the victim of something terrible?' I just didn't get it....more
I'd really been looking forward to reading The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo by Catherine Johnson for awhile now. So I was very happy to get a copyI'd really been looking forward to reading The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo by Catherine Johnson for awhile now. So I was very happy to get a copy sent to me and jumped in straight away.
And I really liked this story. It's based on a true story of an actual young woman called Mary Willcox who managed to convince a wealthy family that she was a princess from the South Seas and that makes this story even more fascinating to me. I know that Catherine Johnson did change some aspects of the story but I still think the original basis of what happened to Mary Willcox to be incredibly interesting. As is this book! I really didn't know what was going to happen throughout the story and I was really intrigued from the moment I started reading.
The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo has sort of a harrowing beginning. As we see poor Mary Willcox in bad shape and she is further attacked by some men and in that moment she decides that things will be different from now on. And that's what happens.
She pretends to be this different person, this princess from Java. And it becomes quite an elaborate lie that is spun as Caraboo manages to convince this local wealthy family, the Worralls, that she is in fact royalty and they take her in for several months. An entire language is created as well as a religion and a style of dress and mannerisms that Caraboo creates herself.
I really liked the character of Caraboo that Mary Willcox pretends that she is. Caraboo becomes this fierce warrior princess who hunts and climbs and does what she likes. It really felt like she had decided not to be held back by her gender or her (lack of) wealth and just decided to become this person she and society had never allowed her to become until one day when she just makes that decision and a transformation happens.
As well as being incredibly interested and invested in Caraboo's character and how she gets on, I was also really fascinated to see the changes within this family that Caraboo is staying with and the different reactions they all have to Caraboo's intrusion into their lives. There is Mrs Worrall, who seems to relish the attention as well as the fact that she is at the centre of a scientific investigation and has scientists of the day from phrenologists to electricity experts, coming into her house and that she is able to participate in something larger than her in her every day life.
And then there are the Worrall children: flighty Cassandra and skeptical Fred who in turns befriend and question Caraboo's sincerity and actions. I loved the juxtaposition of Cassandra's love affair with the reluctant growing of feeling that happens for Caraboo.
I thought Lady Caraboo's story was an incredibly fascinating story. It felt like a story of choices and love and about being the person who most want to be. I loved this glimpse into a POC historical figure and time period and I was swept away by the circumstances of Caraboo's life. Really enjoyed this one! ...more
I liked this one a lot! I smiled quite a bit and shed a single tear at the end. Loved that it is told in verse. I'm impressed and amazed by how much iI liked this one a lot! I smiled quite a bit and shed a single tear at the end. Loved that it is told in verse. I'm impressed and amazed by how much is said and how much emotion is conveyed in so few words....more
Some really funny bits! I liked Frank and the whole anxiety story line, the way it was explained and addressed. I felt like the first half was strongeSome really funny bits! I liked Frank and the whole anxiety story line, the way it was explained and addressed. I felt like the first half was stronger than the second and I wish I felt more about the characters in the end. ...more
While I wasn't as emotionally invested in the characters as I'd have liked to have been, I did really enjoy the concepts it brought up. About teen preWhile I wasn't as emotionally invested in the characters as I'd have liked to have been, I did really enjoy the concepts it brought up. About teen pregnancy, being a parent, bullying, domestic violence, friendship. I liked it a lot.
The Baby by Lisa Drakeford was an interesting read that covered lots of topics that I found fascinating. Each of the five characters' stories were really interesting and I thought it was great how each character's story really builds on the overall theme of teen pregnancy/parenthood whilst also giving each character time to shine in their own right.
I found the structure of the novel to be quite unusual. There are five narrators in this book each of the five being people who have attended this 17th birthday party in which one of the guests unexpectedly (even to her!) gives birth to a baby. The rest of the story is the aftermath of this big surprise.
There is Olivia, the birthday girl. Alice, Olivia's little sister. Ben, Olivia's gay best friend. Nicola, the new mother (and Olivia's best friend.) Jonty, the father (and Olivia's boyfriend.) You can kind of see how there might be some conflict as the father of the baby is the boyfriend of someone else. And that there'd be obvious fall-out between the two best friends. But what I liked about this book is that while this book is quite slim, there was quite a lot packed into it. The exploration of these complicated relationships. Nicola (and Jonty) dealing with the fact that they are now teenage parents and what that means for their lives and futures.
Through the eyes of Nicola and Jonty we can see some of the reactions that other people have towards teenage parents which is quite sobering. There is a lot of stigma and negativity surrounding teen parents which can be quite sad to read about. For me, there was a bit of a disconnect between me and most of these characters, however, Nicola's adventures of being a new parent and caring for a newborn made tears come to my eyes. I knew exactly the frustration and fatigue and helplessness she felt as she tried so desperately to soothe a colicky baby in the middle of the night.
But I also found Alice and Ben's story lines very interesting in that they are involved in Nicola and her baby's lives and give support but they also share and we get to explore some of their own life problems. Alice with her difficulty in finding friends and being different and Ben and his search for love. But it was definitely the domestic violence aspect of Jonty and Olivia that made me really intrigued by this novel. I found it an interesting topic to explore and I quite liked seeing Jonty's character development from the beginning to end.
The Baby was something a bit different and I really liked that!...more
I really enjoyed My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend by Eleanor Wood. It was fun and funny and the main character had an amazing voiceWhat an enjoyable read!
I really enjoyed My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend by Eleanor Wood. It was fun and funny and the main character had an amazing voice. Loved her relationships with her mum and best friend. I thought her struggles with her feelings towards boys really interesting and of course, she's a blogger so I totally related.
My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend appealed to my initially because of this fun, bright and colourful cover and I loved the idea of a slightly nerdy girl and a secret relationship with a world famous rock star. I love the idea of that fairy tale, I have to admit. So that was the draw for the book and what really kept me reading is the main character, Tuesday Cooper, and her really engaging and interesting voice.
Tuesday (her real name) is a music blogger and inserted throughout the narrative are some of her blog posts about music and I loved reading them. It doesn't matter to Chew (Tuesday's nickname) that her only readers are her mum, her two friends and her boyfriend. She loves music and wants to be a writer so her music blog is a way for her to channel some of that. Through this blog posts, she comes across Jackson Griffith, famous rock star who seems to love her blog and her thoughts on music and they begin this strange sort of email correspondence.
Also in Chew's life are her two best friends, Nishi and Anna, who are a couple. I absolutely loved them. At the beginning of the book the three of them are out searching charity shops for interesting clothing and Nishi makes a joke about Nishi and Anna's relationship and Tuesday asks very seriously if she's allowed to laugh at that. And I think my only criticism of this book is that I would have liked to have seen the exploration of friendship between a straight girl and her two lesbian friends a little bit more.
I also loved the music references. I was born in the 80s and was a teenager in the 90s. I love Nirvana and so much of the music that Tuesday writes about on her blog. And I've always daydreamed about what it might be like to have a famous singer interested in you.
And then there's the romantic elements of the book. Chew has a boyfriend, Seymour, who is also a singer in a rock band. And at the start of the book, Tuesday is really grateful and counts herself lucky to be Seymour's girlfriend and I loved the sort of realisations that she comes to about Seymour and how she feels about him. It took her an exceedingly long time but it is her first relationship and she struggles a bit with confidence so everything, while at times frustrating, makes sense.
Other bits I loved: Tuesday's relationship with her mum and seeing a more realistic look at A-Levels. All in all, this book was a real joy to read. I loved the friendships and relationships. The combination of blogging and music and some of the more outlandish visuals this book inspired. Mostly Chew's charity shop outfits and her eventful weekend!...more
I think I had the highest expectations for Every Day. I'd heard such high praise for it and that sort of hype usually intimates me. Which is definitelI think I had the highest expectations for Every Day. I'd heard such high praise for it and that sort of hype usually intimates me. Which is definitely why I waited so long to read it. And while I think it had some really interesting things to say ... I didn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped. I think I only rated this book three stars.
The reason I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought is because of the relationship between A and Rhiannon. I wasn't fully convinced. I thought that the L word was used too quickly. I thought it felt very selfish to basically hijack other people's lives in sacrifice to this relationship. Even the ending felt weirdly off and more manipulative than I wanted it to be whereas I'm sure other readers felt it more emotional than it was. What I felt about A and Rhiannon was mostly disappointment and for that I feel a little bereft.
But I did enjoy everything else. I loved the realisations A shared with us about the experiences of living in different bodies. In particular, I enjoyed seeing the high level of diversity. A jumps into white bodies, POC bodies, straight bodies, LGBT bodies, bodies from all economic backgrounds and abilities. Different sizes and shapes, behaviours and also differing levels of mental health. And I really loved the inclusion and representation of so many different types of people. I loved the message of loving people as opposed to loving genders and how A isn't tied down by either gender or sexuality.
The story line regarding Kelsey and her depression and the way in which A (and Rhiannon) were there to help was amongst my favourite and I also thought the day that involved addiction was particularly harrowing.
There are so many great ideas here that it didn't matter that much to me that I didn't particularly love the romantic elements of the book. I will still be hugely excited to read the upcoming sequel to this book and also absolutely anything else that David Levithan writes! ...more
I wanted to read Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally mostly because I've really liked the other books I'It was okay but I just wasn't really feeling it.
I wanted to read Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally mostly because I've really liked the other books I've read so far in Miranda Kenneally's Hundred Oaks series. I've enjoyed the connectivity between the characters, I've enjoyed the characters and their relationships together. So I quite happily requested Jesse's Girl on Netgalley and was all prepared to sit down and get lost in another wonderful contemporary love story.
Unfortunately I felt a bit let down by Jesse's Girl. Everything is just so straight forward, with no extra layers or complexity. We're told everything we need to know: that Jesse has no friends or family and feels very lonely and has lost his trust in other people. Maya has a knock to her confidence and doesn't quite know if she should carry on with her music as a solo artist or look for another band after she's kicked out of hers. And with all of that information laid at the reader's feet, I found myself very underwhelmed by everything that happened throughout the story. I wanted to like it more than I did but I found it just 'okay.'
Jesse's Girl is the story of Maya (the younger sister of Sam from Catching Jordan) and her eventful day when she is paired with a famous country singer, Jesse, on her school's career day. She's more rock and he's a country singer. He also has trust issues so of course there was a bit of drama and conflict at their first meeting. They soon get over it and go on a Ferris Bueller type adventure for the day. It was kind of sweet and I did think their day sounded amazing. I just wanted more depth to the story than there was.
It was quite nice to catch up with Jordan and Sam from the first book in the Hundred Oaks series. I loved seeing what they were up to and how their relationship has progressed several years down the line. Sam was quite the over protective older brother but Jordan seemed to balance him out.
Jesse's Girl was a cute read. It had some fun moments and I did like Jesse's gay uncle but for the most part, I just wasn't feeling this book or the relationships between any of the characters. I felt very disconnected from the lot of them. And for that I feel very disappointed. I will still continue to read Miranda Kenneally and pick up further books in this series but what a shame this book was a bit of a let-down. ...more
I can't do it. It turns out even Katie McGarry can't make a motorcycle club into anything other than skeezy and gross. I tried my very best with thisI can't do it. It turns out even Katie McGarry can't make a motorcycle club into anything other than skeezy and gross. I tried my very best with this one but I decided to DNF at 45% By this time I'm already annoyed at many things.
1. The whole set up of 'good girl' meets 'bad boy' - The good girl here is kind of boring and judgmental and the bad boy isn't winning any points for his behaviour. Also, hate the bias towards the MC being THE BEST. Like, everyone is ready to laugh and make fun of Emily because of her reaction to a dead body, but whatever, folks. Hers would be a normal reaction to something unusual. Also? She's not going to have the reactions you want her to have if you keep 'protecting' her from the truth. And I didn't get to the bottom of the whole mystery and secrets Emily's mom is holding but I don't think I'd want my child to grow up in the community of a motorcycle club either so you're not going to win me over with whatever 'traitor' stuff is going on.
2. The slut shaming is atrocious. Oz is all about one-time hook ups with girls he could care less about because gross, they gave it up. Whereas Emily is pure and good and I might just throw up. It all feels very much like girls and women who have sex are not worthy of respect and I don't agree with that.
3. All the macho bullshit. It's all guns and knives and violence and muscles and holy crap, I nearly rolled my eyes out of my head. Especially as everyone is taking it all so seriously.
4. The mention of the term 'old lady' which gives me the creeps. I actually shuddered at the mention of it.
5. A club house that has walls decorated entirely in bras. Because that's not disgusting. This is where I decided enough was enough. At 42%
Katie McGarry's previous books in the Pushing the Limits series were great, I loved them. I requested this book on Netgalley because of Katie McGarry's name and also the cover which looked summery and romantic. And I did not find that this book was either summery or romantic. I won't be continuing this book or with this series. ...more